Happy New Year

It was back in 2012 that I spied an Old Town Pack canoe sitting on top of a shed in someones’ backyard as we would pass by it every day at work. Fast forward to 2013 and it had not moved in a year so I stopped and knocked on the door. After chatting with the gentleman for a little he sold me the canoe and that started my love affair with light weight solo canoes.

I loved this boat at 12 feet long and only weighing 33 pounds it was easily handled on and off the water. However my curiosity into lighter, quicker canoes was starting to peak. In 2015 I test paddled several brands of ultra light weight carbon/kevlar pack canoes made by Hornbeck, Adirondack Canoe Company, Slipstream Watercraft and Swift. I eventually purchased a Hornbeck “New Tricks” 12. This boat was 12 feet long, very narrow and only weighed 18 pounds and was extremely quick on the water, I was in love. Once I took delivery of this new boat I thought to myself I’ll never use the Old Town again so I sold it. I have regretted that decision ever since.

I currently own 5 canoes and back in mid November a Craigslist add popped up for an Old Town Pack canoe for sale, as luck would have it literally 10 minutes from my home. Now in today’s market this canoe is hot since Old Town stopped making it several years ago. It is affordable, light weight and pretty much bullet proof. It is made from a material called Royalex which isn’t produced anymore as well. If you didn’t jump on this it would be gone in an instant. I emailed the seller and picked it up the next day.

The weather and my schedule did not permit me a chance to get it out on the water until recently. I ventured out on a foggy but warm December 31st here in the Southern Tier of New York for a little while. The lake I went to was half covered with a thin sheet of ice but the rest was open. I spent an hour just enjoying the new boat and the calm and I was literally in shock that it was so warm this late in the year.

Below you’ll find several images of my Old Town canoe and a recent video from my outing on New Years Eve. I wish you all a Happy & Healthy New Year.

Cheers!

Paddling my Old Town Pack Canoe on a remote New Hampshire pond in October 2014. Image © Ian Clark.
Northern New Hampshire near the Canadian border Image ©Joe Geronimo
Old Town Pack Canoe Purchased in November 2021. Image © Joe Geronimo.
Old Town Pack Canoe Purchased in November 2021. Image © Joe Geronimo.
It is December 31st 2021 and I finally got my Old Town Pack Canoe out on the water. Video and images © Joe Geronimo

Time Lapse

In October 2020 my wife and I along with some family and friends were in Lake Placid, NY for a long weekend enjoying some beautiful mid October weather. In October of this year 2021 I was in Lake Placid with a friend spending time canoeing and just taking in the amazing weather and fall color we were treated to.

Below are two images of the same location taken 361 days apart. I’m fascinated by the difference a year makes!

View of the 4,867′ Whiteface mountain from Connery Pond Lake Placid, NY October 17th 2020 @JoeGeronimo

View of the 4,867′ Whiteface mountain from Connery Pond Lake Placid, NY October 13th 2021 @JoeGeronimo

Adirondack Fall Frolic

Taking a break at a campsite on Kiwassa Lake near Saranac Lake, NY.

October 12th 2021: 10.5 miles of paddling

I would meet my friend Jerry who lives in the Hudson Valley along I-87 at the Clifton Park rest area before continuing onto the Village of Saranac Lake, NY. The weather was stellar as we launched that afternoon on Lake Flower in Saranac Lake making our way through Oseetah Lake and into Kiwassa Lake. We would take a break and have a snack at the campsite on Kiwassa before returning. We also checked out the lean-to site which was recently rebuilt. Afterwards we stopped in at Blue Line Brewing for a few cold ones and some amazing food. My favorite brew of theirs is the “Leaning Pine IPA”. Food there is excellent as well and I love their wings smothered in the Gilly sauce “Sweet & Tangy BBQ” and the pizza is great too!

October 13th: 7.85 miles of paddling

We began our morning outside of Lake Placid, NY capturing a few fall sunrise images before the clouds rolled in for the day. Afterwards we drove to Follensby Clear Pond where we launched our canoes exploring most of the pond along with the island lean-to site. We then would make our way through Spider Creek into the Fish Creek Ponds and Upper Saranac Lake, taking the reverse route returning back to the launch on Follensby Clear Pond. Due to the cloud cover we couldn’t see but there was no mistaking the fighter jets roaring overhead while on Upper Saranac Lake. Once back into Lake Placid we had an early dinner and drinks at the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery before Jerry would have to make the long drive home. After Jerry took off it was just about sunset and I found myself taking my 3 mile run through Placid and around Mirror Lake before settling in for the night. Our adventures were fun and it gave us time to catch up since we haven’t seen each other in a few years.

I look forward to returning next October!

Canoes: Northstar Canoes: Northwind Solo – Hornbeck Boats: New Tricks 14

Cameras: DJI Osmo Action – Canon EOS 7D – Canon EOS 60D

Here you’ll find a fun video of our adventures!

St. Regis Canoe Area: Canoeing to a remote Adirondack lean-to

“The Bourbon Brothers” consisting of Scott Ireland, Gary Sharp & myself adopted a lean-to on a remote pond in the Adirondacks of New York.

Our brother Scott recently had dual knee replacement surgery and could not join Gary & I for our overnight journey to inspect the lean-to. Our trip into Fish Pond consisted of short and long carries. Our route began on Long Pond in the St. Regis Canoe Area as we paddled through Slang, Turtle and Clamshell Ponds in order to reach Fish.

Originally we had planned to return the following day via another route but had heard the mud on some of those carry trails was knee deep, so we opted to reverse route instead.

So please join us for our journey!

Canoes: Hornbeck Boats “New Tricks” 14

Camera: DJI Osmo Action Camera

“Recently the United States Military has been training over the Adirondacks. The roar of fighter jets could be heard above the clouds. Just as we arrived at the lean-to on Fish Pond an Army UH60 Blackhawk flew over. Although this stuff is neat it also disturbs the solitude that we seek in the wilderness.”

Bum Rushing a Beaver Dam in my new Canoe!

I recently spent 5 days in the Adirondacks, canoeing, camping and beer drinking. I also picked up another new canoe from Raquette River Outfitters in Tupper Lake, NY. Back in June I ordered a Northstar Canoes “Northwind Solo” in their “Starlite” layup. This boat is 15′ 6″ long and weighs 27#’s and is an absolute joy to paddle. I love the how it just glides effortlessly through the water and it turns gracefully.

While in Lake Placid one afternoon my friend Gary and I paddled a few miles on the Chubb River as I was anxious to try out my new ride. About a mile down river we came to our first beaver dam. Instead of getting out in some deep water to drag our boats over we both decided to try and run it.

We were both successful and I managed to put the first scratches on this kevlar beauty!

Below I’ve included a link to a short video of my attempt, hope you like it.

Paddling the Chubb River in my new Northstar Canoes “Northwind Solo” Lake Placid, NY September 9th 2021.
My new Nortstar Canoes “Northwind Solo” Lake Placid, NY September 9th 2021

Adirondack Canoe Adventures

All set for my 3 mile hike into Middle Settlement Lake.
Canoeing on Middle Settlement Lake.

Recently I carried my canoe 3 miles into Middle Settlement Lake in the west central Adirondacks outside of Old Forge, NY. I’ve been eyeing this adventure for a while now. This is one of the reasons I originally purchased light weight carbon/kevlar canoes in order to explore ponds and lakes further into the wilderness.

Middle Settlement Lake is located in the 26,600 acre Ha-de-ron-dah Wilderness in the western foothills of the Adirondacks, there is a lean to located on the lake as well. Almost immediately after signing the trailhead register you are treated with 2/10 of a mile steep climb. From here the trail descends and becomes relatively rolling all the way to the lake. However there are some muddy sections and at one point I thought I was going to literally loose my shoes.

Once we reached the 46 acre lake we discovered a large group currently at the lean-to. We were disappointed but found a nearby vacant campsite to take a break and have lunch. I enjoyed paddling this lake and the adventure of getting there and back. I will say by time I got back to my car I was done. It was so humid on the trail and my clothes were completely soaked through. In the end I was happy that I did it!

Life has been hectic for me this year as I have barely gotten out on the water. Below you will find a video link to this adventure and two other recent outings in the Adirondacks.

Cheers!

Canoeing The Upper Susquehanna River

In mid August I had the opportunity to paddle a portion of the upper Susquehanna river here in New York. In all honesty I really never thought much about it. When a friend suggested we do it I was intrigued.

We launched  from the Crumhorn Pond/Susquehanna State Forest a few miles north of Portlandville, NY. Upon arrival I was shocked to see a Waterway Steward at the launch site checking boats for invasive species and washing them before they enter the water. In the Adirondacks I have seen many of these stewards but not so much around here. I think this is a great program!

The morning was warm and sunny as we slid our canoes into the water making our way from Crumhorn Pond into the Susquehanna. This section of the river differs immensely from where I live. The river is narrow and has more water due to the dam on Goodyear Lake. I loved the way the river snaked its way through the rural farm land of Central New York, throwing in a few hairpin turns just for fun.

Paddling north 4 miles to where the Cherry Valley Creek enters the river, we hung a right hand turn exploring the creek for about a mile. One spot we had to navigate a narrow passage due to a fallen tree across the creek. Shortly after we came to a point where we had to exit our boats due to low water and a small rock garden. We decided to take a break and have a snack and chat here for a bit before turning around and heading back. “Cherry Valley Creek is a 34.1-mile-long headwater tributary of the Susquehanna River in central New York. Cherry Valley Creek flows southwesterly through the Cherry Valley in Otsego County, making its way through the towns of Cherry Valley, Roseboom, and Middlefield before joining the Susquehanna River east of the village of Milford”.

On our way back that beautiful sunshine gave way to some storm clouds. We could hear thunder in the distance and we dodged a few rain drops as well. Thankfully the storm steered clear of us. As we entered Crumhorn Pond the boat launch had a few more people starting their day on the river. This was a fun 10 mile round trip adventure. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the upper Susquehanna river in the near future.

Cheers!

Launching our canoes on Crumhorn Pond in the Susquehanna State Forest Maryland, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

My friend Marty on Crumhorn Pond in the Susquehanna State Forest Maryland, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

We’ve just entered the upper Susquehanna river paddling north towards Cooperstown, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

Taking a break on the Cherry Valley Creek Middlefield, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

Making our way back down the Cherry Valley Creek near Middlefield, NY August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

Dodging some rain and thunderstorms along the upper Susquehanna river August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

My friend Marty eases his Northstar Phoenix around one of several hairpin turns along the upper Susquehanna river August 22nd 2020 © Joe Geronimo

Song of the Paddle

This weekend I drove 260 miles round trip to Hemlock Canoe Works in the western Finger Lakes region of New York to test paddle they’re Peregrine. The Peregrine is a 15′ 9″ solo canoe and this particular one weighs in at 32 pounds. With its slotted spruce gunwales, butternut decks and walnut inserts, she’s a beauty!

I’m use to light weight pack canoes where the paddler sits on the bottom of the boat. I actually have two of these built by two different New York canoe builders. In my limited experience with solo canoes I believe traditionally the paddler kneels. Well I have a hard time kneeling since my knee surgery back in 2019. I spent over an hour sitting and paddling this canoe and over an hour kneeling in it as well.

Sitting: This canoe is setup for kneeling but I found it very stable while I was sitting and paddling. I also liked how I was able to move my legs around.

Kneeling: Once in the kneeling position this canoe became rock solid stable and it paddled more efficiently. I really liked it! With that said for some reason I was ok and my knees did not bother me.

I do plan on having it setup with the seat lower for sitting but will keep the shorter drops if I feel like kneeling.

This demo canoe will become available around mid October so I put a deposit on it giving me first choice at purchase of it. Is it October yet!

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have three beautiful canoes built right here in New York.

Cheers!

Hemlock Canoe Works “Peregrine” Canadice Lake © Joe Geronimo

Looking north up Canadice Lake from a Hemlock Canoe Works Peregrine. © Joe Geronimo

Finished with my time paddling a Hemlock Canoe Works Peregrine on Canadice Lake. © Joe Geronimo

Snowshoeing Nick’s Lake Loop

Back in the fall the Northern Forest Canoe Trail reached out to me asking if I would be willing to do a presentation to a local outdoor club on their behalf. I’m not your typical motivational speaker but I jumped at the chance to talk about something I feel passionate about. This past week I traveled to Utica, NY to give my presentation. I’m truly grateful that the NFCT felt confident enough in me to even ask.

As winter pressed on I had been keeping an watchful eye on the volume of snow in the north country “Adirondacks”. As my presentation date grew closer I decided I would spend the night in Utica with my sights set on some snowshoeing. The next morning I would do my 4 mile run before checking out of the hotel and continue my trek northward.

I arrived in Old Forge at the Bisby Road trailhead under cover of overcast skies with temperatures around 28 degrees. In my opinion this was almost near perfect. Strapping on my snowshoes, throwing a few last minute items in my backpack I was soon off on my adventure.

The first mile of trail had been broken by XC skiers but that soon would change. The next 4 miles I would have to break trail myself and around the half way point my legs were beginning to feel it. I took a few rest breaks standing in awe of the beauty and the silence. I was the only one out here on these particular trails, I saw not one other human being until I returned to my car.

Once back to the trail junction and my final mile before returning to civilization I stopped for a bit to strip down some of my clothing. I worked up a pretty good sweat over those 4 miles, it was time for a snack and some water.

This 6 mile journey took me 4 hours in which I took a few breaks, some photos and a few video clips. The day could not have been more perfect as the clouds gave way to a blueberry Adirondack sky.

Cheers!

Bisby Road trailhead “Black River Wild Forest” Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

Bisby Road trailhead “Black River Wild Forest” trail register Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

Along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail. © Joe Geronimo

Frozen silence at the Nick’s Lake canoe launch Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

Along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old Forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

I love how the snow clings to life on the Tamaracks along Nick’s Creek. © Joe Geronimo

Here I’m crossing a portion of Nick’s Lake Old forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

Undisturbed beauty along the Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old forge, NY. © Joe Geronimo

6 miles along the Bisby Road and Nick’s Lake Loop Trail Old Forge, NY.

I closed out my day at one of my favorite places, Fulton Chain Craft Brewing http://www.fccbrewery.com in Old Forge, NY. This is the Vanilla Caramel Cream Ale, that is so damn delicious I brought a crowler home with me. © Joe Geronimo

Going to Hell

Last week the weather was spectacular and I would find myself in the Adirondack Park for a few days. I’ve been wanting to visit Helldiver Pond in the Moose River Plains area for quite some time. Mostly because “Harold” the resident bull moose makes his daily morning appearance, sadly Harold is rumored to have passed.

Moose or not I would make the trip to Helldiver Pond. Helldiver is nestled 10 miles in on a dirt road from the DEC sign in off of Limekiln Lake Road in Inlet, NY. Once at the parking area it is a short 1/4 mile carry to the 15 acre pond. I had the place to myself until I noticed a mountain biker show up with a pair of binoculars and scope the place out. I paddled over for a few minutes to chat.

As I have mentioned this pond had been on my to do list for a while. Although I went mooseless I was not disappointed. Autumn had begun to show its true colors.

Cheers!

Helldiver Pond Moose River Plains Inlet, NY September 19th 2019. © Joe Geronimo

Helldiver Pond Moose River Plains Inlet, NY September 19th 2019. © Joe Geronimo

I just finished paddling Helldiver Pond Moose River Plains Inlet, NY September 19th 2019. © Joe Geronimo