It has been a while since I have last written but that does not mean I haven’t been busy. Seemingly time has flown by since the last flakes of winter melted into the greens of spring. As for paddling that has been somewhat quiet this year but back in July I was able to sneak away for an overnight canoe camping adventure in the Adirondacks with my friend Scott. We found this amazing campsite and pitched our tents for the night, the weather was absolutely perfect. During the overnight temperatures got down into the low 40’s which for me is perfect sleeping weather, I even brought wool socks. This was a relaxing adventure and just what the doctor ordered. Chef Ireland cooked some amazing steaks over the fire, we sipped a little Bearface whiskey and enjoyed a few New York State beers as well.
I’m headed for another Adirondack adventure next week as we head into two of my favorite months September and October.
In the essence of #tbt for your viewing pleasure is the video from my Youtube channel of this overnight canoe camping trip. As time allows I will post/write about other adventures that I have documented either in the past or current. I hope you all have enjoyed the summer as we inch closer to fall.
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.
September 9th 2021: Just coming off an overnight canoe camping trip to a lean-to in the St. Regis Canoe Area of New York’s Adirondack mountains (https://youtu.be/JeK0CwD7YKA) it was “New Canoe Day” for me. Earlier in the year I had ordered a Northstar Canoes “Northwind Solo” in the starlite layup. It was delivered to Raquette River Outfitters in Tupper Lake, NY in late August.
After picking up my canoe almost immediately I hit a small pond outside of Lake Placid, NY to get some time in my Northstar “Northwind Solo”. Later the same day I took it on a small section of the Chubb River also in Lake Placid where I tried to paddle over a beaver dam, I was successful! The next day I would spend some time paddling the canoe on the same pond but this time loaded with about 60#’s of gear. To date I have yet to take it on an extended trip. Although I am currently thinking I’ll be bringing it with me on my trip to Algonquin Park next summer.
My thoughts: The canoe is a dream to paddle, I love it. The tumblehome is great, it tracks amazingly, the glide is phenomenal, I just love how it handles and how it feels. The boats construction is solid and rigid. This canoe in my personal opinion is pretty much a do it all canoe, one of the best solo canoes I’ve paddled.
Why I opted for the starlite layup:#1. Cost #2. Ease of maintenance #3. Weight
My only complaint: The “Plastic” decks or end caps, they look cheap.
Northstar Northwind Solo specs: 15’6” Length 30” Max width, 26.5” at the 3” waterline and gunwale 17” Bow Height, 12” center height, 15” stern height 2.5” bow rocker, 1.5” stern rocker Weight: 27 Starlite / 29 Blacklite / 41 IXP Optimal Load: 170–340 lbs Displacement: 2” WL : 175 lbs 3” WL : 265 lbs 4” WL : 370 lbs
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!
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
As autumn approaches summer takes its final breaths. I find peace and reflection in a morning paddle on a small lake close to home. There is just something soothing about sipping a hot cup of coffee out in nature.
My newest addition to the fleet is a Northstar Canoes ” Northwind Solo”. This boat is in the starlite layup weighing 27#’s at 15′ 6″.
“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.”
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.
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.