Canoe Camping

Over the past month we’ve had some really beautiful weather along with a few real scorchers thrown in. Back in mid June I had the opportunity to go canoe camping in one of my favorite places in the Adirondacks with my friends Gary and Amy.

Amy had gotten there on Thursday in order to secure a campsite. With the State Campgrounds shutdown the back country sites were filling up fast. She was able to get one of the last two sites on Follensby Clear Pond. Gary arrived early Friday morning and I got to the launch around 12:30 that afternoon.

I’ve read the stories, seen the pictures and dreamed of one day being here myself. My canoe loaded with the hope I didn’t forget anything, the register signed, my map spread out I was off on my 1.75 mile journey to our campsite at the northern end of Follensby.

Once at camp I set up so I would not have to do it in the dark later. Afterwards the three of us did a short paddle and carry over to Green Pond paddling under marshmallow skies above reflecting in crystal clear green waters below.

Back at our campsite and dinner cooking I was really eyeing Amy’s solo canoe. Most of my experience has been with kayaks and pack canoes. So as the fire in the sky flickered I asked Amy if I could take her canoe for a test drive. Amy paddles a 16′ 6″ Wenonah Prism ultra light kevlar that weighs 32#’s. From the first strokes of my paddle I fell In love with it. (I plan on adding this or something similar to my collection come fall)

Later that evening as we sat around the campfire the loons were pretty much at it all night. I retired to my tent around 12:30AM and was woken around 3:30AM just as a chorus of owls had joined the loons, their voices echoing through the stillness. Thankfully I was able to fall back asleep finally stirring around 7:00AM.

Gary was awake and boiling water for his coffee. I walked down to the lake scooped some water fired up my Jetboil and a few minutes later I was relaxing with a hot cup of Joe myself. Not too long after Amy would emerge from her tent as well.

Today’s plan would have us paddling a loop from Follensby Clear Pond to Horseshoe Pond, Little Polliwog Pond, Polliwog Pond and back to Follensby. This would be a very nice relaxing 7.15 mile adventure according to my GPS. We got back to our campsite shortly before a thunderstorm rolled through. Once the stormed blew over we had a wonderful evening again by the fire.

My original plan was to paddle out of camp on Monday morning and make the long drive home then. But it was Sunday morning (Father’s Day) and I was missing my boys. I decided to break camp, paddle out that morning and get home to have dinner as a family and hang with my sons, I made the right decision. Amy and Gary did the same as well.

This was a fun adventure with some great friends. With so many more places to explore I hope to get back there soon.

Cheers!

Getting off the North Way at exit 30 making my way towards the Saranac Lake area. © Joe Geronimo
Rolling along route 73 and Lower Cascade lake. © Joe Geronimo
All signed in at Follensby Clear Pond. @ Joe Geronimo

 

Loaded up and ready to head for camp. © Joe Geronimo
Making my way along Follensby Clear Pond headed for camp. © Joe Geronimo
Arriving at our campsite. © Joe Geronimo
Canoe carry from Follensby Clear Pond to Green Pond. © Joe Geronimo (Check all that pollen on the water)
Marshmallow skies on Green Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Gary, Amy and Amy’s dog Pungo on Green Pond. © Joe Geronimo
At the canoe carry from Green Pond back to Follensby Clear Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Standing at the shore of our campsite the sun begins to set over Follensby Clear Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Paddling Amy’s Wenonah Prism under stunning skies.
Gary takes the Prism for a spin. © Joe Geronimo
The next day Gary setting off for our adventure. © Joe Geronimo
Amy making her way along Follensby Clear for the Horseshoe Pond carry. © Joe Geronimo
At the canoe carry to Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Gary on Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy and Pungo paddling on Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
My view of Horseshoe Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Gary carrying from Horseshoe Pond to Little Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy’s turn to carry from Horseshoe Pond to Little Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy & Gary putting in on Little Polliwog Pond. And yes Little Polliwog lives up to its name. © Joe Geronimo
Gary & Amy Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Amy & I exploring Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Exploring Polliwog Pond. © Joe Geronimo
Finally the canoe carry from Polliwog Pond back to Follensby Clear Pond.
After the thunderstorm moved out I took another spin in Amy’s Wenonah Prism. © Joe Geronimo

 

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Fire Towers & Beer

For your viewing pleasure I present to you a fun video of my recent winter hike to the Blue Mountain fire tower . Thanks to my friends at Fulton Chain Craft Brewery for a place to park my tired self and some great beer after an awesome day in the park.

Music: Hey

Composer: Benjamin Tissot

https://www.bensound.com

Winter Hiking

Living in New York State we get winter, or something that resembles it depending on the year. I’ve learned to embrace it because it can be long and cold. Over the past few years I’ve been out and about our local parks and trails hiking with my snowshoes. I find winter hiking to be some of the most beautiful and peaceful time to be outdoors. Recently I had the opportunity to change things up a little. So I hopped in my car and headed for the Adirondacks.

A few hours later I arrived at the trailhead of the 3759 foot summit of Blue Mountain. This 2 mile trail (One Way) climbs 1670 feet in elevation with moderate to steep grades, ending at the fire tower. At the trailhead I met my friend Nancy an experienced hiker who would go with me since this would be my first winter hike with considerable elevation.

We decided that we didn’t need snowshoes and that micro spikes would be sufficient since the trail was very well packed. This is a very popular hike in any season. It was sunny and in the low 30’s when we began and quickly I had to stop to remove my jacket putting in my backpack. The trail climbed steeply as we bumped into our first hikers coming down from the summit around the one mile mark. We stopped and chatted for a little before continuing. We would see three more before reaching the summit.

The closer we got to the summit the snow got deeper, the temperatures colder and you could feel the wind picking up through the trees. Just before coming out of the tree line I stopped and layered back up before exposing myself to the open summit. Stepping out into the open the Blue Mountain fire tower stood proudly at an additional 35 feet encrusted in snow and ice.

Climbing the tower to the observers tower the wind was whipping pretty good and my fingers were so cold even through my gloves while trying to take some photos. The stairs were covered in at least 6 inches of snow and ice and the cabin had at least a foot of snow inside. The handrails were also encased in ice.

Even though there was a vast temperature difference between the base and summit the warm sun was doing its best to remove Mother Nature’s grasp. Chunks of ice had begun to fall off the tower like crystals falling from a chandelier crashing to the ground into pieces. The trees at the summit were encrusted in snow and ice giving them a powdered sugar look, it was breathtaking.

We spent about an hour at the summit taking in the sheer beauty, chatting with a few hikers who had come up the trail shortly behind us. I was completely hooked on winter hiking.

Once down and back to my car, putting my gear away it was time to head south to Old Forge where I would spend the night. But not before a stop at Fulton Chain Craft Brewing for a couple of well earned beverages.

I absolutely loved this experience and I hope to do some more winter hiking in the Adirondacks  in the future.

Nancy signing us into the trail register Blue Mountain Lake, NY © Joe Geronimo
Paused to take in the view as I make my way towards the summit of Blue Mountain. Photo by Nancy Lyons.
Nancy snaps a few photos as well. © Joe Geronimo
Arrived the summit of Blue Mountain. © Joe Geronimo
The 35 foot Blue Mountain fire tower stands encrusted in Mother Nature’s fury. © Joe Geronimo
The view of Blue Mountain Lake and others from the fire tower’s cabin. © Joe Geronimo
The summit of Blue Mountain provides a window into the eastern Adirondack high peaks. © Joe Geronimo
Making my way back down the trail from the summit of Blue Mountain. © 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

Lake Colby

Part 3, Lake Colby a 272 acre lake located in the village of Saranac Lake, NY is a beautiful place to paddle, camp and swim. There are three primitive campsites along the shores of Lake Colby as well the village beach. New York State operates a boat launch and fishing access; there is a ten horsepower limit for motorboats.

Hope you enjoyed this short film series!

The canoe in this series is a 14′ Adirondack Canoe Company “Boreas” pack canoe that weighs in at 24#’s. She’s light, comfortable and paddles exceptionally well.

Visit http://adirondackcanoecompany.com

 

Map courtesy of https://andyarthur.org

 

Little Colby Pond to Lake Colby

Part 2 in a 3 part series, I call this the limbo! Paddling under the former New York Central “Adirondack Division” that splits Little Colby Pond And Lake Colby in Saranac Lake, NY.

This was really fun and I had to get pretty low in my canoe in order to get underneath the railroad tracks.

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow fr part 3, enjoy the short film!

Little Colby Pond

Part 1 in a 3 part series, Little Colby Pond in Saranac Lake, NY is very small but one of my favorite ponds to paddle in the area. I don’t know why but there is just something magical about it. Maybe it’s the thought of long New York Central freight trains echoing off the mountains that once crossed the fill splitting Little Colby Pond and it’s big brother Lake Colby. Or conjuring in my mind an Adirondack moose coming for a drink in the early morning hours under the cover of a ghostly fog.

No matter the intrigue it is definitely a peaceful place to paddle where one can take a few moments to reflect on life or better yet a floating nap.

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for part 2, enjoy the short film!

The Planning Stages

The gleaming warmth of the sun piercing our office window has me ever so excited that spring has sprung. More importantly some great canoe camping adventures are now in the planning stages. If that wasn’t exciting enough, I’m having two brand new carbon/kevlar canoes built for me by the Adirondack  Canoe Company of Minerva, NY. Both canoes are of their “Boreas” design which are 14 feet in length. However one will be a pack canoe (24 pounds) that can be paddled with a kayak paddle and the other a traditional solo canoe (27 pounds). I couldn’t decide which one I wanted so I’m getting both. To be honest I’m a huge fan of the pack canoe and I love the feeling of a double blade kayak paddle. With that said there is just something timeless about a solo canoe that draws me in as well.

Currently our dinning room table is littered with maps of the Adirondack Park and the Connecticut River Valley which straddles the borders of Vermont and New Hampshire.

My first almost completely planned trip which will take place in September has me  in Lake George, NY for two days where I’ll be photographing the Lake George Triathlon Festival. After that my adventure brings me further north to the St. Regis Canoe Area for several days of pond hopping and exploring. Another component to this canoe/camp trip is that my friend Gary Sharp will be joining me. Gary is highly entertaining, a wealth of knowledge and just fun to be around. Oh and he likes beer!

Once I return to civilization I’ll take in the spectacle that is the Adirondack Canoe Classic ( 90 Miler) for three days as a volunteer with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Originally I had thought that I might want to paddle this event in 2019. After much self reflection I feel its better to be an observer in order to get a feel for it first.

The map below is currently a mock of my trip. I might add to it or even do it in reverse but it is still in the planning stages.

I encourage you to visit the Adirondack Canoe Company’s website at the link above or follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Their boats are stunning!

If you like what you see here please share and follow my blog. “AdirondackJoe” can also be found on Facebook and Instagram as well.

Cheers!

The current plan subject to change……..
Adirondack Canoe Company “Boreas” canoes that I have purchased and being built. Left is the pack canoe (24lbs.) and on the right is the solo canoe (27lbs.)…… Stunning, I know!

A Whiteface Revisit

July 15th 2015 Michael and I summited Whiteface Mountain in New York’s Adirondack Park. To date it is our only high peak, however we hope to change that this year conquering another.

Our day started out rainy but like they say wait 10 minutes and it will change. We were treated with a glorious day for hiking and once reaching the summit we decided to change things up a bit. Choosing the road more traveled Michael and I hiked down the auto road instead, continuing to drink in those stunning views.

Cheers!