Earlier this month myself and friend Gary Sharp spent several days camping at the Rollins Pond campground outside of Tupper Lake, NY. That morning as I left my home a light rain was falling however the further north I drove the rain began to dissipate. Over the next several days we were rewarded with blue skies and lots of sunshine. Temperatures would barely top 80 degrees and most importantly little to no bugs. September and October are my two favorite months of the year.
One of those days we would meet up with our friend Kim Wilkes and her pooch “Winnie” for an afternoon pond hopping adventure in the St. Regis Canoe Area of the Adirondacks. I’ve paddled and camped on these ponds before but they never get old.
The weather was sunny and warm with just a slight breeze if any. The water was refreshing and perfect for an afternoon swim. Below is a link to a video from the day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.