We were sitting around the campfire, sipping whiskey from our new “Hornbeck Boats” whiskey glasses, pondering the next days adventure here in the Adirondacks. While we were poring over our maps we discovered a possible canoe route that did not appear to be marked on the map. A few more sips of whiskey and we decided that we would attempt this adventure.
The next morning we woke to a soft blanket of fog over Rollins Pond. A small crackling fire, a roaring jetboil and the aroma of coffee began to awaken our senses for adventure. Once most of the fog had lifted we set out on the placid waters of Rollins Pond with our sights set on Rock Pond. Where we would encounter low water, mud, beaver dams and a foot bridge.
Will you join us for our journey?
Note: There are no campsites on Rock Pond or the Rock Pond Outlet.
Canoes: Hornbeck New Tricks 14’s
Cameras: DJI Osmo Action, iPhone 13, Canon EOS 90D
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.
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
My Adirondack Fall Frolic would continue as I met my friend Kim who lives in Saranac Lake, NY at the “South Creek” boat launch off of route 3 several miles out of town this morning. Here Kim & I would put our canoes in and paddle across the relatively calm Middle Saranac lake into Weller and Little Weller Ponds. We did notice a few people camping and only one other paddler entering Weller Pond as we were leaving it for Middle Saranac lake. Although the weather was overcast it was still a stellar day on the water, the colors were fabulous and the views amazing!
After returning Kim had to get home so headed over to the Second Pond boat launch and paddled down to the “Lower Locks” between the Saranac Chain and Oseetah Lake. Getting out an exploring the locks was fun! I also came upon a few other paddlers there as well. I had wanted to explore Cold Brook a little but I noticed several people in a boat hunting so I stayed away. I’ll save that for another time possibly?
Later I would wind the day down over at Lake Placid Brewing for dinner and enjoy the last rays of light while sitting on the patio over looking beautiful Mirror Lake before settling in for the night. I could not get over that on October 14th it was just about 70 degrees out.
October 15th: No Miles Recorded
Today would be my day of departure from the Adirondacks. I began the morning at my happy place, a small pond outside of Lake Placid. I had hoped to capture a brilliant sunrise but Mother Nature had other plans. The day was a bit overcast but still utterly peaceful and amazing. As I paddled around sunlight struggled to pierce the thick clouds. But when it did, autumns canvas would briefly come alive.
It is late morning now, packed up a ready to slowly make my way home. As I load my car it starts to rain. I hit a coffee shop in town and do a final drive through to document the construction that is happening in preparation for what I believe is the 2023 Collegiate Games that are coming to the area. As I depart town and head over route 73 the rain has stopped and the sun once again makes a few brief appearances.
These past four days were fun traveling New York’s Adirondacks paddling in the Saranac Lake & Lake Placid areas. I enjoyed catching up with friends, canoeing, beer, brilliant fall color and just being in a place that I love. I feel very fortunate to have these opportunities.
October in the Adirondacks is just amazing, Cheers!
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.”
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.