Fort Ticonderoga

We met our friends Kent & Kathi in Lake George and toured Fort William Henry on Lake George and Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champagne.  Named Carillon by the French in 1755 and known to the soldiers in the American Revolution as “the old French Fort,” Fort Ticonderoga stood at the center of 2 wars and 5 battles. By 1820, “the old French Fort” had fallen into ruins when William Ferris Pell purchased the land and began one of America’s earliest preservation efforts.   The weather worked out fine as it was clear and warm on Monday and the showers held off until late on Tuesday.  We were at the pavilion marking Fort Defiance overlooking Fort Ticonderoga when a violent thunderstorm came through, but we stayed dry and talked a little longer with the resident re-enactor.  I managed this picture of the fort between rain events.

Estimated Firewood as of 15Oct2017

I estimate that Kathryn and I have cut approximately 19 face cords of firewood in the past few weeks.  We have been fortunate in that the weather most weekends has been dry and warm.

RFA Homecoming Dance

Eric and Ally dressed up for the Rome Free Academy Home Coming dance.

Re-Arranging the Living Room Furniture

Our living room is a 261 square feet (14.5′ x 18′) and designing useful arrangements has been difficult.  Primarily, the room is used for Eric to watch Netflix and eat snacks or in the winter it is used as a reading room when one wants to sit near the wood stove.  One of the motivators was to remove Kathryn’s mahogany gaming table from living room which was the hottest room in the house.  We decided to re-arrange by bringing the furniture in off the walls and more to the center of the room.  So now there are two discrete areas – for watching TV and for lounging / reading.

Sleeping Under The Stars

One of the things Kathryn and Eric enjoyed from our rafting trip was sleeping under the stars due to clear skies and no bugs.  With fall conditions and clear skies Kathryn sought to duplicate that experience by sleeping out on the deck in late September.  Cullen joined her, but Scout opted for the comfort of sleeping inside.  Of her three attempts, the 1st she experienced a lot of condensation, the 2nd had a couple of mosquitoes and the 3rd was just right.

Status of the Woodpile

Kathryn and I have been cutting firewood on weekends since we came back from vacation.  We got a lot of dead ash from the junction of north trail and the spring trail as well as the intersection of north trail and the angle trail.  In cutting there we were pulling dead ash out of the woods onto angle trail and ended up with a new trail skirting the swamp.  We call this Big Maple, imaginatively due to a large maple tree mid-way.

We can get just shy of a cord of firewood on the carry-all and it is handy for getting around in the woods to pick up wood.

I am estimating we currently have about 15 face cords of wood.  We have two rows 5.5 feet high running the length of the barn which is 48′.  So I estimate about 7 cord for each of those two rows, plus our start at a third row

2-4 more cords will complete our focus on this year’s firewood and gathering dead trees and we will turn our attention to dropping some trees to improve our trail system.  We can let them dry for collection next year.

Deluxe Yoke Pads for Wenonah Cascade Canoe

After our last trip down the Hudson River it was agreed that not only was the Wenonah Cascade Royalex canoe heavy, but it was made worse by a plain ash yoke that offered no relief when portaging.  Today I installed deluxe yoke pads purchased from Bourquin.  A short walk around the yard felt improved, but a serious portage is needed to test them out.  They will probably stretch or change the placement of the canoe cover as well.

Hudson River

Skip and I planned an overnight trip down the Hudson River from Harris Lake, Newcomb to the Gooley Club take out neat Indian Lake a distance of about 14 miles encompassing several Class II and III rapids.  There are two designated two takeouts. The first is 7.3 miles from the launch at a steel bridge (just below the confluence with the Goodnow River). The second is six miles farther downstream, at the confluence with the Indian River.  There is a designated camp site at the confluence with the Cedar River.

There are two designated two takeouts. The first is 7.3 miles from the launch at a steel bridge (just below the confluence with the Goodnow River). The second is six miles farther downstream, at the confluence with the Indian River.  There is a designated camp site at the confluence with the Cedar River.

After dropping off our shuttle vehicle at the Gooley Club take-out we launched from Harris Lake at 1100 under perfect weather conditions.  We were hoping for water levels at or slightly above the 3 foot mark, but began the trip at 2.8′ and ended up at 2.6′.  Depending on the water level, the white water  can range from nearly Class III rapids to rocky riverbeds that require lining.  In total there were about a dozen rapids of various difficulties.

We ran the Long Falls easily, but spent and hour scouting and portaging the .5 miles around Ord Falls.  The remainder of the 7 or so rapids we were able to comfortably run with only glancing rock encounters.  After four hours and ~7 miles we pulled out at the Polaris Club (aka Iron) Bridge. This site provides a hand launch site just downstream of the bridge and is reached via a 0.3-mile carry from the Polaris Bridge Parking Area located along Drakes Mill Road off the Chain Lakes Road North. The bridge and the roads on either side of it serve as the northern boundary of the Hudson Gorge Wilderness on the western bank and the Hudson Gorge Primitive Area on the eastern bank. The bridge is located just downstream of the confluence of the Goodnow River (43.8952°N, 74.1690°W) Google Maps

We wanted to camp at the confluence of the Cedar River which we estimated would entail another 2 hours of travel.  What we didn’t anticipate was the effort in portaging around the old log dam a few miles downstream from the bridge.  We exited river right but didn’t find a carry trail and spent another hour exiting, scouting and carrying our canoe and gear.  Below the dam we lined our boat further downstream until we could achieve a clear line of passage. Surprisingly quick it seemed we were at the Cedar River campsite. The Cedar River campsite is located immediately below the Cedar River on the river right (western) bank of the river. (43.8522°N, 74.1894°W) indicated on maps as being on the point at the confluence of the Cedar River.  This was a nice campsite, but the steep banks and fast current made the landing and exiting of our canoe challenging.  Adding to the drama was a set of rapids which motivated one to not miss exiting.

Two miles downstream from the confluence of the Cedar River and eight miles downstream of the Polaris Bridge is the Hudson River Take-out, located 0.2 mile upstream of the confluence of Indian River. The final take out is located on the right side of a sharp bend of the Hudson River just before he confluence of the Indian River.  The metal roof of the Old Gooley Farmhouse (43.8275°N, 74.2008°W) Google Maps may be visible from the Hudson River.  Portage is up the hill through the field.  A 2nd ‘official’ portage is located a few hundred feet downstream and marked with a sign, however, the sign may be obscured by vegetation.  The river at the take out is deep and the trail up requires climbing some steep ledges. Parking at the ‘official’ take out is limited to one vehicle. Shown below left is the confluence of the Cedar River and the Gooley Club take out site just north of the confluence of the Indian River.  The image on the right provides a close up of the Gooley Club take out.

 

 

We were hoping for water levels at or slightly above the 3 foot mark, but began the trip at 2.8′ and ended up at 2.6′.  Depending on the water level, the white water  can range from nearly Class III rapids to rocky riverbeds that require lining.  In total there were about a dozen rapids of various difficulties.

Eric’s Fractured Fibula

So after all the hiking and climbing during our vacation, Eric goes to the NYS Fair with his buddy Jack and falls coming down some bleachers.  Jack and Eric make it to the infirmary who want to send him by ambulance to a Syracuse hospital.  Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed as Eric got to the car.  It was diagnosed as a fracture in the growth plate of his fibula.  Since this was the same ankle that he severely sprained last fall the choice was a cast rather than a brace.  After 3 weeks they will pull the cast and re-examine.  Lots of physical therapy is probably in his future.

Eric expected to play JV soccer this fall, but that will not be possible.

Oregon Vacation

After months of planning, research and discussion we took a two week vacation in Oregon to include 2 days along the coast, a 4 day white water rafting trip on the Rogue River, a trip to Crater Lake, spending three days with our friends in Eugene, staying at SunRiver Resort in central Oregon, trekking to the Painted Hills unit of the John Day Fossil Bed Monument and finally riding the ski lift up Mount Hood.

We started off by getting picked up at the Portland airport by our friend, Skip, who had flown to Oregon a week earlier to do some exploration.  We stayed in Newport and played tourist going North the 1st day to Depoe Bay.  There is a resident pod of grey whales which makes its home off Depoe Bay from March through December.  We were fortunate enough to have good views of three whales feeding extremely close to short.  We also took a tour of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  Kathryn was happy as she picked up her National Park Service Senior Lifetime Pass for $10.

On Friday evening we met for orientation prior to our 4 day rafting trip.  We met Kate, the head guide, and the other members: Keith & Kate; Jos, Heli, Jack, Freddy, Bea, Billie for a total party of 12.  We saw wildlife ; otters, bears, eagles and a constant presence of turkey vultures.  We stopped at least three different locations that offered good ‘jumping rocks’.  We stayed alert for the shape-shifting poison oak that appeared as plants, vines, or bushes.

The weather was perfect and one of Kathryn’s and Eric’s expressed joys was sleeping out under the stars sans tent.

We had 1 large raft piloted by Scott that only carried gear.  Alyssa was usually in sweep position.  Kate directed the paddle boat and Ian raft varied position in the middle.  In addition to the three rafts and the paddle boat there were 3 inflatable kayaks or Duckys.  Everyone took turns depending on their sense of adventure and the expectations for upcoming rapids.  No one dumped until the very last day when two of the duckys were overcome by rapids.

There were several excursions for side hikes to see waterfalls, slot canyons and slides.  One such “hike-from-hell’ left Kathryn with scrapes and bruises from her ‘I’ll slide down’ approach.  Eric was grabbed and hauled to safety by Guide Ian as he nearly fell off a steep trail.

With the warm weather there were lots of opportunities to swim alongside the boats; ride the bull (sit on the very front of the paddle boat and have water gun wars.

At the conclusion of our rafting trip we stayed in Grant’s Pass to do our laundry, eat Chinese food and pack for the remainder of our vacation.  Early Wednesday we packed up to drive north east to Crater Lake.  We encountered a lot of smoke from the High Cascades wild fires and were concerned about our ability to see Crater Lake, but Crater Lake was unaffected by smoke. We had hoped to take the guided boat tour around the lake, but found out that 6 of the 10 available boats were being repaired.  After watching a short video on the creation of the lake and soaking in the views we headed to Eugene.

Our long time friends, Kent and Kathi, were kind enough to house us for three nights.  We visited the raptor preserve.  We shopped at REI.  Eric bought a skate board and practiced on the sidewalks.  Kathryn hiked Spencer’s Butte and saw spotted squirrels. All too quickly we left to meet up with Tom & Debby and Jim & Pam at the SunRiver resort.

We got up at 2:30am to drive to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument Painted Hills unit.  We were concerned about traffic and crowding, but saw no traffic until on the access road.  There were cars and trucks parked everywhere camping out and waiting for the Painted Hills unit to open their gates at 6:30am.  The Painted Hills unit admitted 350 vehicles, of which we were car #342.  The vehicles that couldn’t enter parked along the road and individuals walked in to utilize the porta-potties and water.  Tom cooked breakfast burritos for everyone and then we set up in an adjoining field to watch the eclipse.  Using the special glasses we watched the eclipse proceed.  The temperature dropped about 10-15 degrees, but there was enough light to see clearly even with 99% obscuration.  A spontaneous cheer went up when the eclipse reached totality and a 2nd cheer was emitted when the sun re-appeared 2 1/2 minutes later.  A special event.  We encountered some delays returning due the 35,000 people leaving the Symbiosis Gathering in Prineville.

Our last day in Oregon was spent at Mount Hood where we took the ski lift up for a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains.