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.

Henderson Lake and Scouting the Hudson

Skip and I took a short camping trip on Henderson Lake.  We were looking for a previously unmarked campsite (site 3) which was easily found now that it is marked, but it was wet, sloping and not very attractive.  We ended up staying in the lean-to, which worked out to our advantage as the day had intermittent showers.  It cooled off over night but there were still a few mosquitoes in the evening, so we went to sleep wearing head nets.  The next morning was clear and sunny and gorgeous.

The view from Henderson.

We were up early and left Henderson by 9am.  On our way out we passed several hikers headed to summit Mt Marcy, including one young girl hiking solo with new boots.  She said she had no hiking experience, but wanted to accomplish something similar to her friends that lived in Colorado and did frequent hiking.  I wonder how her day turned out.

We left a parking lot filling with day paddlers and more hikers to scout the upper Hudson River – particularly the Blackwell Stillwater section.  After a a long drive into the Polaris Bridge we re-considered, as our shuttle vehicle was not equipped to carry a canoe.  Poor planning on our part.  So we scouted the Hudson River with an intent to plan an overnight trip in September.  We checked out the put-in, Polaris Bridge, the Deerland lean-tos, and the take out for the Hudson on the Gooley Club road.  We planned to hike into Sprague Pond for an overnight but were unable to find the trailhead based on the scant information we had.  In review we were probably at the right location, but deterred by posted signs.

2017 Volley Llamas

The 2017 Volley Llamas Team…..Eric Muller, Kathryn Skelly Muller, Margaret Fusco, BillieJo Davis in front. Joshua Darrow, Jim Muller, Tim Reed and Ryan Huggins in the back row. Currently in 3rd place in our 10 team Wednesday night recreational league.

Thunder & Hail Storm

We had a pretty big thunderstorm with big hail that shredded our deck awning and knocked down leaves and vegetation.

Weekend Activities

This weekend Kathryn and I weeded along the back fence line; pulling weeds, running the brush hog and then the mower. Eric and I picked rocks from the newly graded minnow pond and seeded grass.  I weeded the garden and planted small rows of peas, yellow wax beans and kale to be ripe in early Sept. I started taking down the middle wall of my equipment lean-to. Eric went on a date to see Despicable Me and had Trevor come over Sunday night for a sleep over.

St Regis Lakes

Exploring the Upper St. Regis Lake, Spitfire Lake, and Lower St. Regis Lake Lakes provides views of historic Great Camps. These lakes are connected by wide channels. These are a large lakes vulnerable to weather, which can create choppy water. Three accessible boat launches and one carry that is only .6 miles long adds up to a classic loop.

Launching Points:

  • Keese Mills Road Latitude: 44.43212271 Longitude: -74.29987192
  • Paul Smith College Latitude: 44.4339341205 Longitude: -74.2532661930
  • Upper St Regis Lake Boat Launch Latitude: 44.3949091528 Longitude: -74.2698393948. Access to Upper St. Regis Lake is from a small town launch at Upper St. Regis Landing, just off Route 30, between Paul Smiths and Lake Clear, off St. Regis Carry Road.

Upper St. Regis Lake along with Lower St. Regis Lake and Spitfire Lake, became famous in the late 19th century as a summer playground of America’s power elite, drawn to the area by its scenic beauty and by the rustic charms of Paul Smith’s Hotel. It is the site of many grand old summer “cottages” and Great Camps. Upper Saint Regis Lake is part of the original Seven Carries canoe route from Paul Smith’s Hotel to Saranac Inn. Upper St Regis Lake consists of connected water bodies full of historic great camps and boathouses that make for a great tour. The lake is 742 acres in size. Average depth is 25 feet with a maximum depth of 90 feet.

Skip and I drove up in the morning and launched from the Upper Regis Landing about 11am.  We proceeded north along the western shore and stopped at a small waterfall coming out of Spectacle Ponds.  Walking along the stream we saw stone carvings and a tribute to George Francis Raymond. A search discovered his obituary but no described connection to the Adirondacks.

We continued north and began what we thought was a short portage leading to Black Pond. However, after a portage and hike of a mile we decided to return and approach Black Pond from  Lower St Regis Lake.  We continued our clockwise tour of Upper St Regis Lake, sticking close to the shoreline  as the wind was causing breaking white caps on the lake.  Somehow we missed the access to Spitfire Lake and made a complete loop back to the boat launch.  We decided to use the access to the St Regis Canoe area and portaged to Mud and Bear Ponds looking for a suitable campsite.  As shown by the picture below the water levels were unusually high due to the frequent rains this summer.  Our search for a dry and bug free campsite was not successful so we decided to return to the truck and camp in one of the Floodwood campsites for the night. We stayed at site #3, set up our tents, relaxed and read, and had a dinner of hot dogs, beans, bagel, fruit cup and Oreos.

The next day we found the boat launch at Paul Smith’s College.  The 350-acre Lower St. Regis Lake has as its northern edge Paul Smith’s College, There’s five miles of shoreline to explore around this lake. The narrows that access the lake offer scenic paddling in the region and are a destination themselves. There are several dirt floor lean-tos scattered along the shoreline.  There is a trail to St. Regis Mountain provides a view with only a moderate climb, however we did not choose to hike.

We paddled from Paul Smith’s to the outlet dam and examined several available lean-tos along the way; most had dirt floors.  On our return we visited Peter’s Rock which had a huge sloping rock to the water and a fine lean-to.

Upon our return we will paddle Spitfire Lake.


Land Improvements

On Friday drainage tile was installed in the field south of our house with an immediate stream of water,  The pictures below show the access cleared through the fence line connecting the two pastures at their southern extremity, a view of the location of the former dirt pile – now re-distributed and graded.  The middle view looks north towards our house. The final picture shows the remaining topsoil graded to make a mow-able slope on the west side of the lot approaching the road.

Below are the ditch through the woods near cook-out corner which should keep water from flooding the hay field.  In the top right is the swale dug to capture water coming off the hay field and re-direct it into the stream rather than the lane.

A new load of driveway rubble squared off our driveway. Finally, the drainage tile from the south lot continued to pour water for 24 hours.