Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Across the Big Lake

Good day and how are you!

7-31-07. from missiquoi river, vt. i made it across lake champlain!

This morning i got up around 5:30am and left camp by 6am. so early for several reasons but mainly to get the best water to finish up Lake Champlain. the other reason, well, i stayed at Campmeeting Point at Knight State Park and overnight camping may not have been the norm.
the water was beautiful this morning and for most of the day. i would say the sunrise was also beautiful. the lake was not glass but using the word waves would be too much. how about perfect.

i made good time. the wind was not much at all and if anything was coming from the North. hugging the eastern shore of North Hero Island helped. the temperature was warm, the sun intense and humid. i drank lots of water.

within a couple hours i stopped in the lakeshore village of North Hero for coffee, powerade, tobacco and a breakfast sandwich. there was a nice general store/deli/bakery right next door to a United States Post Office. so a nice surprise for breakfast. mailed another map home and had a nice coffee break.

for lunch i breaked eight miles up at Stephenson Point in North Hero State Park. this place was excellent for a break...nice toilets, spiggot water, shady picnic tables and a fantastic view.
for lunch i ate Wheat Thins, Cheese Whiz, Venison Jerky and Granola bars.

visited with a nice couple who are currently living in Massachussets. and a nice family gave me a tuna fish sandwich that i ate most of while relaxing on the Missiquoi river.

an hour before sunset and i hear the ringing noise made by swarms of mosquitos. they are not that bad now. i have seen worse in N. Minnesota and Yosemite National Park.

there are water marks on the trees. this is a wildlife refuge with a heron rookery not too far North. blue herons are everywere. so are several types of ducks. i saw lots of fish several times today when the water, locale and conditions were right. little walley, smallmouth and perch.
right now i am 2-3 miles South of the USA/Canada aquatic border.

the weather for the week is supposed to be nice and sunny says everyone today.
while paddling, this morning after breakfast i sung two Waylon Jennings songs memorized on my car trip up North. decided to add them to kareoke list of favorites. oh yea, i have added a KISS fav-Feel My Heat. maybe i'll have to sing Jimmy Bufett songs tomorrow?

Isn't Rob doing a he11uva job?
[ed. note: obviously TDS has not yet learned that I've been lax in posting his stuff!]

More to follow. Stay tuned for my Thoughts on Tobacco.
Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

Gear List


CANOE: Bell Yellowstone Solo 14 ft.
PADDLE: 1 52" bent Sawyer and 1 54" aluminum paddle.
BACKPACK: Granite Gear SOLO canoe/portage, 4000 cubes.
SLEEPING BAG: Marmot Pounder 40 degree synthetic.
SLEEPING PAD: Thermarest Prolite 4.
TENT: MSR Hubba. Tyvek groundcloth.
STOVE: Etowah Outfitters Alcohol.
COOKWARE: GSI 1.5 qt pot and lexan spoon.
PFD: Astral Kapoc (Type III pfd)
SHOES: Keen water sandals.
HAT: Filson oil canvas
CLOTHES: North Face Hyvent Rainjacket, EMS rainpants, Patagonia Campilene long johns, Patagonia Down jacket, 1 pair socks, lw camp shorts, synthetic stocking cap.
STUFF SACKS and DRY BAGS:Seal Line 40 litre dry bag (packliner), Etowah Outfitter sylnylon multifunction, 2 Sea to Summit dry bags (2 ltr and 4 ltr)
WATERPROOF CONTAINERS: Pelican 1040 and 1030 and DryPak.
Camera: Sony CYBERSHOT 5 MPXL and battery charger.
Handheld Devices: Cingular cell phone and battery charger and Pocketmail.
MISC: first aid kit, deet, dr. bronner soap, tobacco, rope, toothbrush, toothpaste, maps, Seal Line map case, comb, nail clippers and Swiss Army Camper knife.
TWART BAG: Granite Gear small.

In the near future I will switch out sleeping bags and go with my Western Mountaineering Alpinlite 20 degree down.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

Updates via Pocketmail

My apologies to TDS for not posting these sooner -- working on my final project for John Rash's excellent course on Media Planning. - rg

MILE: approx 113. NY.

Right now it is raining 7:15pm. camping on East side of Saranac River approx 1 mile South of where Stord Brook enters from the East.

today was fun. fun but tough and a couple times spooky.

fun because i was fortunate enough to have sucess in navigating through several rapids (CL II and CL III). man, what a serious shot of adrenaline! going down Permanent Rapids made me come alive. every turn I stuck, every near miss, every time the water opened up and let me through was exhilerating.

Permanent Rapids is a series of three rapids that get faster and tougher the further down hill the river rushed. The first of many rapids to come heading downstream on Saranac River (Adirondack Park NY,USA).

Tough as nails, the river can be at times and then others she'll open up and let you through the gates. Like the narrow rock gate that I got through in todays second set of rapids-3.2 miles South of Tefft Pond portage. I did tip my canoe several times. Once, at beginning of Permanent Rapids when I just could not keep my balance and rocked to far over and twice after Tefft Pond Falls portage when I got so inundated with water from the ledges I swamped. Each time I was alble to recover quickly. However, the last two swamps came at a price. The toll came to one new paddle, 1 Part B AquMir, a bandana, a litre water jug, some scrapes and a little pain. But what a rush!

I stopped for the day around 6pm just as the rain started. The most crucial items stayed dry.
For dinner Chili freeze dried. Delicious. Big Oatmeal Choc M&M cookie for desert.
Sunny for all of day, clouds increasd as day wore on.

Many beavers and deer out on the river as I left Saranac Lake last night.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

Mile 42+43+44= 129. Day 10. Saranac River, NY. 1 mile South by river to the border of Adirondack Park. Elsinore, NY is border village.

A sore TDS says hello to all! The last couple days on the Saranac have beaten my body. Portaging around some falls and more tricky runs leave my ankles scratched. Turning over and swamping a canoe has left me at the mercy of the current and undertow. Even successful, quick and efficient recoveries can be painful and leave bruises. Walking around in the river whether to stop along shore, to carry my canoe upstream or over shallow, rocky water or to recover from a swamping have been hard on my feet. The Great News- Pain is temporary and Soreness is also.
Blue sunny skies today. The sun made it hot but the humidity seemed low. As the birds begin their dusk calls I still see no cloud in the sky and am hoping for stars tonight.

I was putting in following a 1 mile portage around High Falls Dam to avoid both the dam and then CL V-VI rapids. Suddenly I heard a couple guys ask me if I was paddling the NFCT. I said yes and Ben mentioned that they had just finished. The Wisconsin Two. Ben and Jesse started on June 11, 2007 and finished yesterday, July 24, 2007. Wow! What a trip to meet them on their way back home. They did it. We visited for an hour or so. I am very greatful to have recieved some pointers, trail conditions and recomendations.

CONGRATS BEN AND JESSE- THE WISCONSIN 2. Thanks for the venison jerky!

I swamped my canoe once today at the very end of the Seperator rapids. They were way to tricky for my skills so I portaged around but put in short of the trail end. I was doing fine, then I got turned backwards. No problem, so as I am looking backwards over my shoulder I hit one shoot on the money and got the momentum to begin turning myself back downsteam and then a rock prohibited me from making the full swing. And then the dream was over. The canoe full of water turned upside down and I exited stage left to find myself under water. Not for any time though and the water was deep enough that I kind of surfed downstream clutching my canoe, paddles, waterjug and was shortly sidelined to unswamp.

Tomorrow, there are several portages and some more rapids before I reach Plattsburg, NY. From where I camp to Plattsburg is approximately 19 miles.

Thinking about peanut butter next resupply...hate to carry the weight but need the protein and calories. Maybe even some bagels.

Thanks Dave. You were right on about the paddles.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject


From plattsburgh, ny I hit the waters after two days off. I definitely needed a rest. It turned out that the break gave me a chance to wait out some thunderstorms and rain.

The econolodge was my home for several days. it was a nice facility with all the amenities you would not expect at an economy class hotel like indoor/outdoor pool, continental breakfast, internet, great access to resteraunts and shopping.

I was anxious to go this morning with good weather and wind out of the North. So from Plattsburgh Boat Basin I headed out to tackle Lake Champlain.

The water was calm for the most part. One to three feet waves were not too bad and the wind really did not seem to pick up until late afternoon. The toughest part of the day was maneuvering around the many boats and ferrys that were going by and coming towards. The ferrys were only travelling to and from Cumberland Head and Grand Isle. This just happened to be where I crossed too. I made it and enjoyed all the sailboats.

From Grand Isle I hugged the shore and paddled North reaching Sisters Islands in good time and then turned East into The Gut. I am currently at Knight Point State Park and hope to stealth camp here.

The roughest water today was the last mile or so heading North along the shore of Grand Isle. Mainly I paddled into the waves at a 45 degree angle and it worked safely. In this stretched I often was torqued from wakes, wind and reverberting waves from crashing into the shore.
My canoe handled like a pro today and hopefully tomorrow will bring more mild weather so that we will stay dry.

Tonight for dinner...Mac and Cheese or Asian Sesame Lipton/Knorr noodles or stew?

Stay tuned.

The Wisconsin 2 gave me several pounds of venison jerky and it is awesome. I am loving it.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

Monday, July 23, 2007

Canoe Mile 85.5

Greetings. I hope that you are all well.Total Mileage: 85.5.

My last post was from the great hamlet of Long Lake. This was a great place to take care of all the errands one must accomplish while in town. For instance, if you are not mail dropping food (which I am not) then you need to resupply. Then, if not first, you have got to hit a diner, resteraunt or bar for a cooked meal. Oh yea, if you are sending or receiving mail, then a post office is a must. And finally, the outfitters. An outfitter is my favorite of all the town tasks. Well, maybe tied with hot meals.

In Long Lake, NY I was able to do all of these chores. The town was very paddler friendly with all the necessities. Oh yea, the folks there were very nice.

Currently, I am in Saranac Lake, the town, just 85 miles up the trail. I arrived last evening
(7/22) around 5pm. This community is larger than Inlet or Long Lake. When you paddle into town you arrive at a docking area just shy of Main Street where a beautiful riverwalk begins. The size of this town, while larger than the others, makes running the errands very paddler friendly. There are several bars here, numerous resteraunts, a couple of outfitters, library, post office and general stores along with a ton of shops.

In New York you are charged for refills on Coke. What a racket this is. I mean, come on, don't they already make enough profit on the markup of the soda? I just had lunch at an Italian resteraunt here. Very nice atmosphere. But a 10 ounce Coke filled to the rim with ice (another great trick) for $1.50. Add another $1.50 for a refill that they do not tell you about. Lunch was mediocre at best. And I was the only person in the place at noontime. I wonder why? Enough.
With the Ironman Marathon being this past weekend lodging was impossible and frankly there were not many good stealth camping spots. So I left my canoe and pack at the Police Station (THANKS GUYS!!) figuring this would be the safest place and walked around considering my options. I stumbled across an outfitter-St. Regis Canoe Outfitters and the staff were barbequing in the back for a staff meeting. I met Brian, Martina and Dave Cilley (the Owner) and talked to them. They were generous enough to allow me to sleep on their back porch and I even got to shower there this morning. My first shower since last weekend. My clothes still smell like lake water though.

You have to stop by St Regis Canoe Outfitters. They are great people. They are extremely knowledgeable about the water here in NY and abroad. Plus, they have one of the most extensive selection of gear necessary for paddling and or hiking. They even carry Granite Gear packs. Yee Haw! They will rent you a canoe for the day, for the week. They shuttle folks to water destinations. Dave is abit of a map junkie and he spent an hour this morning going over maps of the upcoming terrain with me. Their business front is conveniently located on the river, which goes through town. You can reach them at 518-891-1838 and anyone of the staff will fix you right up!

On 7/19/07, I pushed off from the town of Long Lake, which also was the day I arrived. I only paddled for another couple of miles and camped on a point just North of Hidden Cove Lean-To. From my camp I could see Round Island. It rained pretty much the whole time I was in town and it did not cease once I got on the water. The wind seemed to be blowing against me and the rain seemed to come at an angle. This day ended around 4pm. This was nice as it gave my sore, aching muscles a chance to recover. For dinner, I enjoyed Lipton noodles, barbeque chip crumbs and a lemonade mix that my sister, Amy sent along with a ton of awesome energy bars. Awesome is not the name brand, awesome is how they tasted. Thanks Sis! A good night sleep was ahead and you know the rain is never awful when you are dry and in for the day.
On the morning of the 20th, I awoke to sun, clear skies and warmth. The wind was blowing enough that I was able to dry out tent, tent fly, backpack and rainjacket. This took some time and it was 9:30am before I hit the water. Once back in the water paddling North up Long Lake the water was choppy and the wind against me. About 30 minutes or so into the day, the clouds won over the sky and let go some more much needed rain. For lunch, I stopped at Island House Lean-To and waited out several 30 minute rain sessions. At intermission, a 2 man canoe team paddled by and asked how I was enjoying the weather. I replied, "Loving It!". Once the canoe had gotten away, the rain began again. Eventually, I thought that the rain would not stop today and that Fort Kent, ME was not getting any closer as I waited.

From the Northern most part of Long Lake I entered the Raquette River. The first part of this paddle was along and through a winding channel where several brooks and rivers entered from the East. Along this paddle I noticed ducks with their young, geese with their young, pairs of blue herons and even an otter. I portaged around Raquette Falls which happened to be 1.3 miles in length. This was the first portage that reminded me of the ones I traversed in Minnesota's Boundary Waters and Southern Ontario's Quetico Provential park. Up and down, very rocky, slick and in the woods. Did I mention that it was raining? It was slower going once I got south of the falls and I was getting colder so the hunt for a campsite ensued. However, today I really, really wanted to stay in a lean-to instead of in a tent. I found it just South of Stony Creek. Palmer Brook lean-to hovered above the water with a nice view of the river from above. There was plenty of tenting areas here but nobody was in the shelter so I sat up the body of my tent so that I could sleep without the bugs. About ten guys from Tupper Lake area showed up for their annual get together/ party. And it was a party. They may have had around 300 cans of beer and great food. We all hung out and had a great time laughing, telling jokes, eating, etc. The rain stopped around 8pm.

No rain on the morning of the 21st! Blue skies, no humidity and few clouds. A great day for a paddle! Around 9am I hit the water and made excellent forward progress...until I turned off, upstream from the Raquette River into Stony Creek. Have you ever seen the movie DELIVERANCE? You know, the one with Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty, oh yea and Jon Voit? We watched this movie while I was training to be a canoe guide so that we would see what happens in the wild when you lose your head. Well, the map says that this section, Stony Creek, was tricky and when in doubt one should always go Left. Well, I did so but for one time and wound up paddling upstream into Ampersand Brook. While paddling up stream, and thank God I had a paddle, the current made it so that I could no longer make any forward progress. So I thought that this is just the part of the trip where I get out and portage or line. So I carried my canoe upstream until I could walk no longer. Then I tried to scout a route to portage and did so for a half mile before I could no longer bushwack. My legs got pretty scraped up during this ordeal. So after about 3.5 hours and not arriving at the Stony Creek Ponds which were 3.5 North of the turnoff, and studying the map I determined that the best course of action was to proceed back the way I came to the point where I went Right instead of Left. I eventually got there and got into Stony Creek Pond exhausted and thinking of another short day. By the time I arrived at the INDIAN CARRY, portage trail on the North part of Stony Creek Pond, I decided to call it a day and do the portage the following day. I found a beautiful campsite on a point just South of the portage. Great views from all directions and again the loons sang me to sleep. No roosters here, just loons. Loons do calls in the morning as well.

Oh yea, back to the Stony Creek snafu. Once paddling upstream on Ampersand Brook, there were at least five instances where trees had fallen across the brook. This meant that I had to portage or carry around. This was exhausting work.

July 22 and approximately 17 miles to Long Lake, NY. No rain and nice weather all day. It did get hot and the sun was intense but hey, I'll take it. Started the morning later, again around 9:30am as it was very cool, and did the 1.1 mile portage. The yolk pads were killing me and it was because the nuts were not tightened so getting to town also meant that I might borrow a crescent wrench for the tightening. Believe me, I am not complaining as there are not a whole lot of things I would rather be doing. Paddling with Paris Hilton is just one of the few things. It would be so cool to get the straight dope on Hillary, Nicole, Lindsey, Britney and gang from the horses mouth. Not that Paris has a horses mouth! Oh me, where is a US Weekly mag when you need one the most?

Upon completing the portage I arrived upon Upper Saranac Lake. The water was abit choppy and this was worsened by the mass of motorboaters. I can never say motorboater without thinking of Vince Vaughn in The Wedding Crashers. The views surrounding the Saranac Lakes were spectacular and really made me feel how small I was in comparison. I LOVE THE ADIRONDACKS!!! I saw tons of birds and even a beaver swimming by. I tried to get the beavers attention by slapping the flat of my paddle blade on the water. He, or she, paid no attention to me and went on about their business. Another .5 mile portage and I was in Middle Saranac Lake where the wind picked up a notch. Nice islands dot this lake and they all seemed like they would be ideal campsites. Much of the shoreline in these lakes are privately owned. And obviously you can not camp there, unless invited. I have not been invited yet. Through the Saranac River from Middle Saranac to Lower Saranac. Another nice relaxing downstream paddle through the meandering river. I ran a very short rapid avoiding going through the Upper Locks. It was cool to see how the locks worked. The Park installed these locks years ago to allow boat passage from lake to lake.

Around the islands back South past the Saranac Lakes Islands Campground Headquarters and into Oseetah Lake. This was one of my favorite so far as it was completely surrounded by mountains. No bald eagle sitings yet, but this lake is known to be home to several. Once I reached the Lower Locks and Dam at the Southern mouth of Oseetah lake I actually went through the locks. It was kind of weird to be in the canoe as the water level dropped six feet. The guy there was cool and we visited abit.

From Oseetah Lake I paddled North through winding channels until I reached the great town of Saranac Lake. This day, a wood duck flew over head, not fifteen feet overhead and it was so beautiful to see the entire body in flight. They get their bodies straight as an arrow and don't look back.

All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed this phase of my 2007 trip. It feels great to be back on the water. The canoe I am using, a Bell Yelowstone Solo, has been wonderful and each day I gain more confidence in both our abilities. The gear that I have chosen is working out and hopefully, I will not have to purchase any more gear. Yea right.

Again, thanks so much to Rob, up in Minnesota. Thanks Steve and gang at Piragis Outfitters up in Ely, MN. You guys at Mountain Man Outfitters in Old Forge, NY were awesome. Congrats Sara on your new job with Keen. You know, how I feel about KEEN-they rock! Dave Cilley and the gang at St Regis Canoe Outfitters in Saranac Lake, NY are incredible and what an extensive line of gear! Thanks Dave for your help and your time! Thanks to everyone else who have helped along the way. This would not be possible without a great support network.
Granite Gear, Bell, Outdoor Research, Sawyer, Leki, Etowah Outfitters, NorthFace, Keen...THANKS for making GREAT products. And if you are reading this and ever have a question to ask about one of the abovementioned companies, please feel free to ask in an email. I'll talk gear until the cows come home.

Up next, the Saranac River to Plattsburg, NY where I will begin a 33 mile paddle across Lake Champlain, which incidentally is our countrys 6th largest lake.
Thanks for the emails and happy trails and be well.

Jason aka Totally Different Subject.
Totally Different Subject

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Canoe Trail - Mile 43.5

Miles: 43.5.

Good morning. It's raining here in the hamlet of Long Lake, NY. But that is just fine. The water is needed in this part of the country and I am dry and fed. A great, home cooked breakfast was in store this morning. Pankakes, eggs, sausauge and coffee. Mmm!

Last night I stayed in the southern part of Long Lake on State-owned land, where we can camp as long as we are 150 yards from water. The mosquitoes, black flies, horse flies and no-seeums made my decision to call it an early evening. They are bad now. However, I have 99% DEET and long pants and a rain jacket.

Monday evening around 5pm'ish, July 16,2007, I pushed off from Old Forge, NY. What a great feeling to be at the beginning of a new adventure, a place where I have never been. Given the lateness of the day and the fact that I do not, yet, feel comfortable paddling at night, I canoed in several miles and camped on an island. Islands often are wonderful places to camp. You get any breeze available and wind is what shoo's those antagonistic insects on their way. That night, the breeze made things cooler which always equates to better sleeps. As bedtime neared, the loons began their evening symphony. What a wonderful thing to hear as you drift off to sleep.

Tuesday morning was warm and clear. I met a guy named Matt, who had been coming to the Adirondacks for years to visit his grandparents' camp on the Second Lake of the Fulton Lake chain. We visited and then both parted. We may cross paths again one day as we both enjoy many of the same outdoor endeavours plus he lives in Washington state. Before, it was warm and clear, however, a fog hovered over the lake. I slept in. But the fog cleared and the sun appeared. There was little to no wind today, which always make paddling easier.

I made my way up the Fulton Lake chain, passing through Third, Fourth lakes. At the end of Fourth Lake was the smaill town of Inlet. I parked the canoe and walked into town for some groceries. Inlet was a nice little town. But the folks there were a little leary of this bearded long haired country boy. Hahahaha. The grocery store there made one heckuva great roast beef sandwich. Back to the lake and the first portage awaited. Not bad. Half a mile into Fifth lake, which really could have been tagged a pond. A nice portage trail and I was able to do the portage in one carry. A canoe on my shoulders, a pack on my back, a paddle in one hand and holding the canoe with the other. It was good to have a canoe back on my shoulders...

Into Sixth Lake and Seventh lake. At times a loon would appear from nowhere in the water. I would stop to watch them. These birds are large and beautiful. There were Canadian geese and wood ducks both with their young. The second portage of the day was a little longer, a mile and went through the Eigth Lake State campground. I would have stayed but wanted to make it to Raquette Lake to take advantage of a non windy day. It has been said that this lake can get pretty brutal with wind. Some have been windbound for days and others would begin their paddle across this big lake early, like around 4am.

As the day wore on, I began to tire. You know, the breaking down of muscles is starting over for me now. Through Eighth Lake and one more portage to Browns Tract Inlet. This portage was abit longer - 1.3 miles and the last of the portage was on bog logs or bog boards. It was fun trying to balance everything up top while the boards would sink into the bog under feet. This was an awesome stretch of paddling, winding through this boggy water way. It eventually worked into Raquette Lake. I went through the inlet slowly and noticed blue herons, otters, ducks, geese and INSECTS. Paddling near the water lillies were nice and there was plenty of wild rice and cat tails on the edges. There were five beaver dams I crossed on Browns Tract Inlet and I swamped the canoe pulling my canoe over the first dam. So, does that really count as I was not yet in the boat??? A short paddle to Big Island, once I reached Raquette lake, and my day was over. There were several lean to's in the area I had stopped. I found one, away from the other campers and set up my tent below the shelter.

At 4am the rain started. I know because I was up for the mid morning bathroom break. So I put the rainfly on my tent and went back to sleep. When I woke up around 8:30am the rain was still coming down. I broke camp and hung out in the shelter until 9:30am, when I pushed off in the rain. But by then it was a light, warm rain. Navigating this big lake in that weather was not difficult at all and before I knew it I was rounding Bluff Point, where it can really get windy. Not windy at all. Thank you!

A short portage awaited me at the end of Forked Lake. Then a 1.3 mile portage took me around Raquette Falls. This portage was long and painful. Nothing that I won't get used to but now instead of carrying a 30lb pack on my back, when hiking, vis-a-vis, portaging, I am carrying over half of my body weight. The canoe with hardware weighs around 47 lbs and my pack weighs 42 pounds. That is over half my body weight. Last time checked, my weight was 167. In any case and for all my whining, the portages never last all day. And to be out here in the Adirondacks and paddling the width of the park is a blessing.

Back in the water for three miles before having to portage .2 around Buttermilk Falls. What a beautiful area...this would be a great place for a zero day. Then a short paddle before we are promted to portage another half mile or so around what the sign indicated as "Dangerous Rapids Ahead...". I looked over the next distance between where I docked and where I would come out, at the mouth of Long Lake and decided two portages was enough for that day and some moving water is what the doctor ordered. However, the water levels were low and I beat the hell out of the bottom of my canoe. Fortunately, I did not swamp the canoe and learned that with a little water in the canoe the tilt factor decreases. It was fun and in some places I really got to move! In other places I was getting out to walk over rocks. Fun, fun, fun and no portage. I only paddled another mile and a half or so to an area on the Northside of Long Lake. On state land I found a place suitable for sleep and eat.

This morning I awoke early and hung out in the tent while I stretched sore muscles. And they were sore! I started earlier this morning than usual, 8:30am and arrived at the boat lauch at Long Lake, NY around 10:30am. There I met a group that was just coming off the water, stowed my canoe and gear and headed for town with groceries and breakfast on my mind. A great breakfast adn a dry library to send updates!

More to come later. We have to share these public pcs.

Quickly, thanks Piragis Outfitters, Mountainman Outfitters, Granite Gear, Bell, Sawyer. Thanks NFCT!

Thanks Rob and everyone else.

Love and Happy Trails,
Jason Bivin aka Totally Different Subject

More Photos from NFCT!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Anchors Away

I just received a call from TDS yesterday -- he had paddled in a few miles and was excited about the beginning of this part of his adventure!

The good folks at Mountain Man Outfitters dropped him off at the Western terminus of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail at Old Forge, NY.

He's using his new Pocketmail handheld, so hopefully, we'll be getting more regular updates. Ain't technology great?


Friday, July 13, 2007

NOTE: Don't forget to scroll down for lots of pics from the trail!

Greetings friends, romans, countrymen...

Now for Phase II, the paddle. All updates moving forward, for a month or so, shall be about my paddle of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

So, I hiked from Springer Mountain, GA to Deleware Water Gap, PA from March 18,2007 to July 6, 2007. Appalachian Trail Miles: 1279.2. On my way in to the DWG, I ran into a friend- SnackBreak, who I had not seen since Bears Den Hostel in VA. We visited and hiked abit together before arriving at the great Church of the Mountain Hiker Hostel. There I cleaned and headed for a burger and beer at the Sycamore Grille with Bird Dog, Snack Break and newly made friend Archy. Archy spends more than half of his time living in New Zealand but was visiting family in the New Jersey area. He and SnackBreak had known each other for some time and he showed up on the Appalachian Trail to surprise her. We had a great time drinnking, eating and visiting. Dick Wizzard eventually showed up.

The following day, Archy drove me to Newark, NJ so that I could catch a bus ride down to Amicalola Falls, GA. My truck was there and I needed it to get back up to NY. How about the following as a base for a Country Western tune...A 20 hour busride, a $200 cab ride, a 12 mile hitch and a 10 mile road walk. You can probably figure the details but I am happy to explain. A 20 hour bus ride to Atlanta, GA, no biggie right? A cab ride from downtown GA to somewhere 30 miles from Amicalola Falls, GA at a cost of $198.00 sounds excessive, right? Well, had the cabbie gotten me to my truck, perhaps the cost would have been justified. I asked the cabbie to just drop me off so that I could walk the rest of the way, or hitch. But after paying the cab driver I was able to flag down a Pickens Country, GA Sheriff who informed me that I was nearly 30 miles from Amicalola Falls. He gave me a ride to the Pickens County border where I got out and walked the road to Amicalola Falls...without water, or even a jug to hold water. Who thought I'd be hiking? But I thought, Party On, and I made it.

Party On is a phrase Cody Lundin uses in his book, 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive! Cody suggests that this phrase, "...is the most optimistic statement in the world, one in which there is no opposite, no opposing force. It is the ultimate attitude adjuster and contains great power if used with conviction." So this phrase will forever keep me going when the going gets tough.

The great staff at Amicalola Falls, GA greeted me and got me on my way. Thanks folks! So here is where the beginning of Phase II began. On the way up there I got a call from my great friend, White Crow, who was charging his phone battery at the truckstop just North of Duncannon, PA, off of US322/22. White Crow and I had one more laugh, one more gripe and several more beers before he took off from the trail North of Duncannon. It was great seeing White Crow again and knowing that I will likely see him again on the AT before my journey has concluded.

It took several days to arrive in upstate NY and as much time to adjust to the highways, masses of people, WalMarts, shopping malls and traffic jams. I spent a night camped in the Adirondack Park before heading across the border to Vermont. What a beautiful drive! This park is amazing and I feel so fortunate to be gearing up for a paddle that will take me the width of this park from West to East. Lake Champlain is our 6th largest lake and guess what, I will be crossing this beast in the near future on my way to Vermont. Finally, I arrived in Waitsfield, Vermont, home of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail organization. Jen, Sandy and Kate were there holding down the fort and we had a blast visiting and getting to know each other. The NFCT is a class act and model organization. Best of luck with your vision! Jen had all the answers to all of my questions and I feel that the time we shared was of the highest quality.

From Waitsfield, VT, a tired hiker/driver/paddler, set out for the final leg of this road trip to Old Forge, NY. On my way, I spent one more night in the Adirondacks, car camping. Golden Beach public area was the locale and during the night I heard the greatest outdoors noise - the call of loons. I also fell asleep to the sounds of waves crashing against the shore.

The temperatures are colder up here. And it has rained some everyday in the last three.
Steve and gang at Piragis Outfitters, in Ely, MN have been extremely helpful in providing advice and products for this trip. They even had my canoe and backpack shipped to an outfitter in Old Forge, NY- Mountainman Outfitters. The staff here at Mountainman Outfitters has made this final part much easier and I appreciate them holding my canoe. They also have lots of goodies that gearheads like myself should avoid until I win the Powerball. Just kidding, everything I have purchased has and will be needed.

Yesterday, I took my Bell Yellowstone Solo canoe for a ride. I put in at the Old Forge Pond and paddled to an island campsite between the First and Second Lakes of the Fulton Lake chain. Here I had lunch and dried out from an intended swamping of the canoe. I swamped the canoe while testing how far over I could lean. Thanks to a nearby dock, I pulled the canoe up and drained her before loading everything back up and pushing off. The whole trip was 5 miles and it felt great to be back on the water in a canoe.

Today, I am finalizing purchases, waiting for packages and just killing some time. I am hoping that Paris Hilton will hear about this adventure and contact me for a ride up North. hahaha.
I will be carrying a Granite Gear SOLO canoe/duluth pack on this trip. Steve Piragis of Piragis Outfitters, Ely, MN suggested he would not carry anything else. Heck, I did not even need to hear this as I know those boys up in Two Harbors, MN know how to make GREAT packs. I have carried a Granite Gear Nimbus Ozone pack over the last two hiking seasons. Thus far, I have approximately 2200 miles and she is poised for another. However, I am excited to see (and own) the 2008 updated Nimbus Ozone. The body is supposed to be comprised of a heavier nylon fabric then currently used. Yee Haw....do I really have to wait until 2008? How about Christmas 2007.

A sponsor has supplied me with a Pocketmail device. And hopefully this wonderful piece of technology will afford me a chance to keep you all updated with much greater frequency. Stay tuned.

Thanks to all those who have offered encouragement and support. Without you great people these types of adventures would be extremely difficult. Thanks Leki, Granite Gear, Bell, Sawyer, Etowah Outfitters, Keen and Outdoor Research.

Again, thanks so much to my man up North- Rob Gore. He has been managing my blog and doing a heckuva job, don't you think? I do. Despite being a Father, a Husband with a Full Time job and a full courseload for Graduate School, he still finds time to work the blog. THANKS!

Happy Birthday to my little Sis, Lori Belle! Thanks for your help too!

Happy Trails and Stay Tuned

Jason Bivin aka TDS.

Totally Different Subject

Photos, May-July (yes, that's really TDS)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sneak Preview

TDS is currently in transit from getting his truck in Georgia. He's bringing it up to New York in preparation for his solo thru-paddle of the NFCT.

Apparently, his adventures are not limited to the trail. Getting the truck involved the following:

  • A 20-hour Greyhound bus ride
  • A VERY expensive taxi
  • Hitching
  • Riding in a Sheriff's car
  • A twelve-mile road hike

Can't wait to hear the details!


From July 4th / 5th

Happy Fourth of July. I hope you are all well. Mile: 1263.

On the trail, I have made it to Wind Gap, PA, just off of State Highway PA33. Wind Gap is a nice little town with all the necessary hiker services. From here I am approximately 16 miles South of Deleware Water Gap, PA which is the border of PA and NJ.

My sister picked me up and we spent the Fourth of July in Philadelphia. Hall and Oates played a free show, in the rain, at the Art Museum. They were great and played all their songs we love. It was good seeing my sister and the city.

In my last installment, I was at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, 6/21. Halfway. Sad to say it but I did not do the half gallon (of ice cream) challenge. I had a nice time at the park and stayed in the Ironmasters Mansion Hostel, a large brick building dating back to colonial times. From here later the next morning I headed off with thoughts of Duncannon and the Doyle bouncing through my head. A short day of hiking out of Pine Grove Furnace gave me a chance to get a good nights sleep.

I woke up early the next morning with 34.6 miles to Duncannon and figured I would get close and head into Duncannon 6/24 for a nero. But I was hiking well, the terrain was not tough, the temperature was primo and the miles just went by so quickly that by mid morning I was considering going all the way into Duncannon. I started that morning by 6am and by 9am I was having a lunch in Boiling Springs, PA, the ATC Mid-Atlantic Regional Office. After replinishing water bottles I headed out with 25'ish miles to Duncannon. Great stretches for big miles and great breezy hiking conditions made it possible for me to walk into Duncannon that evening, just before dark. This was my biggest mile day ever and I was not dead. A zero day in Duncannon and then I was off to Port Clinton.

It was nice to visit with Vickey of the Doyle. Trail Angel Mary cooked breakfast for us hikers and it was great visiting with her. One more lunch on my way out of town at the Riviera Bar. A short day out of town and the weather started to heat up. As the temperature heated up I started noticing less wildlife. As of late, it seems like I only see birds, bugs, chipmunks and squirrels. The trail in many places is completely grown up over the trail with vines and shrubs and floor covering. You get a cooling effect under the canopy but when it is hot and there is not a great breeze, it gets muggy. Since alot of the hiking in PA is on a ridge, water is fewer and farther between. Some of the springs are starting to dry up. So I have been carrying more water and when a spring is found I spend more time there drinking water before hiking North. Thanks to all the folks who have been leaving water at road crossings and such! I got to Port Clinton, PA on Friday, 6/29/2007 (Mile: 1202). There is not much here in terms of hiker services but a Church in town owns a pavillion and park area. They let hikers stay there. The pavillion is big and nice and cool. Many people stop by to say hello, drop off water or to see if they can assist in any way. Now there is an outfitter, Ye Old Backpacker, 6 miles (by road) North of Port Clinton, PA in a town called Orwigsburg, PA. Owners Steve and Tammy offer a free bunk room for hikers. They are great and I wish them success. The next day I ran into Bag O Trix at the pavillion and decided to stay there for a visit. We caught up and it was nice to see an old friend. The 3C's resteraunt, just a half mile up from the pavillion, serves one heckuva excellent breakfast. In fact, I am ready to say they are tied for Best Breakfast with the grill in Hot Springs, NC. Great sausage pattys. I did close to 20 miles coming out of Port Clinton to a water source, Dans Spring. The next morning I awoke and began early because there were approximately 20 miles between my starting point and Palmerton, PA. Palmerton is a great little town with all the hiker services. From Palmerton, PA we climb straight up an exposed mountain. I began this climb right before sunset and it was beautiful. The scramble up the rocks has recently been featured in an issue of Backpacker magazine. I camped on top and got a great view of the sunset while cooking dinner. The sun came up early the next morning and with nothing to block it I relented and got rolling, despite being a bit sore. The rocks wear on you after awhile. The next day had 18 miles in store to Wind Gap. I was late and underestimated the drain on mph that the rocks would have. I barely did 2 mph but got there and my sister, Lori, was there with Gatorade and water.

Today, 7/5/07, I will be shuttled back to the AT, Wind Gap. I will hike in a bit, and then roll into Deleware Water Gap, PA. There is a great hostel there- Church on the Mountain. They allow hikers to stay there. I may stay or may keep going. Billville is hosting a hiker feed in Duncannon, PA and I suppose if somebody were going to be shuttling hikers back, I could have my arm twisted. It would be great to see White Crow, Not Yet, Mr Easy and all other hikers. Plus, I heard Paddy-O and Matthew-sky is there too.

My canoe that I recently purchased from Piragis Northwoods Co. (http://www.piragis.com/) in Ely, MN has been delivered to Old Forge, NY. The folks at the Northern Forest Canoe Trail Organization had arranged to have it stowed at the local outfitters. Thanks everyone!
So I am ready to begin the second phase of this years adventure- the Paddle. A 740 mile traverse from Old Forge, NY to Fort Kent, ME following the Native American waterway. Before I can go, however, I must get back to Amiacola Falls, GA to pick up my vehicle to drive back to NY.

THANK YOU:Piragis, Leki, Outdoor Research, Etowah Outfitters, New Balance, Granite Gear. Your gear is great!

THANK YOU: Mom, Dad, Rob, Ricky, Amy, Lori and everyone else who is making this trip possible and better.

Happy Trails and be well.
Jason aka TDS
Totally Different Subject