Tag Archives: old forge

Paddlefest Day 3: Another Post Why the Folbot Cooper is Insanely Great!

I didn’t stay out too late on Friday, May 16th because I knew that I had a huge day of paddling ahead of me on Saturday, May 17th. I’ve already posted my planned route for the Fulton Chain Lakes, but in this recap I will post the route I actually paddled. Here it is:

fulton_chain.png

This route took me from the beginning of First Lake in Old Forge all the way up to Third Lake, about two-thirds of the way to Inlet, NY. The total distance for this paddle was just under 10 miles, and the total time on water was 3.5 hours.

Some high and lowlights of this outing:

  • Once again, I can’t stress how awesome the FoxWorx Vixen feels in the hand! No blisters and only modest chapping!
  • The Folbot Cooper is an incredible boat! I was easily able to cruise at 3.5 to 4 mph for the bulk of my 3.5 hour journey
  • The river to First Lake is pretty calm and sheltered, but there are some random rocks sitting in the channel.
  • Crossing the open waters of First Lake to the northern channel by DeCamps Island was pretty uneventful except for the jet skier that fired up when I was halfway there.
  • Second Lake is nice, much less built up than First Lake. I was able to get some very nice shots of Bald and Sugarloaf Mountains immediately to the north.
  • I made it into and around the southern end of Third Lake. There is some pretty troubling treefall in this area. Folding kayakers need to be really careful in this spot.
  • I thought about going farther up Third Lake, but some weather was rolling in so I thought I’d head back
  • I had to deal with some pretty nasty winds during my paddle from DeCamps Island and past Dog Island. Made pretty good headway in the Cooper though.
  • Dog Island is more like a sandpile rising from the depths.
  • More wind picked up as I paddled north and turned west to head back to Old Forge.
  • Made it back to Old Forge just before the rain!

Overall the Cooper handled superbly during this outing. Almost 10 miles in 3.5 hours and the boat tracked true the whole time. I have to say that the improved fit of my new PFD and better hand feel of the Fox Worx paddle also contributed to the pleasurability of this outing.

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Paddlefest Day 2: Friday PM

So after the high end boat demo Friday morning at the 2008 Adirondack Paddlefest I decided to wander around the vendor area and see what was on offer.

I wasn’t specifically looking for stuff to buy, but I wound up making some key upgrades to my kayaking gear.

The first item of interest to me was a shorter, more comfortable PFD. I own an NRS Groove, and it has some shortcomings with regard to me and my boat.

The first issue I have with the Groove is how small it runs. I own a Large/XL Groove and I really, really have to let the straps out. If I don’t I feel like my chest is being crushed! Not a fun way to spend a long paddle.

In addition to being cramped on the inside the Groove is bulky in the chest area. I feel like I already have plenty of chest development, and I don’t need more bulk in that area. The Groove adds so much bulk that it nearly interferes with my paddle stroke. Again, not fun on a long paddle.

Finally, the Groove is a fairly lengthy PFD. This means that it extends to the small of my back. This is a problem because my kayak has a high rear deck and seat, and the PFDs extra bulk forces me into a somewhat cramped seating position. Again, not conducive to comfort on a long paddle!

Thankfully, my newfound pal Erica did an excellent job fitting me for my new PFD! She sized me up and immediately knew that the Astral V-Eight would suit my needs.

The Astral V-Eight is a much better fit. I wear a Small/Medium, which is my usual clothing size, and I don’t feel as though my ribs are being crushed. It also doesn’t add bulk to my chest, and this means less interference and a more comfortable paddle stroke for me.

The Astral V-Eight is also much, much shorter so it doesn’t interfere with the rear deck or seat back of my kayak. The V-Eight also has a nice ventilating mesh that covers my lower back and keeps me much, much cooler and more comfortable when I am on a long paddle.

The other key item I picked up that afternoon was a new paddle in a shorter 220 cm length. This paddle was a FoxWorx Vixen handmade in Bainbridge, NY by the Fox family!

The FoxWorx Vixen is a hybrid design that takes advantage of different material types for different portions of the paddle. The blades are fiberglass, so the swing inertia is kept low. The shaft is epoxy-coated basswood cedar, and it feels incredible in the hand! The shaft is also bent to ease the load on the paddler’s wrists. The ferrule is aluminum and allows the user to feather the blades right or left 60 degrees.

My particular paddle has a laminate layer that consists of a fabric print. The print is of Chinese dragons surrounded by red flames. The red flames match the hull color of my boat, and in Chinese mythology the dragon is considered a harbinger of good fortune and wisdom. This is a picture of my paddle’s blade:

Vixen_Blade.jpg

After all the boat and equipment demos I was pretty pooped. I crashed at my hotel for a bit, then I headed back out to Slickers for a late snack of excellent buffalo wings. Thanks to Tracy for getting my order in, even if it took !@$%@#$% forever to leave the kitchen.

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Paddlefest Day 2: Friday AM High-End Boat Demo

On the morning of Friday, May 16th at Adirondack Paddlefest the kayak company reps in attendance offered a high-end boat demo from 9 AM until noon. I scarfed down my excellent complementary continental breakfast from Riley’s Place at the Water’s Edge Inn and headed down to the Old Forge public beach around 10 AM.

I spent about 2 hours paddling some excellent composite boats made by Current Designs and Boréal Design.

I paddled three Current Designs touring kayaks, the Caribou, the Cypress, and the Solstice GTS.

All three of these boats were excellent in different respects. The Solstice GTS was 17’7″ and had a North American style hull design. The Cypress was a British style hull and measured about 16’9″. The Caribou was a Greenland style hull and measured 17’8″. The Caribou was probably the most efficient of the three boats, and it sliced through the water with ease. The Cypress was slightly less efficient that this, and the Solstice GTS was a little less efficient than the Cypress. The Solstice was probably the most stable of the three boats.

I really have to rave about the design of the Current Designs rudder footpegs in the Solstice GTS. Kudos to whoever came up with the idea to make the footpegs tilt to control the rudder. The major reason I tend to shy away from rudders in general is because I’m a huge fan of solid footpegs to maximize my power transfer to the boat. However, rudders are indispensable when facing strong currents and winds. Current Designs’ footpegs give you the best of both worlds with very little compromise! I also like the extra-wide rudder retaining jaw because I am one of those people who can never seem to get their rudder dead center before retracting it.

The Boréal Design boats that I paddled were also excellent. The first Boréal boat that I paddled was the Fjord. The Fjord is a good solid boat that would suit anyone trying to elevate their paddling skills or looking to go on a short overnight or weekend expedition.

The second Boréal boat I paddled was the Ellesmere. You can tell an incredible amount of work has been put into this hull design because it slices through the water in a truly supernatural manner. The secondary stability of this boat is also superb, and it definitely reminded me that I need to be integrating far more balance and core work into my fitness routines!!!

That’s about all for now. Time to go look at the retail area and play with my brand new Sigma wide-angle lens! Some lunch would also be excellent about now!

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Paddlefest: Day 1

I took May 15th and 16th off from work in anticipation of getting into Old Forge, NY early for the 2008 Adirondack Paddlefest.

I got a somewhat late start out of Rochester. I didn’t get on the road till about 5 PM, mainly because I wanted to workout and I am fairly lazy about packing. Haha. Thankfully rush hour to the east was manageable, and I was able to make good time blitzing down the NYS Thruway from Rochester to Utica. I rolled into Old Forge and arrived at The Waters Edge Inn around 8 PM.

So far my extremely nice room has been well worth it! Here is the view from my balcony:

old_forge_view.jpg

I managed to score an excellent burger for a late dinner down the street at Slicker’s Tavern. Nice place, excellent service. I will probably manage to make my way back there at least once more before Paddlefest is over.

Slicker’s was full of factory reps and the owner of Mountainman Outdoors who pulls this whole show together. I managed to make contact with the gents from Boreal Design and a few others. Should be a good start to the weekend!!!

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Paddlefest: Fulton Chain Lake Route I

Hello all! I know it’s been too long since my last posting, but I have returned with yet another planned outing for this fine year of 2008.

A few prior posts have described my plans to attend the annual Adirondack Paddlefest from May 15th to the 18th in Old Forge, NY. Tonight I pulled out my topo maps and decided to begin planning my routes for the portions of Paddlefest when I would be pursuing my own explorations.

My first planned route is an exploration of the first Fulton Chain Lake, shown in the plot below:

fulton_rte1.png

This route is a little over 5 miles long all said and done. It should be a nice, calm exploration on entirely flatwater.

That’s all for now, I know I’ve been away far too long, but grad school is finally over so I should be able to post more frequently in the future!

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