Tag Archives: Outdoors

Weekend Outing: Burnham Point State Park, NY 8/15 to 8/17/08

This will be my second outing in the month of August 2008, and it should be interesting. I am planning to camp on the shores of the St. Lawrence Seaway at Burnham Point State Park. This is a little bit downstream from Long Point State Park.

This is the route I have planned:

burnhampt.png

Overall this should be a nice 9.5 mile outing for an afternoon. It offers the option of heading upstream to Cape Vincent to hang out for a bit if I get an early start.

Once again I’ve planned this route so the outgoing leg is to the west against the wind and current and the return leg follows an easterly course to the campground.

It’s tough to see on the posted graphic, but I shouldn’t have a problem with any lakers. If I keep close to the southern shore the water should be too shallow for their draft. I figure any lakers I see should be at least 1/2 to 1 mile north of my planned route.

Burnham Point is also an interesting state park because the sites on shore do not have any vehicle access. Campers have to hike their gear in. This should be a good stepping stone to later camping adventures involving more strenuous hikes with gear or situations where I won’t have easy access to my car.

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Weekend Outing: Long Point State Park, NY 8/8 to 8/10/08

So this fine year 2008 hasn’t worked out quite the way I planned it, but things are still going pretty well. That said I present my next weekend outing up at Long Point State Park here in the 1000 Islands region of NY State:

longptny1.png

This route takes place within the sheltered waters of Chaumont Bay and it is about 9 miles in length. The first, upwind leg takes me west near the shore. The returning downwind leg brings me back east to my campsite.

The protected nature of Chaumont Bay should mean that I don’t have to worry about dealing with Lakers or their wakes! I’m also hoping it gives me some respite from the westerly winds that are typical of the Great Lakes region.

Hopefully the weather holds out for me!

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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: 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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Cell Phones vs. VHF Marine Radios

One question that’s been running through my mind as I plan to venture farther afield in my kayak is whether or not to purchase a handheld, marine VHF radio.

At this point most of my journeys have been on freshwater lakes that are not terribly removed from civilization. At worst my cell phone has been reduced to a roaming state.

However, I eventually plan to go places where I may not even get the benefit of roaming coverage.

To get others’ opinions, I began a Facebook discussion on this topic, and I received a very helpful reply from Christopher Strout:

“I HIGHLY suggest getting a VHF radio. When I paddle I always carry one. I also will often carry my cell phone. Some reasons to have a VHF. They are generally submersible rated unlike your cell phone meaning that it can get wet and still work. When using a cell phone you have to know phone numbers.”

Chris’ complete, and very informative, response may be found here:
Cell Phone vs. VHF Marine Radio

Best Paddling!

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Projected 2008 Kayaking Outings, Part I

The first outing I’ve planned for 2008 is something that I’ve wanted to try for a while. The plan is to camp out in the Dunes at Petoskey State Park in Petoskey, Michigan.

This should serve as a great jumping off point for paddles along the coast of Little Traverse Bay to the marinas at Harbor Springs and Petoskey, Michigan.

The projected routes are shown in the image below. Both of them are about 7 miles long, roundtrip:

2008_petoskey.png

The only concerns about these two tracks are the appearance of whitecaps or excessive boat traffic. Docks or some kind of landings should be available at the midpoints of both routes.

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Summer 2007 Kayaking Recap: Lake Champlain, VT: Part III

My final venture into Lake Champlain this summer was a circumnavigation of Savage Island. The journey was undertaken on August 29th, 2007 and the entire trip was about 7.92 miles in length. The GPS track of this journey is shown in the graphic immediately below:

vt_track3.png
    Lake Champlain, VT, Around Savage Island, 8/29/07:

  • The first part of the journey was an easterly sprint across Lake Champlain to the southern end of Savage Island.
  • Once the southern tip of the island was reached it was time for a water break and half an energy bar.
  • Several interesting details were visible on the eastern side of the island, which is private like Fish Bladder Island.
  • There appears to be a working sheep farm on Savage Island.
  • A manor, possibly a summer home, was also visible.
  • As I reached the northeastern corner of the island I was able to watch a plane land and takeoff from the landing strip.
  • I also encountered a sailboat at anchor off the northern tip of the island.
  • At this point I stopped for more water and the remainder of my energy bar.
  • The kink in my track off the northwestern point of the island was due to a line of barely submerged rocks. I thought there was going to be an opening with enough draft to let me through. This wasn’t quite the case!
  • This line of rocks was the resting point for a massive flock of gulls
  • The southern passage in front of the island’s western shore was unremarkable. The items visible on the eastern side were masked by trees.
  • The return westerly sprint to the boat launch was uneventful…unless you count the seaplane that was practicing takeoffs and landings in front of the state park! Uh, WTF dude?!
  • I wanted to make it around yet another island while in VT, but I was too fatigued during the day following this paddle. The next day it looked as though it was going to rain torrents all day, so I broke camp and headed back to Rochester!

    That concludes the recap of my summer kayaking journeys for the year 2007. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about them, and I hope to have more to present later in the year 2008!

    Feel free to drop any comments or ask any questions!

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Summer 2007 Kayaking Recap: Lake Champlain, VT Part II

The next thing I should mention about my Folbot Cooper are all the great compliments I receive from other paddlers and people I meet at the boat launch.

People are endlessly fascinated by the assembly process, and their curiosity leads to all manner of conversation. Some onlookers are even eager to join in and lend a hand with the assembly process!

I also want to mention that the Cooper is a fantastic looking boat! The quality of the hull fabrics is so HIGH that the Cooper looks as good as or BETTER than most plastic boats in its price range! This was immediately evident when I loaded it on the storage rack next to other boats at Grand Isle State Park.

Getting back to actually paddling, my second outing from Grand Isle State Park took me on a circumnavigation of Fish Bladder Island. Great name, eh? I made this journey on August 27th, 2007. The GPS track of this journey was about 5.34 miles, and it is shown in the image below:

vt_track2.png

This paddle wasn’t too tough, and I think that getting into the water early, around 9:30 AM, made a heck of a difference. There are not many powerboaters out during that time other than fishermen. OTOH, one does have to watch out for the guys blasting all over the lake in their bass boats. Man they can move!

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Summer 2007 Kayaking Recap: Lake Champlain, VT Part I

First I should mention Folbot’s excellent lifetime warranty and customer service when it came to replacing the C-clip that was missing on one of my crossmembers. I was able to email Wanda and she shipped the parts immediately with no hassle! It’s greatly reassuring when a company stands behind its product like this!

My earlier posts regarding Vermont basically covered my camping experience there and how my camping gear functioned. This post is the first of three detailing my on-the-water experiences in Lake Champlain, VT while camped at Grand Isle State Park.

The plot below shows the route I followed in a northerly direction from the boat launch at Grand Isle State Park. It basically passes by a couple bays and stops just short of Hyde Point. I paddled this on the afternoon of August 26th, 2007. The total length was about 6.77 miles:

vt_track1.png

Cooper Bay and Pearl Bay were interesting to paddle across, and there were several intriguing rock formations just north of the boat launch. The unnamed point where I finally turned around was also an interesting bit of scenery. I would present some pics, but unfortunately I lost them when I foolishly downloaded them from my camera to my hard drive. Oh well….

The boat traffic was surprisingly light, and again the Cooper performed flawlessly on this venture. I should also mention that Fish Bladder Island is a private island, and the islet off the north end of the island is actually linked to it via sandbar. This is due to the lower water levels we’ve recently been experiencing in the Great Lakes basin.

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Summer 2007 Kayaking Recap: Indian River, Part II

After my run to Mullett Lake on July 6th, I decided to paddle southwest towards Burt Lake on July 7th, 2007. This trip was about 5 miles in length, and the track is shown on the screencap below:

To_Burt.png

The nice thing about this trip was that the return from Burt Lake was WITH the current, and as a result it saved me a bit of work.

Once again I have to praise the performance of the Cooper. It is surprisingly nimble and quick when one needs to make a U-turn in front of a fairly trafficked channel mouth. There is simply too much boat traffic present to venture into the lake during this time of year!

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