And the mists had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before me…..

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Mist. Mist and Fog….Along with the rising sun and the glorious sunrise colors, getting out early in the canoe or kayak is a special time. We have been fortunate in the month of June to have had multiple opportunities for early paddling. We’ve been camping ( both solo and as a family) a few times, and have also headed out early to some of our local favorites.

 

The camping weather has been wonderful! Clear skies, mostly moderate temperatures, lots of sun…though it seems that the afternoons have been marked by a few hours of very high winds. We have managed to avoid some of our less than ideal weather, and have been lucky for the most part ( except for those high winds!) Our rough water paddling skills are getting a good chance to improve…should be helpful on our trips to the Adirondacks and Quebec later in the season.

 

Edgar especially enjoyed our trip to Green River Reservoir State Park, since he and Griff could run freely together, on the rocky Picnic Island!

 

In addition to our “real” canoe camping, we also did some “condo camping”…that is, sleeping on the floor of my Dad’s empty ,soon to be sold, condo in NH….we decided to hit some of our favorite Upper Valley of NH/VT lakes, since our frequent visits to that are are ending. We have plenty more “new”spots to hit up, and look forward to paddling in some different areas of New England and New York.

McDaniel’s Marsh and Kezar Lake

When we haven’t been paddling, we have tried to keep up the dogs’ hiking routine…we have had some very hot and muggy days, along with rain that has made for some very muddy trails. We try to head out in the cool of the morning, and also select trails that are wooded, and have plentiful water sources. We also prefer to avoid crowded, popular trails….the idea of participating in a conga line up a mountain has no appeal for us!

 

Our outing this month have provided us with some pretty neat wildlife sightings…baby loon chicks, juvenile owl, deer splashing along the water’s edge…and those beavers! Dam Beavers! Edgar really does not like beavers, and gets quite agitated when they are near our boats. He never used to react in this manner, so we are attempting to train him to “keep cool” when beavers are in the vicinity. No other wildlife elicits this response,but as I understand from others, certain dogs just have a “thing” about nature’s engineers.

 

So that’s it for this month…not a lot of written content, since I would much rather be spending my time out in nature than composing blog entries on the computer. We will be heading out for the holiday weekend for canoe camping at GRRSP, and the weather forecast looks great.

During the holiday weekend, I plan on getting quite a few surveys completed for the National Safe Boating Council. My anecdotal counts show that less than 10% of paddlers at Green River and at Waterbury Reservoir are wearing PFDs. These observations were made as I watched paddlers in high winds, with overloaded canoes, and with children and dogs in their boats…If you won’t wear a PFD for yourself, please wear one so that you will be more able to assist your child or dog in an emergency!

Happy Canada Day, and Happy 4th of July…Paddle Safe,and paddle smart!

“…Even children get older, and I’m getting older too”

 

Those lyrics to the great Stevie Nicks song  “Landslide” may reflect what I’ve been feeling a bit lately. Yup, getting older, but given the alternative, I think I’ll take it! The past month has seen our son graduate from University, and he will soon be heading 600 miles away to start his engineering career.  Two weeks after the trip to see his graduation, we attended our daughter’s wedding…a great, happy occasion! It has been a rather hectic month, but after another week of busy-time, we should be able to catch our breath and get on with summer.

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Edgar is so happy to be back in his kayak!

During the crazy season that was May, we have managed to keep busy with the dogs, since getting out for a hike or canoe trip provided some much needed respite.  The canoes and kayak have been in the water quite a bit, and I even managed to squeeze in two overnight solo canoe camping trips. We are fortunate to live very close to a few places where we can just “load up and go” on the spur of the moment.

Canoe camping is very relaxing for Gryphon!

Over the past few years, we have developed an easy and reliable system which makes it possible for us to just decide to head off for a few nights of canoe camping.  The key?  Organization, Planning, and Routine.  Granted, our longer trips require a bit more forethought and preparation, but even on those trips, we use the same basic system. Nothing we do is unusual, spectacular, or particularly clever, but this is what works for us.

  1. Choose destination: Based upon weather forecasts, time of year, how much time we have to be out, or our interest in revisiting favorites, or trying new spots, availability of campsites ( reservations required, or first come-first served). We are constantly perusing guide books, websites, paddling.net, and social media, to find new and exciting paddling destinations.

 

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A few of our sources…..

  1. Decide which boat(s)…for solo trips, the choice is obvious, but when we are going as a couple, with the 2 dogs, we may choose the solo canoe and kayak, or we may want the tandem canoe. Much depends on paddling distances required, portaging challenges , and if shuttling ( as on a river trip) is required.
  2. Use our checklist! Our trip preparation checklist is a laminated graphic organizer (used with white-board marker) which allows us to be sure we bring all necessary gear, and also indicates where it will be packed. This organizer is written “to the max” and many times, we will cross-off items that we do not need for shorter or solo trips. Since we initiated the use of this chart, we have yet to forget anything that we needed! The tent selection may also vary, depending on whether it is a solo trip or couples trip.
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A place for everything, and everything in its place….

 

  1. We keep our gear organized in our “gear room”, and always have a supply of camping foods on hand, ready to grab and go. We usually bring along some fresh fruit and other favorite items from the kitchen. We also keep a supply of kindling wood and fire starters; if we are camping locally, we also are able to use a few stick of local firewood that we keep on hand. Some sites we frequent have adequate downed wood to use for campfires, but other times, what we bring is all that we will have available to us.

summer gear room

  1. We generally load the boats the same way each trip, and the dogs maintain their designated positions in the boat(s). By knowing where each dry bag is placed, and how much we put in each section of the boat, loading at the launch sites is quick and easy.
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Typical amount of dog gear we bring for canoe camping—-Quickdraw collars,sleeping bags,dog tent, bowls,tie-outs,FA kit,food, trowel,tick spray,water bottle, chewie toy,extra floor mat

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The canoe gear that goes with us on our trips..whether a day trip, or an overnight trip…and the PFDs and life jackets are ALWAYS worn while on the water!

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Our essential for camping…we also, of course,add the tent,sleeping bags for us, a few warm clothes,food, and sleeping pads

 

 

Each camping trip, whether it is 24 hours  or a week, presents us with the opportunity to try new lakes and campsites, check out some new gear or foods, see  great wildlife,  and take advantage of the peace and solitude that canoe camping offers.  We love it, and the dog certainly get excited whenever they see us collect the gear.

More canoe camping, for 3-4 day stretches,  is upcoming….So nice to see the trees  bursting with green color, and our favorite wildlife making return appearances!

Paddle Safe!