Stuck in a Soggy Stick Season

As the rain continues to fall, so does the likelihood of my getting any more canoe camping trips this season. Edgar was promised one more solo trip, but the weather has not been cooperating!

After 6 month of paddling in drought conditions, we entered October not really knowing what to expect in terms of foliage, but looking forward to ending this very challenging paddling year on an “up” note. In early October we found some pretty spectacular foliage, but then suddenly, stick season was upon us…in our northern paddling areas, the leaves dropped quickly, leaving muted tones of yellow and rust.

Daily paddling has become problematic, since we have entered a period of rainy weather,with wind and often cold temperatures. We’ve even had some thunderstorms, unusual for us this late in the season.

We have been lucky enough to have some nice late-season paddling, though, especially if we head out early in the morning.

After morning paddling,we like to get the dogs out for a hike…usually on local trails, scoping out some of our favorite snowshoeing trails in anticipation of the upcoming winter! We will once again be serving as Tubbs Snowshoe Ambassadors…all the indications are that this will be a crazy busy winter for back country winter activities, given the new restrictions at ski areas.

We did manage to get out for our annual Closing Weekend canoe camping trip, at Green River Reservoir State Park. Closing weekend used to be a quiet one at the park…leaves are usually past peak, and the weather is iffy, so the park is not booked to its usual capacity. However, this year the park has seen incredible usage, breaking all records…so I feared it might be too busy for the pure enjoyment of October solitude. However, apparently the cool fall forecast kept a lot of campers away.

We did actually delay our departure for one day, since the forecast for our planned fist night was for high winds, thunderstorms, heavy rain,and hail.

Instead, we headed out early Sunday morning, in brisk and sunny conditions. Edgar and my husband paddled out with us, to join us for breakfast while we set up camp.

After Edgar and his Dad left, Griff and I went for a nice paddle, had a hot lunch at the campsite, and then enjoyed a drop in the wind so we could paddle up the far end of the lake.

Late season paddle camping is marked by darkness arriving quite early, especially when the sun sets behind the woods of your campsite. A nice fire kept us warm, dinner was hot and filling, and our tent provided a cozy escape from the dropping temperatures.

And,we have news…a new arrival to our fleet!

Duncan was able to find a beautiful used 2020 Souris River Tranquility solo Kevlar canoe, priced at a very reasonable cost, from a northern NY outfitter. Lucky for us,the outfitter is located in a “green Covid zone” county, so we were able to take a day trip over to pick it up.

Of course, we had to take it out for a maiden voyage…it performed beautifully, and I may just consider it for my next canoe. We will have the forward thwart moved forward next spring, to permit more room for Edgar, and for Griff when I decide to use this canoe. But it has been fun to try out a Kevlar canoe..so light, and a delight to paddle!

So now we are dodging a spell of crappy weather…wind, rain, and unsettled temperatures. I hope to break my record of 166 days paddled in a year, and it is looking quite possible. It may mean paddling in some rainy conditions, on grey days, but I hope the sun makes a few more appearances!

And so October wanes…with a forecast for more rain next week, and then dropping temperatures, it seems unlikely Edgar will get his final camping trip. We’ll have to stick to day paddle trips, as we transition into November, and the soon-to-arrive winter season.

“And All At Once Summer Collapsed Into Fall” (Oscar Wilde)

A quickie post, since we are definitely overdue!

Two months…two months that have flown by, or have dragged on for an eternity depending upon our mindset. Since our last posting, we have continued to paddle daily, enjoying remote and infrequently used lakes that create perfect social distancing opportunities. And now we face stick season, and the wind-down of the paddling season!

In this summer of extreme heat and drought, we have managed to encounter rain on almost all of our camping trips…farmers should reach out to us, to see when we are scheduled to go camping, because that is when the rains will fall!

The dogs will be gearing up the length, intensity, and frequency of their hikes soon, as we are prepping for snowshoe season. Yes, in only 2 months, we’ll be out on the snow!

Our Algonquin Trip was canceled, since we cannot cross the border into Canada, and our cross-state travel has been limited by COVID restrictions. But we really cannot complain. Local camping has been pretty fine, foliage season was brilliant, and we managed to find a Kevlar solo canoe for my husband (I am sick of lugging that 65 lb. beast of a kayak around with him).

In another 4 weeks, the canoes and kayak will be packed away for the winter, but until then, get out the dry suit, neoprene vest, thick booties, and paddle on!

Here are some photos from the past 2 months of our outings….we’ll update again once paddling season ends.