So took off from Saranac Lake about four days ago now. There were quite the lack of campsites from there to here so we really booked it through. We stayed the first night at Franklin Falls Pond. We were looking for a sweet campsite on an island, but someone was already there. We pulled up to see if there might be room for another tent. Nobody was there, they must have been out fishing. Anyways we walked around the island where those people had left a ton of dirty toilet paper all over. We were a bit annoyed and were going to poke it with a stick and put it in their fire place so they could burn it. Well there was too much to do that, so we just put a litttle there thinking they might get the idea. As we were paddling back we heard a motor boat come up the other side of the island and started paddling a little faster, realizing that that might not have been a good idea. Anyways got to a little campsite and heard the boat coming around the corner. We kind of had a bit of a stare down with them but they didn't stop. We were both a little nervous they might come back and push the canoe out or something. Nothing happened, but next time we should probably just nicely ask people to pick stuff up.
Well the next morning we left pretty early and accomplished our longest day yet, 29 miles. We did the rest of Franklin Falls Pond then Union Falls pond, and then onto the Saranac River. Oh and for those of you in St. George, Union falls pond is six miles long! haha we were thinking pond!?!? this is WAY bigger than what we call a lake! So we had a couple of long portages to skip some rapids one four mile portage...should have asked someone for a ride...oh well. And then one that wasn't supposed to be that long ended up being longer because we were trying to be smart and make the directions easier. Didn't work too well. And we lost one of the bolts on our portaging wheels. No idea where but a mechanic helped us fix it. We stayed at Bakers Acres the second night. The hot showers were worth it for sure! Especially after a lot of time in muddy river water and what not. Also met some really nice people there! That was the first day i ever ran rapids luckily there were mostly just class I for practice and a few class II that were fun but got a little bit stuck on one which i wasn't too much of a fan of. But it was nice to have some moving water to help us get some miles done.
The next day we headed out a little later, but mostly had moving water which was nice. Lots of little portages which we are getting faster at. Oh and Brian is now master of carrying the canoe on his shoulders (the yoke pads work miracles i tell ya!) That first day he was climbing over and under logs! I wish i would have gotten a video!! We ran a few rapids that day which I was nervous about because they sounded a lot harder than they actually were. Well one section was really tough there were zero passage ways so we got stuck A LOT! Almost got turned around once but got out of it. My adrenaline got going pretty good. Poor Pequod has a few more scrapes on her bottom. So then we get out onto Lake Champlain and it's windy. Ugh! I about had a break down. That thing is more like an ocean than a lake. At least the waves near the shore felt like it. So we headed straight for the nearest beach! Ended up being the best place to land. But Brian would like to write about that so here he is.
To put things in context... Whit has HATED even the thought of running rapids. I mean this is her first time even picking up a paddle really, let alone being on some sort of white water. I, one the other hand, have been looking forward to running this section since the beginning.
With that being said, Whitny and I ran the rapids like champs. I think with all of the practice we have had together on the small rivers, and lakes, we have become fairly proficient at some basic whitewater. However, on one of the rapids we got pinned sideways and for a second I thought that we were going to be heading down backwards. Not good. whit was smart enough to paddle us out as i pivoted us around, and we got out, but for a minute things were not looking to well.
Right after that we had a 'surfing wave' that whit had heard about. I knew that it was under a bridge but was not sure exactly which one. so everytime we saw a bridge whit would say 'lets pull over and look at it' and i would say, 'nah, i dont think this is it'. Sure enough we ran right up on it. there was nothing to do but go for it so when i lined us up and said paddle, whit started digging in like her life depended on it. It was funny, and fun, and we made it just fine. but... our adrenaline was up.
Right after that we ran into lake champlain which had some decent sized swells for us, and whit was so frustrated at this point she was no longer paddling but ... more like stabbing the water with her paddle. I knew we had to get to shore, so we lined it up for the first beach and landed there, in someones backyard.
We dragged the canoe up and whit took a breather on the beach. I ran up to the house to see if we could walk around there yard and portage a few miles to our camp. I was surprised to see three older couples eating dinner out on the porch, and i am sure I was a surprising site to see as well. I told them our story, and they not only said we could move our stuff around their house, but if we waited a minute, they would give us a ride to the campground! I was so excited when i came down to whit to tell her the good news. She got the biggest smile on her face! (its the smallest things sometimes that make all the difference). We started unloading the canoe when john and lulu (the owners of the home and host of the dinner) came down and invited us up for dinner. Of course we said yes and moved our stuff up and ate.
Let me say, Lulu is a wonderful cook, and that meal was the best meal we have had out here BY FAR. We had peas, scalloped potatoes, and a small rack of lamb with a delicious sauce. Truely WONDERFUL. we ate and talked with the other couples there (I forgot the names but it was great company) and soon enough had our gear loaded and on our way to the campsite. JOHN + LULU AND COMPANY, THANK YOU SO MUCH! you came when we needed you the most.
What I would like to say is that one of the best parts about this trip is the people we have met out here. The longer I am out the more I realize we have been blessed the the help of other folks, and in a way they have become part of our journy and adventure out here. There have been way to many to thank, but too any of you out there reading who we have come across during our trip so far, thank you for the help whether it has been in directions, goods, rides, company, food, and everything else. It has been our pleasure.
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