Oswegatchie/Long Pond, Adirondacks, NY

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August 30th 2013 marked my 33rd year since being forced into this world. I am not much of a party guy; I can't recall the last time I had an actual party on my birthday.

Despite my party-pooper attitude, I had planned to make the best of it this year and wanted do something I haven't done before. I have been longing to take a trip up the Oswegatchie River in the Five Ponds Wilderness for the past year or so and with permission from my wife I planned a trip starting on my birthday. She was not as excited as I was and was having all sorts of anxiety about heading up some dark and gloomy river into the middle of nowhere. I have to say she wasn't far off on the second part. It wasn't what I'd call the most cheery part of the Adirondacks.

At any rate, it was just something I've wanted to do and she obliged. I knew that I'd have to be flexible on my plans and keep her happy and not push too hard if the bugs were hungry or the weather was foul. This I know from experience and I always plan accordingly.

My grand scheme had me paddling out to High Falls and hiking to the Five Ponds, hopefully to spot an otter but my real goal was just to get a taste of paddling an Adirondack river and some sense of the northern portion of Five Ponds Wilderness, an area I've never been in.

Well I must say I certainly learned many things. Paddling a wild river is much different than paddling the ponds and lakes we usually like to go to. It held many more unexpected surprises than I had anticipated. The first of which were rapids. This is something I've never dealt with before. Luckily the ones on the Oz are pretty tame. I quickly found out that a fully loaded tandem is not going to make it up the smallest of them though. We typically wound up beaching on some rocks or running out of water to actually paddle. I'm glad we took our glass Eagle canoe because we really gave it the boots on the way up. I hit more rocks than I ever even imagined. Next time I go I will just stop and line through these 'rapids' because that is what I wound up doing anyway.

A couple of them were more challenging though. This was partly due to the water getting very deep after the shallow, rapid portion and partly due to the rocky shoreline. I wound up having to line the boat while scrambling over boulders near the shore in a couple sections. My main goal here was not to slip and break my ankle or rip my flesh on sharp rocks... it wouldn't be an easy trip back with an injury! I now see why some serious goers of this area are pretty persnickety about their foot gear.

My next experience was with beaver dams. I have more experience with these than rapids but they were very frequently encountered on the Oz and most of them required getting out and dragging across. A couple we were able to ramrod up but that was rare. Again, I am thankful for my very tough fiberglass hull.

As far as the actual trip logistics, we arrived at Inlet around 12:30pm on Friday the 30th and got on the water by about 1pm. It took us nearly 5-1/2 hours to make it to site #27, where we spent the night. I'm not sure what our goal was but we just kept going, I guess to see how far we could make it. I was jazzed and full of energy. My wife not so much. By the time we passed the second lean-to she was pretty shot and starting to get cranky. If you have been on the Oz you will know we went much farther than that... #27 is a ways up from the second lean-to. I had hoped the lean-to would be empty but both the first and second were occupied. Every other site we passed was empty though... so it was pretty lonely out there.

Thinking back my idea was to camp near where the Five Ponds trail crossed the river so we could hike out there in the morning. We were pretty close actually but there is no way to tell from the map. The Oz is so twisty and variable that some sections that looked short on the map took up to an hour, other sections that looked long, went by quick. It is something that only experience can tell you I guess.

Site #27 was pretty nice. It was very, very, very quiet. Other than a rather annoying bird who continued to sing right up to my bedtime we didn't hear or see anything. We watched the sunset through some enormous white pines and devoured our dinner. Soon the woods sank into a deep, sad darkness only brightened by our small fire and our spirits.

Speaking of spirits my wife's were quiet low. I don't think she much cared for the river. It was a bit spooky out there and without a doubt the most remote place she has been. Her mind was getting the better of her.

She was tired though. And I knew that would trump everything. Her anxiety would be overcome by exhaustion, and soon after dark our fire burned out and we retired to the tent.

In the tent my mind began to wander, and the anxieties began to filter through my brain... my thoughts were if something happened to me and she had to find her way out. I wasn't so confident she could. I often control the map, but show her where we are and where we are going, and how to get back. My fear is she would panic and hurt herself or get lost in trying to get out. I always tell people where we are going, but sometimes I really wonder if they pay attention...

Then it started to rain, and my anxieties were calmed by the tap, tap, tapping of drops of water on the rain fly... and soon I had drifted off into a deep slumber.

It rained quite a bit through the night. It woke me up a few times and apparently the Oz had not stopped playing mind games with my wife. She had dreamed the rain had raised the river and washed our boat away, and that we were stranded out in the middle of Five Ponds Wilderness. I showed her the High Falls trail on the map in the morning and assured her we'd get out if we lost the boat. Maybe my anxieties about her getting along without me were justified?

In my usual fashion, I slept in quite late on Saturday morning. The damp, dank air kept me in the tent and the lack of bright light did nothing to motivate me to get moving.

When I did emerge, I was greeted by the worst bout of mosquitoes I've encountered all year. My thought was the rain had driven them into a breeding frenzy so the females were eager to feed and find some nice standing water to lay eggs in... but what heck do I really know about mosquitoes? Nothing really other than that they bite.

The rain had stopped but the sky looked gloomy. There was still a threat of rain and by my thought, some thundershowers. It was hot and humid, but on the bright side, our boat was still sitting down by the river, safe and sound.

I had ambitions of going to High Falls and hiking to the Five Ponds on Saturday as I mentioned before but the big 3 got us. What is that you ask?

Well my wife has what she calls the big 3 for the Adirondacks:

1) Bugs
2) Heat/Humidity
3) Rain/Wet/Mud

Her moodiness is proportional to the number of the three present. At the moment we were looking at all 3 for the day. That means her tolerance for anything goes to zero and moving her through the woods becomes like pulling on the reins of a stubborn old mule.

I may not look too bright, but I'd like to think I'm smarter than the average bear and I know my wife pretty well. So I devised a plan...

I suggested we break camp and head towards High Falls. We'd see how it looks up there and possibly spend the night. I would forgo the Five Ponds hike due to possible mud/bugs and reconsider the next day on the way back.

She agreed to this plan and looked less somber. We packed up our wet tarp and tent, tossed it in the boat and were on our way up river again. Little did I know we wouldn't make it very far.

We soon encountered some other riffles that required getting out of the boat and lining. I should also mention another Oz pitfall I encountered: Sand Bars. It isn't always best to go straight down the middle as I found out. A couple times we beached the boat on a shallow sand bar only to see there was deep water on both edges... lesson learned.

The next set of riffles we came up to were a bit stronger. These rapids probably have a name but I have no reference for that. They were the ones at the Five Ponds trail bridge. Lining looked a bit hairy due to the deep water directly after, and getting in the boat right away is recipe for being swept right back down. It looked as though the best way was to portage around. Because I hadn't anticipated portaging, we packed our gear quite differently and had a ton of loose dry bags instead of large packs containing them. This seemed like a lot of work, and I didn't know how many more times we'd have to do this until High Falls. I looked at my wife's grimace and gently asked he what she'd like to do. Her reply had been as it had been the whole time: "It is your B-day weekend; we can do whatever you want." A very nice response you might think but it was utter BS. Her face was saying let’s go back, I hate wild rivers!
 
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I looked at my watch. It was around noon. I knew we could make it back to the car, spend the night somewhere easy and still do another overnight somewhere else. I told her we’d head back. In retrospect I wish I would have spent the extra hour and just HIKED up the trail to High Falls and back and left the canoe at the bridge. Oh well, maybe next time, although I expect I will be alone or with someone else.

I should also add at this point I am pretty convinced I was working on a hemorrhoid. I’ve never been lucky enough to have one so I don’t know for sure but the stern seat in the Eagle is a bit tight for my fat arse and I’ve only begun to notice it recently while being out in the boat longer. I was pretty sure I was going to be sitting on a donut cushion while typing this…

So with a sore bum, I hopped back into the canoe and set out back to Inlet. There would be many stops along the way so I could stretch my legs and relieve some of my butt pain, but it wasn't buying me much seat time. It seemed every stop needed to be more frequent.

Coming down the river I was a bit concerned about how we would handle the riffles we couldn’t paddle up. I thought maybe we’d have to get out of the boat every time and try to line down them… I wasn't sure how easy that was going to be.

Soon I found out that going down was MUCH easier! We could read the rapids very easily and just point the boat to the right spot and the current would carry us right in between the big rocks. This was good because putting a paddle in the water usually resulting in hitting a rock. I’d just keep a brace and let the paddle skip over the hidden rocks.

Actually I was having so much fun going down through the rapids and over beaver dams when we’d come up to them I’d holler “RAPIDO!” in a terrible Latino accent. I have no idea why it had to be that, but it seemed fitting. Again I was glad to have the glass boat but we hit much fewer rocks and logs on the way down than up… seems backwards to me but it is the way it was.

Another thing that I didn’t like about river paddling was the paddle getting ripped out of my hands frequently. In some of the twistier, and actually slower sections of the downstream trip I’d be J stroking and twist my paddle into a hidden log, get stuck and have it almost rip from my hand. I’m glad I brought a spare. Didn’t need it, but thought I would. I’d bang hidden rocks in both directions but the trees were more treacherous on the way down.

We encountered a cranky duck on the way back. We’d catch up to her and she would squawk and fly down river a little bit and then continue along until we’d catch her again and she get mad and fly off again. We did this about four or five times until she finally figured out if she flew up stream that we wouldn’t catch her. Silly critter.

As far as wildlife I didn’t see very much. Mostly ducks. I heard splashes into the water which seemed to me to be mammals of some sort but I never saw what they were. They could hear/see/smell us coming and dive from the shore into the water. My wife thought they were beavers but I think they were too small. Also I was under the impression that beavers were more crepuscular than not. I did happen to spot what I thought was a mink scurrying along the shoreline but I can’t be sure. It looked like a ferret/weasel but I didn’t think a weasel would have much business along the river bank, so I deduced it might be a mink.

At any rate, we made our way back to the car and arrived around 3:30pm. It took us 3 and half hours from the Five Ponds Bridge to Inlet going downstream. Pretty fast considering all the butt rest stops I had to make. The day was kind of crummy and we had spotty rain the whole way back.

Having eaten only an orange and half on the way back, we both decided we wanted a good meal and a good night’s sleep before we figured out what we’d do for the rest of the long weekend.

Our favorite pub spot is the Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake so we headed out there and got a site at Lake Eaton for the night. We took showers and retired early, shortly after dark so we could get an early start on Sunday.

Sunday we decided to head back up towards Saranac Lake and go into the St. Regis Canoe Wilderness. It may be overrated to some but it still is one of our favorite spots in the Adirondacks. I knew the wife would be happy out there, as would I.

Save a long story that has been told many times we wound up going into the area via Hoel Pond and camping on Long Pond. It is a lovely area and was surprisingly quiet given the holiday weekend. Sunday turned out to be a BEAUTIFUL day and it was well worth our drive up to the area for another overnight in the woods.

Sunday afternoon we took a hike in the canoe area without the boat. That meant bushwhacking around a swamp pond that normally one would paddle across. I didn’t have the fortitude to carry the 65lb Eagle a half mile to paddle 50 yards.

The bushwhack was easy with many old herd paths to help us along. I found what I am 99% sure is bear scat off the trail, so that made my day.

The other real treat was when we got out to Bessie and Nellie Ponds we ran into a guided group going on what I believe would be the Nine Carries Route. I think I really ticked the guides off because I was ridiculing their choice to take aluminum canoes on the 1-1/4 mile portage from Long Pond to Nellie Pond… not an easy 1-1/4 miles either!

The group was a bunch of twenty something’s that had no idea about canoe tripping. I told them of wondrous things called yokes, magical materials called Kevlar and of tiny, light boats made specifically for this area called pack canoes. The guides gave me evil looks of contempt.

I did manage to show them easier ways to lift the boats and how to carry using their PFD on their head and using the seat. One of the brighter ones had already figured that out and was happy to have his method validated.

The male guide was a tough SOB though. I saw him carry that beast of a boat with no yoke, just the center thwart across his back, by himself, with no PFD for padding. That guy was a true man. Or just stupid.

Sunday night back at camp we had a heck of a thundershower in the night… or so I am told. I heard some of it and it woke me up but I fell right back asleep. My wife thought it a bit scary and was worried a tree would be struck by lightning and fall on our tent. I was happily dreaming about eggs and bacon for breakfast without a care in the world.

Labor Day morning we broke camp early, skipped breakfast save a granola bar and paddled and port’d back to the car to head to town for some delicious breakfast and coffee. The water was beautifully calm and we managed the trip, with two double ports, in an hour and forty five minutes. That may seem inconsequential but my wife suffers from caffeine retardation, or rather, is brain-dead with lack of caffeine in the morning. Couple that with me being a bit gruff from hunger and I’m surprised we made it anywhere.

We had a great trip though, and now my wife talks about the Oz with excitement, so she may want to go back… I think it just took a little while for it to sink in with her how special that area is. We still love our ponds, but I’m glad to have expanded my horizons a bit. Next time I’d like to be floating down the Oz from Lows Lake in a grand loop with Cranberry Lake thrown in. A man can dream...

Here are the pictures. Let me know if they don't work, I'm trying a new system:https://plus.google.com/photos/116810673842202038112/albums/5919195976998751409?banner=pwa
 
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So sorry that your wife didn't like it. Its only a nine hour round trip paddle if you don't have to get out and drag. I find the river full of life and flowers in May.

Sounds like your trip was a lot of work. I have never seen riffles at Griffin Rapids. But it IS discouraging to stand in the boat there and you can just about see the parking lot.

Because of all the twists and bends, the 12 miles to High Falls is considerably shorter if you are a crow.

 
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I think the water may have been low and we are fat :) That combination makes the rocks ever closer to the hull.

Knowing what I know now, I'm pretty sure out and back to HF is doable in nine hours. I wish I could have followed someone who knew the river. I was kind of winging it...
 
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l'oiseau, It sounds like you had a mini adventure! It's good to expand your horizons and your bride's too. Don't be too hard on the Oz, it's just doing what it knows. I generally do "manly" trips in advance, only taking along MDB after I know it will suit her tastes. If she had gone up the Newcomb River with me, I think we wouldn't be on speaking terms yet!! But those kind of waters with rapids, and required carries with no trails or herd paths are my favorite kind of trips...even better with full gear and a night or two in between. You should join us on the next adventure, you'll have some new benchmarks.
 
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Ha yes. I am still a newlywed compared to you though SG... I've only been at this for 3 years so I am learning still. And FWIW 5 years ago my wife had never been to the Adirondacks, and 3 years ago had never done anything but car camping... so I've been training her up.

Despite her sour attitude on the Oz, she still considers this the best summer ever, although I know her heart lies at Lila and SRCA.

I am also still pretty new to 'backpacking' from a canoe... and the Oz taught me some lessons.

I also did see a cooler hanging from one of the large white pines at the Buck Brook lean-to on the way out, and well, that was certainly a sight for sore eyes!
 
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That was quite a trip report. The next time you go on such an expedition, you might consider going a bit lighter, maybe make it a day trip to check things out first. Last month a friend and I drove in from home after breakfast, paddled the trip to High Falls just to have lunch, and returned home for dinner. Just a few hours going light, putting in some time in the seat getting ready for the 90-miler. You would have encountered a few more beaver dams before getting there. If you do make the trip down from Lows some day, expect many dozens of beaver dams above the falls. We met a bunch of kids who had hiked (not paddled) in to go swimming at the falls for the day.


http://[IMG]http://i.imgur.com/dnERw3z.jpg[/IMG]

http://[IMG]http://i.imgur.com/ZASll1e.jpg[/IMG]
 
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Oh and for those of you who are concerned with the state of my hind quarters I am happy to report that I paddled from the bow station after leaving the river and had no more issues :)
 
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yknpdlr,

Yes indeed. I normally scout things but I don't know if you frequent the ADK forum but I received such encouragement that it was an easy trip I went a bit unprepared. Maybe it is for some but I highly suspect that depends on beaver activity, water level and the boat you take. I talked to two DEC employees paddling in on the way out and they said it was their second time there this season, so I don't expect they did a lot of maintenance.

Honestly I don't think I was. And we usually travel light, especially for an overnight. I went out prepared for 4 days and let my wife bring some heavies because there were 'no ports'.

And while I applaud your fitness, I am in no way a 90-miler in a boat... also if you didn't catch my inference we stopped at almost every other site both ways. The way out was really a scout, and in no means did I intend to get to HF that night. My goal was to get to the 5 ponds trail bridge. I'm sure you didn't do that trip that fast your first time out.

I realize I actually made an error in the post. We arrived at inlet at 12:30pm and started at 1pm. We stopped and set up camp 6:30pm at site #27, the bridge is at #25 if you don't recall. I was going to stop and camp wherever I was at 7pm due to darkness setting at 8pm but since no one was at the sites we took what we considered the best.

Oh and I know everyone on this forum is a pro paddler so I want to add I don't think that trip is that easy for most. There were three other groups getting ready to go out in the parking area when we took off... I never saw one of them... unless they snuck by past dark, which I highly doubt.

Going out there for a day trip IMO is just stupid and ill prepared. If I were to scout that and get out there and not make it back before dark it would be far worse than not going the whole voyage. JMO.
 
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yknpdlr,

Yes indeed. I normally scout things but I don't know if you frequent the ADK forum but I received such encouragement that it was an easy trip I went a bit unprepared. Maybe it is for some but I highly suspect that depends on beaver activity, water level and the boat you take. I talked to two DEC employees paddling in on the way out and they said it was their second time there this season, so I don't expect they did a lot of maintenance.
It really is a wonderful river to paddle, and to enjoy paddling. The trick is not so much to be a "marathon paddler", but to know your canoe and be able to handle it with grace in turn after turn, without losing whatever speed you have. Paddling fast is not a requirement, but controlling how efficiently you can turn your boat is. The person I paddled with to HF and back in a day is very nervous about his entry into the 90 this year. His only other time in the 90 was in 1997, he's not a racer by any means, but he is a regular recreational paddler. He is not a well conditioned paddler, but he does know how to control his boat well at his pace.

There is not much maintenance that the DEC employees could do, other than to check on campsites and lean-tos. It is technically illegal to dismantle or disrupt a beaver dam, though we all do some "unintentional damage" with "reallocating" a few sticks from time to time as we pass over. The DEC employees you met would not be there to do any of that as official maintenance.
Going out there for a day trip IMO is just stupid and ill prepared. If I were to scout that and get out there and not make it back before dark it would be far worse than not going the whole voyage. JMO.
Who would venture out on even a day trip ill prepared? Calling it stupid to check out what you can in a day trip seems like a silly and offensive thing to say, unless you go blindly with no plan to watch the time and your ability. If you know your ability and your current status, choosing to turn around when prudent to head back downstream into already known waters is what a reasonable person would do.
 
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Sir,

I meant it would be stupid to try to venture a 9hr trip your first time as a day trip. It isn't like scouting Lows or Lila where you can paddle in and paddle back and see most everything. You can't see up the river into the unknown and you don't know how far 1 mile on the map will be in river miles. Obviously scouting a river is different than scouting a lake.

And by all means please post your trips with your wife instead of your marathon buddies. My post was meant to be humorous and lighthearted... I think you just skimmed without knowing the man behind the words.

For me trips are more about spending time outdoors and having a laugh and keeping my wife happy and seeing her enjoy it. If you want to look at things as goal orientated then please move past my words. My goals are ever changing and compromises of making things enjoyable for both parties involved. I think you missed my point entirely!
 
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Sigh..

Now you have correlated the river level at Inlet and know that the next time you plan to do the river if there is as much beach showing, you pull out Plan B and go somewhere else like the Raquette.

The O is not a remote river in that stretch. It used to in my day be used to teach overnight camping at St Lawrence University using Grumman 17 foot canoes. I imagine DEC "maintenance" is to check the leantos and campsites for careless use.

Paddling in the dark is sometimes a personal preference. Paddling at low water levels usually is no ones preference. However at this time of the year, it is more rule than exception.
 
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Don't get me wrong guys. I had a GREAT weekend. I am not complaining AT ALL! And if the big 3 hadn't hit, then we'd have been out there for 4 days and done all the things I'd planned... but hell, I had a spectacular time at SRCA for that overnight. If I would have brought my Kevlar boat I would have been there 2 days earlier ;) because the first rock beach I hit was about 5 minutes up river.

I'm new to marriage but I know a couple things...

First off, keep the wife happy and do stuff WITH her. She might tell me go ahead, go with your friends or go alone BUT that only lasts so long. Soon enough I get flack for spending too much time away.

I'd rather do less and be together than do more and be divorced. I'm not about to get marriage advice from people on the internet, no offense, just ain't gonna happen.

Y'all have fun going solo and doing what you do - I'll be going along with the wife, and maybe someday a kid, maybe doing trips that are day trips as overnights, but hell, having fun with my family and not being crazy or unsafe about it.

When I get old and grey and my wife really means it when she says go solo... then maybe I will. For now, it is what it is!
 
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I'm new to marriage but I know a couple things...

First off, keep the wife happy and do stuff WITH her. She might tell me go ahead, go with your friends or go alone BUT that only lasts so long. Soon enough I get flack for spending too much time away.

I'd rather do less and be together than do more and be divorced. I'm not about to get marriage advice from people on the internet, no offense, just ain't gonna happen.

Y'all have fun going solo and doing what you do - I'll be going along with the wife, and maybe someday a kid, maybe doing trips that are day trips as overnights, but hell, having fun with my family and not being crazy or unsafe about it.

When I get old and grey and my wife really means it when she says go solo... then maybe I will. For now, it is what it is!
So I owe you a trip report of paddling with my wife...

We started "family camping" many years ago in a 17' Grumman canoe. First with my wife, then with one very small chils, plus a dog, then added a second child. We were loaded with all of our most essential gear (no beer coolers though) to keep it light enough to be safe but comfortable, and knew enough to be weather wise on the big lakes. I learned a lot about canoeing with that beast (the canoe, I mean), and we all had a great time. Mainly went to Stillwater Reservoir in the early days, where there are many beautiful campsites with sand beaches, and due to many shallow shoals, motorboat traffic can be largely avoided. Wife was happy as long as she had a sandy beach and some sun, and I did the cooking. We had a favorite sandy site in a protected cove with a frog pond for the kids and dog to play. I was free to develop my other passion of backcountry bushwhacking back in the woods far from shore while she was getting her beach time.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed canoe camping family style, she knew I had my own explorations to make as well. So I solo-ed that big canoe when I could, learned a lot about trim and balance and gear and control of a big canoe, especially when the dog came along too. Developed my own paddle strokes that I later learned were not so much mine as standard. So for several years it was a mix of family and somewhat (or considerably) more primitive solo camping.

While she enjoyed camping in her semi-primitive but comfy style, with growing kids, her interest and available time waned. Neither of us could stomach established drive-to campgrounds with the elbow to elbow sites, so thankfully that never happened. Both of us became involved in things like scouting with the kids. My son became an Eagle Scout and then an AF fighter pilot instructor, and my daughter became a wilderness guide and a BSA camp waterfront director - and most recently now twice a 90-miler paddling partner. I like to think they did so with experience and outdoor guidance they learned in early years.

Meanwhile my canoe fleet expanded, to include both solo and multiple seat canoes. My wife gave me a woodstrip guideboat for our anniversary, built by a long time friend. It is great for her, since she need only minimally paddle in it if at all, and we can continue to explore various Adirondack lakes, mostly on day trips to where we can swim on a quiet beach all to ourselves. For each of more than 24 years I have been an instructor for wilderness guide/trek leader training for the BSA as part of National Camping School, with many days each year spent training them on Lows Lake and surrounding lands. There are special and emotional places in my heart on that lake, as a consequence of all the students I have helped to train.

In this past late July with an 18.5' tandem Monarch on the car, we pulled into Lows Lower Dam for a day paddle as far as we wanted. For many years I have wanted to take her to those special places on the lake that I have known. She has a bit of a bum shoulder, and could only paddle what I call "lily dipping" on that day. Not very powerful, but at a level she could participate and enjoy. Her skills are not much beyond providing minimal power and maybe a bow rudder when needed and so directed. Still, we made it to round the scout owned islands on Lows on a perfect weather day. We ate sub sandwiches we brought along, on a very special site overlooking the lake. We covered almost 18 miles in not much over 5 hours, while enjoying each other's company, the loons, and the landscape. All without working too hard. Throw in a brief on-water conversation with my friend the Assistant DEC Ranger, and it couldn't have been a better day.

Yes, I do race canoes, but not all the time. I am not a "pro", but I do train hard and like to do well. But I certainly enjoy the recreational side of canoeing as well, using a wonderful style of fine crafted wood paddle that a friend hand makes for a living. At times I am able to combine a bit of both, even when my non-competitive wife paddles with me. My wife is my very outstanding pit crew, and also an official working volunteer at many races, a hard worker indispensable for my racing hobby and traveling with me as far as we both enjoy going.
 
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Well it sounds like we are off to a better start than you, no offense.

I'm not trying to make my wife do anything, she loves it. She just has a limit, and I clearly outlined the big 3. No one could blame her, I know no one else in her family could even tolerate 1 of the big 3. She does pretty well with 2 and short bursts of 3. A lot depends on the reward. She will stomach climbing a slippery mountain trail in high heat/humidity with swarms of flies if she knows the view is good.

She didn't get the Oz right away. It scared her and she built herself up to it. She told me she was having nightmares about it... the thought of a dark and desolate river was not her favorite. Give her some ponds or lakes, no matter how hard to get to and she is happy, as long as she spends more time paddling than hiking through the buggy woods. I used to backpack only up until about 5 years ago, these days I kind of favor boating over hiking in the summer due to bugs and mud - I get it!

I'm trying to expose her and myself to different experiences. We didn't bring a cooler dude... I never do! We didn't have a ton of gear other than our normal backpacking gear, the only addition was a down pillow, a foam over-cover for her thermarest and a ground cloth to sit on. I chose to bring daypacks because I had planned on doing more hikes than ports. Up until now I have never done a double port, not even with our old boat.

My decision to take the gear on the way to high falls the second day was mostly on my intuition that she wasn't going to want to stay there. If I had thought we would stay another night I would have left everything but lunch at the site and day tripped it the rest of the way. When she kept muttering under her breath, "It's all three, it's all three...", I knew we weren't long for Five Ponds.

But you have to admit a lesser couple would have turned around and went home and wasted the rest of the weekend. I knew I could turn a potentially crappy situation into a winner given some time.

And whatever, I don't mind staying a night or two at a state ground if I have to. It isn't quiet but it is cheap and easy. When you live 200+ miles away you have to make the best of the situation. Look down on it all you want. I bet in two years my wife will be paddling her own solo boat on Lows, Lila, SRCA, wherever... she is working up to it, but it takes time.
 
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L'oiseau, it's probably not a good idea to take marriage advice from me, as I just recently enacted Number three. However, it sounds to me that you are off to fine start. Your sensitivity to her limits is very important, and it is equally important to make sure she doesn't feel like she is slowing you down. I'm really enjoying my canoe time with my new wife, even though our trips are pretty light compared to what I normally do. Given time, and a gradual exposure to a variety of trials, she might come to enjoy challenging multi day trips...but if she doesn't, I'll still enjoy our little two and three day trips....those are times that we have together without the constant hustle and bustle of relatives, kids and society in general.
 
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I hope you guys get there memaquay. I think it's sad that people have to go alone because their spouse won't do it. I get it though, it isn't for everyone... and I guess at some stage in your marriage you probably really want to go out on your own just to get away from the old battleaxe :D

To be honest, I'm not even sure what drives me anymore. It is something beyond words - and it doesn't even matter much where I go... it doesn't have to be the most remote or the most beautiful or new and exciting... it just has to be away from the regular civilized life - I stopped doing it for a few years while I was in college, and I really missed it... literally my health started to decline and I had anxiety and depression. It was mostly due to workload and new career stress, but I think part of me felt caged up and beat down by society... like a wild animal that had been put in the zoo. There is something not right about that.
 
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I solo because my husband would rather be in the shop at home. He just kind of tolerates canoe trips of up to to weeks. I don't think it is a sad situation at all though I realize that after 44 years of marriage things will come to an end relatively soon.
 
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But he still goes with you on some trips... my wife wouldn't do any of this if it wasn't for me... I don't think she'd have the motivation or know-how to go out. We don't do long trips like you though. Two or three days is fine for her. I get kind of crazy after five or six - mostly I crave meat... if I was a hunter I think I could stay out indefinitely. But everyone has their limit. My father-in-laws limit is thinking about a canoe... then he decides it might be away from a toilet or tv and he thinks about it no more :D
 
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Well it sounds like we are off to a better start than you, no offense.
Hmmm, not at all sure what you mean by that.
Rereading what I posted, I feel we had a great start, and are still going strong. Just because she did not go to the same level of outdoor wildness that I did does not mean we don't enjoy the many other things (those that I did not mention) in what we do together, outdoors or otherwise, or that we don't have, respect, and participate in each other's diverse hobbies. I hope your "better start" leads both of you to just as much understanding, companionship and fun as we have had in our 46 years of singular devotion and 40 years of marriage. We couldn't have had the high quality of life that we have still going strong without mutual participation by both of us. Four times to the Yukon together in support of canoeing passion, be it grunt paddling or critical detailed planning and necessary support from shore - yeah, and more yet to come. (I get to cross the 1000 mile finish line, she gets to choose her gold and qiviut as her bonus)
 
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