Round Lake-Whitney Wilderness Adirondacks

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I've been reading though the other trip reports and feel I should put this up, even if it is 2 months late!

Spoiler alert: this report is not for the squeamish or weak of stomach, we had a casualty which became a fatality, but it's not so bad...in a way.

Our group always goes for an early season wilderness canoe trip, before the bugs and before leaf out, for comfort and ease of carrying where there may be no trail.
This year it was decided we would camp on Round Lake in the Whitney Wilderness area, and paddle/carry the outlet of Round Lake to the confluence with the Bog River, taking out at Bog River Falls.

Some of you may already know, some may not...I build strip canoes, lots and lots of canoes. Hence the name, stripperguy.
Anyway, we had a few of our group drop out just before our departure, so some last minute shuffling of boats was required, we ended up bringing 2 of my tandems and my DY Special solo, as well as my buddy's competition cruiser.

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Oops, gotta go...more to come!!
 
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OK, I'm back...
Where was I??? Oh yeah, we loaded up the boats and headed off into a forecast of rain, rain, rain.

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The Friday that we put in, it was threatening to rain most of the day, but never did. Eventually we had clear skies and plenty of stars, for a while.
We had a great campfire, and at 10 PM sharp, we felt a couple drops of rain, sending us to our tents. By the time I got peeled down to my T shirt and shorts, the sky opened up and we had quite the deluge. This was followed by very high winds...I kept thinking that I forgot a stake or two as I drifted off while my tent shook.

The next morning was a little wet and foggy, but it made for good photos.

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We packed up our day packs and readied for the trip down Round Lake Outlet and the Bog.
The 1st carry is short, less than .5 mile.

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We only paddled a short ways when the next carry appeared. Actually, I wanted to paddle through this section of class II, but my paddling partner just had carpal tunnel surgery and didn't want to risk his recovery or his boat.. we took out to carry.

Oops, gotta go again!
 
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So before i go much further, let's take a look at one of my boats. This photo was taken in '85, that's my daughter sitting on top of the freshly sanded bare wood hull.

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And paddling that same boat on this trip was her husband and his inexperienced buddy.
Well, at the 2nd set of class II rapids, we decided to take out and carry around. My S-I-L and his buddy missed the 1st spot to pull out, and casually chose a 2nd spot. As they sort of pulled out of the current, they wedged their bow in some rocks near the shore, swung crosswise in the current, tipped their upstream gunnel under, and just like that, the boat was no more!!

OK, maybe I'm being too dramatic, but the poor little thing would barely hold together during the next one point something mile carry.
My S-I-L found an abandoned shovel, and some deadfall and driftwood, and fashioned some braces and stiffeners to keep the hull from collapsing once it was back in the water. At that point, we were 6 miles from our starting point, and about 6 miles from our take out, with few options in between.

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That boat did hold together as far as Bog River Falls, but it continuously took on water from all the splits and holes. And inexperienced buddy suffered from intense paranoia at the sound of any moving water, not wanting to swim again!
Here's one spot along the 2nd carry.

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The rest of the way to the Bog and the falls were beautiful, if uneventful. We had previously spotted a vehicle at the falls to shuttle back to Round Lake, that broken boat just stayed on the racks, the two guys hiked back to our campsite some 3 or so miles from our put in.
Anyway, the sun broke out, we had some marvelous weather and a 20 degree night, and packed up to paddle out on Sunday morning.

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After we all got home, everyone agreed that the mishap with the canoe was the highlight of the trip, and it was a fitting end for such a faithful servant.
If only I could go out that way, in the middle of something I was made to do, and in a flash!! No pain, no time for regrets.

That boat was my last remaining polyester resin boat, and it was tired. Time to build another, but that one will live on in legend (at least for us) forever...
 
W

Willis

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Great story, thanks for sharing your loss. Is that your daughter in the red pants holding the paddle? She looks like the little girl in the first pic.

Have you forgiven your son-in-law yet?
 
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Willis,
No, that's my son's GF...daughter and S-I-L have blessed MDB and I with 2 grandchildren so far...she stayed home with the kids.

And no need for apologies or forgiveness, sh!t happens, as long as nobody gets hurt it's OK. That boat had a great life and much as myself, carried many scars. Like I said at the start of this TR, we had a casualty that turned into a fatality, but it's not so bad!!

Incidentally, that is the same boat that I accidentally pierced with a dead spruce along the Harrington Brook carry a few years ago...


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Willis

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Do you hold a memorial service and pyre for the deceased? ;)
 
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Willis,
No special ceremonies. I have considered cutting sections of it to frame and give everyone that was on the trip.
I do plan to save a piece and build it into the next tandem that I build.
My nephew has been building, or should I say started to build, the exact same hull. He started all gung ho in March, with plans to have it ready for that early May trip. It's now, uhmmm, June?!, and he has not worked on it since late March. I have threatened to seize through eminent domain. All the stripping is done and he has it partially sanded, and there it sits in my boat shop.

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Willis

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Your boats are beautiful. Have you considered another raffle on the ADK forum?
 
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Willis,
I have thought about it. The raffle was a win-win-win situation.
The raffle raised a good amount of money to help rebuild the fire tower on Mt Adams, I got a nice tax deduction (I can use all I can get!), and some lucky forum member got the deal of a lifetime.
The plan was always to build boats for a living, part time at first, then full time once I stopped working every day.
Well, that plan was set aside 17 years ago, when I went into the R & D business with my partners, and further set aside when MDB and I started acquiring rental properties. My problem is that I have far too many interests and projects and far too little free time. But I suppose my problems are not unique...

Why do you ask?? Are you in need of a pretty boat? My boats are not just another pretty face, you know. They are made to be used. That DY Special that I built is nearly the same weight as those wonderful PB carbon designs, and is much easier on the eyes. And most of my boats perform as well or better than their commercial competitors.

So, will I do another raffle boat? Maybe. Will I start a boat building business? Maybe. Will I build more boats? Definitely!!
I need to build a replacement for that ill fated 17 footer. I have plans to build a shorter, more manueverable version of the DY. And I still am toying with the idea of a skin on frame guide boat, nylon skin over a carbon fiber frame...could be as light as 25 lb for a 14 footer.
 
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Willis

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Actually I would like a chestnut pal or prospector clone. Preferably in 15'.

Have you ever done one of those?
 
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My 17 footer is the one that was raffled. the original build was in '84 or '85, a scaled down competition cruiser.
When I was first building it, I kept weighing it when possible. Eventually, it was clear that the boat would be sub 40 lbs, actually ending up at 38 lbs including the all cedar portage thwart. That design is very fast, yet seaworthy. It tracks extremely well, yet turns when asked. It feels a bit lively to the uninitiated, but is actually very comfortable for day long excursions and more.
the raffle boat came in around 40 lb, probably because I wanted the hull to have a mirror smooth exterior.
My nephew is currently building that same hull, he is planning the build for durability as opposed to light weight.
When he finishes with my forms (and my boat shop) and I get a few other lingering projects completed, I plan to build another 17 ft tandem. Not that I use that boat so much any more, but it is handy to have around...someone always needs a tandem on our trips.
Several of my buddies have strip built 18'6" cruisers, but on a trip with longer carries, I don't like to have to lug those around, some are 50-55 lbs. Too much for me for long carries.
You know, the construction technique is fairly easy, and the costs are low...all you need is a place to work and the desire. That 17 footer can be built for as little as $600!!
 
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Willis, I guess we just cross posted.
I helped to build a 16' Chesnut, and paddled it on LTL for a bit. I'm not a fan of that hull design, but that's just me. That design is nearly 100 years old for a reason, right?
Virtually any design can be built in wood, and generally speaking, looks better than any other material.
 
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Willis

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What hull do you like in a 15' tandem that will be mostly paddled solo?
 
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Willis,
What type of hull do you prefer?
Do you like lean and fast? Or do you prefer wider and more sedate?
The Merlin (a John Winters design) can be built for tandem use, it's a skinny, fast hull.
The Northwest River or MCA Guide have that classic styling and are more stable... but their lack of tumblehome will irritate the solo use. You can always tweak the design to add tumblehome near the middle to make solo use easier.
All of these boats are a bit longer than 15 ft.
And you could contact David Yost, he lives over your way...I think he's on Canadice Lake.

Are you thinking of building a boat?
 
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I thought I should add an epilogue to this story...
I did create a bunch of photo frames from the remnants of that faithful hull. Everyone on that trip got their own canoe section/frame, with a uniquely relevant photo, those became prized possessions by all.

Willis, who founded this site is no longer with us, I'm thankful that he had the foresight to create this forum.

My best buddy of 40 years that was on that trip, is gone from this world as well. We did everything together, ski, camp, hike, cycle, work. When I helped his daughter's clear out his house, I shared with them the significance of that frame and photo. They promised to cherish as their dad had.

Here's how the boat ended up

AM-JKLWagzV7Yu5ch-NWw038IzIMVKGzJx2eyxD3cYTlKQ7ljIzsF_h-ps_RR_LXCaHBD_w0ZSEksc6p_dptGZU2C4ZIQkd1XwH_bTaCxKMWR-hiaFA8LGkt27Bt_5tmiDoVViG4tmP_bOI2myntMU5xFgfAVg=w800-h536-no
 
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