Posts Tagged ‘Lake Ontario’

River Rats

Author: Stephen

Sitting in an old farmhouse at Hidden Harbor, on Point Peninsula, in Jefferson County, New York. A creek through the property was widened at the mouth years ago to make a small harbor, which is where Seaweed has been tied up for the past week. I’m just 10 miles from the St. Lawrence River, but the wind is blowing, and I’m playing the waiting game.

Stephen and Seaweed at Hidden Harbor

Stephen and Seaweed at Hidden Harbor

It’s been a good game so far: There’s coffee in the morning at Judy and Tom’s trailer, and they invited me to join them at a pub for dinner one night last week. Jim, from Pennsylvania, gave me some of the smoked salmon his buddy sent him from Alaska, and there was a pancake breakfast, cooked by marina manager George, at the farmhouse Sunday. A shower and laundry are icing on the cake.

George, Stephen's host and pancake chef.

The sunset strip at Hidden Harbor

Ruth managed to collect five days off from work, and last Friday night hopped in the car and ventured to meet me. With two-hour delays at customs, and creeping Canada Civic Day holiday traffic, she didn’t arrive until around 10 pm Saturday. I don’t know how she found the place. It’s 17 miles from the main road, only connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, and pitch black at night. On Sunday, we met her brother, Andy, and his wife, Tina. They drove up from New York City, and it was a one-year reprise, to the day, of when they came to see me in Pt. Abino, on my Lake Erie trip. We stayed a couple of nights in Clayton, a small town on the river, at the Calumet Motel and Decoy Shop.

Tina, Andy and Ruth

On the river.

This is a great location from which to explore what’s known as the Thousand Islands. There are actually 1864 islands in the river, and almost all of them are privately owned. Several companies offer boat tours of the river, and we took a two-hour cruise on a pontoon boat from Clayton to Rock Island. Now a state park, it has a beautifully restored lighthouse and keeper’s house. Along the way, we saw homes ranging from humble to huge, on islands big and small. The river was filled freighters, fishing boats, float planes, yachts and jetskies. Our tour guide kept telling us how lucky we were to have such a rare calm day. Oh well…

Rock Island Light

Rock Island Light

View from above

View from above

 

After the tour from Clayton, we drove farther downriver to Alexandria Bay, and hopped on a short ferry to Heart Island, home to the ill-fated Boldt Castle. In 1900, George Boldt, general manager of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York and the manager of the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, commissioned what was designed to be one of the largest homes in the country. Four years into construction of the six-story castle, as well as four other masonry buildings on the island and a massive boathouse on a nearby island, Boldt’s wife, Louise, suddenly died, and he immediately stopped construction. For more than 70 years the project crumbled. In 1977, the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority acquired Bolt’s islands for $1, with the stipulation that proceeds from visitors go toward restoration of the grounds and buildings. Initially, the concept was to restore the project to the point at which Boldt quit building. The site has since become a major attraction for tourists from both sides of the river, though, and new construction has surpassed the original, and continues.

Boldt2
Before she left Tuesday, Ruth and I visited the Clayton Antique Boat Museum. They have a large collection of glossy runabouts, racers and yachts of the rich and famous.

SmallBoats

But there’s also a variety of canoes, small rowboats and day sailors, and an exhibit featuring small boats that have carried intrepid sailors on some amazing long-distance trips, some dating back more than 100 years. Hard to understand why anyone would want to take a trip like that…

OpenWater

Just Passing Through

Author: Stephen
Shotgun Wedding

Shotgun Wedding

Mylar balloons are among the flotsam along the shore of Lake Ontario.

 

Sunset Paddle

Sunset Paddle

 

Embryonic Mylar

Embryonic Mylar

In my travels around the Great Lakes, I had yet to encounter this: an embryonic Mylar balloon. I can only imagine the profound statements that it will make.

 

Bee Here Now

Bee Here Now

This guy was floundering upside down in the lake. I lifted him aboard with my paddle, and after a few minutes of preening, he buzzed off.

 

No Smoking

No Smoking

At Rochester, my favorite kind of coal plant: Decommissioned.

 

sodusbaylight

Sodus Bay Light

Tuesday, July 23, I had a beautiful paddle into Sodus Bay. I was wind bound Wednesday and camped in the Krenzer Marine boatyard on Sodus Point. In the background are the Chimney Bluff dunes.

 

Below Deck

Below Deck

My campsite at Krenzer Marine.

 

Rockin'

Rockin’

Beautiful, smooth stones have lined much of the shore so far.

 

 

 

 

 

Bathymetry map of Lake Ontario

Bathymetry map of Lake Ontario

July 14th, 2013, at 11:20 AM, Stephen launched his canoe onto Lake Ontario. During previous summers he has circumnavigated Lakes Huron, Michigan and Erie, in that order. Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes in circumference, but much deeper than Lake Erie. Water from the four other lakes flows through the Niagara River and over the Niagaran Escarpment before entering Lake Ontario, so the lake is more than 300 feet lower than Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie. From Lake Ontario, the water flows through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic Ocean.

Stephen has done a lot of paddling along the islands and ridges of the Niagaran Escarpment on Lakes Huron and Michigan.

Stephen has done a lot of paddling along the islands and ridges of the Niagaran Escarpment on Lakes Huron and Michigan.

On the beach at Four Mile Creek State Park preparing Seaweed, the canoe, for departure.

On the beach at Four Mile Creek State Park preparing Seaweed, the canoe, for departure.

Four Mile Creek State Park is only a few miles from the mouth of the Niagara River, where historic Fort Niagara is open to visitors. We spent a day as tourists before he began his summer of paddling. This building, built by the French in the early 1700’s, is the oldest building still standing in the Great Lakes area.

The French castle at Fort Niagara

The French castle at Fort Niagara

Much too soon, it was time to say goodbye. Here is a parting shot of Stephen before he paddled away to the east. Bon voyage!

Day one on Great Lake number four

Day one on Great Lake number four