Assateague Horses

Where can you go to see wild horses and enjoy a beach at the same time? One place is Assateague Island in Maryland. The following pictures were taken early morning at Assateague State Park. This park is next to the Assateague Island National Seashore where there are also wild horses.

Being friendly or true love?
Watching over the new one
The friendly one

Two out of the three mornings I was there I saw horses at sunrise on the beach. They will wander through the campgrounds at the state park and national park. They say to keep a distance away from them as they are wild and can charge. I tried to keep a distance, but the one above kept getting close to me. He was good at posing for pictures.

Go some place different and experience something you have not experienced previously. It will enrich your life.

Ghost Crabbing

What is a ghost crab? A ghost crab is a sand coloured crab that comes out at night. The Atlantic ghost crab lives on beaches that are not crowded along most of the Atlantic coast. A fun activity while visiting Assateague Island is Ghost crabbing.

I followed this group on Assateague Island at the State Park. The beaches at the state park for campers are great places to find the Ghost Crab as they are not crowded during the day. If you are in Assateague head to the beach at night and see if you can catch these quick crustaceans.

When to Find Them

Since ghost crabs burrow in the sand during the day and emerge at night, the best time to try to catch them is after it gets dark. They say the younger ones burrow closer to the ocean while the older ones burrow farther away.

What To Bring

Bring a net as these crabs can scurry quickly. Also bring a flashlight, but a headlamp as this girl is wearing makes it easier to catch them because you then have two hands free.

How to Catch Them

When you shine a flashlight on the ghost crab if freezes momentarily. Then it scurries away. The best time to try to catch them is when they freeze.

Catch and Release

When you are finished, release the crabs. I understand people do not eat these. No ghost crabs were harmed in this activity.

The next morning I saw many remains of ghost crabs next to the water. There are birds that like to catch them and eat them when the sun starts to rise.

Get out and enjoy nature! Expand your knowledge and have fun while you do.

Kayaking in Saratoga

This trip was killing two birds with one stone. I needed to go to this location to get a part for a roof rack. It has been hard to get every part I needed since the start of COVID. I have been hearing there is a worldwide metal shortage and of course many companies do not have all their workers back so production is slow. I went to Mountainman’s Saratoga kayaking location to get the last part and have it installed. I wanted to find a place in the area to kayak after I made that long trek and low and behold there was a kayak launch on the same grounds as Mountainman.

Location

This kayak launch is owned by Kayak Shak. My understanding is they own the property the other neighbouring businesses on the water are on. The address is 251 County Route 67 (or Stafford Bridge Road) Saratoga Springs, NY. You can get there without going the town of Saratoga. The way my GPS sent me was through a rural area. The cost for someone with their own kayak was $10. If you are renting a single kayak or paddle board (SUP) the coast is $25 dollars for three hours. They have another deal for renting for a longer period of time. They do not allow dogs, so leave them at home. This business advertises they have paddle board (SUP) yoga on Saturday mornings.

It is two miles I was told to Saratoga Lake from this boat launch. I believe they said you could paddle up the creek in the opposite direction 5 miles. I decided to go to Saratoga Lake.

On Saratoga Lake despite houses along it the water seems to be very clean. You can see a good distance to the bottom.

I did not take many pictures on my trip out to the lake. The sky got dark and my goal was to get to the next bridge, close to the lake before the storm came through. I made it under the bridge justo in time and hung out there until it was over with some fishermen.

Heading back towards where I started- about 2 miles away.
dHeading back from the lake into Fish Creek. That is the bridge I hid under on my trip out.
A tour boat that must have originated on Saratoga Lake. It came up Fish Creek a little ways then turned back.

There are some marinas in different spots. One marina has a campground with RVs/campers viewable from the water.

Wildlife

Since a lot of the land on one side is marshy and not developed you can observe gulls, geese and Great Blue Herons along the way. As always do not get too close. I have a long lens and crop the photos quite a bit.

There were several Great Blue Herons in the area.
Seagull observing the heron’s fishing technique.
Wearing an ankle bracelet? Was this Canadian Goose being monitored for offences? During COVID he is here illegally. The border is still closed.
Almost back.
Those who rent their boat get to take off from this beach.
If you bring your own you have to paddle to the end of the boats and go around them. Basically you are going under the bridge.
Heading back behind the boats.
Where those who own their boat can take their kayak out of the water.
I have seen Adirondack chairs painted many different solid colours. I like this multi-coloured one. It goes well with the kayak and SUP colours.
Where those who own their own boat pay $10 to launch or those who want to rent go to get their gear for a few hours.
You may need to reserve in advance. They do get a lot of people renting kayaks at this location.
Harvest and Hearth Wood Fired Artisan Pizza.
Gluten free pizza made with cauliflower crust from Harvest and Hearth Wood Fired Artisan Pizza.

After my trip it was dinner time. I decided to look at the menu of the pizza place on the same grounds as the boat launch, Harvest and Hearth Wood Fired Artisian Pizza, and they indeed had gluten free options. Any pizza on their menu can be ordered with a gluten-free (cauliflower) crust. I ordered the Epiphany. This pizza had kalamata olives, fire roasted peppers, red onions, organic rosemary, mozzarella and goat cheese. If you are lactose intolerant you may need to ask if it can be made with just the goat cheese. It was very delicious! Their hours are Tuesday- Saturday 4:30-9. To learn more about this pizza place go to the link for it down at the bottom.

During the week in the afternoon there were not many boats or jets skis out until you got close to the lake. Most of my trip I saw fellow kayakers and those on paddleboards.

I like this location for several reasons. Firstly, what is available on the grounds is convenient. You have a shop that sells paddling supplies, a pizza place, the boat launch, restrooms, and a park. If you have friends who want to go but don’t have their own kayak, they can rent. Also you can go two directions. So it makes for two different trip choices. In addition, the chance to view wildlife is always a plus to me. During the week it is fairly quiet with few motorboats. The short of it is I would return to this location.

Get out and experience nature. Get some exercise along the way. It will help you maintain your health.

Mountainman Outdoor Supply is the largest dealer in paddlesports in New York State from what I understand. https://www.mountainmanoutdoors.com/store-locations.html

To learn more about the wood fired pizza: https://www.harvestandhearth.com

To reserve a kayak or SUP at Kayak Shak: https://www.kayakshak.com/?utm_source=Saratoga.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=microsite&utm_campaign=Saratoga.com

Lake Wononscopomuc

What is the deepest lake in the state of Connecticut? It’s Lake Wononscopomuc (also known as Lakeville Lake). It reaches a depth of 102 feet. In a Native American Language it is said to mean something approximating “a marshy area at the bend of a lake”. This is one lake I kayaked recently. It is one I highly recommend.

As the sign says no alcohol or dogs. This is the town park.
Location

This 348 acre lake is located in the Lakeville section of Salisbury, Connecticut. It is in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. You can get there by taking Route 44 east from Millerton N.Y. or west from Norfolk, Ct. From Route 44 you take route 41 south for .1 mile and turn right onto Ethan Allen Street. Follow it to the town park and boat launch.

Fees

Residents get free access. All I did was kayak, so the charge was $10. It was a really nice town park. Since this is the only public access the fee was worth it to me.

Park Amenities

This park covers a lot of land with a beach, wooded area with picnic tables and outdoor grills, a children’s playground, dressing rooms, toilets, boat rentals, and a concession stand, besides the boat launch.

This park rents sailboats, kayaks, etc.

This lake is surrounded mostly by private residences with large lots. Most of the houses are set far back from the shore.

A very hazy day. I had some nice sailboat pictures, but it turns out all of them appeared to be occupied by kids. I don’t want to show images of kids up close unless it is a more public event like a parade. You can see the some of the town park behind this sailboat.

It was very hazy the day I went. It was supposed to be sunny all day, but the air smelled of smoke and I heard it was from the wildfires out west.

Wildlife

I heard an eagle could be seen along this lake. I looked for a nest, but did not see one. Instead I saw multiple great blue herons, ducks, and even what appeared to be a green heron.

I believe this is a green heron. It is much smaller than a great blue heron.
Lake Traffic

I did not see a motorboat or jet ski. I saw conflicting information online on wether they were allowed. I did see multiple sailboats and kayakers. The sailboats were operated by children who appeared to be teen or pre-teen in age. I traveled around the lake close to the shore, so I got the full distance.

I enjoyed this lake for many reasons. For one it was a quiet trip. In addition, I was able to view wildlife. It was the first time I saw a green heron. The parking lot and boat launch were nice as well. I would not mind returning to this lake in the future as it has other nice amenities I did not taken advantage of. Also there are some restaurants in Lakeville very close to the town park.

Get out and enjoy nature. You may experience something new.

Pet Mural

How do you make you business eye catching? One way is by painting a mural related to your business on your building. I found this on the way to meet someone. This is a pet dare care/ hotel. Most of the images are dogs, so I am guessing that is what most of their clients are. This is in Connecticut.

Look around you as you are travelling through life. You never know what you may spot.

Coxsackie Owls

A town in Connecticut has dogs, Saugerties, N.Y. has butterflies, but what do they have in Coxsackie, NY? Owls! Owls are on display in town and will be auctioned off in late September to benefit local charities.

It goes to reason that Coxsackie would choose owls for a fund raiser. The town name originates with Native Americans. The area was originally inhabited by the Mohicans(Mahicans), part of the Algonquin nation. Original meaning of the town name was said to relate to owls. Two possible translations of Coxsackie in its previous spellings were “Hoot of the Owl” and “Place of the Owls.”

I like the way they had signs for each of the owls with the name, artist, and sponsor on it.
Location

Where can you find these owls? There appears to be someone 9W and I found some along different parts of Mansion Street and on other streets in the waterfront area. Mansion Street in Coxsackie along with 9W appear to be the main business streets. Although I would try to pick up a map locally to try to locate them all. There are many more than the ones I pictured.

If you are traveling along the NYS Thruway and want to break to stretch your legs and get a bite, pull off on Exit 21B. Punch in under intersections Mansion Street and 9W on your GPS. That should get you there. There are many owls around Coxsackie. Go out and have a peek. If you like one, bid on it. It supports local causes. Get out and enjoy your surroundings!

For more information:

http://www.coxsackieowls.com

Or their Facebook page: What a Hoot by search or:

https://www.facebook.com/HootoftheOwl

Moose Pond

Shhhhh! Want to know a secret? There is a pond that only locals seem to know about. It is north of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake but between them. It has loons and free primitive campsites. It also has a couple of beaches. I highly recommend visiting Moose Pond.

Location

Moose Pond is north east of Saranac Lake and northwest of Lake Placid in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. It borders forest preserve and the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness area. If you go on State Route 3 from Saranac Lake, NY you turn onto River Road in Bloomingdale.

From River Road you turn right onto Moose Pond Road. This sign is on River Road at the intersection of Moose Pond Road. You travel down Moose Pond Road a ways. It turns from a paved road into a dirt/stone road. It ends at the parking lot for Moose Pond. Near the parking lot are bathrooms. I did not check them out, so they may be outhouse style.

This is the beach you launch from. I used a carrier to wheel my kayak from the parking lot to the beach. It is a nice little beach to launch from.

I did look to see if Grass Pond Outlet was able to be paddled from Moose Pond. Trees were down near the entrance to the outlet on Moose Pond, so it was a no go. Grass Pond Outlet leads from Grass Pond to Moose Pond.

A beach on the other side of the lake.

Locals were swimming at the boat launch beach and some recommended paddling to this beach for a swim.

As you can see there are some nice mountain views from this pond.
The mountain in the distance appears to have a fire tower or building on it. I am guessing that is Whiteface Mountain. I am not seeing other mountains on the map around it with structures listed on top.
Wildlife

I did see at least one loon on this pond. That is always a good sign. I did not see anything else. I could not get a good shot of the loon because I was facing the light early evening.

Camping

This pond has free primitive campsites in different locations accessible by boat and in some cases by trail. There is a trail from State Route 3 that goes to some of the campsites and ends up in the parking lot next to the boat launch. I did not see any motor boats on this pond. I was the only kayaker at the time.

I like this pond. There were people there. Most if not all seemed to be locals. I did not see anyone at the campsites, although the woods was thick and I did not see the actual sites from the lake. I am guessing some were occupied. I would definitely want to return to this spot again in the future.

Bring water and food with you and of course a map. This pond is covered by the Adirondack Paddler’s Map North. This map is waterproof in that you can get it wet with no effect as far as my experience has been. It is available at most local bookshops and outdoor stores. Get out and enjoy nature and stay safe!

Hoel Pond

Another pond with access to other bodies of water and free primitive campsites along it is Hoel Pond. Hoel Pond is another large pond with some nice views of neighbouring mountains. This is one pond I recommend you travel to with a friend.

Location

Hoel Pond is in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. It is north of Follensby Clear Pond and southwest of Lake Clear and Upper St. Regis Lake.

This sign is small and back from the road a little. It is easy to miss.
How to Get There

From State Route 30 you take Floodwood Road west until you reach Hoel Pond Road. Turn onto Hoel Pond Road and right after you pass the golf course, on the left side of the road turn left. There is a dirt road there that looks like it is part of the gold course, but it is not. It has the little sign pictured above, but it is easy to miss. If you miss the road on the left and continue on Hoel Road it then becomes a private road. You will know you went too far as you are in an area with houses and it is passed the golf course and into a wooded area. The dirt road winds down to an area near the pond that has parking spots and some primitive campsites.

Boat Launch
I recommend you go with another person because of the steepness of the steps leading to the boat launch and the canoe carry to Turtle Pond.

This was a tough launch for me by myself. I think it would be much easier for two people to carry a canoe or kayak down these steep steps. This was the reason I recommend going with another person. There is a small sandy beach area below these steps to launch your kayak from. Motor boats owners can not launch from the state boat launch.

It was a very windy day and once I kayaked across to the point then hugged the land is was a much smoother paddle.

Turtle Pond

This sign at the other end of the Hoel pond marks the canoe carry to Turtle Pond. It is a narrow path up to the site of an old train tracks and back down to the other pond.

Because the carry down to Turtle Pond was steep I did not feel comfortable carrying the kayak down this hill.

When you cross over the hill to Turtle Pond you enter the St. Regis Canoe Wilderness.

Turtle Pond. From here you can paddle to Slang Pond. From Slang Pond there is a canoe carry to Long Pond. Again from this point you are in the St. Regis Canoe Wilderness.
Looking at Hoel Pond from the Turtle Pond side.

There is a culvert pipe under the railroad tracks leading to Turtle Pond. It appears to go slightly downhill. It is a small pipe and the water level is low in the pipe. You should not try to kayak through it. On the Turtle Pond side the water level is about a one foot drop from the pipe. Some kayakers say they were able to send their boats through the pipe on their own to Turtle Pond. I think you should have two people for this with one waiting on the Turtle Pond side to catch it. Otherwise you run the risk of it drifting into the pond or being damaged from the drop off.

Picnic

I always recommend bringing plenty of water and food with you on long trips. I stopped to eat lunch on the other side of the pond where the canoe carry was. I bring an insulated lunch bag with ice packs inside tied to my kayak but accessible. On that day I ate a veggie wrap from Nori’s on Church Street in Saranac Lake. I took it along with me to enjoy. This was my second kayak trip of the day. I started with Mirror Lake earlier in the morning.

Veggie Wrap from Nori’s in Saranac Lake.
That may be St. Regis Mountain with the fire tower on top.
The weather improved a bit on the return trip.
Looking towards the east side of the pond with privately owned land. I did not see a motor boat on this body of water, but I understand only those who own private properties can have a motor boat. It is not possible to launch a motor boat from the state boat launch.
Camping
This was a group of young women from Gordon College in Massachusetts. They were doing an orientation/ experience for their college that involved two weeks of canoeing and camping in the Adirondacks. They were staying that night at one of the free wilderness primitive campsites.

There are free primitive campsites along most of the lake on land that is forest preserve. Many sites are only accessible by walking or by boat. There are additional free campsites along Turtle, Slang and Long Pond. These campsites are first come first served. Usually you can only stay three days and after that you would have to get a ranger’s permission to stay longer.

This was a nice pond with nice views of the neighbouring mountains. However, because of the boat launch and canoe carry conditions, I recommend you do not do this alone, but with another person. Safety first. Get out and enjoy nature!

Lake Flower

What lake can you access right in the town of Saranac Lake? This lake is connected to other bodies of water and has some really scenic views of the neighbouring mountains? It is Lake Flower. I highly recommend a paddle trip on this lake.

Solo kayaker
Some parts of the lake are narrower than other parts.

This lake allows motor boats. It has a marina or two near the start of this trip. However, this lake is so big I think I only saw one or two other motor boats on this 80 degree day. I saw maybe 3-4 kayakers on this trip.

There were a lot of markers on this section. I am assuming it was a shallow area with rocks sticking up. I did not paddle as far as I wanted to on this lake as another afternoon storm was approaching. I had hiked a mountain in the morning before it got hot. It seems there is less a chance of thunderstorms in the morning.

I made it as far as Oseetah Lake but I stopped taking pictures due to thunder. From Oseetah Lake you can paddle into Kiwasssa Lake I am told. I also was told you get get to Lower Saranac also by starting at Lake Flower. That is something for me to explore on another trip.

There did not appear to be a good area to stop to eat on this trip. I suggest taking food and drink with you in the section of the kayak you sit in and not a hatch for that reason. I took a lunch bag with ice packs in it to the kayak for easy accessibility. A lot of land up to Oseetah Lake is privately owned or not very accessible to pull over to take a break..

There appear to be no public campsites on Lake Flower, however there is one lean-to on Kiwassa Lake.

Dockside Ice Cream Stand

Mountain Mist Ice Cream can be visited by either pulling up and parking at their dock behind the ice cream stand or by pulling into the parking lot on Route .. They also have a boat ramp next to the dock and a covered area to sit under. This is close to the start. It is a good stop by water or land on the return.

Boat Launch

This is the boat launch you start off at. It is a two bay boat launch. They have a parking area to the right of this photo and bathrooms in the building directly behind the boat launch. There is someone on duty to check your boat to make sure you do not bring invasive plants from one body of water to another.

I really enjoyed the scenery. I would do this paddle again. I did see one loon where Lake Flower meets Oseetah Lake. That is always a plus in my mind. If you want a long trip or a short one with the possibility of an ice cream reward at the end, go to Lake Flower. It is stunning.

Loon Lake

There is more than one Loon Lake in New York. One is north of the Saranac Lake/ Lake Placid area, but does not have public access. The second Loon Lake, which I visited, is in Warren County northwest of Lake George and it has public access.

How to Get There

You can get to Loon Lake by taking 87, the Adirondack Northway north from Lake George. Take the exit for Chestertown/Highway 8. Travel west past Chestertown. There are two access points on the southern end of the lake. The first one charges a fee, but it also has a free boat wash you can use without paying to put your kayak in. The second location is very closeby. This location is a town recreation area with a beach and parking right along highway 8.

This is the boat launch that charges a fee.

Loon Lake is 525 acres in size. The length of the shoreline is just under 12 miles. It has many houses on the southern end. I was told many of these are summer homes or rentals. The majority of houses have dock and motorboats.

There was more activity on this lake than I am used to, but I will say the boaters kept a safe distance from this kayaker. People were very friendly on and off the lake.

I could hear thunder the entire time I was on the lake, so I may have done less than half the lake. The thunder was in the distance, but always think of safety first.
The dogs seemed to enjoy riding on a stand up paddleboard.
This man zoned back and forth on the lake on a hoverboard.
Arriving back at the beach. The beach is next to highway 8. The parking is right next to the road.

Overall I would say this is a nice place to paddle. It is not as busy as Lake George, but you are not totally isolated. There are also several other lakes within a short drive of this lake. If you want to paddle a lake in an areas with a friendly, small town feel go to Loon Lake in Warren County, New York. It is another great Adirondack paddle.