Good morning America! Looking east from Vermont the sun rises over New Hampshire’s “Presidential Range”.
June 24, 2014
By Julia Bayly, Bangor Daily News Staff
FORT KENT, Maine — Six days into his 38-day, 740-mile canoe trip up the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Eric McIntyre, alone on a New York river, came close to calling it quits. But on Saturday, McIntyre paddled into the trail’s terminus at the Fort Kent boat landing where he celebrated the end of his epic journey, and, it turns out, his 21st birthday.
“Wow, I can’t believe it’s done,” he said, grinning ear to ear as he hugged his mother, Laurie McIntyre, and his father, Kim McIntyre, who had driven up from Flemington, New Jersey, to meet him. “It was worth it [and] I’d do it again, definitely.”
Missing from the reunion was his twin brother, Benjamin, who could not leave work in Nashville, and an older brother, Ian.
McIntyre’s trip began on May 14 when he took off from Old Forge, New York, in his 15-foot Daggar Legend canoe. From there he paddled, poled and portaged his way north and east through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, a small section of Canada and finally into Maine.
The trail, completed in 2006, passes through 22 rivers and streams, 56 lakes and ponds, 45 communities and three national wildlife refuges and includes 55 miles of portages over 62 carries.
According to its website, 62 people have “through paddled” the entire Northern Forest Canoe Trail, often referred to as the aquatic version of the Appalachian Trail, between 2006 and 2013.
“My original thought was to do this 40-day, solo trip,” he said. “But then I realized 40 days on my own was going to be sort of lonely.”
So McIntyre enlisted two friends — Laura Stasi from New Jersey and Kristen Gregory from Maryland — who spent three and 10 days, respectively, padding with him early in the adventure.
“For the other 24 days, I was alone,” McIntyre said, adding it was due in large part to Gregory he did not quit altogether hundreds of miles to the south.
“On Day Six I was on the Saranac River in New York and it was my third day alone and I started thinking, ‘What am I doing out here?’” he said. “So I pulled off and called Kristen and told her I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it.”
Gregory, who had just solo through-hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, was able to provide McIntyre with the advice that became the mantra for his trip.
“She told me, ‘Maine is impossible, but tomorrow isn’t,’” he said.
In other words, take it one step at a time and don’t look at the big picture.
“So that’s what I did,” McIntyre said. “I dealt with it one day at a time and if you do that, eventually you find yourself in Maine and then here you are in Fort Kent.”
Even with that, there were other times he questioned his decision embark on the trip.
“Yeah, there were times it was hard when you are wheeling the canoe up over rocks and rutted out trails that are muddy at 6 at night and you wish you did not have another 2 miles to go with the clouds of mosquitos around you,” he said. “But then you get to that next pond and look back and see the sun setting and you feel really successful.”
Early on, the route passes through towns and populated regions, McIntyre said, and he was able to purchase food and snacks to supplement the 30 pounds of food he had packed — much of it dehydrated meals prepared by his friend Gregory.
Meals included venison stew, clam chowder and a curry rice dish with sun-dried tomatoes.
“Eating on the river is not that hard if you do it right,” he said with a laugh.
In New Hampshire, friends Ray and Hildy Danforth met up with him with a box of cookies and invitation to shower at their house.
Once in northern Maine, McIntyre discovered two friends who were a week or so ahead of him on the canoe route had left a care package of beef jerky and gifts at the Churchill Dam ranger station.
“That is my only regret on this whole trip,” he said. “I was so excited to get that package I only realized a mile downriver I had not thanked the ranger named Josh at Churchill for hanging on to it for me.’”
His friends and parents were able to follow McIntyre’s adventures online thanks to a GPS tracking unit that sent out hourly updates on his location.
“That is how I have been surviving,” mother Laurie McIntyre said as she waited for her son on the banks of the St. John River on Saturday morning. “Every hour we knew where he was.”
Laurie McIntyre remembered initially thinking her son was “nuts” when he broached the idea of the canoe trek, but quickly realized it was a good choice.
“He definitely loves the wilderness and the simplicity of nature,” she said.
McIntyre received a great deal of financial and logistical support from St. Lawrence University, where he is a conservation biology major.
He received a grant through the school’s Tanner Fellowship, gear from the campus outing club and additional support from the school’s outing program.
This coming year he plans to write a book about the adventure as part of an independent study for publication.
But for the immediate future he was looking forward to an ice cream birthday cake with family and not having to ration his food.
“Hey look,” he said as he unpacked his canoe in Fort Kent. “I did not eat my emergency, everything-went-wrong hot cocoa, so now I can have it for lunch.”
June 23, 2014
This love affair begins about a year ago. While at work one morning on my 9,000 ton 16,000 horsepower freight train, our dynamic brakes in full braking effort descending a ten mile one percent grade into Syracuse, NY. Its a glorious morning peering out my conductors window and what do I spy, an Old Town Pack canoe atop a small shed tucked into the backyard of a secluded home in Onatavia, NY. I’m a huge fan of Old Town canoes, especially the “Pack”. Its a light weight solo canoe with great versatility and I see an opportunity.
Over the course of about a year, I’d routinely pass by this canoe wondering what stories it had to tell. Had it seen adventures in the Adirondack’s, New England or the Boundary Waters? Maybe it lived a quiet life paddling the many small lakes of Central New York. Recently one morning we happened to have a relatively small train. And what I mean by small is 5,500 tons. I decided we needed to stop in order for me to chat with the owner. In conversation I had asked him where he had paddled this canoe and I was correct. It had made many adventures to the Adirondack’s and he was thinking of selling it before moving to Colorado. We entered into brief negotiations and came to an acceptable agreement on price and the “Pack” was mine.
Glancing over the reviews on http://www.paddling.net I discovered many owners of this canoe had similar complaints, “The Seat was to high” and needed to be lowered. I’ll be honest, as I was uncomfortable when I first paddled it. A trip to http://www.eurekacampingctr.com in Binghamton, NY I was able to purchase a kit to lower the seat by four inches and what a difference it has made, not just in comfort but it paddling this boat.
We have been fortunate lately with some amazing weather here in Central New York. Over the last two weeks since obtaining the canoe I have had several opportunities to paddle on the Whitney Point Reservoir in the small Hamlet of Upper Lisle, NY. I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy this boat. So as I save my pennies, next spring I will be purchasing an Old Town “Penobscott” as my sons and I are planning a canoe camping trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire paddling a portion of the 740 mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail.
June 11, 2014
I fell in love with paddling in 2008 during my stint as a staff photographer at the Gannett rag “Press & Sun Bulletin” newspaper. Photographer and gentleman by the name of Chuck Haupt peaked my interest in paddling. As a matter of fact Chuck has been paddling for years, maybe even decades, quite possible for centuries “Sorry Chuck I couldn’t resist”. Over the course of these six years I have taken some great trips with friends and family. I even competed in the General Clinton Canoe Regatta (Sort of) and have met some wonderful people who to this day I still call my friend. Over the last two years I have missed paddling as I have been focused on my running. I never thought I would love running as much as I do but I just cannot help it. The running community is just awesome! So many people with the hugest of hearts and the spirit..
If you take a moment to read the “About ME” section of this blog you’ll notice that I have an affection for the Adirondack’s, Vermont and New Hampshire. Some of that affection stems from childhood but a a good deal comes from paddling. I have to tell you sitting on a placid pond or lake in the White Mountains of New Hampshire watching the sunrise is nothing short of awesome. If you asked me where God was born I’d tell you in the White Mountains. The erie call of the Loon or the crashing of a Moose through the woods can really put life into perspective. Michael and Max have accompanied me and my friend Ian Clark on several of these outings. I remember one trip to Vermont in 2012, the boys were exhausted it had been a long day. Ian and I wanted to get out at sunset in hopes of photographing a moose. The boys wanted to crash at Ian’s so off we went. Sadly no moose that evening. Under the cover of darkness I’m slowly paddling as I hear faint Pft, Pft, Pft, right next to my boat. Quickly I click on my headlamp only to find a family of Otters swimming right along side of me. The Otters would hang with me for a while before returning to their own business. The boys were so jealous as Michael is an Otter fiend!
It was the summer of 2012 and we were spending time in the Adirondack town of Lake Placid, New York. 4AM and I’m quietly sneaking (Bull in a China Shop) out of our hotel room, kayak loaded, headed to Lake Placid in order to pay witness to the sunrise over 4,865′ Whiteface Mountain. In awe of what my eyes were drinking in I could hardly wait to return and explain to Julie and the boys of my experience. Fast forward to summer of 2013, Julie and Max purchased their own kayak’s filling out the families soon to be wilderness adventures. Closer to home, I enjoy making early morning trips to Skaneateles Lake in New York’s Finger Lake Region in order to watch the sunrise. Last time I went I was the only one on the lake as far as I could tell. Talk about peaceful.
Whether sunrise or sunset, New York, New England or any other place of solitude you might just find me paddling my kayak or canoe. As I take these few moments to pen my thoughts I want to give a huge shout out to my wife and sons for rekindling my passion for the paddle.
Chuck Haupt and Ian Clark are both amazing photographers. If you get a few moments visit their websites.
June 9, 2014
On June 8th I celebrated my 43rd birthday. The weather was absolutely perfect and our original plan was to travel to the Adirondack Park to kayak. Thankfully at the last minute I remembered it is still black fly season in the Adirondack’s. We quickly changed our paddling plans and decided to stay a little closer to home.
Kayaks loaded in and onto the family truxster we threaded our way 30 miles north to Smithville Flats, NY launching our boats on the 114 acre Long Pond which is nestled into the 3,250 acre Long Pond State Forest. Long Pond is 1.13 miles long with a maximum depth of 15 feet. It boasts some amazing fishing of Chain pickerel, largemouth bass and tiger musky are the main gamefish found in the pond. Black crappie, yellow perch, bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish can also be found in the pond. Long Pond is a very popular ice fishing location. Long Pond also has primitive camping sites. Several years ago my oldest son and I camped here.
Taking in the serenity of Long Pond our two sons were having the time of their life, splashing one another so much you could have wrung them like sponges. Their symphony of pirate songs echoing off the small rolling hills surrounding this treasure tucked into Chenango County. We plan on returning to Long Pond to camp and night kayak later on this summer. In closing it was a wonderful way to spend my birthday!
May 28, 2014
Originally posted on Melissa Tabeek.:
So, I have been attending some fun events and thought I’d share some of the photos. I finally have some professional equipment, and although I’m still figuring out how to use it, I’m really enjoying shooting with my stories for the first time. Also, I have a newfound appreciation for photographers shooting in low light!
I did a story for Agenda Culturel on Onomatopoeia The Music Hub, and was lucky enough to end up there on a food night. It’s a really cool space and the founders are planning to elevate support for the music community in Lebanon, as well as do some interesting projects. Below are photos from Romy’s Food Night (delicious, by the way. She learned her badass cooking from her momma).
I also attended the Light a Lantern for Lebanon event, which turned out to be really hilarious and beautiful. The goal was to release lanterns…
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May 6, 2014
May 4th 2014:
The Greater Binghamton Bridge Run half marathon/5K celebrated its four year anniversary today with the field stronger than ever. Over 2,000 runners laced up their running shoes between both events. Runners and spectators were treated to sunshine, wind and temps just a wee bit chilly to call warm for the 0730 half marathon start. I have no idea what possessed me to wear a singlet but I did. I was freezing! However shortly after I was into my first mile things improved, by the second mile or so my hips and groin were sore as all heck. I’ve been dealing with some issues and recently discovered I have a major pronation issue in my right foot. I’m in good hands with my chiropractor and hope to be healed soon enough in order to train for the New York City Marathon.
At this point in the race I have blocked the discomfort and began focusing on enjoying the atmosphere that I had been surrounded in. I really enjoyed this course quite a lot actually, it was mostly flat and fast. I was able to keep a nice pace for most of the race but around mile ten I was really feeling the discomfort. I was able to finish strong with a 1:34:25 half marathon time, there would be no PR today but considering I ran strong. Most importantly I had fun and I got to see some friends.