Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rain didn't keep these kayakers in Ithaca, NY, from spreading the 350 word.
Worldwide Day, 10/24/09
Photo by John Finn

Monday, October 12, 2009


Ken, Mary and a visiting friend from Germany could be found this past weekend watching bald eagles near the intersection of the Seneca River and the north end of Cayuga Lake.
Louise found the most beautiful and remote section of the Oswego River was the section from Three Rivers put in to Phoenix and beyond.
There's a little lock there which is fun to pass through and a riverside cafe with great food and friendly owner, the State St. Cafe.
Next door is the by now newly completed Lost World Museum featuring the only known preserved specimen of the legendary chupacabra. Most people think it's a myth. With the owner's compelling evidence and photos it's hard to imagine it's anything but real.
Paddling on the rivers is easy this time of year. Almost no boat traffic and any wind out there is buffered by forests and dense woods.
With the changing of the leaves it's an ideal destination for a great autumn day trip.
If you're lucky you'll see the charming old black and white tugboat steam past, an eye catching contrast to the golds, oranges and yellows of the leaves across the river.
For an even longer distance and more river beauty press on northward to Walter Island. It's all there in the DeLorme gazetteer
The best part of quiet river travel? The scenery is ever-changing and always beautiful.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Paddling With Sailors

The sky has cleared.
Morning shows the lake
bright and calm.
The boats are put on the water.
Three carry two long oars.
Three others carry double bladed paddles.
One more paddles in from the north.
A course is set. We attempt to follow
the faster boats from Myers Pt.
crossing to the light at Crowbar Pt.
Then down the lake turning round the red pillar
at the lighthouse near Stewart Park. Here cormorants
atop the pillar watch the turn up the lake toward
Portland Pt. and Myers Park. It is this leg
that reminds me of the sea. The birds,
and those at the oars are sailors.
Into the wind among the waves listening
to the whitecaps we are all sailors
tracing a line in nature on the water
and along the shore.

Lighthouse to Lighthouse Tour
j. hale

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Taughannock Moon
September Moon 2009

Moonrise on Cayuga's waters.
After a few moments, colors
ripple, flow and scallop moving
along the surface gliding
as we do on the twilight.

Darkness around Taughannock Point.
Careful dip the paddle, feel
the rise and fall of the boat.
The darkness requires a relaxed,
patient, attention like the point light
as it winks its red eye on and off
with steady intervals of wakefulness.

FULL CORN MOON PADDLE w/beach fire and s'mores

Paul wears the moon like a cap.
Kayaking toward the big orange globe rising over the hillside, with John and Heidi, Paul and our lovely guests from Michigan, Terry and Glen (sportin' his beautiful Greenland strip kayak). What was that designer's name again?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

NEW BOOK RE: Canoeing and kayaking in NYS hits the market!

My name is Kevin Stiegelmaier and am the author of "Canoeing and Kayaking New York," paddling guidebook to the rivers of NYS. My book just hit the stores about 3 months ago and I'm contacting clubs in the area that might be interested in learning more about it.

The book covers rivers and streams in NY. I included quite a few trips in your general area. There is also an appendix in the back that lists paddling clubs in the state, including yours.

If you are interested, I can email a digital copy of the book. I've been traveling most of the summer giving talks/slide shows about the book at club meetings, paddling outfitters, etc. I have several book signings upcoming as well. I'd be more than happy to come speak to your group as well. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like more information. You can also check out my blog at

I look forward to hearing from you!
Kevin Stiegelmaier
(Ed. note: Yeah. You just want an excuse to paddle up here again!)

Friday, July 31, 2009


Thanks for your inquiry, Mary Ellen.
Please provide your email address in your next Comment and we'll send you more info about paddling here in these parts.
I'll give you a brief overview here.
In a nutshell all the Finger Lakes are awesome for paddling. You'll find the put ins in a NYS gazetteer published by DeLorme, found at bookstores. Look for the little boat launch symbol.
Our second favorite resource is a little volume called Take A Paddle, available here in Ithaca at Puddledockers Kayak Shop. They'll be glad to give you a suggestion or two, as well.
The prettiest and most unusual of all the Finger Lakes is Hemlock. Be sure to stop in at the kiosk for your day permit if you decide to paddle there. There's only one boat launch so it's easy to find in the DeLorme.
It's a clean water reservoir for Rochester, no swimming allowed. It's free of cottages and feels like it's in the Adirondacks. Eagles are occasionally seen at the southern end.
We also like Skaneateles, a pretty little town. Put in on the north/west side, paddle into the village for a great lunch (Doug's Fish Fry is a fave) then head down the East shore for more distance. The cottages are lovely.
Where you choose to paddle depends on your skill level and desires. Flat, calm waters are found in the Inlets and small lakes (Dryden, Waneta, Lamoka). The open water on the lakes can stir up quickly with heavy winds out of the North and South. Many people stick to the shoreline but in heavy wind this can be a problem. The shallower it is the higher the waves can stack up, when the 3 footers push down the lakes. Of course there's nothing quite like surfing downwind on 3' waves.
Hope this helps.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


When the water temperature begins to drop it's not only prudent but essential to be dressed for immersion, you just never know when it's going to happen.
Suggested minimal gear for the inevitable change of seasons:
1. Farmer John or Jane neoprene suit. Neoprene is considered good for water temps of 50F and above.
2. Dry top with rubber neck and wrist gaskets, seals out the water. Splash tops are not recommended for immersion in 50F water. (Ask someone who's been there.)
3. Neoprene booties.
4. Wicking long johns and top, medium weight. Cotton kills, stick to tech fabric.
As we recognize from frequent recent events the wind can kick up very quickly on our lake. When it barrels down from the north it packs a whollop by the time it reaches the southern end. The waves stack up due to the shallow depths. And it's almost always a cold wind.
For more information check out two links below in the left side bar. Cold Water Boot Camp and Atlantic Kayak Tours (go to the Experts Index, then safety and cold water kayaking).
Let's stay safe out there, friends.

Monday, June 1, 2009


by Don R.

This past Sunday morning at 11 am, Brian, Louise and I put in at Treman State Park Marina with north winds picking up as the morning progressed. Winds were light at first with strong gusts that came and went as we worked our way up the lake. Sunny skies and 60 some degrees and quite cold water, around 50F. As we started into the lake we could hear the sweet sounds of Reggae music wafting from Stewart Park and the Ithaca Festival and imagined the smooth moves of Dusk and some babe on the dance floor in the grass...or was the grass in Dusk?

We paddled into increasing head winds to the Ithaca Yacht Club about 3 miles or so on the west side of the lake. Nearing the YC white caps began crashing over our bows but sunshine and paddle jackets kept us warm. After about 15 minutes stopping near the YC docks for water and snacks, we turned south and rode the waves back toward Ithaca. With the waves and winds increasing, we spread out along the west shore riding various directions as the waves took us surfing downwind. Sail boats in sight were taking down their sails as the winds and white caps increased. We surfed along with the waves, bracing as our bows would come completely out of the water on the down slope of the waves and the wave crests broke over the tops of our boats and cockpits and the cold water splashed over our kayaks.

The three of us chatted together for a minute or two and decided to head into the center of the lake so we could slide toward the channel toward the Inlet about 1-2 miles ahead. I suggested we stay closer to each other as we would be taking the white caps on our broad side (I was feeling a little jumpy in these cold waters and waves). Within about 5 minutes of heading across to the lakes' center, I took a larger wave on the broad side and attempted to brace with my paddle, knees inside the thigh braces. Almost immediately a painful muscle spasm in the lower calf caused an abrupt lapse of concentration and within seconds the kayak was rolling with the wave and I was capsized into the 50 degree water.

Louise arrived within a minute or two and pulled along the windward side of my bobbing kayak with me holding onto the side and holding onto my Indiana Jones hat...brrr...and trying to rub the muscle spasm out of my lower leg. Louise (Antarctic kayak guide, thank you!) was calm and steady when Brian rafted up with her upwind from my boat which had filled with water. The capsized kayak was righted but was still half full of cold water. I assumed we'd pull it with me kicking to shore about 1/4 mile away and empty the boat there. With the strong winds and waves, Louise wisely instructed the wounded warrior to me to get into my boat asap and out of the cold water, with the two of them talking me coaching me. She assured me I'd lose way more body heat swimming than getting back in my boat. We'd take care of pumping out afterwards.

After several attempts while legs, hands and other body parts (PG version of shrinkage!) were aching with cold, this soaking paddler lunged onto the wooden kayak like a cold blue whale while holding onto Brian's and Louise's rafting kayaks with the waves pounding against their broad sides and rolling over all three boats. With boots filled with water, PFD soaking wet and all clothing soaked to the bone, I flopped on my stomach onto the stern of the boat as instructed. (It took some cold thinking to remember the stern from the bow at this point but proved that even cold logic worked.) After sliding into the cockpit, corkscrewing into the water in the seat, we continued to raft together while the half-filled kayak bobbed and rolled in the waves. After pumping the cockpit while grasping onto the floating raft and taking turns on the pump, the kayak was more maneuverable with the water down to a manageable level.
With two more miles to go to the end of the lake and our cars, we decided to head with the waves together rather than try to cross the lake into the side bashing of the rollers. After another 30+ minutes of surfing in the waves, and wind at our backs, we headed into a small creek in a swampy, wild, thistle-filled shoreline within sight of the marina. We then carried two boats at a time to head through the shoulder high grass, logs, swamp and thistles to find our cars.

With bruised ego, and very cold feet and fingers, I tied my boat on in the (35 mph?) winds and looked up the lake to see the most turbulent white caps rolling along the length of the lake. Once in the car, heated seats and heater at full blast helped the soggy kayaker heading for home.
Lessons learned: Paddle with smart and strong paddlers especially in wild winds, waves and very cold water! Listen to Louise even when she sounds overly cautious, she knows of what she speaks!
Welcome back to Ithaca! Be careful out there friends!
For more information about how to be prepared for cold water immersion check out two links in the left side bar below. Cold Water Boot Camp and Atlantic Kayak Tours (you'll find it in the the Experts Index under safety and cold water paddling).

Saturday, April 11, 2009


As with any new club we're still going through growing pains. We understand some paddlers are intimidated by the use of the blog, the safety protocol or other aspects of the initial structure of the club. This is the last thing we want! We don't wish to exclude anyone from kayaking in our group. Instead we wish to include everyone by fostering an atmosphere of paddling fun, a learning environment for those wishing to improve their skills and some really fun trips in wonderful places.
Please be patient while we work out the kinks. We might be headed in new directions together!
Meanwhile, if you wish to check out our gallery of past kayaking fun times or to enlist in the list serve please see the left side bar.
In our first season, 2008, IKC members created, generated and accomplished the following:
A lovely outing near the Inlet to view the 4th of July fireworks.
Many kayak outings on Cayuga Lake and others nearby, including Lamoka/Waneta, Dryden, Skaneateles, Otisco and Owasco.
Two kayak camping trips: one to the Salmon River Reservoir and one to the Thousand Islands.
Our first annual Loon Count for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Saranac Lake.
Education included: a USCG talk about safety protocol for all boaters plus wet exit and self-rescue technique classes.
Stay tuned for more on the agenda for the coming season!