Getting a Good Paddling

By Beacon Staff

There’s nothing scarier (well, canoeing-wise) than sticking $2500 worth of camera gear in a dry bag and sitting it between your feet in the bottom of a canoe.

But that’s what I did and thankfully, it survived the week unharmed.

Meanwhile, the older guys in Troop 41 spent the week overdosing on huckleberries, making a sailboat out of two canoes and more…

After putting in at Abbot Bay, we fought headwinds for two days before things eased up.

On the first night, we stopped at Fire Island, a great campspot complete with mule deer (word to the wise – hide your Cheez-Its). The guys decided to lash two of their canoes into a sailboat (see above) with posts, a mast-like post that someone conveniently left on the island, and a huge tarp that one of the guys brought. Of course, the cynical adults (including me) thought this was a pipe dream, but they wouldn’t let it die.

Monday (the second day) found us battling the wind from Fire Island to Elk Island. It was a long day, as we had to stop for an hour due to high seas. The stop was good karma, it seems, as we found the motherlode of hucks. For as far as you could see, unpicked hucks. You could sit in the middle of them and pick for 20 minutes before you had to move to another spot. Everyone got back into the canoes full of hucks and paddled the rest of the day with purple-stained hands. Mmmm. The day ended with venison steaks cooked over a fire and a twilight Viking funeral for some items we found on the shore. And some hucks.

Meanwhile, our erstwhile sailboat makers had the last laugh as they didn’t have to paddle all the way from Fire Island to Kelly Island. When they got to Kelly, the wind changed and they had to drop the sail. Yes, gloating ensued, but they earned it.

Tuesday, we paddled from Elk Island, past Lost Island and stopped on an unnamed island just below an abandoned work center far up the East side of the reservoir. We finished up the last of the hucks from the last few days and settled in to do some fishing and general goofing about.

Below, a bit more traditional floating, as the gang heads south toward Devil’s Corkscrew near the bay that Anna Creek pours into.

On Wednesday, we headed for Devil’s Corkscrew after leaving the unnamed mystery island (where amazing moonsets and big elusive fish await you). And of course, more hucks surrounding the tents. If they’re there, we may as well pick some of ’em.

Thursday started our trip back down the reservoir (to the North) as we stopped for the evening on Lost Island, where everyone enjoyed plenty of stumpball (an invented game using paddles and a rope ball) out in the middle of the bay in shallow water. After building a bridge between two of the islands just off Lost Island, much chili and fires were enjoyed before bed. Yes, more hucks.

On Friday, we headed back to Fire Island, where we donated some bread to the mule deer (not by choice) and settled in to reflect on our week. A massive spaghetti feast preceded some late fishing and another makeshift almost-Viking funeral. No hucks though. We were tired of them by then.

Saturday morning left us only a short hop with a nice tailwind as we paddled the remaining few miles from Fire Island to Abbot Bay. A great trip, highly recommended if you enjoy camping and canoeing.