What a beautiful way to escape the mid-July heatwave – a week in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains with our canoe friends. The annual gathering of wooden canoe enthusiasts took place at Paul Smiths College, a beautiful wooded campus that overlooks St. Regis Lake.
So much takes place at this annual family event. We enjoyed a guided tour of White Pines Camp, a restored Adirondack Great Camp that once was the summer White House of President Calvin Coolidge. It is a magnificent rustic compound of comfort built a century ago. This photo is of a serene tea house on the camp nestled on a tiny verdant island with spectacular views of the lake and surrounding pine forest.
There are plenty of activities for kids at Assembly. Jim lead a Geocaching Adventure for the kids and they had a blast looking for the hidden caches around the campus. After learning how to set coordinates on the GPS and how to use a compass, the kids were rewarded with a treasure full of glow sticks which they used to light up the fort they had built in the woods on the hill.
A wildlife expert from the Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center led a canoe tour of Barnum Pond and the adjacent bogs filled with exotic plants such as wild orchids and pitcher plants. Loons called out with their distinctive tremolo, and we parked our canoes at the bog edge while our guide got out and jumped on the bog to show the massive form of plants and trees sway back and forth over the water it covered.
Our favorite paddle of the week was with friends across Lower St. Regis Lake to Spitfire Lake, out to Upper St. Regis Lake and then a short portage to Bog Pond and another to remote Bear Pond. A bald eagle looked down upon us from his perch in a tree before flying off over our canoes. A family of loons kept their two babies close to them and shared the lake with us as we picnicked from our canoes.
And as always, we enjoyed seminars, conversation and campfires with our canoe friends from all over the USA and Canada. Jim and Betsy took photos of the annual Paddle By and Salute which is a parade of beautiful wooden canoes. (See the full Flickr album of the Paddle By). We were all treated to a birling (log rolling) demonstration by the students taking the summer Lumberjack course. One student put on his protective metal shoes and leg guards (that looked like the tin woodsman) and chopped through a 2 ft diameter log in about 5 minutes.
Below are a few of our favorite photos from this year’s Assembly. Many more photos of the Adirondacks and events from Assembly are posted on another Flickr album (click here).
The Wooden Canoe Heritage Association is a non-profit membership organization devoted to preserving, studying, building, restoring, and using wooden and bark canoes, and to disseminating information about canoeing heritage throughout the world. To see photos from past WCHA Assemblies, click here.