Hi, Moose here! Even though I wasn't able to commit to the full trip, I was able to start the Northern Forest Canoe Trail with Teton. I planned on paddling the first five days with him before returning home. I will be taking over the NFCT blog for the first 43 miles of the NFCT and Teton will keep you posted after that!

Before heading out, we double checked the apartment for any gear left behind, forgotten to be packed away in its water sealed plastic bag, and left Portland to drive 6.5 hours to Old Forge, NY. Taking the scenic route, we were able to pass by many of the waterways that Teton would be paddling on his 740-mile journey on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. 

The NFCT begins from its western terminus in New York's 6 million acre Adirondack Park.

Old Forge, NY turned out to be a hot spot for vacationers from all over New England. We headed straight for the outfitter who would be giving our car a shuttle to Long Lake, NY, the end point of my trip. We had some time to kill while the clouds opened up to feed the waterways. Old Forge Hardware was the perfect place to explore while we waited for the rainy weather to change. 

Moose takes a candid at the famous Old Forge Hardware.

The Old Forge locals are pretty cool.

Waiting out the downpour with local beers at an Old Forge staple.

Old Forge New York marks the western terminus of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. 

First section of the NFCT is the Fulton Chain of Lakes, 8 lakes linked together via canal ways and two portages. 

The rain stopped and it was time to pack up our boats. We unloaded the gear from the car while strategically placing it on our kayaks like a puzzle so that our gear for 4 nights and 5 days of paddling would fit while still keeping the boat balanced. Teton had more gear due to his camera equipment, and with a much longer trip ahead of him, he is still figuring out the best and most efficient way to pack his belongings.

Loading up at the boat launch.

The NFCT has many check-in points where participants are encouraged to sign in for records of trail travel and, of course, safety.

The first sign-in logbook.

Teton was excited to sign his first log book. We noticed that many people had attempted to thru paddle this year, but most took off much earlier in the summer. These waterways are used for section and day trips, as well. 

After triple checking the car for any left behind paddles and compasses, we were ready to hit the water. Much planning, packing, cooking, dehydrating, and map studying led Teton to his first strokes on his thru paddle of the NFCT. This adventure will be a little different from the rest as for the majority of the trip, he will be solo. 

Ready to go! 

Moose at the western terminus of her 43 mile, 5 day paddle trip.

With a two week break between summer camp and the school year, I was able to embark on the beginning of this journey but will only spend the first 5% of the trail with Teton before driving home to prep for the incoming students. 

The launch

Teton has a few places on his boat to mount the GoPro for some dynamic and diverse photography and video. Before we take off, he sets his GoPro in one of its designated positions, turns on the SPOT and GPS and we're off!

Making the final adjustments before taking off

Headed down the populated shores into First Lake

The start of the NFCT runs through the Fulton Chain of Lakes, a series of eight lakes between Old Forge and Raquette Lake that is surrounded by the beautiful Adirondack mountains. Most of these lakes were populated with cabins and camps along the shores.  

The threat of afternoon storms pulls us off early - stopping at DeCamps Island for night one

Day one only allowed us a few miles of paddling as storms scattered the day. We chose to keep our things dry and to stop at DeCamps island to set up our tent before the next shower. The NFCT maps and guidebook show which lands are public and private, and inform the readers of where camping is allowed or prohibited. 

After exploring the island, we find the perfect site for night one. 

We searched the island for a flat and tree covered area to pitch our shelter then went through the routine of blowing up air mattresses and putting out sleeping bags, headlamps, and everything needed for the night before popping a bottle! An advantage of a water trip is being able to carry more gear (and luxury items like champagne) than a hiking trip where we carry it all on our backs.

Moose packed some celebratory champagne to christen our trip.

This neighboring island is just a sample of the scenery on this stretch of the trail. It had a fun rope swing fastened to one of the trees, but the storms arrived before we could play.

We cooked a quick dinner and jumped into our tent. The heavy rain and thunder blocked out any other mysterious noises from the woods which granted us a restful night of sleep.