I journaled meticulously during my 52 days on the trail - sometimes to log boring details and other times to record my story. What you are reading is my word-for-word account, logged directly from the two notebooks I filled during my time paddling the NFCT. Some days are short, others are lavish and detailed. There are mistakes, it may not always make sense, but it is certainly a true account of the experience. Enjoy! 

Journal 13.jpeg

I woke up at 6 AM and got organized. I quickly made breakfast, filled up my waters, and headed for the beach. C-Tugs, my portage cart, were not made for sand which made the haul across the sizeable beach miserable.

The water in Cumberland Bay was already choppy, rain was in the forecast, the highest chance around 2 PM, so I knew it wasn’t going to be the best day of paddling. I threw on the headphones and started at it. It was slow going, the wind was hitting me head on and the waves were growing the further out I went. It rained briefly.

I made it 2.4 miles along Cumberland Head before I could start to see the large open water channel I would need to cross… it was hectic and full of whitecaps. The wind was blowing strongly from the south. I slowed down and started thinking about the safety and risk involved with continuing onward. I eventually decided it wasn’t worth the struggle or danger and turned around. I figured that if I needed to question it in the first place, then paddling on was probably not the safest decision.

I returned to where I began this morning, 4.67 empty miles. When I got back to the State Park beach I hauled my boat back to Rosser’s site. I told her of my woes. I struggled with my decision and how I should spend my day. I jumped on the web to look at a forecast and discovered that the lake was actually under a high wind advisory which was only going to get worse as the day went on.

This made me feel better about losing a day. I have time. I re-set up camp, this time under a large tree for a little more rain coverage. After establishing camp, I begin a relaxing day of map organizing, journaling, napping, cooking, eating, and Portland Press Herald writing.

The park had cleared out throughout the day since it was a Sunday, and only a few campers remained. I threw Rosser another $10 before she headed into town by foot for the day. The winds picked up throughout the day, as the forecast predicted, to the point that the whole bay was breaking surf. This made me feel confident about my decision. The beach was packed all day with kite surfers, at least 12 on the water at a time with many more stowed on the beach.

Enjoying a beer at the state beach Cabana

At the end of the day, I walked down to the state beach where I heard they have a small cabana/bar. I enjoyed a beer, then I walked back to make dinner. I ate at the table and talked with Rosser who had returned from town. I had chili for lunch, Pasta Side for dinner. I went to bed after dinner, planning for another bright and early attempt at the harrowing Lake Champlain!

Beautiful evening clouds over Lake Champlain