Sunday, October 23, 2011

To the Palisades

It was a cool morning (about 40 degF), overcast skies with light winds from the south.  I was planning on getting a longer paddle in this weekend.

I put in at the mouth of the Otter at Fort Cassin, and headed west across Lake Champlain to the Palisades.  Where the shoreline on this portion of the Vermont side of the lake is dotted with farms and lake houses, the New York side is steep and deeply wooded.

As I entered the broad lake, I saw what looked like 2 islands of to the south.  At first I thought they were the Diamond Islands.  I quick glance to the north confirmed that they weren't.  What were they?

Duck blinds!  Yep, its that time of year!

The crossing is about 2 miles.  As I approached the New York side, I could see the remnant of a rockslide on the steep mountainside.

The shoreline is a battle between wood and rock.  In some places you can't tell where the rock ends and the wood begins.

I paddled south to Ore Cove.  I remember reading somewhere that these was mining here, but the steepness of the terrain led to numerous slides.  Maybe there is an abandoned mining operation here. . .

There is a small campsite here.  The ground is very rocky, while there is no easy take-out as the water at the shore is several feet deep.

The campsite is part of the Lake Champlain paddlers trail.

Across the lake to the east I could see Camel's Hump in the Vermont Green Mountains.

This part of the lake is bounded by the Adirondack State Forest.

As I paddled near the shore I could here something moving in the woods.  What was it?

A red squirrel!

There are a lot of tiny coves.  As I came around a corner into one I startled a pair of ducks.

The rock face is very steep in parts.  In places, huge blocks of stone were poised to fall into the lake!

I came across another campsite.  My nephew and I stopped at this one years ago.

It is also a Lake Champlain paddler trail site.

As I continued south, I came to the high cliffs known as the Palisades.  I looked up and at the top I saw a Peregrine Falcon watching me.  They nest in the cliffs.

After a few minutes it flew away.

There are several places were water cascades down the cliffs . . .

I came to another of the paddler trail campsites.  I stayed at this site about 8 years ago.

There is a little, protected cove . . .

. . . a shelter . . .

. . . and even first rate accommodations!

I paddled back across the lake to the Vermont side.  The crossing here is only about 1 mile.  I headed over to the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum where they have a recreation of the gunboat Philadelphia (aka the Philadelphia II).  The Philadelphia was built in 1776 at the southern end of the lake in Whitehall, NY.  Whitehall is the birthplace of the US Navy!

As I headed north back to Fort Cassin, I could see the Palisades off to the west.

Another fascinating paddle!

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