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Blue Mountain Lake
July 5, 2005
By Colby Munger

On June 27 we headed for Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondacks for a three night stay at The Hedges.  The natural scenery can bring tears to your eyes.  The picture above was taken from Long Island, a state owned park with only four rustic camp sites.  The scene has our guideboat pulled up at the most eastern camp site where we had pulled in for a picnic basket lunch.  It looks east across the lake to Blue Mountain. A number of pictures can be found at Adirondacks I Photo Gallery.

On the first day we left Essex early enough to have a full afternoon available at the Adirondack Museum which is located overlooking Blue Mountain Lake a mile up the road from The Hedges.  The museum is another one laid out over many acres with different buildings dedicated to a part of Adirondack history.  Of course I made directly for the Adirondack watercraft building and we spent three quarters of our time there.  There were other interesting exhibits showing great camp architecture and furniture.  Another showed the history of logging in the area.  Of great interest is the history of how the state park came into existence and resulted in a wilderness area about the size of Vermont.

By 3pm we were checked into The Hedges and enjoying our lake side accommodations.  We put the guideboat in the water and had a short row along the edge of the lake before dinner.

The next day the camp packed a picnic basket for us and we rowed west on Blue Mountain Lake into Eagle lake.  As we passed under the bridge over the cut between the lakes the Durant Bridge was on our right coming out of the cut.  This bridge was over the original cut dredged in the 1880's to ease travel along the lake chain.  The bridge is an example of the great camp style so easily recognized in the area.

We continued on into Utowana Lake where we found a lakeside campsite open to the public provided by Eagle Nest Company.  We had the four mile lake to ourselves and a beautiful spot to have our lunch and a nice row back towards Blue Mountain Lake.

The next day rain moved in.  We drove over to Hornbeck Boats.  Pete Hornbeck and his protégé Simon make light weight canoes modeled after the famous canoes "Sairy Gamp" and "Wee Lassie" built for George Sears (Nessmuk) by Rushton for Nessmuk's solo travel through the Adirondacks in the early 1880's.  Both canoes are in the Adirondack Museum.  The Sairy Gamp, made from cedar, weighted 10.5 lbs and was 9.5 feet long.  Nessmuk was a small man.

Pete had a new model derived from the Wee Lassie at 10.5 ft.  The "Black Jack" made completely of carbon fiber weighs 11 lbs.  The carbon double paddle weighs 20 oz.  Together they felt like I was picking up a light bag of groceries. I got to paddle one on the pond by his shop. I was taken with the idea.  Before we came Carol made me promise that I wouldn't buy another boat on the spot. We left without one so we could think it over.  The problem is I have never seen a nice boat I didn't want to take home.

That afternoon Pat Benton, owner of The Hedges arranged a private tour for us of the reserve storage area at the Adirondack Museum.  The building contained scores of Adirondack watercraft from most of the major local builders showing the different models and often the same type but from different periods so you could see the evolution of the genre. There were also tools for ice harvesting and sleds and buggies of all types.  The museum is an amazing resource.

Thursday morning the weather cleared.  We had another picnic basket packed for us and after putting our luggage in the car we rowed the guideboat over to Long Island on Blue Mountain Lake for a final lunch on the lake.  That was when the picture a the top was taken.  We will return to this beautiful location.

On the way home we stopped by Hornbeck Boats and picked up a Black Jack canoe. Isn't that a surprise?  You know your visit to the Adirondacks is a good one when you come back with more boats than you went up with.

We returned to Essex for the fourth of July weekend.  On July 3 we took MYSTIC ROSE north on Lake Champlain and anchored in Spoon Bay at Valcour Island on Lake Champlain.  Everyone was out boating for the weekend but we found a nice spot in this pretty cove to anchor.  We had visited this island on our trip through here last year.  The bay is protected from the south but waves refract around the point and give the boats at anchor a little roll.  At 4pm we decided to up anchor and traveled south to Willsboro Bay Marina. We had a nice dinner ashore.

On the fourth we were back in our slip at the Essex Marina.  The town was celebrating its bicentennial so we saw a parade, ate hot dogs, listened to light jazz and a Blues Brothers Band.  That night we enjoyed the town  fireworks that were going off right over the marina.

Next weekend our daughter, Melissa and her family will be joining us for a vacation visit to the area for boating.  Yes, we are having fun.

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