Moffitt Beach Camping Kayaking
Jul 21-23, 2017

Camping is most wonderful when the weather cooperates. We had the BEST weather of our rain-filled year. On Thursday, 8 campers drove on the poorly maintained camp road and set up their sites in 80 degree shade. They were Amy, Doug, Deb, Eric, Cindy P, Kim, Kathy and Rick in a green netted head cover. We shared tacos and nachos at Kim’s along with Amy’s homemade chocolate chip cookies, Doug’s dried venison, Cindy’s deviled eggs and corn bread. Dave L arrived to make it a nine-person campfire at Kim’s. He took the long route, seeking Screaming Eagle pizza, so he had stories to share. (It was not open AGAIN). Deb wacked her first mosquito with the electrified tennis racket. Yes, she was excited. It sprinkled for a short time, but we didn’t feel many drops because of the tree cover. The temp dropped about 10 degrees to a perfect sleeping temperature. We listened to the many birds, plus loons flying overhead. There were a few bears reported in the campground, so we listened and kept our noses alert for their presence.

On Friday, 8 more campers arrived: Bob, Hugh, Dave F., Ray, Heather, Wes, Jason and Fenna. Paddlers went out on the water in groups. All found that our campsites’ side of the Sacandaga was deceivingly calm. We expected to travel across the lake and along the lower Sacandaga River to Lake Pleasant. No one made it to Lake Pleasant. Bob said he felt like he did twice as many miles with his group, so you get the idea. Surfing waves kicked up in the middle. In my group, a couple paddlers beached in an unknown area. We promised to come for them in cars, but the first task was to find the way. Amy and Kim went to the farthest campsite in their direction and walked through a path to a hidden sandy beach with cute little ducklings. The beached kayakers were not there, so the rest of the walk was traversed though the water on rocks, which were a nuisance. We got very wet, but thankfully the water was warm. When we reached the stranded souls, they had a choice – paddle to the beach at the campground or we would paddle their boats and they could wade the water trail. They bravely chose to paddle. In the end, all were safe. It is interesting to note that our boats were inspected at the small boat launch and we learned about the tiny water fleas in the area. They are practically invisible. We hoped we didn’t bring any back with us.

Dried and showered, some cooked at their sites; 10 traveled to Speculator Inn. It was crowded, but they were ready with our reservation. Service was good, and tasty food was chowed down in no time. We ended the day with a fire at Deb’s.

On Saturday morning Rick was the pancake maker and found out how tricky that job can be. He had some help and hey - looks don’t matter. They were so tasty. Cindy did a great job prepping the area and food. THANK YOU to our breakfast hosts. We also had bacon, sausage, blueberries, melon, juice, Jodie’s yummy brownies and other tasty treats. A couple more camper/kayakers arrived on Saturday. Alice came for the paddle. Cindy MP came for the paddle and a night at the campground. After cleanup, nine headed for a trip to Vly Lake via Fall Stream off Old Piseco Rd. (Amy, Doug, Alice, Kim, Kathy, Dave F., Rick and Cindy MP, who needs a new name.) We traversed 5 dams that were much more fun on the way back. There were 2 waterlogged spills which Cindy and her tippy Tahe survived with a smile. Water shoes became stuck in the beaver muck, as well as Rick’s whole body. He had to sit down after his yardwork. I hope the beavers appreciated his cleanup. A couple of juvenile eagles, deer, heron, hopping fish and gun shots added interest to the paddle. We notice that one of the beaver huts had an entrance above the water. Strange? We were challenged to find take-out spots for lunch. Some stayed in their boats, some found a spot to eat with the mosquitoes, who seemed the love our Eau de Camp with DEET. Eric went on to find the hidden connection to Mud Lake. It was just ¾ miles to that small lake. The total (with the Mud trip) was 12.2 miles. We came back with the dirtiest boats in the campground.

Deb and Dave L. decided to hike. They fought the hungry mosquitoes up to the 1535 ft Pillsbury Mountain tower. It was quite a drive in to the trailhead, but they said it was worth it. They met lots of people to chat with and Dave’s new knees got a workout on the steep climb. Ray, Hugh and Bob took off early and put in some big miles (18-19) on Indian Lake and the Jessup. They saw the waterfall and got back in time for a nap or bike ride before supper.

Supper was at Amy and Doug’s site. THANK YOU for hosting. It was a treat. When Doug brings something to grill on, he doesn’t mess around. The grill was a big one. We ate venison, hot dogs, sausage, Caesar, pasta and broccoli salads, grilled carrots, sloppy joes, cheesy potatoes, tomatoes and mozzarella with balsamic. There were plenty of snacks including that delicious artichoke dip Deb makes. And ... there was also dessert: Jodie’s moist chocolate chip cake. Thanks JODIE! The fire was at Amy and Doug’s. Dave F. ended his day by eating his first sticky s’more. Eric was mesmerized by a hippo chair -another first.

On Sunday, campers ate breakfast at their site or at Timberline Café in town. After those leaving the grounds were packed, a bunch decided to paddle down the Sacandaga River through Kunjamuk Bay starting at the boat launch in Lake Pleasant. Kathy, Amy, Kim, Hugh, Eric, Dave L, Dave F., Cindy MP., Ray, Heather, Wes, Jason and Fenna checked out the rapids. The kids (Jason & Wes) did well paddling themselves. Then, Ray lead the kayak kid-tow train as Heather paddled the SUP. A few checked out the Beaver dam on the Kunjamuk River. Kim, Dave F and Cindy ventured over the dam. They made it to the bridge without another encounter with a dam. There was a slew of damsel and dragon flies. They also noted a LOT of dead trees on the water’s edge. Sad.

Then, there were 3. Eric, Kim and Dave L had a pizza supper, ice cream (one with gummy worms), and a nice fire to end the weekend. Knowing that the rain was coming during the night, they packed what they could. It was showering on and off in the morning. We finished packing between the rain drops. As I took down my tent I found a bull frog under the corner of the tent. He posed for a pic. I guess he wanted some shelter from the rain, too. There has sure been enough of it this year. Glad we got lucky weather-wise this weekend.

Images & Report by Kim Wojnowicz Images by Amy Wood, Alice Wilson and Eric Zhaman

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