Nicks Lake Camping Trip
June 23-25, 2017

Several campers arrived on Thursday to get an early start. Rick, Cindy, Kim, Kathy, Eric, Deb, Dave L, Amy, Lacey and special canine kayaker, Sarah, who loved everyone. They were preceded by the earliest campers, Sue and Dan, who set up on Wednesday. Cindy, Amy and Lacey paddled Nicks Lake and found the loons, or the loons found them. We all gathered for a shared Mexican supper at Kim’s followed by a perfect Jenga fire in the fireplace at Deb’s. It was a pleasant 67 degree evening as we made s’mores and listened to the owl and loons.

The rain came during the night along with thunder and lightning. The waterproof spray on Amy’s tent didn’t work so well. Plan B was needed. Friday’s weather was bleak - scattered showers. At least it was warm – 77 degrees. Sandra, Alice and Kevin arrived and set up between sprinkles. As soon as we decided we would paddle, the sky would darken. We made the best of it. Dave L went fishing. Cindy managed to sneak in an early paddle. Some went to town to help the local economy. We thought we would have some pizza for lunch at the Screaming Eagle, but it was closed for the weekend. We suspect it may have had something to do with graduation. We headed for Daikers and it was a great choice. We enjoyed good food and fast service for our group of 11 on the deck. Back at the camp grounds, we joined together for rousing games of Mexican Train dominos at Eric’s. Thirteen dined at The Back Door Bar. They sat us in the Front Door Diner. It was another good meal. We ended our day with an umbrella fire at Sandra’s. The wood was wet. A blow torch, extra papers and kindling helped, but the lighter fluid proved to be the best flame starter. A light rain dripped on our sleeping equipment throughout the night. Some even dripped into Alice and Kevin’s new tent. That one was going back to the store.

Saturday brought the promise of sunshine. The woodpeckers were quite active. Mike, Christine 2, and Bill E joined the group. We downed a hardy breakfast of pancakes, bacon, sausage, yogurt, granola, fruits and sweets. Eric was our host. Thanks, Eric! Since we were paddling the Moose, we had to start with the car shuttle. Thanks to Dan, Kevin and Cindy we were able to park all paddler’s cars at the North Bridge. Yay!! Twelve meandered down the winding river from the steep launch at Rondaxe. The boat haulers did a great job getting the boats down. Those steps have gotten steeper. The river was clear of branches and debris. The sandy areas were under water because the river was high. There was a nice current. I saw a buck by the turn at Rondaxe Rd, and a hawk, duck and doggy in his own boat while on the water. That’s it. We know there is wildlife there somewhere along those 5.7 miles. There was a group shuttled by Mountain Man who launched before us. There could have been even more paddlers on the river to scare the wildlife, since it was quite busy this weekend in Old Forge.

Our shared supper was at Dave L’s. Thanks for hosting, Dave! There were lots of burgers, hots, sausage, salad, watermelon, grilled carrots, and beans with corn. Cupcakes and birthday cake followed for our birthday girls, Alice and Sandra. We sang a few notes. The Ice Cream truck unfortunately came too late to have any ice cream along with our cake. The fire in Dave’s fire ring was again hard to start due to dampness. But we managed to get it going and some magical color was added. Dave told us about his designer knee scar and read to us from WALT’S latest adventure, Volume 12. It was a nice bedtime story. Hi, WALT! We went to bed listening to the owl and loons again, plus a few snores.

On Sunday, most campers packed up and headed for home. Deb, Sandra, Sue, Eric, Kim, Kathy, Rick and Cindy paddled Nicks Lake until some dark clouds rolled in. We did have time to mosey by the loons and Sandra spotted some beautiful blooming pitcher plants. We were off the water with boats loaded before the first brief downpour. Some spent the rest of the day hiking, browsing in town, relaxing or enjoying the quiet campground (after that blaring radio on Loop D was silenced). The remaining six went to Slickers. A second downpour came as we ended our meal. It was much cooler after the rainfall. Sue, Dan, Kim, Sandra, Eric and Deb sat closer to the sporadically blazing fire at Sandra’s. It was good sleeping weather. Monday was another day of clouds and threat of rain. All six packed up. Deb got to pack extra, because she had won the Paddlefest raffle at Mountain Man. She was happy to pick out some quality gear. It was for the most part (dry and wet times), a wonderful start to our camping weekends.

Images & Report by Kim Wojnowicz, Images by Eric Zhaman

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