Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Mini vacation in the Thousand Islands

Posted by Frum Hiker on August 6, 2007

Well not really I was there for work, but if you know me by now- wherever I go for work always includes lots of play, no matter how hard I work. I drove up to the area on back roads rather then straight up the 81. I got off of the thruway at Herkimer and drove north on the 28 until it hooked up with the 12, drove through Booneville and then onto Loweville which has this huge windfarm more likely to be found in the west then in NY state. I scanned all the roads I drove on to look for future biking routes, ever since I bought my road bike I have to check all the shoulders of roads I drive on to see if I can utilize them for good rides. Route 12 is a perfect riding road, it is flat, smooth and offers amazing views for most of the time. Route 177 which juts out of 12 and goes all the way to Lake Ontario was also a great riding road, a bit hilly but mostly smooth.

Last Thursday was in the upper 90s, even the lake did not cool it off at all. I parked at Southwick Beach State Park which is on Lake Ontario about 25 miles southwest of Watertown- which was where I had to be that night. I drew myself a little reference map of the county roads in the area and set off in the sweltering heat. The county routes between I-81 and Lake Ontario in Jefferson County are amazing to ride. The area is mostly farmland and very rural, little or no traffic and smooth fast riding greets your tires as you pedal through the amazing north country.

I cannot recall my route, though I did utilize CR75 quite a bit, except when I had to go around a big section of unpaved road. That is the risk of riding county routes, I have maps of every area of NY State in my Atlas Gazeteer- but the maps fail to tell me if the roads are paved or not. Needless to say I had ridden 18 miles when I first glanced at my odometer and realized I was averaging over 17 miles per hour- not bad for extreme heat eh. I ended up riding 33 miles before I needed a big break, my water in my pack was hot and tasted horrible so I stopped at a roadside ice cream stand.

I bought an ice cold gallon of water and sat my tired lycra clad self onto a chair with armrests, I poured a bunch of water over my head and let it dribble down my back, then I drank and drank for what seemed like forever. Then I chilled, I have not chilled like that in ages, even though I would have to ride 7 more miles. I sang along with “duke of Earl” and “He’s so fine” as I tapped my foot to oldies and watched the trucks with boat trailers passing by on route 3.

That night after getting into Watertown and eating some bread and cheese I wandered around the old downtown area with my street bike. I love the old forgotten industrial cities, the ones that always had their booming periods and then kept declining afterwards. Watertown for the most part is an abandoned city, lights shine, but the rather large city center is mostly abandoned and full of sketchy looking folks. A short drive or walk down route 11 south reveals that the city had a lot of money at one point purely by looking at the stately Ante Bellum mansions with their ornate Victorian details on the roofs. Downtown has several turn of the century large buildings with over 5 stories. Mill towns always had money until water power became outdated.

On the way to my job in La Fargeville I drove up along the Black River and noticed an old mill foundation along a particularly fast stretch. I found a way down to the half dry river bed, the river beds in this area are all made of solid smooth rock- which always looks cool. The abandoned mill is all stone and has some beautiful arches that are still in tact, the mill itself is gone and all that remains is the structure that was in the actual water. It is a beautiful work of art, the large white stone facade is awesome.

Then after work on friday I went looking for a place to launch my kayak in the St Lawrence River- not an easy feat when you want to do it for free. One would think that the Thousand Islands area would have numerous boat launch sites, but to my chagrin I could not find any public ones. I also found out that all the islands around had been built up and were private, so much for my island hopping adventure.

I finally found a free place to launch a kayak, its not an official boat launch, but my kayak is light so I walked down this rocky embankment which was a public beach and launched into the River. It was hot so being on the river was a treat. The wind and waves were another story. I have never been in such treacherous conditions. The waves were huge and my whole kayak would go off one and crash through the next spraying water into the boat and all over me, it was a heck of a lot of fun. I was laughing as boats passed me doing 50 sure to magnify the waves a bit more then they were already. I then went swimming in the river and back floated for 30 minutes or so.

Went into Canada for Shabbos and came back through the same area today.

Today I went for a 30 mile bike ride around the Adams area, Adams is known for its extreme snowfall. every year they make it to the news with some 60 inch snowstorm. The area is known as the Tug Hill Plateau, and is home to farmland and snowmobiling, and some great shoulders to ride on. My ride was beautiful and the weather was awesome as well.

I then drove back through the Loweville area, marveled at the windmills and took West Rd instead of Route 12. West Rd is definitely on my list of roads to ride when I come back. Amazing is all I can say, I ended up in Little Falls which is another little quant town that I love walking around.

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One Response to “Mini vacation in the Thousand Islands”

  1. DeveSeand said

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