Valcour Island: Battle of the Waves

Valcour Island sits off the western shore of Lake Champlain, just south of Plattsburgh. It’s another of those spots in upstate New York where what you see today doesn’t even start to tell the story of the place’s history.

Valcour Island was the site of a naval battle during the Revolutionary War in which Benedict Arnold contested dominance of Lake Champlain just enough to prevent the British from pushing south in 1776.

There is only a half mile of water between Valcour and the shore. Though it always beckoned to me, sitting out there, right across from a big concrete boat ramp in Peru NY, I always felt better staying close to shore when paddling with my sons.

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Ausable Point Campground, NY

Years ago I picked up a used Coleman pop-up camper. I can say that it was without a doubt, the second or third smartest decision I have made in my entire life. My family has had a lot of fun in that thing.

ausable point campsite

The DEC Ausable Point campground, just south of Plattsburgh on the shore of Lake Champlain, is one of our favorite spots. In spite of our busy schedule I was able to block out three days so I could get back to Ausable Point with my boys.

Schedule uncertainty prevented me from reserving a choice beach or river site, but we were happy to set up across from the small boat launch that would let us put our canoe right into the lower Ausable.

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Rondout Creek: Paddle Back in Time

One of the things I like about the Hudson Valley is that almost any place you go has hosted a semi-significant event or character from America’s history. On the 4th of July, I picked a body of water with a storied past to paddle: Rondout Creek.

kayak launch

We drove up the Thruway to exit 18, turned east to connect with route 9W and headed north into the town of Esopus. Getting off 9W, each turn leads to progressively narrower roads until you find the put-in, a narrow concrete boat ramp with an aluminum dock next to it.

I pulled up close to unload the kayaks, then tucked my truck between somebody’s boat trailer and the surrounding brush. Once our boats were situated, I pushed Junior out into the water, then launched myself.

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