2014 Trip 4: hard to get any better than this...

Rollins Pond S.P. - June 2014

Off to one of favourite parks this long weekend, and it is a bonus weekend of 5 days. We mostly camp at Ontario provincial parks, but Rollins Pond NY State park is also a fave. Rollins is a great place, a quiet lake with most sites on the water, and no ski boats or jet skis. Perfect for paddling, which is exactly what most people do.

Nice drive here, only about 3 1/2 hours, through some nice country. We cross at Ogdensburg, make a standard stop at the Walmart which has more trailer gear than Walmarts do in Canada.  

We pick up our food in Tupper Lake, which saves having any hassles at the border with the customs food restrictions. There is also a great hardware store in Tupper, which we always wander through. Arrived around 3:00pm, the park is slowly filling up. We have a nice site on the water, and it looks like we will get some sun throughout the day, real important to get our solar panels recharging the battery. We are here 5 days, so it will be a good test for our upcoming vacation, which will be totally without power for 2 weeks. After slowly manoeuvering around some rocks, we were able to line up the Alto on the site to take full advantage of the lake views. We have come to the conclusion there there is nothing better than having a site right on the water. The weather is supposed to be excellent all weekend.

Got all set up, then lounged around a bit. Simple dinner, a nice sub sandwich from the grocery store in Tupper, with a side of macaroni salad. Cold beer as well of course. Great grocery store in Tupper, perfect for stocking up with most everything. More campers arriving all evening, a few well after dark. Bought a load of wood from the truck that rolls through the park ringing a bell. This year a woman has the contract to serve the park delivering ice and wood, she tells us that she is a teacher and does this in her summers,...what great entreprenurial spirit!. The truck stops by your site, you pay, and the wood is dropped right beside your fire pit. What an awesome idea. 

Beautiful morning, shaping up to be a great day. Temps dropped ino the mid 50's last night, great for sleeping, but Dale did find it a tad chilly so she pulled out the duvet in the middle of the night. It was a welcome addition. Breakfast and coffee, as well as a little read of the paper got us well into relaxing weekend mode. Pulled the kayaks off the car and got ready to head out. Really looking forward to getting out on the water as we did not paddle at all last year. Rollins is perfect for paddling since you only see canoes or kayaks on the lake, no evidence of power boats,...probably because of park's rule limiting motors to a max of 25hp.

Lots of people on the water, in all manners of boats. We cruised along the shore, looking at all the various campsites and chatting with people as they cruised by. The edge is pretty shallow, and we have noticed many odd circular crater-like sand rings on the bottom, totally devoid of any vegetation, only sand and pebbles. We think they may be spots that fish have created to lay their eggs. We have seen as many as four of these all in a row. Kinda odd looking, reminds us of these odd crop circles that appear in farmers fields.

Nice to be paddling again, feeling the peaceful movement of the kayaks on the water, as we glide along. Back at the site we had a casual lunch and just chilled. Went for a swim before dinner, although we really do more floating than actual swimming. The water was wonderful and warm. Got a nice fire going, and then roasted some ballpark brats for dinner. The beer this evening is Sam Adams, a nice tasting treat. A classic camping meal. Watched the sun go down, listened to some tunes on the radio by the fire, and that was pretty much the day. Beautiful red sky, should be another good weather day tomorrow...

Dale got up and headed out for an early morning paddle, when the water is super calm and flat like glass. We woke up to an interesting fellow camper who arrived last evening with his Avion vintage trailer, which seems a clone and the same vintage as Airstream trailers. He originally backed in across from us, but it seems that was only because it was dark, he moved to his actual site in the morning. Seems like he will be here for a while.
not shiny, but then, not an Airstream
To our amazement he was unloading 2 sections of an aluminum dock and two large folding red Adirondack chairs.  That is a first for us, this truely is his cottage! He is a big gear guy and has a lot of gizmos...out comes a generator, three bikes, a cedar strip canoe, surely more to follow... Most curious is what the aluminum dock looks like set-up. It does seem like a lot of stuff to haul around. The canoe, definitely handcrafted, looks beautiful, but is of a very odd shape, the bow and stern look very dory like, with a deep vertical bow edge to cut through the water. Turns out this is actually a rowboat which is extra wide in the middle with oars for the rower and seats front and back for guests.
Beautiful workmanship
Breakfast was egg mcmuffins, with some nice slab bacon that was Q'ed up last night. Very yummy. We headed out for a paddle around noon, paddling around the edge, which is Dale's favourite route.
Dale ponders the kayak route
At the far end of Rollins is a fast flowing creek that connects to another pond called Floodwood. Not sure why these are called ponds, as they are certainly large enough for us to call them lakes. Ventured into the creek a bit, but the current was pretty strong and was very narrow, and we did not want to get to the point of no return. Some young people with rented aluminum canoes forged ahead, and we could soon hear them bashing up against the rocks as they made their way downstream.

this connected the two pond, running under a rail line
Headed back around the lake, made our way to large rock island, where a number of people were fishing and sunbathing.
Super happy to be in her kayak again!
Continued on, finally arriving back at site our site after a good 2 hour paddle.

Effortlessly floating on the water with our noodles was the next big job of the afternoon. Life is pretty tough at Rollins. Don't know how we cope!  

Dale had a quick outdoor shower, then we headed into the store at the head of the lake, a classic camp store. Picked up a few things, we pick up a detailed Adirondack's canoe map so that on our future yearly trips to Rollins we can plan longer canoe trips. Lots of campers in the park now, both Fish Creek and Rollins are pretty much full. Steak and potatos on the Q for dinner. Par-boiled the little potatos, tossed in olive oil, then into the grill basket to brown up. Picked up a couple of dandy rib eye steaks, flavoured with classic Montreal steak spice. Simple, simple meal...we have come to realize that is the best.
beer and tunes for the Q

mouth watering? absolutely!
Went down to the beach after dinner to watch the sunset. A couple of ducks joined us, foraging for food between a few rounds of preening. They were right beside us, literally 2 feet away. It was nice that they had no fear of us and that we get such a close view.

As we were gathering stuff up before moving inside for the night, we saw a number of people walking down the road with ice cream cones, which meant that the truck was not far behind. Sure enough, around the bend it came, the 'Bryne Dairy' ice cream truck and next thing you know we were at the head of a growing line for cones. What a nice treat after dinner, delivered right to our campsite. Another great example of American entrepeneurship.

Really warm overnight, and this morning it is a bit overcast. Calling for some showers, but may be sunny in the afternoon. We shall see.

Day is looking pretty dull in the morning, looks like we will be putting on a campfire and lying low reading and relaxing. Toasted english muffins over the fire, with cream cheese and strawberry jam, a nice smokey combo. The sky cleared somewhat, so we took advantage and grabbed a swim then a good long paddle. We checked out an abandoned camp and then headed out to the big rock island we went by yesterday.

this was at an abandoned camp...had a bit of a creepy feel to it
Water was a little choppy as there were some large clouds rolling over us but then the sun came out. The island was interesting. A main one consisting of a huge rock and bunch of trees, then a number of smaller rocks, all connected with sandbars.

a nice landing beach on the island
It is a favourite destination of many paddling campers, climbing the rock and swimming in the shallow pools between the rocks.  Very similar smooth rock island formations to what we have found in the Georgian Bay area, the rocks are nice but not the beautiful pink granite formations found there. A few people had the same idea as us and were lounging around in the sun. Talked with a bunch of nice folks as well. Found a nest of eggs nestled within the rocks, will have to check them out the internet when we get home.

Made our way back, hugging the shoreline as it was quite choppy. Started to do some packing up,like loading the kayaks & the outdoor shower tent, so that tomorrow morning we will have less to do. Dinner this evening is flatbread pizza, with pesto, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, fried onions and mushrooms. We love the flatbread dough, seems to be just the right thickness of crust.

After dinner we went back down to the beach and sat in our chairs, right in the water and watched the sun go down. The best sunset of the weekend, quite colourful, a deep pink. Made a fire and just stared into it for the rest of the evening.

all the ingredients for perfect chillin...
Hard to believe it has been 5 days here, what a fabulous treat to have Canada Day line up just right to allow for an extra long getaway. The weather has been outstanding, the best we have had here at Rollins. Going to be hard to actually hitch up and leave, but that is the reality. Took our time and pulled out a little before noon. Another hot day, but it was a nice drive home.


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