A Solo SUP Autumn Adirondack Trip

A Solo SUP Autumn Adirondack Trip

November 01, 2022

A SOLO SUP AUTUMN ADIRONDACK TRIP

Man standing in front of lake with a pau hana backpack on with autumn colors in the background

Since before I can remember we had been going to the same little mountain town in America’s largest State Park for an annual family vacation.  Inlet, NY lay on the western edge of Fourth Lake of the Fulton Chain Lakes in the southwest portion of the Adirondacks; a 6-million-acre state park interspersed with small towns and bits of private land.  The Adirondacks are also a paddling paradise.  According to the Adirondack Council, “The Adirondack Park contains more than 3,000 lakes and 8,000 ponds, and more than 1,500 miles of rivers, fed by an estimated 30,000 miles of brooks and streams.”  

unpacking the Solo SUP™ Backcountry paddleboard package on a beach

It’s funny with all those paddling opportunities we have usually stuck to our dozen or so spots within a 30-minute drive of our stay but this past fall strong winds pushed us to seek out new paddle locales to duck out of the wind.  Luckily, we had the perfect board to venture into new territory; the Solo SUP.  The first thing to mention is how easily it fit packing our small SUV for the ride up.  With a Four-year-old named Ocean and his one-and-a-half-year-old little sister Lake by our side times have changed since we first started paddling 10 years ago.  Our two bundles of joy require a fair amount of their own gear and quite a bit of time so we have to be smart and efficient with both of those resources; time and space.  

Autumn colors in the background as a paddleboarder paddles across a lake

When we arrived Friday afternoon the wind was howling from the West and it stayed that way throughout the long weekend.  It was also our first taste of cold temperatures of the season with Highs in the high 40’s and lows in the high 30’s.  On our first full day with the boards already inflated we loaded the Solos on the roof of the car and did some picturesque roadside paddling that was tucked out of the wind.  The Solo is a revolutionary portable SUP but it’s also recently been our go to board in all situations from river, open water/surf, to quick afternoon paddles when grandma and grandpa are watching the kids. 

a man cycling through the forest with the Solo SUP™ Backcountry on his back

The next day we were eager to explore the mountains on our Mountain Bikes so headed across town to Fern Park and knocked out our normal 3.5-mile loop - half of which is a mellow uphill march followed by a beautiful flowing switchback heaven that was covered in yellow leaves.  After our ride I couldn’t resist throwing the SOLO SUP on my back and taking it for a quick spin on the trails just to test it out.  As serious adventure athletes we have found that even if there isn’t enough time to knock out an epic adventure every day to do what you can, especially if it provides the opportunity to test out new gear or a new way to use familiar gear.  Knowing the whole Solo package only weighs 17 lbs. it was still surprising how easy it was to peddle uphill and then bomb down some switchbacks with a paddleboard on my back.  On the drive back to camp I couldn’t stop daydreaming about peddle-paddle adventures to come with my new knowledge and comfort packing the Solo on a bike.  

Paddleboarding on a lake in the Adirondacks in fall

On our last day on our way out of town we wanted to get one more Solo adventure in.  Bubb & Sis Lakes trailhead lay right on our route home and was an ideal goal to bring the kids and board with only a half-mile hike to Sis Lake.  I had driven by this trailhead over 100 times in the past 36 years and had never done the hike.  My wife Christian carried the board, I carried our daughter Lake in an Osprey Kids Pack and our son Ocean was proud to lead the way.  Right away I was delighted with the quality of the hike.  The trail meandered through typical old Adirondack Forest of pine and birch, there were cool views up some drainages, and enough mild elevation gain to feel the blood pumping.  The colors of the fall leaves were absolutely popping as we strolled along the path. 

Paddleboarding on a lake in the Adirondacks in fall

As we approached the water’s edge I was giggling with the joy of reaching a paddle destination in the woods with a SUP and our kids.  It didn’t matter that the hike was only half a mile, it felt like deep wilderness.  The shoreline was beautiful with peak fall colors intermixed with grey granite.  The day was cloudy and there were low clouds in a mist surrounding the rounded peaks.  We pumped up the Solo in no time, assembled the paddle, and were on the water in a few minutes.  The little lake was butter calm with the faintest of ripples lightly touching the surface.  We took turns taking a paddle along the shoreline intermixed with grass, pine, birch, and granite while the other played with Ocean and Lake on shore.  

Paddleboarding on a lake in the Adirondacks in fall

Hiking out everyone’s smiles were showing immense satisfaction.  It felt like such an accomplishment packing in a multi-sport morning hiking the perfect trail to a seldom, if ever, paddled mountain lake with two kids in tow.  It was the perfect use of time made possible by the light SUP package offered from the Solo.  After loading up the kids we stopped at a gas station with a BBQ smoker out front on the outskirts of Old Forge to fill up the tank and grab some brisket sandwiches which hit the spot like good food does after a good morning in the woods.  With full bellies and full spirits we hit the open road for the four hours back to Lake Erie - and yes we timed it out perfect for nap time.                

Paddleboarding on a lake in the Adirondacks in fall
Paddleboarding on a lake in the Adirondacks in fall
Paddleboarding on a lake in the Adirondacks in fall
putting a paddleboard on a lake
The Solo SUP™ Backcountry paddleboard backpack on some rocks by a lake

Written by Kevin Cullen

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