Todd and Minhee's North Country Adventures Part II travel blog

Me and Minhee on Narrow Lake

Indian River flowing through Ft. Drum

Indian River

The weather in the North Country has been great and after a year stuck in the division headquarters in Iraq I've been eager to get out. Over Memorial Day Weekend we took a day to canoe Indian Lake, Narrow Lake and Indian River on Ft. Drum and then another day to hike St. Regis Mountain in the Adirondacks.

It was a cloudless day as me and Minhee began paddling across Indian and Narrow Lakes on Ft. Drum. We paddled a mile and then began our accent of the the Indian River, which feeds the lakes. The Indian River runs through flat, low lying, heavily forested country, which is perfect beaver country. We were able to effortless paddle over some dead fall trees until we met our first real obstacle of the river, a beaver dam. Both sides of the banks were nothing but swamp and a person would end up sinking up to their thighs in muck so our only option was to climb over the beaver dam. Minhee, who rides in the front, landed on the beaver dam first. I asked her if it was sturdy. She said that it seemed solid to her. So I maneuver the canoe and I stepped up on the dam. I took a couple steps and then fell right through the dam to my hips (sharp jagged edges of broken branches sure don't feel too good). Luckily the beavers incorporated a

dead fall tree into their dam that was strong enough to support my weight as I pulled myself up out of the hole I made. After finding a good solid location to stand on, I was able to pull the canoe over the dam and continue our trip upstream. After about a mile and a half of paddling we reached our turnaround point and descended of the river.

We floated along with the current enjoying the twist and turns and then it appeared, that beaver dam. Luckily I learned where to stand on the dam and I figured this portage would be easy. Minhee got out, then I maneuvered the canoe to a known solid point on the dead fall tree and got out, pulled the canoe over the dam and got back in. Minhee was standing in a poor location to get into the canoe and I paddled the canoe to a safer location for her to get in. She asked "Where are you going?" I said "It is better for you to get into the canoe over here." She said "No it isn't, this is a better place." I told her "I've been getting in and out of canoes for longer than you have, it is better to get in here." She walked over to the canoe, looked at it and said "This is not balanced, this is a bad place." I reassured her "It is perfectly fine to get into the canoe here." She began to insist that her location was better.

However, I stood my ground because as any true blooded mountain man knew, my location was a safer place to get into the canoe. Minhee began to get into the canoe, then stood back up and once again proclaimed "The canoe isn't stable, I can't get into the canoe here." I said "This is the best place, you'll be fine, just get into the canoe." Well to make a long story short, luckily the water wasn't that cold.

After I taught Minhee how to handle the tipping over of a canoe, we made it safely back to the truck. I turned the canoe over before putting it on the truck and noticed a slug stuck to the bottom. I bent over and pulled it off and it turned out to be a leech. Then I looked at the canoe and saw another leech, then a third leech. My mind quickly turned to the movie "Stand By Me" where the kid had a leech stuck to his testicles. Then a wave of panic shot through me, I was in that water, oh my God, there might be a leech stuck to my testicles! I began to furiously strip down my clothes in the parking lot and yelling at Minhee to look for any leeches on me. I got down to my birthday suit and began a little dance around in a circle to Minhee to thoroughly check me. I happened to glance up on the dirt road about 50 meters away to see a SUV loaded down with a family of kids slowly driving past me. Through the window I saw the

mother say something and the kids quickly hiding their eyes.

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