Olmstedville, an old mill town dating from the early 1800s, is nestled in the heart of the Adirondack wilderness.
The Adirondack Park is a Mecca for those seeking outdoor recreation, with hundreds of hiking trails and waterways.
What better place could there be for Peter Hornbeck to build and sell canoes and kayaks? What sets his apart is the light weight. Starting as light as 10 pounds, his boats are easily carried to secluded ponds in the park.
The sales office and showroom.
These boats are sort of a hybrid of canoe and kayak. They are open like a canoe, but you sit in and paddle like a kayak. The yellow colored ones are made of Kevlar, the black of even lighter carbon fiber (called Blackjacks). The green ones are a new design, "faster and more performance oriented," according to their website. They call them "New Tricks."
After introductions, my visit began at the pond.
Inside this shed are the demo boats, every model, length, and profile they make. They provide a little instruction, watch you paddle, and make suggestions, guiding you to a boat that fits you best. I had no problem falling in love with the 12 foot New Trick in Blackjack. At 12 pounds, I thought I could handle it.
You can also try out different paddles.
Being a new model, they didn't have a new one in stock. It would take about two weeks to make it. So we made the deal, and I bought a rack for the car, being installed in this picture.
This is where they will build my boat.
I stayed with forum friend Soos for a week, then came back to check on the progress. This is my boat being sanded. It is almost finished!
While I was visiting I chatted with Peter Hornbeck and asked him about hiking trails in the area. He gave me a whole set of Adirondack Maps which show both hiking trails and kayaking lakes and ponds.
He also gave me two books. I've already read "Women on Water," and bookmarked some of the kayaking spots mentioned.
He also gave me directions to a new trailhead nearby which I would never have found on my own. Thistle and I hiked it after my visit.
I came back two days later and the kayak was done! They measured and installed the foot rests.
And here it is! They call them "double paddle canoes," but I call mine a "kayoo."
Next was to make sure I could lift it on and off my car by myself, and learn how to strap it on securely.
On my tiptoes, but easy to lift.
Two straps attach to the roof rack.
And one rope in the front. Easy peasy.
I got to practice that again on the way home because I stopped to launch it for its maiden voyage in Schroon Lake.
Got it back on just fine.
Went back out for a longer float the next day. Thistle likes it.
Waterfront property for sale...
I guess I should wash the paper label off the new paddle.
Ah yes, I think I'm going to like it too.
How many dogs can you fit in a Hornbeck? (Borrowed this photo from their website) I think he could fit a couple more in front...
Stopped at Wells State Park on my way through Massachusetts.
Weather was iffy, but I got to see how it handles in wind and waves. Wind and waves will carry it if you don't paddle, but that was true of the inflatable too. As long as I kept paddling, I was able to cross the lake with the wind coming broadside. I would avoid paddling on a day when high winds are predicted. Do that anyway.
My site for the month of July near my sister in MA.
With a small paddling lake right across from my site.
Yes, my kayoo was expensive...a lot more expensive than the inflatable.
But Soos is still enjoying her Hornbeck after 18 years, so I think it will be worth it.
Many thanks to the folks at Hornbeck Boats. http://www.hornbeckboats.com/