The Urban Boater

“This photo was taken on a lake in the Adirondack Mountains. As I was loading my boat with provisions for a week-long stay park rangers, fellow campers and lots of kayakers stopped by to admire it. Everyone was impressed with its durable construction and ample floor space. They all were completely amazed when I told them that inflation time is less than 10 minutes and when I am back home the boat is stored in bag no larger than laundry bag and the rest of hardware slips under my bed. I think I may have made a sale or two for you guys.” — Joe

Do you live in an urban environment and long to go boating? You can head out of town…but you’ll find many local, urban boating opportunities if you look around a bit.

Wilderness a few hours north of  NYC

Head due north out of New York City and in just a few hours you’ve traded The Big Apple’s sizzling hot concrete canyons (and eight million New Yorkers) for the cool, green, silent splendor of deep wilderness punctuated with countless brooks, streams, rivers, and over 3,000 clear mountain lakes.

Sunset on Forked Lake

That’s what New Yorker, Joe Guimento, does. Joe works at a community garden in The Bronx but takes time out in the summer for a week of boating, camping, and relaxing in New York State’s Adirondack Park.

The Adirondack Region is the biggest natural wilderness area east of the Mississippi. With over six million acres, it’s larger than the entire state of Vermont, its neighbor to the east. And it’s a boater’s paradise.

Primitive camping accessible only by boat

The Adirondacks Region has many conventional campgrounds for tents and RV’s. But Joe favors primitive camping in state-sanctioned sites with no stores, services, electricity, or much of anything besides the natural setting. His camping and boating area-of-choice is Forked Lake just southwest of Long Lake.

Joe Guimento (back) and Mike Pagan on their way to a wilderness campsite accessible only by boat.

“I camp at primitive campsites that are accessible only by boat,” says Joe. That means he has to bring in everything he’ll need during his stay. “I just check in, pile all the supplies in the Sea Eagle SE9, boat to the site, and set up camp,” says Joe.

A boat on the subway

It’s a long stretch between Adirondack boating vacations but Joe and his partner, Mike Pagan, have found a way to get back to nature by boating right in their own urban neighborhood.

Joe says, “We go boating on Long Island Sound where there are a bunch of uninhabited islands.” They boat down from Yonkers, explore a bit, land, pack up the boat, and take the subway home. “The Sea Eagle deflates and packs in a small bag,” says Joe, “so it’s easy to carry it on the subway.”

On other local outings, Joe and Mike boat across the Hudson River to explore the Palisades in New Jersey. “It’s crowded in New York, even the beaches,” says Joe. “It’s great to go boating and get away from it all. It’s very relaxing.”

Kayak on the shelf, outboard in the kitchen

How do you store a full-size boat in a one-bedroom NYC apartment? Joe stores two in his — a 22-lb. Sea Eagle 330 sport kayak, and a larger Sea Eagle SE9 motor mount boat. They deflate and pack in small bags. “I have a shelf above the doorway where I store the boats,” says Joe.

He has a small outboard motor for the SE9 and keeps it in a corner of the kitchen — after draining the gasoline, of course.

So next time you’re in The Big Apple, keep an eye open for Joe. He’s the guy on the subway with a boat in a bag.

Kayaking Lake Powell’s Slot Canyons — a Surreal Experience

Russ and Margie Hanson explore one of Lake Powell’s many side canyons in their Sea Eagle 330 inflatable kayak.

What do you get when you take a houseboat, a speedboat, a Sea Eagle 330 kayak, eight family members and friends, and plunk them in the middle of Lake Powell? You get the family vacation of a lifetime.

That’s what the Hanson family had recently. Russ and Margie Hanson, of Phoenix, hosted their family on a scenic, adventurous, and unusual family boating vacation.

1 houseboat, 1 speedboat, and 1 Sea Eagle inflatable kayak

The Hansons, their twenty-something kids (plus their kids’ friends), and Russ’s sister and her husband spent an entire week boating and exploring the southern half of Lake Powell from Glen Canyon Dam at Page, Arizona to Rainbow Bridge National Monument in Utah.

“We rented a houseboat to live in, and a speedboat to get around in, at a marina on Lake Powell,” said Russ. “And we bought a Sea Eagle 330 kayak to explore some of the lake’s side canyons.”

Canyon kayaking is otherworldly

The Hansons kayaked deep into still, silent, surreal slot canyons.

“We’d paddle our way into the canyons as far as we could go,” said Russ, “until they were as narrow as our kayak.” Sometimes they had to back their way out stern first.

“Kayaking in a slot canyon is a surreal experience,” said Russ. “The canyon walls can be two or three hundred feet high and you can’t see the sky in some places because the rocks overhang.” The canyons are totally silent with just the echo of your voices and rippling water. “Our Sea Eagle kayak got us into places other people just can’t go,” Russ says. “It was an otherworldly experience.”

Back to boating

Russ is not new to boating. “I grew up in Montana,” he says. “My dad and I did a lot of canoeing and fishing when I was a kid. I enjoyed that a lot and wanted to get back to it.”

But the Hanson boating expedition was their first family boating adventure. “Our family is very close,” says Russ, “but we’re scattered all over the country so we look for opportunities to get together.” And now that their kids are grown, the Hansons feel it’s even more important to create family experiences.




Members of the Hanson party went ashore long enough to visit Rainbow Bridge National Monument.


Easy portability

Russ says he wanted an inflatable kayak because they’re easy to transport. “Everything fits in the Sea Eagle bag. I can throw it in the back of my GMC Yukon and go.”

He sought an inflatable kayak under $400 because he wasn’t sure how frequently he’d be able to use it. “The Sea Eagle came out tops for quality and value,” he says.

And it looks like he’s getting his money’s worth: Russ and family have their next adventure in the planning stages already.  They’re checking out the lower Colorado River, downstream from Hoover Dam. The river’s calm there with many scenic areas, caves, and hot springs to explore. “Companies do kayak tours there,” says Russ. “We think we’ll just take our own kayaks and go.” See you on the river!