New York- Lake Champlain, Lake Placid, Ausable Chasm and Brasher Falls

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I arrived at Cumberland Bay State Park on Lake Champlain in the pouring rain. Because there were so few people there I was able to score an amazing site right on the water, and after I was settled I stood in the rain looking at the lake and begged my bad rain juju to go away!

That afternoon I was met by a dear old friend, Francoise, who drove down from Quebec City to spend a couple of days catching up and hiking with me. Once his tent was pitched on the site next to mine we drove into Plattsburgh for dinner. I hesitated for a moment before following his lead and ordering bison steak, but I have to admit… that, a caesar salad and a glass of wine made for a great meal! And… by the time we got back to the campground the rain was gone!

New York

Sunset from my campsite on Lake Champlain

The following day we drove up to Lake Placid, and beyond to Mr. Joe. I was there last fall on my way across New York after someone I met at a roadway stop told me not to miss hiking to the top of Mt. Joe because the view was spectacular! I did as suggested and hiked it, in the pouring rain. And when I say hiked, I really mean climbed. The trail is steep and covered with large rocks. The girls and I forged ahead last fall, completely drenched and knowing there would be no view from the top, but enjoyed the challenging hike just the same. (Read about it here in Trips and Trails and Puppy Dog Tales)

I went back to that mountain because I really wanted to see the view I was promised, and wouldn’t you know… it started raining the moment we parked the car. I’d told Francois about my experience last year… the endless days of rain, the soggy hike up Mt. Joe to no view whatsoever, and the excessive rain I’d been traveling through most of the last few weeks. The entire drive up to Lake Placid was lovely! When we pulled into the parking lot and the sky opened up we just looked at each other, stunned, and then busted out laughing.

Needless to say the words Deja Vu ran through my mind over and over again as we climbed that mountain. Every single step seemed as though it were already imprinted on my brain. I think the dogs felt the same way! I could tell they knew the trail.

By the time we got to the top the rain had stopped and the clouds lifted enough to allow me to see farther than I had nine months prior. I took it as a small blessing, and vowed that I would return for more of Mt. Joe… on a gloriously sunny day!

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On the drive to Mt. Joe near Lake Placid

near Lake Placid, New York

Jazzy on the trail up Mt Joe

Mt Joe, near Lake Placid New York

Sadie enjoying the hike as well

Jazzy leading the way

Jazzy leading the way

Mt Joe, New York

Francois, exuberant to be at the summit

near Lake Placid, New York

Me and my wet girls at the top of Mt. Joe

Near Lake Placid, New York

View from the top of Mt Joe

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Olympic Ski jumps in Lake Placid

Within hours of Francois departing for home, another friend… fellow travel blogger, Mike Shubic… rolled in and took his camp spot. The big highlight of our couple of days together was a trip to Ausable Chasm. I camped very near this spot the same evening I climbed up Mt. Joe last fall, and I remember being stunned at the unexpected sight of these falls as I drove across the bridge near my campground. The following morning before hitting the road, and long before the visitors center was open, I took a quick trip back to this scenic vantage point from the bridge. It’s seldom I get to share amazing vistas with anyone else, let alone a friend, so it was nice to have Mike there to enjoy it with me this time.

Keeseville, New York

Au Sable River

Although there were other stops we were hoping to make that afternoon, we decided to take the time to hike the Chasm trail. Wow! We were both very glad that we did! We were like little kids in a candy store with every new corner we turned!

Au Sable River, Keeseville, New York

The falls at Ausable Chasm

Keeseville, New York

Bridge over Au Sable River

Au Sable River, Keeseville, New York

“The Chasm” of Ausable Chasm

Ausable Chasm, New York

Fellow travel blogger, Mike Shubic

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The Ausable Chasm trail

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Rafts being lowered to Au Sable River at Ausable Chasm

Au Sable River, New York

River raft at Ausable Chasm

After our trek along the Au Sable River, Mike and I drove into Plattsburgh to a look around and a have a bite to eat. Plattsburgh has a quaint and historic downtown area, with several beautiful churches (all of which we being refurbished in some way and were covered with scaffolding), homes and business fronts.

Plattsburgh, New York

Lake Champlain

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Clock in downtown Plattsburgh

The following morning Mike and I said our goodbye’s for the second time in about a month. (We first met in Kentucky when our paths actually intersected after months of communicating virtually.) I was heading in the direction of the Thousand Islands region along the Saint Lawrence River, but made one more stop along the way in Brasher Falls. I can honestly say that the only reason I ended up in the Riverside Campground was that it was a midway point between Lake Champlain and Alexandria Bay, and they promised a good wifi connection. (Which I desperately needed after spending so much time camped off-grid!)

What I found was one of the friendliest groups of campers I’ve ever encountered! The bonus was being camped right along the St. Regis river and not too far up the road from Messina, another quaint little town along the St. Lawrence River. I shared some social time with my new friends, took a drive into Messina and out to the locks on the St. Lawrence, and kayaked with my camp neighbors Laurie and Veronica during my short stay. Mostly though, I worked… because I could!

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St. Regis River, Brasher Falls

Brasher Falls, New York

Kayaking with new friends, Laurie and Veronica on St. Regis River



Massena New York

Sacred Heart Church, Massena

When I continued my journey up the highway toward Clayton, I took a small recommended side trip to a new winery on Black Lake, Bella-Brooke Vineyard and Winery. One of the owners, Larry, gave me a tour of the vineyard and tasting room, poured me a few samples of their four tasty wines, and then gave me my very first wine slushy! This didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy, but had I not already walked back down the hill to my motorhome while finishing it I might have asked for more!! Very refreshing!

Hammond, New York

Bella-Brooke Vineyard and Winery on Black Lake

Part of the staff at Bella-Brooke Winery.

Ruby, part of the friendly staff at Bella-Brooke Winery, came out to greet me when I arrived.

And just down the road from Bella-Brooke… two of my favorite things… old barns and horses!

Old Barn and horse in Hammond New York

Old Barn and horse in Hammond New York

That completes my promised second post in two days! Tomorrow I’m going to take you on a tour of an area I’ve been wanting to see for ages… Thousand Islands on the Saint Lawrence River! Don’t miss the boat! 🙂

8 thoughts on “New York- Lake Champlain, Lake Placid, Ausable Chasm and Brasher Falls

  1. Oh, I have so enjoyed your “two for two”! And no pressure…. but looking forward to number THREE!!! You are awesome!!!

    • Thanks Susan! Unfortunately I didn’t make the three for three goal I had set. Lots going on with old and new friends here in the Tetons. Hopefully today!

    • If I’d known you hadn’t seen it I would have poked you Mike! 🙂 It was great spending time getting to know you in person, and I too, look forward to doing some hiking together in Zion National Park!

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