Almanack Contributor Lorraine Duvall

Lorraine Duvall

Award winning author Lorraine Duvall writes of her paddling adventures in the book, In Praise of Quiet Waters: Finding Solitude and Adventure in the Wild Adirondacks. Some experiences from her memoir, And I Know Too Much to Pretend, led her to research a woman’s commune north of Warrensburg, resulting in the 2019 book, Finding A Woman’s Place: The story of a 1970s feminist collective in the Adirondacks. Duvall lives in Keene and is on the board of Protect the Adirondacks.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Paddling: Lake Champlain Squalls

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt had been six years since our first major adventure in our solo canoes, surviving Hurricane Isabel while crossing Little Tupper Lake. My five Adirondack canoe buddies and I (we call ourselves the Isabel-6 because of the Little Tupper trip) are dedicated to going on anniversary paddles every year since then, primarily in the Adirondacks, on occasion in Northern Vermont. We also like to call ourselves OWOW – Older Women of the Water (in 2010, our ages ranged from 72 to 86).

The fall of 2010 we decided to try Lake Champlain from the Vermont side. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Searching For Quiet Waters In A Solo Canoe

Chapel Pond Cliffs 2(1)Moving to the Adirondacks in 1998 offered new opportunities to explore the lakes and rivers in my solo canoe near Keene. I first tried Upper Cascade Lake and Chapel Pond, the lakes visible from Route 73 near Keene Valley on the way to Lake Placid. I had admired those lakes for decades while vacationing in the High Peaks.

Launching my Hornbeck at the Upper Cascade Lake was easy as it only weighted 15 pounds. Hugging the south shore, admiring the small streams cascading over the moss-covered rocks at close range was magical. But the noise from the traffic on Route 73, amplified across the lake, caused such an annoyance I soon paddled back to shore in disappointment. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Tragic Rafting Trip On The Upper Hudson

Duvall009_2“Where do you plan to camp tonight?” our river guide yelled to the young man paddling his raft past our campsite. “North River,” he said.

“That’s too far, you’ll never make it before dark,” our guide responded – although his words went unheard as the raft disappeared around a bend of the Upper Hudson River.

More rafts followed with a half-dozen young men and women waving and laughing as they paddled by our campsite, seemingly oblivious to the set of whitewater rapids they were about to encounter. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Celebrating Adirondack Women

Anne LaBastille - SagamoreWomen’s History Month provides an opportunity to honor the women from the Adirondacks who have lived here, and those who have written about women who helped to preserve this special place and loved its many facets. A number of books have been published the last decade or so that chronicle the lives and stories of women who contributed to the history and culture of the Adirondacks.

“Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives” is the theme for the 2015 National Women’s History Month. Two women ingrained into the fabric of my Adirondack life are Anne LaBastille and Barbara McMartin. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Finding Solitude In A Canoe At Ledge Pond

Ledge Pond - Lorraine at carryI wanted to find an excursion in my solo canoe that provided solitude and where I’d feel challenged, but not in danger. A big order, as in 1993 I had no friends, or even any colleagues, in the Central New York area I could consult who had knowledge of remote areas of the Adirondacks. So I read guidebooks and studied Adirondack maps.

Descriptions of the headwaters of the Saranac River caught my interest, as my first canoe adventure had been through a Girl Scout trip on Upper Saranac Lake many years before. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Solo Canoe Comfort And Quiet Waters

Duvall005The year after I bought my Hornbeck Canoe in 1991, my friend, Linda, rented a camp on Third Lake, near Old Forge. One weekend I loaded my new canoe on top of my car and drove to her camp, excited that I could spend the weekend in the Adirondacks.

I thought, Oh, Great. This is my opportunity to test out my solo canoe on the Adirondack waters. I wanted to learn as much as I could about my new canoe and how it handled in different situations. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sixty Hours Without Power

December storm 2014, 27 inchesEssex County Officials have asked NYSEG to request more crews in addition to the 30 trucks already on the job. NYSEG Representatives have stated that they have, and there are 25-30 more crew on their way… and that the New York State Emergency Management Office and the Governor’s Office have been continuously advised of power outages.

–  Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas in an e-mail residents December 11th.

The “Beep-Beep” woke me up. Then again “Beep-Beep.” I knew what that meant. It was the notification mechanism on our smoke detectors designed to send a warning signal indicating no electric power. This did not surprise me since a snowstorm had been predicted. It was still dark this Wednesday morning. I went back to sleep, unconcerned, having weathered many power-outages before. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Finding Comfort In A Solo Canoe

west canada creek with BruceThe summer of 1988 I attended a Syracuse University computer software workshop at the Minnowbrook Conference Center at Blue Mountain Lake. During an afternoon break from the workshop, two colleagues and I went for a walk starting at a parking lot on Lake Durant, a small state-owned lake near the village of Blue Mountain Lake. A woman with a small canoe on top of her car pulled up to the lake near where we were walking. She parked, opened the door, unfastened the canoe straps, and lifted the canoe off her car, handling it with ease. She placed the canoe in the water and paddled across Lake Durant. She did this all within five minutes.

“I want that.” I shouted, feeling the freedom that comes from observing such independence. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lorraine Duvall: A Trip To The Essex Chain Lakes

Lorraine & culvert--Photo by Jeri WrightI had been pining to experience the waters of the Essex Chain Lakes ever since hearing of the purchase by the Nature Conservancy in 2007. But now that the Lakes are open to the public seven years later my ability to carry a boat, even a lightweight Hornbeck solo canoe, is limited. I could have done it at the age of 68, but not 75. I wanted to do it with my canoe buddies, who were even older than me, ranging in age from their late seventies to ninety.

We are a group of six women from the High Peaks region who like to independently explore the wild waters in our solo boats. Our paddling explorations began 11 years ago during a camping trip on Little Tupper Lake, returning the last day during a hurricane. Every year since we’ve scheduled trips around hip and knee replacements and family caretaking duties – ranging from three day camping excursions on Lows Lake and Lake Lila to one day trips on Henderson Lake to an afternoon on Lake Everest in Wilmington. » Continue Reading.