Wallpaper February 2009

Wallpaper February 2009

I almost had you fooled last month. Surprisingly few correct answers came in despite the fact this is same scene featured in the December 2005 wallpaper. The only difference is that this time it's snowing - hard, which made it tough to keep the lens dry. "I’ve always seen this spot as classic Thousand Islands. It’s the Lost Channel, named for an incident that occurred here on August 14, 1760. If you aren’t familiar with the story and have my first book available, page 41 will explain.

 January 2009 Image

There are many other stories about this place too, one of them from this month’s winner Jack Patterson:

And I 'd guess we're standing on the flat portion of the Canadian Span of the 1000 Island Bridge looking upriver just west of Georgina - the Park island and just north and east and some downriver from Benson's Rift .  

 Maybe yes ?

 And if so, when I was ten or so I put a note in a bottle and launched it, a la "Paddle to the Sea" and his uncharted journey to the sea - seeing my 'bottle' somewhat like Paddle. But I asked that people contact me. And I got a letter later that summer from the people on the island that makes up the (small) island side of Benson's Rift! My bottle landed and they saw the note in it and wrote back to me. I think there was a visit down to their island - this would be around 1948. This bottle launched from Axeman Island in the Lake Fleet Group.

  Can tell other tales of items small and big that under their own power left Axeman Island to wander down the river including a newly built rowboat left loosely tied circa the 1940's when adventure for us was watching Phil Sharples' 40' Hacker Craft, Bon Papa, course down the north shore of Grindstone, make the turn at Canoe Point for the Picton Chanel and eventually reach Clayton.  

  This was back when I - we, could tell the boats at night rounding Picnic Point by their sound. The 'men' were coming for the weekend! Or longer - up from NYC after long eight - nine - ten hour drives.
  And in the back of the little cabin on Papula I knew from the sound which boat wouldn't hold tightly to the north shore as above and would swing wider, wide enough to cross the border by Fort Wallace but not so wide as to be heading for the Gananoque Narrows. And I knew thusly had to watch out for the green spar buoy between Axeman and Ft. Wallace in the night and, " Put the flash on it, no, don't shine it in the boat!"; a spar buoy now more than 60 years marking the way in the day .
 I knew by the sound of the Chief or of the Tomahawk (in the dark) immediately they came within earshot - which on a quiet night, was at Picnic Point. Knew who was who. Excited that my Dad (uncle, great grandfather , grandfather , guests . . . as 'we' were all women and children during the week) would be eventually getting into the St. Lawrence skiff at the boathouse and rowing down to a little 'papule' of a speck of an island and cabin and I could greet him then with a ten year old's news!

Jack Patterson, Axeman Island

 Many thanks Jack, for taking us back in time and your correct ID of the Lost Channel.
Perhaps it’s appropriate to share another story that links to this spot, which you may soon be listening to. A little over a year ago, I was alerted to an episode of Stuart McLean’s “Vinyl Café”  radio show being broadcast from the Gananoque Playhouse on CBC and NCPR. Stuart was hosting a musical group, “Great Lake Swimmers”. 
I very seldom respond instantly to music, needing to be conditioned over time, but by the end of the broadcast had not only purchased and downloaded the songs they had just played, but all three of their albums. I find GLS' music hauntingly beautiful, perhaps best described as folk/rock and thought their sound might marry perfectly to the River.
I contacted their manager, Phil Klygo and invited them to visit the region, which being an extension of a Great Lake, seemed appropriate. Late last summer I had a call from Tony Dekker who leads the group. He explained they were in the process of recording a fourth album and loves using acoustically interesting spaces. A few phone calls followed and thanks to the immediate support of Tom Weldon and Mr. Farhad Vladi of Singer Castle, Bob Helm at Rockport’s St. Brendan’s Church and Peter Dunn of the Brockville Arts Center, we managed to put together three very interesting recording venues.
Tony and Eric Arnesen of Great Lake Swimmers were sufficiently smitten by our favorite place to title the new album “Lost Channels” and despite most of the material having already been written, added two last tracks before putting it to bed; “River’s Edge” and “Singer Castle Bells.” The album will be released in the spring. You can check them out here: http://www.greatlakeswimmers.com/ or listen to them on My Space Music or YouTube.
You may also want to keep an eye out for the March issue of Lakeland Boating Magazine. This is the second feature I've done with them and Amy Hiemstra (L B's art director) has really outdone herself with this layout. A really well designed presentation can increase the power of images considerably. You be the judge.

Wallpaper February 2009

Download wide-angle version


Ian, you always present a challenge. The configuration fits the entrance to Halfmoon Bay, but the lack of ice argues strongly against that possibility. Another possibility is the eastern approach to Smuggler's Cove taken from the mainland in Ivy Lea. The vegetation argues against that. So, I'm going with Lost Channel looking south from Georgina. Certainly this is a great picture because it captures the essence of the river in winter. It could be several different locations. The open water discloses a rapid current typical of the area north of Hill Island. Very similar views could be found in Benson's Rift, the International Rift, Needle's Eye, and near Fiddler's Elbow. I guess that's why I like it so much; it is the generic view of the 1000 Islands in winter. I'm sticking with Lost Channel as my best guess. Happy New Year! Here's a story with a little history. Years ago we heard a call that a man was having a heart attack on Constance Is. I had a quick boat then and ran down there. Also responding was a boat from Parks Canada and USCG- Alex Bay. An older man was in a lawn chair showing symptoms of a heart attack. The Coast Guard had brought oxygen, but in those days, they were not authorized to use it. As I recall, they also were uncomfortable transporting the victim, who was American and wanted to go to Alex Bay hospital. Since this was well before the 9/11 attack in New York, we pooled resources and did what seemed best for the victim. The Coast Guard was out of its jurisdiction in Canada, but they kindly offered the oxygen they had brought. I'm not licensed in Canada, but I administered the oxygen, Parks Canada agreed to transport the man to Alex Bay, which probably stretches their authority a little. I left my boat tied to the dock, and accompanied the victim in the Parks Canada boat to A Bay. After delivering him to the hospital, Parks Canada kindly ferried me back to Constance Is. to retrieve my boat which was illegally tied in Canada. I returned to Clayton without checking into Canada, nor checking back into the US. Heaven knows if the victim was checked into Canada or if he ever cleared US customs on return. I hope that if he is still alive and sees this, the victim will have a little chuckle when he considers the number of rules that were broken on his behalf. Those were "good old days". The whole event helped to foster the warm feelings that exist between the folks who live, work, and vacation on both sides of the border in the Thousand Islands. This all took place within a hundred yards of the wilderness paradise you chose for January's wallpaper. I love the picture.

Dick Withington posted on: Monday, January 26, 2009

Whooo hooo! What a great way to start the New Year!! I actually know the exact spot for this picture! This is the island cluster just below the Canadian span of the TI bridge. I know because this is one of my favorite spots in the Thousand Islands (other than our own backyard). At least once or twice a year Bob and I like to hike the entire length of the bridge from Hill Island to the Canadian mainland and try to soak in as much of the beauty below us as possible. One of the islands the bridge crosses over is the Provincial Park Island, Georgina which I would have to say is one of my favorite islands. When I was young, my parents would pack a picnic lunch for us and we would go spend the day wandering around on the island. It is impossible to decide which side of the island has the most beautiful views since everywhere you look, it is breathtaking. Many years ago I brought a friend up to the Thousand Islands for a day trip from Syracuse and wanted to show her some of the most beautiful spots on the River. We walked the Canadian span and I pointed out Georgina to her, but to really experience the beauty of the River, I realized one must do it by boat. We had brought along an inflatable life raft and after spending a half hour blowing it up, we went down the stairs on Hill Island that take you below the TI Bridge and plopped our boat in the water. We got in and, with me manning the single oar, attempted to head toward Georgina. After only a few paddles, we were spun completely around and heading back to the shore. I turned us back around and pushed out a little farther only to find our little boat caught in one of the many currents in that area, spinning in circles. We never actually made it to Georgina but had a wonderful day nevertheless, and I think my friend came to appreciate a whole new meaning to ‘round trip’.

Patty Mondore Janesville, NY posted on: Monday, January 26, 2009

I believe this shot was taken from the Canadian span between Constance and Georgina Islands. I think the shot is facing up-river, centered on a group of small islands that lie between Rabbit, Georgina, and Constance. AKA - the entrance to the Lost Channel.

Bill Johnson Mexico, NY posted on: Monday, January 26, 2009

I love the photo of the wintertime islands. Last February, myself and a good friend went to the River and walked across the frozen back bay near the 1000 Islands Club, to our home on Castle Rest Island. It was 25 degrees, calm and sunny. Perfect (if you like cold weather). There was no noise, other than the two deer we spooked off the island. I'm going to make it an annual trip to fill the need of the Island until spring time. If you can do the same, DO IT! It's magical.

Rich Calabrese Rochester, NY posted on: Monday, January 26, 2009

You're just testing us! This photo is the same as the December '05 wallpaper - just a closer shot of the end of the island/cottage and with a snow squall added. The 05 photo is one of my favorites and is a regular background on my laptop around the holidays. Did you take this one at about the same time as the '05 one? I really appreciate your doing these wallpapers. As a non-native 1000 Islander who married a Watertown girl whose family had a cottage at Chippewa Bay (that is now ours), your photos and books give me a much better appreciation for the breadth of the Islands and their unique beauty. Thank you!

Jim Smith Fairport, NY posted on: Monday, January 26, 2009

If anyone does make it up during the winter an absolutely outrageous activity to do is get a bunch of people together and rent hovercrafts for a few hours. We did this a few years ago from an outfit in Clayton, not sure if they still rent out the hovercrafts...I still have some of this pics here: Heather" rel="nofollow">www.flickr.com/photos/heatherg/Heather

posted on: Sunday, February 01, 2009

I think this picture is in the Lost Channel. When I was about 30 yrs younger my dad and a boat full of people, me included were cruising along over in Lake of the Isles and it became dark, took a wrong turn and got lost. I stood in the front of the boat with a flood light and watched for items in the water. We also had a depth finder. We were able to find our way out and get to a place we knew. Had a boat following us as well. It was a very scary feeling out there at night in the dark. One I never forgot.

Joyce Davenport posted on: Monday, February 02, 2009

I think that this picture is so cool and cosy. I like the winter and thank you for posting such a nice picture.

Siba El Ayoubi, Lebanon posted on: Monday, February 02, 2009

My own back yard, (Lost Channel) and I thought you were talking about Chippewa Bay, thinking man that sure looks like Gary Clark's island with that goofy tree hanging out over the water and the tree tops of our island, 92. Should have known just to trust my instincts. Well you got me this time, great picture as always, but I am still glad I am in Florida to look at it, too damn cold for me.

Tim Bresnahan posted on: Friday, February 06, 2009

Boy Ian this a tough one. But I believe this is a shot of the upriver side of Leek Island. Huckleberry Island is in the foreground with Juniper Island just off the tip of Leek. After crossing the lake from Rochester we would always anchor for the night in the small bay on the Grindstone side of Leek. My wife & I always enjoyed going over to the swiming area in our Zodiac and touring ths surrounding Islands.Did you get my email thanking you for the fantastic lighthouse pictures? I ask because a few days after sending the email I went back to the "mail sent" file and a few were missing, yours was one of them. Thanks again for the beautiful picture set. They're currently in the process of being framed.Thanks agiin it's been great fun.Bill

Bill Johnson posted on: Friday, January 18, 2013

Great shot, Ian. You made me think about this one for a little bit. I could tell it's an area with wide open water, because there is a sailboat up there. I don't think there is a similar shot in any of your books. This is a shot looking over Huckleberry at the cut between Thwartway and Juniper. It's a beautiful spot to anchor in a prevailing wind, and you always see cruisers and sailboats there on the weekend. I've got a story for you on this one.Before you were flying here, I was flying here. Starting in the summer of 1973, my friend, Dave Inglehart and I flew a Delta Wing hang glider that we towed behind my ski boat. We usually used a 450 foot tow line, which would get us to an altitude of about 350 feet. We were addicted to altitude and sometimes used a 750 foot line. (Remember, all we could see when we looked down was our bare feet, no cockpit or controls). On the day relevant to these islands we left Dave's house in the Lake of the Isles and headed toward Rockport and up the Canadian channel. I remember being higher than the Canadian Span of the bridge, and had to dive underneath it while cars stopped and people got out to take pictures. We continued through Fiddlers Elbow, past Wellsley and through the Gananoque Narrows to Gan. Apparently, while we were passing Gananoque, a couple of alert O.P.P. officers saw us "skiing" without an observer and followed us. Nobody was crazy enough to want to spend as much time in the boat as we did, so we usually were without an observer. We did try a styrofoam head with a wig stuck on a broomstick, but it didn't work that well. Hey, nobody said were were smart. We turned to head toward Grindstone when I landed the kite right on the backside of Juniper, so Dave could get in it and fly it home, when then O.P.P. came along side. They weren't too happy about us flaunting the law, and were making a big deal of it. We were just out for a flight and didn't have any money with us to pay a fine, so they had to figure out what to do with us. Confiscating the boat and taking us to jail was a possibility. After talking with them for awhile, they decided to write us a citation, and let us go on our word that we would return to face the music in front of the judge in Gan. I guess they didn't know us very well. Nobody that did would have trusted us. We did return for our court date a couple of weeks later, however. The officers were in the courtroom, and seemed surprised when we walked in. When my turn came to go before the judge, he asked "What makes you think you don't need an observer when the law says you need one?" I answered "Well, experience, your honor". He then said "Well chalk this up to experience. Pay the clerk $100!". We paid our debt to society, chatted with the officers, and were on our way. No sense having the O.P.P. mad at you, never know when you might meet again.

Dave Montrois posted on: Friday, January 18, 2013

The Notification List

One afternoon at a book signing, a lady shared with me a profound statement. "The River chooses some". Those of us who were chosen, spend winters longing to get back. To help my winter longings and yours too, each winter month I enjoy sharing a computer screensaver image to help infuse a little summer warmth into your day. I also outline the latest additions to ThousandIslandsLife.com online magazine. If you would like to receive these images and updates, please add your email address to the notification list using the form below. It will not be shared elsewhere.