As usual, we opted to glamp instead of camp. So after a blustery paddle out with the kids, Ol' Dad went back for the rest of the gear. Our campsite, on Bowman Island, was managed by the Squam Lakes Association.

It's a much better reservation system than the Reserve America Shitstorm we endure every year to camp in Saranac Lake. First come, first serve. No fucking around.

You park at the association office on the mainland and head out from their boat ramp.

The water was nice and calm in the little marina, but things got choppy out on the lake. It doesn't look to bad here, but Bowman was down at the bottom of the fetch and there were some pretty big whitecaps by the time I got back to the dock.

Like one of those experiments where they track the spread of mold in a Petri dish, the kids had mapped out most of the island by the time I returned with the second load.

Most importantly, they found the most direct route to Sunset Rock. (As you can see in the photo above, there wasn't much time left by the time I'd finished carting all our gear around.)

We poured a couple glasses of Famous Grouse and made it just in time!

This was the coldest camping we've done with the kids so far and we were a little worried about how they'd hold up. Figuring closer quarters would be warmer quarters, we decided to not use our Gigantic Walmart Mansion Tent.

The plan, according to the kids, was for Mom and Dad to sleep in the blue former greyhound tent and for Otis and June to sleep in my old REI backpacking tent. As it got darker and colder, though, this plan was amended: gear in the little tent, people in the blue tent.

It worked out really well, in fact! Despite the chilly went, we were toasty warm all night. (I got the best night's sleep I'd had in weeks!)

We don't usually get to see fall colors when we go canoe camping. Maybe there's something to this late season stuff...

I don't like my Walmart knockoff Crocs. They're not very comfortable and I don't care for silly camo pattern. One thing they do have going for them, though: they highlight the "D" on my Darn Tough socks perfectly!

Oatmeal breakfast for Mom and June!

Dad and Otis too! (Otis thought he was making a scary face, but this is the best smile I've gotten a picture of in a while.)

WHO'S BEN, SARAH?! (And I hope you're happy defacing this poor tree.)

OK, maybe the camo pattern is OK. My feet are completely invisible!

I like how the underside of the leaves have a slightly washed-out color.

See what I mean?

Circumnavigating the island, we came across one of the group sites. It's got a dock and tent platforms and you can have up to 12 people. Good to know...

Some of the leaves were blurrier than others...

Looking out toward the northeast end of the lake, you could see a nice, layered view of the White Mountains. We've got a lot of exploring to do... (And plenty of time to do it!)

Tiny pinecones. (Tinecones?)

Try to look nice, kids!

Our site was just dirt, but most of the other spots on the island had nice tent platforms. The Squam Lakes Association seems more invested in reducing impact than the NYS DEC.

The group next to us moved on in the morning, so their site was empty. We did a little jig on the platforms, walked the plank next to the fire pit, and moved on.

From the looks of the matching canoes, there was a big group on the next island over (Mooney Island). We didn't get a chance to check it out, but I'm sure there's some nice spots over there, too.

"What are you doing, June?" ("Making a butterfly!")

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, JUNE?!" ("Just hanging out!")

We checked the weather in the morning and the forecast said it was going to rain. We'd reserved two nights, but didn't want to push our luck. Chilly kids are one thing. Chilly and wet kids are a whole new level. We debated for a while and decided to bail. We found a room in a nearby hotel and started packing up.

I don't usually do daytime fires, but our reservation included one bundle of logs per night. So, breakfast fire!

I guess we don't usually camp in cold weather, but why the hell haven't we thought to bring ramen cups before?! Between these, quesadillas, and salami and cheese sandwiches (on ciabatta roles warmed up in a pan), it was a perfect lunch.

I did a lot of paddling on this short adventure. I think it ended up being about 9 miles total in less than 48 hours.

For the return trip, I brought a load out first while Sarah and the kids finished packing everything. It was another blower. Whitecaps everywhere.

On the way back to the marina I saw some dudes on a dock, pumping up what I thought was a kite for kite surfing. Turned out it was more exotic. On the way back to the island, they were out on the water. Instead of kite surfing boards they had hydrofoils and instead of a high-up kite, they had inflatable wings that they held with their hands.

As I drifted downwind, back to Bowman Island, one of the dudes tacked back and forth right in front of me. In five second bursts when he was close enough to hear over the wind, he told me all about the Squambats and how great kitewings are. (Super low impact on the knees thanks to the hydrofoil, you can go out with skis/skates in the winter, etc.) I gotta admit, it looks amazingly graceful and fun.

They were still out when I retrieved the fam, but the guy didn't come as close.

The paddle back with the kids was pretty dicey. Paddling up into some pretty substantial waves, there was definitely water coming over the gunwales at points. Sarah and I managed to keep a calm facade (so as not to freak out our passengers) and we made it back in one piece.

I took a picture of the welcoming committee when we got back on solid ground.

We booked a room at the Naswa Resort in Laconia and got dinner at a local brewery. Then, as a special treat for the kids' bravery, we paid a visit to the Largest Arcade in the World! Despite it being an obvious COVID hive, we managed to not pick up any diseases from the other customers.

Back at the hotel, the kids marveled at the commercials on TV, then went to sleep. Mom and Dad had a beer on the balcony and sent a crazed picture to Anicia.

Squam Lake, we'll be back!