End Of Year Canoe Camp, Pawcatuck River, RI

I don’t know if it qualifies as willdernes trip, but we’ve been having a relatively warm winter here in southern New England, so the local crew decided to get one more camping trip in before the end of the year. Without too much arm-twisting we got a group of 5 together for an overnight trip at the Burlingame Canoe Campsites on the Pawcatuck River – me, Bob, Dan, John and Chuck.

The weather forecast was mixed with slight chance showers Saturday afternoon, day-time temperatures in the 40’s, and night-time temperatures dropping into the 20’s. I met the group at the Bradford Landing for the 4-mile trip up to the campsite. With several inches of rain over the past two-weeks, the river was high and it was a bit of a slog paddling upstream in loaded boats.

At Burlingame there is an open field and five smaller wooded sites. We decided to camp in the field, and lugged our gear up from the river. The tents went up first, then the rain fly, then the kitchen. We got a short rain shower after everything was set up, but we stayed dry under the tarp while we enjoyed John’s chili for lunch.

After lunch we took a walk to check out the other campsites before lighting the campfire. Dan cooked nachos in his reflector oven for an afternoon snack, quesedillas in his Big Daddy Skillet as an appetizer, and Tuscan White Bean Stew with grilled garlic bread for dinner. Desert was Strawberry Shortcake with Bob’s homemade biscuits baked in his Camper’s Cook All Camper Kitchen baking pan.

The sky eventually cleared, and we got a great view of the night stars as we sat around the fire. We heard coyotes, owls, and the Amtrak Acela on its hourly run between Boston and New York (not exactly wilderness). After many tall-tales and war-stories we finally turned in for the night at around 10:00. Temperatures dropped into the 20’s, but I stayed snug and warm in my winter sleeping bag.

Before I knew it I heard someone moving around outside. It was Dan getting the morning fire started. I got the coffee perking and fired up my Dutch oven to make a batch of my grandmother’s cinnamon rolls. Dan cooked bacon and homefries in his Big Daddy Skillet, and I cooked omelets on the stove. John said this trip was all about the food, and he was right - we didn’t go hungry.

After breakfast we packed up camp for the trip back to Bradford Landing. Dan had his drysuit on, so he did a New Year’s Polar Plunge off the rope swing before we left. With the high water, we were able to take a detour to explore the marshland along Poquiant Brook, which flows from Watchaug Pond in the Burlingame State Park to the Pawcatuck River. Great trip and a nice way to end the year.

You can check out John’s video here.

For those interested, there is some good video of Bob baking biscuits in his Camper’s Cook All Camper Kitchen baking pan starting at around 5:02.

Few pictures here.


I was surprised at how warm we stayed in the 20s when he camped in the Italian Alps. We had to unzip the RTT (roof tent):camping: from just our body heat.

Quite the chef you had there!

I was plenty warm in my sleeping bag, but the tent never warmed up. Just one person in a good-sized two-person tent. I just stayed in the sleeping bag until I got up in the morning. I’d like to get out in the snow sometime. Of course for that to happen we need to get snow.

We had a few good camp cooks - we always eat well. We did more cooking and eating than paddling on this trip.


Thank you for the visuals and the music. Reminded me of so many of my own river trips. Except you had better food :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks. Well done. Getting out in the off season is my passion. Great food by some skilled people changes everything, a good fire, no whiners allowed.
The French tune is “superb.”
Had friends over yesterday for a fire and some outdoor cooking.
Brid count last Sunday.
Time to plan a trip. Paddle on.

1 Like

Very well done. Felt like I was there. I was familiar with a couple of the songs, but not the artist. Could you list titles and artists.

Watching y’all paddling reminds me of why I love a single blade paddle and canoe so much. I have canoed many more years than kayaked. However, I feel the same love for the feel of a sea kayak and my connection to the water and boat.

I did some saltwater paddling the first day of 2024 in the marsh behind Edisto Island and the mouth of the South Edisto River in a sea kayak. Enjoyed playing in some rough chop were Big Bay Creek joins the S Edisto. But it lacked the camaraderie of your end of the year trip. That accounts for so much more.

I can’t take credit for the video - that was by one of the other guys. I’m sure he would appreciate a comment and answer a question left on his YouTube page. He does great videos.

I was hoping to do some kayak camping this summer (maybe on the Maine Island Trail) but it never happened. I am used to having my canoe where I can bring everything but the kitchen sink, so I am not sure how I’ll make out in a kayak. I won’t be bringing the Dutch oven.

1 Like