Winter came late and appears to be leaving us early, however, some may argue it never came at all! Being an avid skier I longed for the huge Nor'easter, but it always missed us! Now that the snow is gone -- at least for today -- I am thinking about paddling. Note - I said thinking, I am not ready to get into my yak with water this cold, there was still ice on the southern end of Tupper Lake not too long ago. A wet suit or dry suit or a neoprene shirt and pant outfit would have to be a part of my attire to paddle this early, being that I do not have those items hanging in my closet, for now I will just think about where I want to go!
Normally, I am not on the water until late May, but I am hoping that I will be on the water much earlier this paddle season. Mother Nature has not been very consistent nor normal with the weather. Easter Sunday it felt like summer, the following day it felt like spring, and the very next day we were back to winter! I wish she would make up her mind! When the water gets a bit warmer and the buds appear on the the trees I will put on a pair of my neoprene boots and paddle a few of my favorites which are very close to home: Simon Pond, Tupper Lake, and Follensby Clear Pond. Once the temperatures rise a bit more, I have my agenda ready - below are a few of my favorite destinations, as well as a few new places that I plan on visiting this year.
Exploring new areas!
East Pine Pond and West Pine Pond, located in the Floodwood area, are on my must-paddle list. The access point for East Pine is off of Floodwood Road, approximately 4.5 miles west of Route 30. In late March, being inquisitive as to the condition of the road and the amount of ice still on the wilderness ponds I drove down Floodwood Road. The first pond, Polliwog Pond, was still well covered with ice, and the road became more muddy and slippery the farther I drove. This road is not well traveled at that time of year, so I turned around at the 2.5-mile mark, no sense in getting stuck in March just because I was curious! In the summer it is busier as via the Floodwood Road there is access to Polliwog Pond, Middle Pond, Floodwood Pond and Long Pond and many drive to primitive campsites as well. The paddle to East and West Pine Pond received a rating of 7 in the Adirondack Paddler's Guide book, 10 being the most wilderness. The only portage is a steep one! It is up and over the esker that separates East Pine from West Pine Pond. Luckily, it is short one, but it definitely sounds Hornbeck worthy!
My ultimate plan is to continue on to Rock Pond, if the water is high enough. From Rock Pond I will then head into Rollins Pond (my favorite camping area), then Floodwood Pond (another favorite paddle), and back then back to East Pine Pond. This would entail three more portages, but the longest one is only 0.3 miles. In one day I will paddle into three ponds that I have not previously paddled. I am so excited to do this trip!
Pink Pond located in the St. Regis area is also on my list. I wonder does it have a pinkish tint? Or perhaps, pink wild flowers along the shoreline? To access Pink Pond, my choice would be to launch from Hoel Pond go through the culvert to Turtle Pond, to Slang and Long Pond with a portage to Pink. I have paddled Hoel, Turtle, Slang and Long, but Pink Pond will be a new one! This will be full day's adventure with a relaxed lunch and maybe a little hanging around in my hammock. The only portage is from Long to Pink and it is a very short one, so five ponds in one day! Oh, maybe I could even take in a hike up Long Pond Mountain, all reports indicate it is an hour climb to the summit and that it is not a difficult climb.
These are on my list because they are new, but I do have my annual favorites. I need to paddle them at least once a year, if not more! Low's Lake is on the top of my list, it is a wide lake and a very long lake. Access to Low's is south of Tupper Lake, about 7 miles outside of the village, take route 421, which is a paved road, but will turn to a dirt road, where you will see a sign on your left stating Low's Lower Dam, this will take you to the parking area. You will paddle across Hitchins Pond to Low's Upper Dam where you have a 100-yard portage to Low's Lake across from the old homestead of Augustus Low. As a side note, Low's Upper Dam is also a beautiful destination. If you want to enjoy this gem, but you don't paddle, ride a bike or walk in -- you will have no regrets.
This summer we have plans to turn this favorite day trip into an overnighter. I have not done overnight wilderness camping in years! I have asked an experienced wilderness camping friend to lead a group of us. She is leaving her husband behind to take several of us car-camping ladies on this little expedition. While I have been to Low's Lake many times, climbed the ridge, bounced on the floating bog, viewed the stone ruins and admired the various flowers in bloom at different times -- including my favorite the peonies, I have not seen all of the lake, due to its length. I want to explore the many islands and the bays, especially Moose Bay Landing and a paddle into Bog Lake. We are excited for this new adventure! While all of us are experienced paddlers and tent campers at drive-to sites with real bathrooms and showers, double burner gas grills, and our blow up beds, wilderness camping in a sleeping bag on a mat and a privy might limit our maximum nights to one or two.
It looks like I will be headed to Raquette River Outfitters to purchase a spray skirt and browse the camping and paddle gear. If you are interested in getting on the water, but don't have a kayak or a canoe, they'll fit you up with a rental and the necessary accessories. I highly recommend them.
I am so looking forward to paddling these new places along with all of my favorites. Truthfully, my favorite paddle list is endless!
Our ADK news is making a splash this week: