Lighter watercraft for portages!
Many years ago, I did this trip with my first kayak, a 45 lb. yellow plastic kayak, affectionately called my banana boat. I carried it by myself, over my head! I was much younger, much stronger, and perhaps a little crazy! We only completed four carries, due to threatening skies. Last year I completed the five carries with my friend Paul, we set out recently to do it again. In 2015 Paul had used his long 17’ Wenonah — this year he took his 12’ Hornbeck. I used my 10’ Hornbeck — which I had used last summer.
We started the day with breakfast at the Swiss Kitchen. We then picked up our turkey wraps at Shaheen’s Deli, which we ordered just prior to finishing our breakfast. We stopped at the Trading Post near Fish Creek to get a couple of Clif energy bars. On our way to the St. Regis Landing, I learned Paul did not have a watch, we both assumed the other one had a watch — lesson number one, communicate! However, we had both checked the weather and since there was 0% chance of rain we figured we had plenty to time to complete the trip with a bit of time to relax at our destination!
We launched from the St. Regis Carry which is between Lake Clear Junction and Paul Smiths. There is both a private parking area for Upper St. Regis Members, and a public area with limited parking — luckily we found a spot. The launch site is a beautiful sandy beach (see cover photo).
We headed to our left and stayed along that shoreline. We passed a boat house, and not far from there we once again spotted the signage for the Bog Pond carry.
The 1st carry: Upper St. Regis to Bog Pond, is up a little incline. This carry goes through private land, a stone wall lines one side of the path then you cross a dirt road. The carry is listed as a 150 ft. The entry into Bog Pond is narrow, but beautiful. Bog Pond is small, you feel like you practically hop in and hop out of your watercraft.
The 2nd carry: Bog Pond to Bear Pond is another short easy carry at 150 ft. In Bear Pond, there is a beautiful, private lean-to on your left. We spotted two loons on the way in, and on the way out four loons. The two adults were catching fish for their two young ones, luckily we did not see any bears!
The 3rd carry: Bear to Little Long Pond is up a steep incline, listed as .25 mile in the Adirondack Paddler's Guide, but not difficult with a light-weight boat. Little Long Pond is my favorite pond on this trip and number 5 campsite, which sits on a point, looked wonderful. On our way out we wanted to stop there to eat the 2nd half of our wraps, however it was occupied.
The 4th carry: Little Long Pond to Green Pond runs .25 miles per my reference book — again not a long carry. Green Pond was called green for a reason, a bit green, it is a very short paddle, too.
The 5th carry: Green Pond to St. Regis Pond is another short carry listed as 100 ft. per the Adirondack Paddlers Book. Online I read 200 ft. — oh, how I would love to own a GPS for paddling to record these on my own.
On St. Regis Pond we saw mergansers and loons as we paddled the left side of the lake to site #3. Site #3 has a lean-to that is well maintained. It sits high on a bank and if you stay to the right of the lean-to the water is shallow and the bank is much lower and easier to get in and out to land. We ate our lunch and I read the log book which was in the lean-to. It included a couple of cute jokes, here is one:
Prior to our leaving, a group of Boy Scouts came along. I let them know that we had only stopped for lunch so they were welcome to land if they were looking to camp on this site, and they promptly joined us. Each Scout had their own 5-gallon pail with their own food, which they would each hang from a tree. They were to prepare their own meals and assemble their tents if they had one. One Scout was going to sleep in his hammock, which he had done on previous trips. I do admire all Scout Leaders for teaching the kids and for taking on the responsibility for trips such as this one!
The paddle and carries back were just as enjoyable as going in. Our final stop in Tupper Lake was for ice cream at Skyline! Next year, I would like to extend this to the 7 carries — or maybe even the 9!