Summer in September!
Our summer was a bit soggy and the end of August brought cool nights, dipping into the 30’s! September brought in a heat wave and fall colors! It was our summer! On September 14th, I joined a group of 15 to paddle Massawepie Lake. The lake is located 12.50 miles west of the Raquette River Brewery, this brewery is a new hot spot known for their unique beer, courteous staff, excellent food and music!
How to get there!
The access road is the entrance to the Massawepie Boy Scout camp, which has been in operation since 1952, the name of the lake is of Iroquois origin and it means the beaver’s lake. The access road is dirt, but it is a mere 1.4 miles in. There is a driveway where you can unload your boat at the launch site; parking is on the opposite side of the road.
Private land - but when open so much to do!
Massawepie Lake is surrounded by private land, this area is not open all year, however public hunting, fishing and trapping are permitted (subject to New York State rules and regulations) as well as cross country skiing, hiking, biking, kayaking and canoeing and other non-motorized travel from September 1 through June 14.
BSA and more on Massawepie!
We launched our boats around 10:30 a.m. and headed right, along the North shoreline. There are several BSA buildings including an outside auditorium. Beyond the BSA area you come to the campgrounds owned by St. Lawrence University. We stopped near the docks as two members of our group had treats for granddaughter, Erin, who is attending the University.
Campsites and wildlife!
There are campsites which are available for the public to use during the open dates. We stopped at campsite Bayview for lunch and saw a bald eagle fly over. After lunch I ventured from the group to get a photo of a blue heron. We continued to paddle the perimeter of the lake, ducking into to the bays along the way.
Off from one bay which looks like a finger on the Adirondack Paddlers map there was a stream that looked so inviting! A couple of paddlers ventured under the footbridge into the stream for a short distance. I was lagging behind taking pics so I did not go into the stream. We continued around the perimeter towards our destination.
Solo time for me!
At approximately 2 p.m., we returned to the launch site, it was then that I decided to continue paddling and not join the others at the Raquette River Brewery. I headed out again along the North shoreline and finally saw more wildlife, Mergansers and loons. Coming from the opposite direction was a young paddler, a student at the St. Lawrence University camp. She was majoring in environmental studies, but stated that any student can take classes at the camp; they do not need to have environmental studies as their major or minor. There were ten students at the camp, only three guys, most of the students sleep in the yurts, but she and a couple of others sleep in their hammocks outside! They take five classes a day, she does her assignments in a folding chair or at the kitchen table, they have daily task including cooking the meal with a partner. They have no electronic communication devices, she stated that is why they have plenty of time to enjoy the kayaks, sailboats and SUP’s at the camp. She will be at the camp until the Thanksgiving break, I am glad she has access to the yurts!
Back to the bridge!
I then headed to the footbridge, not knowing exactly where I was going I crouched low in the kayak and went under it. There were many sharp turns to the the left and the right and the stream was very narrow in many places. There was one very shallow area, I wondered if I would get stuck! I had no fear of getting mixed up as there was only one way to go for a long period of time. A couple of times when I go either left or right, I pondered about continuing! Just how far in this wilderness did I really want to go alone!
I spotted a Blue Heron, as I raised my camera it took off and then a second one that I had not seen flew out of the brush behind it! I forged on, thinking I should have brought my paddler’s map, I hadn't brought one as I had no intentions of paddling alone into an isolated area!
With each turn I took I wondered if I would come to a dead end. I love being in the wilderness experiencing the solitude and quietness, but I was getting deeper and deeper into the woods and was wishing I had a paddling partner. A few logs across the stream brought my solo outing to an end, it was too deep in this section to get out and pull my yak across the logs, I was disappointed and relieved at the same time; sometimes I get too inquisitive and determined for my own good!
Upon getting home I was starving, luckily I had an assortment of salads and cold cuts from Shaheen’s IGA to eat while I looked at the paddler’s map to learn that I was headed to Grass River Flow in the Massawepie Mire area, a birding area. Now, I want to go back and explore some more, but next time with a friend and maybe a GPS!