A Fall Paddle on Little Clear Pond

Lots of Loons and Peaceful Scenery

Alan Belford

Another Warm Fall Day

I try to take advantage of every nice day we have during the fall, and this year we’ve had plenty from which to choose. But with October winding down and colder weather coming, I made a point to go paddling the other day to enjoy the 60 degree temperatures. My friend had the same notion and she joined me at Little Clear Pond.

Windy Conditions

A splendid paddle, Little Clear Pond is one of the entrance points into the St. Regis Canoe Area. While we only had a couple hours to play – and not the few days necessary to explore the canoe area — the pond offered plenty of interesting features and coves to keep us occupied. And while the seasonal turnover of the lake and the autumn wind made the water more turbid than the usual clarity that helped give its name, the lake was no less picturesque and the often busy parking area was largely empty, meaning we had the pond to ourselves.Wren enjoys Little Clear Pond during a summer paddle.

The warm air of the day was brought on by strong southern winds, and we hugged the shoreline to initially stay out of the air flow as best we could – eyeing the more turbulent water offshore. Nevertheless, I was caught by surprise by a stiff draft while I paused to take photographs, and the wind whisked my hat away. We had to quickly loop back around to scoop it up before it was lost in the lapping waves. I left the hat soaking wet in the boat, where it formed a small puddle.

The wind made such attempts at photos difficult, but I continued to stop where I could to snap shots – my friend helping to steady the boat while I did. Wren’s usual paddling nap was also disturbed by the rocking waves, and she constantly adjusted her position when a particularly strong gust came up, eventually sitting up for much of the time as if to supervise us and to help make certain we navigated the lake safely. In this way we paddled along the eastern shore of the lake before cutting across a narrower section with the waves driving us north. A few Common Loons sat on the water, but we didn’t stop in the rolling water to look at them. A group of Common Mergansers were easier to view from a more sheltered nook along the eastern shoreline.We found a bunch of Common Mergansers along the shoreline. Photo courtesy of

Hiding from the Wind

Once across the lake, we tucked around the peninsula that juts out from the western shoreline, and found ourselves on the relatively calm waters of its lee side. We paused from our paddling efforts to rest and chat while I grabbed the opportunity to take a few pictures. There were a few more loons on this end of the lake as well, and we could see the waves hitting the northern shoreline – beyond the wind-blocking effect of the peninsula.

After a short loop in the calmer waters, we turned and cut back out into the brunt of the wind, paddling hard to keep steady and straight, and using a pair of small islands for cover and rest before making for the southern shore of the lake, which again offered us protection from the gale. Once on more placid water, and with the sun at or backs to aid us, we could see that there were 10 Common Loons congregated on the main body of the lake. There were at least four young birds – and the adults were also in their winter plumage in preparation to migrate south along the Atlantic coast.We found good numbers of Common Loons on the pond — they nest there during the summer and often flock up before migrating south. Image courtesy of

The trees along the shore also made it possible to hear the chatter of Black-capped Chickadees, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and at least one Brown Creeper as we continued on to the take out – it was nice to not have the wind in our ears. Once again, we could clearly see the line of choppy water a short distance away, and we kept to calmer waves all the way to the launch.

While winter is coming, fall still offers excellent outdoor recreation and paddling opportunities. Come check out our lodging and dining pages to learn more!

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