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Old 06-01-2019, 05:19 PM   #1
TrailBlaser
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Trip Report: Bog River Flow/Lows Lake May 24-28, 2019

After much thought and consideration, I decided to chance a trip up to the ADKs on Memorial Day weekend and during black fly season. A big part of my decision to go forward was having both the Friday and Tuesday off and having a Nemo Bug Out Shelter that I could retreat to if needed. I was also "chomping at the bit" to get out on the water and paddle.

Friday, May 24

I left a bit later than planned, due to the last minute decision and the need to get my gear and food together. I arrived at Lower Dam parking area around noon and as expected, there were no spots near the register and several vehicles just pulled up (in the middle) to unload. I retreated a little ways up the access road and found a good parking spot. It had been drizzling with some periods of heavier showers all the way up and it continued as I unloaded my Sawyer Autumn Mist solo canoe and gear. Figuring that I might have to park a ways from the put-in, I brought along the cart, so I put all of the gear, except the my main pack, into the boat and carted it down to the put-in. By this time, all but one group had launched, so the getting the boat in the water, stowing the gear and putting on the deck cover was simple. I walked back up to the car with the cart, registered on the return, launched and headed out. Really a pretty easy process, especially considering the number of vehicles that were there. Even though it was drizzling, it was a pleasant paddle up the Bog River and through Hitchins Pond. No one was camped at any of the sites along the river and only one campsite (near the outflow from the dam) was occuppied on Hitchins Pond. When I arrived at the Upper Dam carry, there was one party there - a father and three boys. They were fishing and had not taken their gear or canoe and kayak over the carry. We had a nice conversation at both ends of the carry. They left ahead of me and I decided to have some lunch before launching into the upper Bog River. The bugs had not been troublesome thus far, so I was able to enjoy my lunch by the riverside. Just before I left, I met a solo paddler who had started out at Lake Lila and was doing the loop. We briefly discussed his trip and it was interesting to hear about it. The paddle from there was pretty much uneventful, except for the usual minor inconvenience of getting around the floating bog. My plan was to camp at site #17, but considering the number of people in already for the weekend, I had my doubts whether it would be available. In any case I set about putting in a steady paddle towards the site. On the way, I didn make note of other sites that were open, just in case I had to backtrack if #17 was taken. I was fortunate it was not and arrived with plenty of time to unload and setup camp.



After setting up, I spent the rest of the day in camp, relaxing, reading and enjoying the peace and tranquility; turning in around 9:30.




Saturday, May 25

Although I awoke just after sunrise, I was so comfortable in my hammock, that I fell back asleep for a couple of hours. Awaking just before 9:30, I noted that I never sleep that long at home because my bed is not nearly as comfortable as my hammock. I felt rested and refreshed. After a breakfast of oatmeal and dried fruit, I packed some gear and lunch for a day excursion. It was partly sunny when I left and the temperature was in the upper 60s. The forecast was for rain starting later in the afternoon and continuing through the night, so I decided to spend the day exploring the areas I had passed on the way to the campsite, as there were many bays and passages enroute. Unlike the day before, I did have to don the headnet at times because of the black flies.





Later in the afternoon, it did cloud up and start to drizzle, so I headed back to campsite, parked myself in the bug-out shelter and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening reading (The Second Mountain by David Brooks) and relaxing; calling it a day and turning-in around the same time as the day before.



Sunday, May 26

The day dawned bright, sunny and very windy, as the rain from the night before had blown through. Despite sometimes making the paddling a bit more work, I really enjoy a windy day in the forest. Even though it was windy, I decided I would paddle up to the main part of Lows to find a spot to hang out, have lunch, take photos and read. So after packing up, I headed towards lake.





After rounding the point just to the north of my campsite, I felt the full force of the wind, which was strong enough to create whitecaps on the lake. Deciding not to paddle out into the main part of the lake, I found nice sandy beach area with a view of the lake and enough in the wind to keep it insect-free. I parked my self there for a few hours, enjoying the weather and the scenery, taking pictures and reading.










Monday, May 27

I was awakened from another restful slumber by the sound of multiple groups of paddlers passing the site on their way out. The day was sunny and warm, much less windy than the day before.



After breakfast, I decided to spend the day doing some more exploration of the local area and to put some time in trying to master the art of Tenkara fly fishing. My first destination was back up towards the main lake, to check out campsite #18 (if it was unoccuppied) for a future trip with my family. I hadn't camped at that site for many years. The site is directly on the lake, with full western exposure, so it is subject to the wind and weather. However, it is a large site with a great view up the lake and a nice beach adjacent to it. Also, it can be accessed from the back, so it is not necessary to paddle into the main lake (if weather makes it difficult) to get to it.

















After spending an enjoyable few hours at the site, I headed out through the back bay and spent a couple hours, doing what turned out to be, practicing casting with my Tenkara rod, as I caught no fish.





Upon returning to camp, I spent a couple of hours exploring the forest behind the campsite and taking photos.


















Later, I began the process of breaking camp, trying to minimize what would have to be done in the morning. Knowing that I had a 3-4 trip out and at least a five hour ride back home, my plan was to get an early start.

Tuesday, May 28

The forecast I had for today before coming in was cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. I awoke before sunrise, got up, had breakfast and was finishing packing just after sunrise. It was overcast but there was no precipitation. Since the forecast called for showers, I decided to put on the canoe cover.



When I was about 100 yards off-shore, it began to drizzle. About a quarter mile away, it started to shower and about a quarter mile further, it started pouring down rain. I donned the paddling jacket and pants and cinched the spray cover around me. It rained hard all the way to the upper dam. I doubled to the lower carry and the rain stopped. I had a quick snack and since it was no longer raining, I did not deploy the canoe cover. About 300 yards out after putting in, it began to come down even harder than before. Since this was the final leg of the trip out and knowing that I could do it in 30-40 minutes, I decided against returning to shore or one of Hitchins Pond campsites to put the cover on. Afterall, how much water could actually get in the canoe in the time it would take me to get to the lower dam. I threw a tarp over the gear behind me and paddled on, with only a short pause under the railroad bridge.

Upon arriving at the lower dam, with it still pouring down rain, I quickly unloaded the canoe and carried the gear up to the gate near the register, covering it with the tarp. Retrieving the car keys from my thwart bag, I noted that only my car and one other were parked on the access road. No vehicles were in the lot. I pulled the car down near the gate and set it up for the canoe. I then went back for the canoe and was amazed at how much water was in it! Obvious to me now, was that it would have been worth the time and effort to go to shore and put the cover back on (or better yet, put it on to begin with)!

With the canoe and gear loaded and still in my paddling suit, I jumped in the car and headed out. I turned the heater on to take away some of the chill I was feeling. The paddling suit worked great, but I forgotten to bring the proper head gear and my Tilley hat (which is ventilated) did only a marginal job in keeping my head dry and warm on that wet paddle out.

Despite the delay caused by single lane traffic because of road work on the way to Long Lake, it was a short drive to the restroom by the lake, a quick change into dry clothes followed by coffee from Stewarts. Next was the five hour ride home, most of it in rain like I had just paddled through.

Overall, with the exception of the last day, the weather was good and the bugs were not bad. Being in the forest, in such a scenic and interesting location with the time to relax and enjoy it made this a trip to remember. I am looking forward to returning here later in the summer to share it with my wife, son, daughter and son-in-law.
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Last edited by TrailBlaser; 06-01-2019 at 08:30 PM..
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:42 PM   #2
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It looks like you had s great trip! Thanks for the report and the beautiful pictures. So - you really like the hammock? I wasnít sure if I could sleep in one. What one do you have? ( Thanks in advance.)


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Old 06-01-2019, 08:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtpaws View Post
It looks like you had s great trip! Thanks for the report and the beautiful pictures. So - you really like the hammock? I wasnít sure if I could sleep in one. What one do you have? ( Thanks in advance.)


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Thanks very much vtpaws. The hammock makes all the difference for me now. I was always always a tent camper but as I got older and no pad (and I tried many) or even a portable cot prevented me from getting up stiff and sore in the morning, I had to try something else if I was going to continue canoe camping and backpacking. After reading a couple of articles about hammock camping, I bought a cheap, gathered end hammock and gave it a try (actually on a trip to Lows). Even though it was a bit awkward with a pad and sleeping bag in it, I had no stiffness or soreness those four nights. So I did some additional research which lead me to bridge hammocks. I decided on a Warbonnet Ridgerunner hammock. Not wanting to invest in an underquilt and topquilt initially, I went with a double-layer RR and used my Klymit Static V insulated pad in it. I used my 20d sleeping bag in place of the top quilt. It worked fine for me all of last year, although I didn't camp after October, so I didn't really push the temp limits of the setup. But, I was really pleased with the sleep that I got. The RR is a bit heavier because of the spreader bars, but I am not an ultralight backpacker; I will gladly carry a bit of extra weight to be comfortable. The tarp is a Thunderfly, also from Warbonnet.

Since I was so satisfied with the RR, I decided that I would invest in a top quilt (Hammock Gear Econ Burrow 20d) and AHE Ridge Creek XL under quilt, along with an UQ protector from 2QZQ. Other than some backyard sleeping this spring, this trip was the first real use of it. I couldn't be more pleased. The lowest temp was 43d and I was toasty warm - sleeping in baselayer shorts and a short-sleeve shirt. I never needed the other sleeping layers I had with me, so everything performed as expected. Besides the better sleep I am getting, I also like the additional flexibility that hammock camping provides; there are many more locations available for me to camp because I don't necessarily need a flat, clear space to hang my hammock.

My experience with all the vendors was excellent; the customer service has been outstanding. Also, there is so much information on YouTube and the members of Hammock Forums were also a great source of information. I am still a novice at rigging everything up quickly and efficiently, but I know that comes with time and experience.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:33 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for this information. It saves me slot of time and itís really helpful to hear the opinion of someone who has actually used it. Best - and wishing you calm water, empty campsites and starry nights!


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Old 06-01-2019, 10:14 PM   #5
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My pleasure and same to you vtpaws!
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