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Old 07-20-2009, 08:11 AM   #1
Pat T
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Oswegatchie to High Falls -- any recent info?

Has anyone been on the Oswegatchie to High Falls recently? I have two questions--

1. If we start early (7am) at Inlet, can we make it to the Falls and back as a day trip?

2. Does anyone have recent info on the extent of beaver activity and blowdowns that we would have to carry over?

We'll be paddling solo Hornbecks. I did this trip with my kids (ages 10 and 13 at the time) as a two nighter. I paddled a Mad River with one child and the other had the Hornbeck. On that trip, we camped down river of High Rock and went to the Falls and back in about 8 hours so I think we'll be ok as a day trip this time. The biggest challenge is getting in and out of the Hornbecks for each beaver dam. A few times is ok but it gets old after awhile.

Any recent river info would be welcome!

Thanks--

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Old 07-20-2009, 10:02 AM   #2
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I'm actually doing this trip myself later this week, but we're going to take a few days and explore the 5 Ponds Wilderness and spend a little time at High Falls.

I've done this trip a couple of times- the last was 3 years ago- and as I recall it took us about 6 or 7 hours of paddling just to get to the footbridge at the Sand Lake Trail, which is still a few miles below high falls. Of course we weren't in light weight hornbecks, and the return trip downriver takes about half the time. Still, I think most people approach this as at least a 2 day trip. My estimation, which is based on 3 year old info, is that it would take about 8 hours to get to high falls and 4 or 5 to get back. That's a pretty long day.

Either way, have fun. Maybe I'll see you out there if you are going this week.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:12 AM   #3
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I'm actually doing this trip myself later this week, but we're going to take a few days and explore the 5 Ponds Wilderness and spend a little time at High Falls.

I've done this trip a couple of times- the last was 3 years ago- and as I recall it took us about 6 or 7 hours of paddling just to get to the footbridge at the Sand Lake Trail, which is still a few miles below high falls. Of course we weren't in light weight hornbecks, and the return trip downriver takes about half the time. Still, I think most people approach this as at least a 2 day trip. My estimation, which is based on 3 year old info, is that it would take about 8 hours to get to high falls and 4 or 5 to get back. That's a pretty long day.

Either way, have fun. Maybe I'll see you out there if you are going this week.
I agree, also it has been very wet this summer so far, so the water levels are up.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:12 AM   #4
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After the foot bridge there was at least one shallow section of rapids that would require getting out and pulling (despite the higher water, which just made the rapids... more rapid ). I don't know if there are more as we opted to turn around there. We got this far in June and even the largest log jam had been cleared enough to paddle through, so no major obsticles other than a lot of miles and bends. I also second that the trip downstream/back to inlet was half as easy and twice as fast.

I wouldn't even try it as a day paddle. There's a ton of good camp sites along the river and it's a really nice wilderness area. It would seem, to me, to be a wasted trip if I couldn't spend at least one night there to soak the area in.
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:41 AM   #5
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Inlet-High Falls

Time up and back depends on your paddling ability. If you're decent in negotiating the twists and turns, I'd be a bit more optimiistic on time than some of the previous posters and say maybe 6 hours (max of 7 hours) going upstream to High Falls and around 3.5-4 hours coming out, assuming some breaks. Haven't been up it this year, so with the rains it might be flowing a bit stronger making those times a bit different--slower going up and faster coming back. With an early start and the long daylight right now, I think it's doable as a day trip, although I'd also agree with Kevin that it's kind of a shame to miss out on the ambience and rush through. Over the years, I've never found more than a few beaver dams or obstructions up to High Falls. After High Falls that's a totally different story--many, many dams and blowdown obstructions.
Good luck,
Gerry
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:01 PM   #6
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Up and back, during these longer days of summer, is definitely do-able--with an early start. This trip is so rich that one full day--even if it's 12 or 14 hours, is not enough to enjoy the experience to its full potential. The best analogy I can think of is running a video movie at 2X speed--you see it all, but there's a lot that you miss too!
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:35 AM   #7
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I paddled down through there in high water a month ago while doing the traverse. As I recall, there are a couple places where you need to pull over downed trees; there might be a couple beaver dams as well, but we were able to paddle over nearly all of them (mostly submerged). I can't imagine that paddling from Inlet to High Falls and back again the same day would be fun.
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Old 06-23-2019, 12:16 PM   #8
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I am planning a trip up the Oswegatchie (from Inlet) to the Robinson River along with a hike to Sand Lake in the Five Ponds Wilderness. Any information on the access road, river conditions and insects would be appreciated.
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Old 06-23-2019, 05:45 PM   #9
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mosquitos are out in full force.
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Old 06-23-2019, 06:58 PM   #10
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I am planning a trip up the Oswegatchie (from Inlet) to the Robinson River along with a hike to Sand Lake in the Five Ponds Wilderness. Any information on the access road, river conditions and insects would be appreciated.
You may just want to take the hiking trail to Sand Lake. In '95 there was a microburst (really bad t-storm) and it knocked down zillions of trees in the Five Ponds area. I read that the area is so thick with new growth that bushwhacking is more torture than fun.

This is if I'm reading your plan correctly....
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:35 PM   #11
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The 15 July 1995 microburst (technically a derecho) was a much more significant event than just a bad thunder storm. It was a 100 mile wide swath with straight line winds of more than 100 mph. It marched from Lake Ontario to the eastern Adirondacks. Look it up. In the worst areas, few mature trees escaped downing or severe damage. In the Five Ponds, trees were stacked up on top of each other 15 feet high.

Last week I instructed a guide training group of students near the other end of the Oswegatchie, off the west end of Lows Lake in one of my favorite off-trail bushwhack areas for teaching and evaluating students' back country navigation skills. In the years shortly after the derecho, extremely dense young saplings and ferns in new found sunlight totally covered unseen damp and slippery downed trees, making travel extremely hazardous. I abandoned several trips into favorite exploration areas as too dangerous to legs and life. However, in the past 5 years, I have noticed the woods opening up much more, making travel easier in many areas that were not totally devastated.

If the ultimate goal is to reach Sand Lake, I prefer a different access point from Bear Pond Road on the southwest side. A short but very easy bushwhack is needed to get to Sand and Rock Ponds.

Last week the mosquitoes were horrible. Nary a black fly in comparison. Deer flies were jus beginning to show their teeth on warmer days.
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:41 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by dundee View Post
You may just want to take the hiking trail to Sand Lake. In '95 there was a microburst (really bad t-storm) and it knocked down zillions of trees in the Five Ponds area. I read that the area is so thick with new growth that bushwhacking is more torture than fun.

This is if I'm reading your plan correctly....
Sorry for the confusion dundee. It will be a combo canoeing/backpacking trip. I will be taking the trail to Sand Lake. I have been through many times since the storm, so I know what you are talking about. Thanks for the advice though.
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:43 PM   #13
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mosquitos are out in full force.
Thanks DuctTape. Figured that was the case, just wondering if I will have BF as well. I guess I will be living in the headnet.
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