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Old 07-08-2016, 11:18 AM   #1
Camp MacFox
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 47
Exploring the Southern Adirondacks

After many years paddling the northern Adirondacks (closer to our home in VT), my husband and I have decided it's time to see what the southern Daks have to offer. We are planning a 3 night trip next week. We would love comments/advice on our plan from those of you who know the area. Here is the plan:

Arrive Tuesday early afternoon. Find a nice camp site within 1 hr of the car. Possibly Sand Lake or Clockmill pond? Or Spy Lake, if we can park by the Route 10 bridge (is there parking/legal put in there?). Of these water bodies, which would be the most pleasant place to spend an afternoon/evening (i.e. nice campsites, good swimming, fun to paddle around)?

Wednesday morning return to car, drop a bike at the West Sacandaga take out (is that on Route 10, or do we turn up the side road toward Shaker Place? Is it well marked/easy to find?). Paddle from Arietta and use bike to retrieve car. Drive to one of the state campsites on Piseco. Which is the nicest (quietest, with good swimming) between Point Comfort, Little Sand Point or Poplar Point? Should we have a reservation or are there generally lots of campsites available midweek? In the evening, drive to Speculator and drop off the bike.

Thursday morning, drive to Piseco and put in to Fall Stream. Paddle to Vly Lake. Carry to Fawn Lake. I understand this is a rough, unmarked carry trail and a challenging carry. Any hints on where to find the trail? Does it go north or south of Vly Lake Mt (or straight over it!). Any landmarks to look for in spotting the beginning of the carry? Camp Thursday night at Fawn Lake (are there campsites? Is it a nice lake for camping on?)

Friday morning, carry into Sacandaga Lake (map shows a hiking trail from Fawn to Sacandaga). Paddle through to Speculator. Use bike to retrieve car. If time allows, paddle as far up the Kunjamuk as we have time for before turning back and going home.

Suggestions/comments/advice? Fire away!
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Old 07-08-2016, 12:51 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Schenectady, NY
Posts: 3,626
Sand Lake has a dirty site right at the end of the trail from Powley-Piseco Rd.
A nicer spot on Sand Lake is across the way, on a rocky promontory, but it's pretty small.
Don't know about campsites on Clockmill, but if you can get there,'s unique.
If you're really ambitious, you can paddle from Sand to Clockmill, mostly. I failed, but Bluefire and his sidekick have made it. Many beaver dams, a couple carries, no trails, you will see no one.

Sacandaga west branch is nice paddling, but sometimes too close to the road for my tastes.
You'll like Fall Stream.
I would skip the carry from Fawn and the paddle on Sacandaga Lake. If you're heart is set on the Kunjamuck, carry from Fawn to the dirt road, then drive to Kunjamuck Bay.

IMHO, the lower Kunjamuck is only OK, it is much like the west branch of the Sacandaga River, without the paved roads.
You might want to consider the upper and lower Jessup river. Below Rt 30, you can paddle to the rock garden (a ways from Indian Lake proper) and do a short hike to Dug Mt Brook falls. If it's been raining, they will be impressive. If not, they're still a picturesque spot. Above Rt 30, all dirt roads, easy to bike back to the car.

Out of the 3 campgrounds on Piseco, we always preferred Point Comfort. That's also the closest to Big Bay
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Old 07-09-2016, 05:54 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2011
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you might want to consider staying at good luck lake, just off route 10, and going into spectacle lake, which has a nice island campsite. the carry from good luck to spectacle is about a mile. it's a fun day trip to go into spectacle, a wild and pretty lake. always has loons, warm water, seldom visited. clockmill pond has a campsite on the first rocky point to the right, not sure what it's like these days.
hope that you have a nice trip, where ever you end up going!
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Old 07-16-2016, 01:42 PM   #4
Camp MacFox
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 47
Thanks for the suggestions! We had a nice trip. On Tuesday, we dropped the bike on our way south on Route 10, put in at the bridge and paddled into Good Luck Pond. We carried from there to Spectacle Lake, and enjoyed having the entire lake to ourselves for the night (which was good, since the family camped at Good Luck were alternating between running a chain saw and setting off firecrackers). Wednesday, we carried back to Good Luck, dropped our camping gear in the car as we passed by, and paddled down the West Branch to the bike. We camped at Point Comfort state campsite, which was pleasantly small and quiet with a nice beach. Rain came in in the late afternoon, so we didn't get to paddle on Piseco at all. Instead, we drove to Speculator and after some scouting and debate, decided to leave the bike at Moffitt Beach (the caretaker there thought we were crazy). Thursday, we drove to the north end of Piseco and paddled up Fall Stream to Vly Lake (nice spot!). We took out at the southernmost campsite on Vly and set off on foot to look for the purported path to Fawn, but never found it. We followed a lot of deer trails that just petered out, scouted along the shore south of the campsite hoping to see something, but nothing doing. I would love to know exactly where that path is, if it still exists! We gave up and returned down Fall Stream. Got caught in torrential rain for the last 20 minutes or so, so arrived back at the car soaked. We considered giving up and going home, but then decided we would go into Speculator and have lunch. Pizza made everything better. The clouds were breaking up, so we put in at Moffitt Beach at 4, and got to Fawn Lake in about an hour. Once again, we enjoyed having an entire lake to ourselves for the night (well, us, a bald eagle, loons, beavers and about a gadzillion mosquitoes). Friday morning, we carried back to Sacandaga Lake. My husband Peter felt like doing more paddling, so he soloed the canoe to the town beach in Speculator, while I moved the car to the Kunjamuk Bay take out, pedaled back into town and had a second cup of coffee. In the afternoon, we paddled up the Kunjamuk to Elm Lake and back just in time to avoid the incoming thunderstorms. All in all, we enjoyed the plethora of mountain views from the water, having lakes to ourselves for 2 of our 3 nights, and river paddling which was a change of pace from our usual northern Adk pond-hopping. What we missed was the ability to make a long point-to-point trip without coming back to the car. I'm sure others on this forum have already said this, but boy, looking at all the blue on the map in the southern Adk region, it seems like a few strategic marked carry trails (even if they are long and tough carries) could create an awesome through trip!
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Old 07-16-2016, 07:52 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Syracuse NY
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so when you carried to spectacle lake, did you follow the old snowmobile trail, or just paddled up the inlet to goodluck as far as you could, and carried from there?
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:29 AM   #6
Camp MacFox
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 47
We carried from the campsite closest to the inlet. It seemed like the last good, not muddy, landing, and the trail was easy to follow from there.
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