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Kayak trip Suggestions? Places with treatable water?

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  • #16

    This is only in the infant stage of planning, so I do not have things planned out yet like timeframe, but I would probably come after the majority of the bugs are gone, but when it could still be warm enough to enjoy swimming (so maybe September?).

    I appreciate all of the responses I have gotten so far, and I know that I will spend a lot of time on this forum searching through threads with relevant information to my forming plans.

    Thanks to all about the water quality issue as well.

    When I get a more concrete plan in place, and if I have more questions, I know where to turn.

    Thanks again, I look forward to visiting this beautiful part of the country in 2016!


    • #17
      September is a real nice month to paddle in. The water is warm enough for swimming; I swam at the end of Sept. The water was just getting cold enough to make you think about swimming or not.

      But the nights can be below freezing. Because the ADK paddling area is high on the ADK dome in general fall comes earlier. Color will be noticeable the last week of Sept.. some hints earlier.

      Don't worry about answering all our posts. Go read, think and practice pack your boat. The trip day is a horrid time to find out it all wont fit!


      • #18
        You don't have much faith in a good filter.
        I would recommend a back packing filter with a ceramic filter cartridge. MSR has a good one called the MiniWorks as well as the Vario from Katadyne that I use. I had a Katadyle (still have it actually) filter with ceramic filter that I got back in the late 70's only replaced it because the new ones are 1/2 the weight. I remember a trip in the Andies where the only water source one day was a small pool/puddle that mules were drinking out of and pooping and peeing near. We filtered the water with no issues at all. That is what a proper good filter is for.
        I recommend a ceramic cartridge filter because they are easy to field strip and clean in case you have to filter water with lots of particulates in it and it clogs up. You'll know when it needs to be cleaned because it will pump harder and flow slowly, but any water that flows through the filter is potable. I have used the Steripen, a good purifier (not filter) but you are dependent on batteries.

        Adirondack water in general is as nice as your going to find anywhere. Do you know where the tap water in your home comes from? Probably from a hole in the ground, like mine, or from a lake somewhere, treated not unlike you can do on your camping trip in the north country. I would guess that you'll enjoy your drink of Adams Ale more here than any water you'll drink back home.

        John M
        Because It's There, and it may not be tomorrow


        • #19
          CT Yankee, I don't know who you were addressing. Yes I know where my drinking water comes from. The Poland Spring aquifer via a private well( don't get me started on buying water in plastic bottles). And I have used a Mini Works for 25 years .

          But to the OP, the steripen does not work well when there is particulate matter. Because there is little roiling of algae, when you dip a bottle in the water you may come up with ( and probably will) shards of algae. For Steripen to work it has to have water with less particulates.

          This is not pollution. It gets worse in Northern Canada where there is even less disturbance of the water. Few live there.

          I cant advise on LifeStraw. You may want to prefilter your water if you use a Steripen.

          If you were addressing someone else I suggest using the Quote function and edit out what is not pertinent.


          • #20
            Yellowcanoe, I was trying to make the point that in the north country (Adks to Maine) the water you drink is probably better (when filtered) than what most people have at home and don't give a second thought to. I live in north western Connecticut and have very good well water at my home, most likely not as fine as yours in Maine or at my camp in Lake Clear in the Adirondacks , also from a well, the hole in the ground mentioned in my previous post.

            I was simply trying to let the OP know that he would not have to worry about the water on his trip up north wherever he may decide to go.

            I paddled the Connecticut river from South Pittsburg to the Long Island Sound last year and drank filtered River water the whole way with no problems and no worries. I did have a couple of Beers at the Harpoon Brewery in Winsor VT. There is a designated camp site on the river about 1/2 mile from the brewery. Had I nice dinner there, they had a band that night, overall a good evening at about the mid point of the trip, highly recommended. Of course , then it was back to river water.

            John M.
            Because It's There, and it may not be tomorrow


            • #21
              Originally posted by yellowcanoe View Post

              You may want to prefilter your water if you use a Steripen.
              Yep, I use a prefilter when using my steripen. I may look into a backpacker filter as well for any water heavily-laden with particulates.

              Originally posted by Connecticut Yankee View Post

              I was simply trying to let the OP know that he would not have to worry about the water on his trip up north wherever he may decide to go.

              I paddled the Connecticut river from South Pittsburg to the Long Island Sound last year and drank filtered River water the whole way with no problems and no worries. I did have a couple of Beers at the Harpoon Brewery in Winsor VT.
              Good to know, both about the river water and the Brewery!


              • #22

                if the water has sediment in it I let it sit in my bailing bucket for a while, then I treat or filter it. I find the different tastes of bodies of water in the ADKs adds t the experience.


                • #23


                  In an attempt to bring back the original question of places to paddle in the Adirondacks, I will suggest my favorite route...

                  Lows Lake to Oswegatchie... Ahhhhh.... GREAT place. You said you didn't want a portage of more than 300 yards but trust me when I say, it is worth it. My girlfriend and I did it summer '15 at the end of black fly season (2nd week of June) and it was perfect.

                  The trip total according to my GPS was 35.5 miles. We did it in 2 nights 3 days not killing ourselves, but not really relaxing either.

                  First, an overview of the trip... Put in at Lows Lower Dam and paddle up the "river" (i used "" because there is basically no current) to Lows Upper Dam. Short portage around upper dam (probably 1/8-1/4 mile). Then comes the lake. Beautiful lake. To get from put in to the other side of the lake is about 11 miles of paddling. Then there is a 3.5 mile hike with a pond (that takes about .5 miles out of hiking). After the hike you arrive at the river where it is flat moving water all the way down. Maybe a lessthan class I rapid here and there. The river is narrow and winds like the dickens. My girlfriend and I counted over 40 beaver dams we crossed although we only had to get out of our boats ONCE to get over one. About half way down the river is High Falls which is beautiful. Then you get back in your boat and finish the river. Doing the math, the river is about 21 miles.

                  My girlfriend and I dropped off the truck at inlet and had St. Regis Canoe Outfitters come pick up the truck and drive it to our take out spot (called "inlet" because on Inlet Rd.). It cost around $200 if I remember correctly.

                  So, just like your short boat, I used my 10' Old Town and my girlfriend her 11.5' Old Town. We started at 8am in the morning and got to the other side of the lake by 5pm. That is with stopping multiple times for food, bathroom, and stretch breaks. The next morning we paddled the last 3/4 mile to the hiking trail and did the portage. We have kayak rolling carts and the trail was certainly tame enough for us to use them. KEEP IN MIND, that hike takes a long time with a girlfriend (HAHA just kidding...) and with a full boat in your arms. So after we got to the river, we found the first campsite and crashed for the night (it was still daylight but we were that tired). The next day was easy because all you have to do is steer going down stream. We spent most of the day on the river and stopped for about an hour at High Falls. We made it to our car around 4pm and headed to the campground.

                  Just to touch on the water subject... We each filled our 32oz Nalgene bottle with tap water before we left (which didn't last very long) and then the rest of the trip we used the MSR water filter. The water tasted great and no problems as usual. So do not be too afraid of the water!

                  I would suggest, if you do this route, to have a GPS, a map of the campsites as not all are very visible from the river, and a fishing rod because fishing on Lows Lake is some of the best in the ADKs! Next time I would spend another 2 or three days enjoying the trip. Maybe split the lake into 2 days and the hike in 1 and then the river into 2 more. Good luck! Let me know if you have any more questions about this trip or others...

                  Oh and one more thing, to give you an idea of the remoteness, there are ZERO buildings or roads between inlet and outlet. People wise, we saw the ranger on the lake in her kayak and at the very beginning of our trip there was a dad and son fishing for the day. At High Falls, there were two tents but nobody there (maybe hiking?) and that was it! It is a great trip beautiful and easy/relaxing. Good luck!



                  • #24
                    Tyler, sounds like you had a great time and wrote a very positive trip report for what is a very positive area of the Adirondacks. I will add a couple of caveats however. I have tripped on Lows more than 35 times over the years, including several traverses to the Oswegatchie paddling down to Inlet.

                    Black fly season can be rather variable from year to year, and from day to day in season. You were fortunate to not have them swarming all over you the second week of June. That is often BF peak. It would not be any surprise to be completely swarmed by the little critters at that time. Not that I would alter my trip, but just a caution to be prepared. If not prepared with headnets and the ability to keep moving (as my best defense), a newcomer might get a very bad experience. The most bothersome time of BF season can be anywhere from Mother's Day in May until well after the 4th of July.

                    You've given plenty of time to make your way down the lake. That's good, to enjoy the area fully. Lows is aligned with the prevailing wind, and being shallow, waves can kick up large without much wind. During those times, unless you are comfortable fighting whitecap waves, the best choice is to pick one of the many available campsites and wait it out. Second best is to stay behind islands along the north shore. There is a short 300 foot carry across a peninsula, rather than heading out into the main lake on windy days (check the map). There is in fact a private cabin on the next peninsula, easily visible from the western end of the main lake body. The shortest carry ever is a 12 foot hop over the cabin's dirt access road to continue the safest windy day water route along the north shore to Grass Pond.

                    The carry on the Oswegatchie traverse is a good one. However, I wouldn't normally call it smooth or wheel cart friendly. Many people get very frustrated with wheels if they try to travel too quickly. How long can it take to hike 3.5 miles towing a boat? A lot longer than you may think. Don't expect a boat on wheels on this trail to be like walking on a road or a smooth trail.

                    I think you must have made the trip down the Oswegatchie during a high water period. You do lose count of the numerous beaver dams, but normally several will require getting out of your boat to cross over. All part of the experience.

                    Seek out Dawn if you see her, the DEC Assistant Ranger. She lives year round nearby, up a non-descript short trail just off the flow. Easily recognizable in her green kayak with bright yellow paddle blades, she's a treasure to talk to. Be sure you have a fishing license if you intend to bring a fishing rod.

                    Lastly, you forgot to mention bringing a compass along with a good map, and knowing how to use them together. Kind of a pet peeve with me... knowledge and use of a GPS is great, but please don't venture into the wild without a good compass and knowledge of how to us it. Use the GPS as much as you want, but think of it as a backup to the compass. Thanks.
                    Last edited by Wldrns; 12-29-2015, 08:43 PM.
                    "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman


                    • #25


                      Yes I know that BF season varies year to year. I, like many others, hate being in large crowds. Not a city boy by any means. The ADKs get hammered with tourists right after BF season so I ALWAYS make sure that we get up there at least twice in June before the swarms of people come.

                      This will sound weird, but I always get a grin on my face when I hop out of my truck at the campground and get the swarm of flies. Why? Simple. More flies = less people. I usually go up the 2nd week and last week of June and both are great. Head net a must usually 2nd week but by the 3rd week they are usually subsided. My experience is that they are heaviest late May to early June.

                      So yes, there were BFs along the trail but with a good head net and long sleeves it was a very enjoyable hike. The wind on the lake and river kept the flies at bay.

                      Wldrns, that is a very good point with the wind. A general rule of thumb I have for Lows is stick to the north side of the lake on the the way out (western bound) and stick to the southern side of the lake on the way back to ride the waves and for a tail wind.

                      The islands are a life saver with the wind and that 300 yard portage is great! I didn't see it on the map and thought that we were headed around an island and was happily surprised when I came to the end of the cove and saw a trail! I never saw that cabin but I believe ya! But my point was, it is a very primitive,remote, and quite place to enjoy the wilderness.

                      The trail to me was better than a lot of the trails I hike regularly. My girlfriend and I had no problem leaving all of our stuff in the kayak and making the portage. Only one tip over when I made a turn too sharp and hit a root. I believe that most anyone can do it with a kayak cart and an idea that the hike wont be a walk in the park.

                      Yes it did rain on the first night but we planned going around the water level. Most of the dams could be slammed through because of previous people ramming them. Don't let the dams scare you away. Like Wldrns said, it is just part of the experience.

                      Dawn is very nice we talked for about a half hour floating around the lake and she told us what sites had already been taken and which would be good to stay at. You are correct, have a license! She didn't ask for ours however even though we both had rods in our rod holders but it is always good to follow the law and the license helps fund the beautiful land you are enjoying! So what I am saying is talk to her! She wants to help and make your trip great! She is very nice. We offered her some snacks and gave her an extra head lamp we brought along. She appreciated it.

                      I didn't mention compass and map as I thought they were just a gimme. My watch has a compass that I rely on most times but we have my old boy scouts one in the first aid and have a few others packed with us. I printed out as many maps as I could find on big paper (11x17 or "b" sized paper) and put them in big zip-lock bag. I had one that showed the campsites, one that showed the trail, one that showed sites along river, one that showed elevation and water depth (for fishing and hiking around lake) and then just an old style map with everything. You can find them online with a quick google search for free. I also keep the maps on my phone as pictures and pdfs in case GPS is lost or papers get wet.

                      I use my GPS mainly as a tracking device for the trip. It gives me average speed and distance traveled which I like to know. It also gives me weather alerts.

                      So yes you are right, be prepared and don't just bring one method of navigation. You will regret it. I guarantee it.

                      Thanks Wldrns for your wisdom and for mentioning things I forgot. It is a very memorable trip and not one to pass up! Enjoy the great outdoors!


                      • #26
                        Diving stright down the rat hole....Harpoon (a good beer that I enjoy) is brewed and bottled in Utica at the FX Matt least it was. They also brew Brooklyn, New Amsterdam and others.....


                        • #27
                          Kayak trip Suggestions? Places with treatable water?

                          I visited ADK for the first time last May and would also recommend Bog/Lows Lake. I have a Venture Flex kayak (10.5) and it managed fine for a 2 night, 3 day trip. I went with 2 others the weekend after Mothers Day and the Black Flys were out. Once we were on the water we were fine. I filled up a Nalgene Bottle and packed maybe 8 plastic water bottles. I also had a MSR filter with me. I drank both bottled and filtered water. This was my first multi day trip and I already decided when I go back I'm leaving the bottled water home and will just filter to save on weight. For the portage at Hitchens Pond, it is short and doable carrying a loaded boat but I had brought a kayak cart with me that I made similar to the Trail Tracker kayak cart. It was easy to store and made portaging 3 kayaks much easier. We paddled out to site 18 which is a nice site at the waters edge with lots of space for boats. The site also had a nice breeze keeping the flys away but finding firewood wasn't as easy as some of the other sites. The next day we explored and did some fishing around the north shore, then headed back to the site and packed up and started heading back back closer to the launch. In the open section of Lows there was some small white caps from the wind so having a spray skirt was appreciated. The 2nd night we stayed on site 11, which was set back in the woods more and also where the black flies were, I was glad to have my head net. On the 3rd day we packed up camp and headed back towards the launch and fished along the way. Overall it was definitely a fun place. My only complaint was that we did more paddling than fishing, so this year I would like to go a little earlier to beat the flys and also either have an extra day or two or stay put one campsite to allow more time to explore and fish.

                          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                          • #28
                            Ryin, what were you fishing for? Any keepers?
                            "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman


                            • #29
                              Tyler & Ryin,

                              Thanks for your trip reports! I was glad to hear that you both had good times using similar sized kayaks. My initial thought was to do a trip more similar to Ryin's, in that exploring one large lake like Lows or Little Tupper while camping 3-4 nights would give me time to fish, swim, hike, and paddle to explore the area, without feeling pressed to get from point to point as my main goal for the day. That said, Tyler's idea of doing his trip with 2-3 extra days sounds like a fun option too.

                              Wldnrs as always makes some good points and thanks for the mention of Dawn. If I find myself on Lows I will certainly make a point to look for her.

                              Ryin, how do you like the Venture 11? I was actually looking at a used one a month or so ago as a possibility for my girlfriend. Seems like a nice boat but I didn't find much about them from what I can remember.

                              For all others, I appreciate you keeping this thread alive with new trip reports and ideas, especially those of you using kayaks to cruise the ADK.

                              Can anyone recommend any good day hikes around Lows,LT, or other areas where the trail can be easily accessed from the lake?

                              Thanks again.


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by SevernRidger View Post
                                Can anyone recommend any good day hikes around Lows,LT, or other areas where the trail can be easily accessed from the lake?

                                Thanks again.
                                Here's just a sample around Lows from the NYSDEC website. Official trails are viewable on the State Lands Interactive Mapper (SLIM).
                                "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman