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Old 04-19-2020, 04:49 PM   #1
Dayjon
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Question Remote Paddling Suggestions

Hi Everyone,

I rarely post, but my brother and I are looking for recommendations on some remote canoeing, away from crowds and motor boats in early June. We are planning 2 or 3 nights and are looking for lakes that are sizable enough to spend some time exploring. St. Regis area and West Canada Lake Wilderness have peaked our interest. What are your thoughts on these two general areas and does anyone have other recommendations? We truly appreciate it!
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Old 04-19-2020, 05:23 PM   #2
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You won't go wrong with either area, and in early June the Black Flies should keep the crowds at bay.
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Old 04-19-2020, 06:38 PM   #3
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Unless you're into the idea of some lengthy carries, most of the West Canada Lakes area is not really all that accessible for paddling. It's been done before, but you'd want to have ultralight pack canoes for sure.

The St. Regis Canoe Area is definitely the better bet. There's a lot of portaging here but most of the portages tend to be relatively short and easy. Once you get more than 1 or 2 portages in from any access point, the overall use levels tend to stay pretty low.

For other destination suggestions, you might appreciate this post on the subject I recently made in response to a similar request on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Adirondacks...tions/fnt521z/

FWIW, June really is not all that busy a month in the backcountry of the Adirondacks in a normal season. Memorial Day Weekend will see crowds eager to get into the backcountry, but then things quiet down again until July 4th. Even areas that regularly fill to brim with hikers and campers on weekends in July and August can be practically deserted on weekends in June.

Almost certainly much of this pattern in use can be attributed to the bugs- which can be downright vicious in some areas in June. You'll want to go prepared with full body coverings to be sure- bug net for your head (make sure it's no-see-um proof, not all bug nets are), long sleeve shirts, and possibly even gloves for your hands.

The one saving grace to black flies is that they go away at night. By late June, however, black fly season very well could be over, and the mosquitoes and no-see-ums could be out... they just get worse once the sun sets.
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Old 04-20-2020, 07:46 AM   #4
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Maybe Essex Chain?
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Old 04-20-2020, 08:48 AM   #5
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Questions:
Can you carry? If so, would you have a limit on distance?
Corpus Christi, TX? Do you have your own canoe and method of transport?
Do you need marked and maintained trails for carrying?
Midweek trip or weekend?
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Old 04-20-2020, 04:31 PM   #6
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We are definitely willing to carry, but probably not more than a mile or two. I'm from Binghamton originally, but now live in CC, Texas. Still have family upstate so I try to come home every summer for at least a month. My brother lives in Oneonta and has a canoe, and though marked and maintained trails would be nice, if it's a short distance I think we could manage without. We're looking at a Friday through Sunday sort of deal.
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Old 04-20-2020, 05:51 PM   #7
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OK, do you prefer small water? Nevermind, who doesn't?
Early June is generally not so crowded...be prepared for black flies.

Lake Lila to Bog River via Harrington is a cool trip, but requires a car shuttle.
Or just Lows Lake via the Bog and Hitchins Pond.

Little Tupper to Lake Lila can be done with a bike shuttle, but carries are a bit over your preferred limit.

Anywhere in the St Regis area is nice, carries are mostly short. Long Pond is a relaxed trip, with a side trip up Long Pond Mt.

Essex Chain Lakes and a trip down the Chain Drain, while campfires are still banned at lakeside sites, there are other spots to camp. You can also spend some time on the Rock and Cedar rivers.

Cedar River Flow, although small motors are allowed, it's generally quiet once you're away from the put in sites. There's the added bonus of a resident moose, maybe you'll get lucky.

More details about any of these can be had for the asking.
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Old 04-20-2020, 10:23 PM   #8
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How about a paddle up the Oswegatchie with the destination being to get above High Falls. I camp at one of the sites near the Robinson River and fish both rivers. You can also get some solitude on Lows Lake if you pick a site on the south shore or paddle into Bog Lake.
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:23 AM   #9
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Thanks for the recommendation Trailblaser. That is a new one to me. When you do that trip, do you put in at Wanakena? How long is the paddle to get to High Falls from where you put in? What kind of fish do you mostly target there?
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Old 04-22-2020, 12:11 AM   #10
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Most people go the upstream route - put in at Inlet. Depending on the water levels, I have made it above High Falls to my favorite spots in one day, but I prefer to break it up and camp the first night at one of my preferred spots below the falls. There are some great hikes that are accessible from the river. My favorite is to take the trail to the Five Ponds as a day hike to fish a couple of the ponds or, if time allows, an overnight at one of them. Then back to the river the next day for a paddle to a site above the falls. I tend to make slow progress, as I find it hard to resist putting a line in here and there. That also gives me time to observe, take photos and contemplate the serenity of the area. It is brook trout in the Robinson and the upper Oswegatchie. I like to leave my canoe at the confluence of the Oswegatchie and the Robinson, walk up the Robinson and fish the pools with my Tenkara rod. Doing the trip in reverse from Lows would be tough (and very rushed) with the 2-3 nights you said you have for the trip. The bugs are definitely a consideration on the Oswegatchie; I agree with Wldrns, you just deal with them. My favorite time is late September/early October.
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Old 04-22-2020, 09:58 AM   #11
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The Oswegatchie trip to High Falls is a classic, but the trip from Bog River to Headwaters Carry is an amazing trip. Long carry from Lows to Oswegatchie, but certainly a trip to remember. Long Lake to Raquette Lake is another amazing trip, lake and river paddling with 1 mile carry around the falls
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Old 04-22-2020, 10:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigkevkayaker View Post
The Oswegatchie trip to High Falls is a classic, but the trip from Bog River to Headwaters Carry is an amazing trip. Long carry from Lows to Oswegatchie, but certainly a trip to remember. Long Lake to Raquette Lake is another amazing trip, lake and river paddling with 1 mile carry around the falls
Lows Lake to the O headwaters is a great trip, with only a 3 mile carry.
If you mean the carry around Raquette Falls from Long Lake you are a bit confused. That would be Long Lake to the Raquette River, eventually flowing into Tupper Lake with the 1.1 mile falls carry along the way. If you mean Buttermilk falls, that is between Long Long Lake and Forked Lake before you do another carry to Raquette Lake from Forked. Most will paddle that in the direction from Raquette to Long Lake. The road carry around Buttrmilk Falls is about 3.75 miles. It is possible to hop in and out of the river along the way, but is mostly not worth the trouble.
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Old 04-22-2020, 01:06 PM   #13
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The Oswegatchie is a great trip but I would stay away from it & other streams in black fly season - more likely to get a nice breeze on lakes & ponds to keep them at bay.
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Old 04-22-2020, 03:03 PM   #14
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For solitude, go during black fly season. Long sleeves, a headset and deal with it.
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Old 04-23-2020, 07:29 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Wldrns View Post
Lows Lake to the O headwaters is a great trip, with only a 3 mile carry.
If you mean the carry around Raquette Falls from Long Lake you are a bit confused. That would be Long Lake to the Raquette River, eventually flowing into Tupper Lake with the 1.1 mile falls carry along the way. If you mean Buttermilk falls, that is between Long Long Lake and Forked Lake before you do another carry to Raquette Lake from Forked. Most will paddle that in the direction from Raquette to Long Lake. The road carry around Buttrmilk Falls is about 3.75 miles. It is possible to hop in and out of the river along the way, but is mostly not worth the trouble.
Confused is a state of mind...thanks for catching that. I did mean the Raquette River
Never been to Raquette Lake, will have to put it on my list
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Old 04-23-2020, 08:36 AM   #16
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I paddled Long Lake (and it lived up to its name) to Tupper maybe 40 years ago with my dad. Wonderful trip. Stayed at a leanto on Long (forget which one), then in one along the Raquette. Did a car shuttle from the marina which no longer exists on Tupper, so don't know where you'd park now. Would love to get back there again.
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Old 04-23-2020, 10:19 AM   #17
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Raquette River outfitters did a shuttle for me a couple of years ago when I did it , They left my truck at Axton for me.
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Old 04-23-2020, 10:22 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Cold River Bob View Post
Raquette River outfitters did a shuttle for me a couple of years ago when I did it , They left my truck at Axton for me.
I would assume shuttle services like these are still available through various outfitters in high-use areas like St. Regis. Do you have names of any that are still in operation?
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Old 04-23-2020, 10:48 AM   #19
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Raquette River outfitters did a shuttle for me a couple of years ago when I did it , They left my truck at Axton for me.
Probably a bit more convenient for parking and only slightly farther downriver than Axton is the boat launch known as "The Crusher", 3 miles (by road) upstream from the village of Tupper Lake. It is the day-2 finish line for the annual 90 mile canoe race.

I don't know about today, but Dave Cilley at St Regis Outfitters in Saranac Lake has offered shuttle service as well as RRO. It would be worth a call to both.
https://www.canoeoutfitters.com

https://raquetteriveroutfitters.com

Brian and Grace McDonnell at macscanoe is also a good choice, Contact Mac at:
https://www.macscanoeadk.com
Mac lists typical common locations and shuttle prices on his web page.
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Old 04-23-2020, 04:02 PM   #20
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The main boat launch on Tupper Lake (south of the village) does not allow overnight parking. I think there is a smaller hand launch where the Simon Pond empties into Tupper Lake that does allow overnight parking but I'm not 100% sure on this.

I spent 8 days doing the Long Lake -> Raquette River Traverse last September (paddling plus a bunch of time poking around and hiking/bushwhacking up into the Cold River and Calkins Creek area), and I elected to park at the Crusher Boat Launch on Route 3/30 for convenience- there's no shortage of parking here and overnight parking is allowed. (I've also heard that the paddle loses some what of the scenic appeal downstream of the Crusher due to the prevalence of private camps.)

You could also park at Axton Landing, or at the Stony Creek trailhead for the Raquette Falls horse trail for a slightly shorter trip. (Although Stony Creek would necessitate a bit of carrying to get gear to/from the water.)

I don't say this at all to discourage anyone from doing this trip (because it is a very worthwhile trip) but keep in mind that it can be a popular area. Long Lake sees no shortage of motorboat campers staying in the lean-tos and designated campsites along the lake, and the full through-paddle is very popular with scout troops and the summer camp crowd (I've heard that Long Lake to the Crusher is the exact distance needed to earn the scout paddling merit badge). This is also one of the few places that summer camp groups can still get permits for a group size of up to 12 people.

Accordingly, it's probably not a bad idea to plan to start looking for camp early each day (and get an early start to facilitate this). That way, if you have to resort to "Plan B" or even "Plan C" you won't risk getting caught out in the dark while looking for an open site. Gary (the DEC's caretaker at the Raquette Falls Interior Outpost) also told me when I was chatting with him on my trip through last fall that it's not uncommon to see a lot of bigger groups get stacked up at the end of the Raquette Falls portage trail at the end of each day (for youth groups especially, the portage tends to be an "all day affair" and there's little interest and energy in continuing on down the river after making 3 or 4 trips back and forth to carry gear over). So it might be a good idea to plan to avoid camping near the outpost entirely.

Of course usage patterns could be different this summer even after things start to ease up a bit from Cornavirus. So who knows what the season will look like.
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