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Old 10-09-2021, 09:33 AM   #1
Sinite
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1 week, little portage trip suggestions

I was on a thru hike of the Vermont Long Trail when I sprained my knee 12 days in. I managed 27 miles on it and could not take another step. I gave it a few days and then headed to Long Lake with a friend. We took a week and paddled to Tupper Lake, and then did a side trip into Bridge Brook Pond. Now I am home and feeling quite anxious to be wasting the time off I saved up for two years to do my hike.

My wife can drop me off in the ADKS this Tuesday and pick me up the following Tuesday. Any suggestions for a trip, preferably a scenic river with little portaging, and little interruption from "civilization"? I can't do any major portaging, say not more than .5 miles.
My fall back will be a paddle around Low's Lake. I did a Low's trip last year. While I do love the area, I found it to be too crowded for my taste. There was one weekend that every single campsite was full! Granted that was in July.
Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 10-09-2021, 06:37 PM   #2
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Lows is usually not busy this time of year.

The other options I'd suggest are Stillwater or Cranberry. Either will be quiet although you'll likely encounter the occasional motorboat.
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Old 10-09-2021, 09:59 PM   #3
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What about Little Tupper? Spend a couple of nights at different campsites and maybe head up for a couple on Rock Pond (only a short carry). I did that last May and had a great time.

Also, I believe that after this weekend, the Saranac Islands campsites revert to backcountry camping (first-come, first-served).
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Old 10-10-2021, 12:22 PM   #4
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These are all good suggestions. I was hoping for a river, but I can't find any long trips without much portaging. I have spent a lot of time in the LTL area, but not so much Saranac or Cranberry due to the high level of activity, motor boats, camping fees...
Think I will probably do a Saranc lakes trip and lolligag around for a week.
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Old 10-10-2021, 08:48 PM   #5
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These are all good suggestions. I was hoping for a river, but I can't find any long trips without much portaging. I have spent a lot of time in the LTL area, but not so much Saranac or Cranberry due to the high level of activity, motor boats, camping fees...
Think I will probably do a Saranc lakes trip and lolligag around for a week.
Cranberry is very quiet now as far as motor boats, and water access sites are free, always.
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Old 10-11-2021, 04:08 PM   #6
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The Oswegatchie from Inlet up river offers probably the most solitude while river paddling in the ADKs. There is one portage, a short, maybe one-tenth of a mile portage around High Falls if you make it that far up the river.

However, it's also worth mentioning that the Oswegatchie is well know for it's many, many beaver dams along the river. You'll be hauling your canoe up and over multiple dams per mile- not sure if that's something that will cause your injury to act up or not. But you can also just take your time going up the river; there's campsites all along it so you don't need to go any further up river than you want.
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Old 10-11-2021, 04:48 PM   #7
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I had the same thoughts about the Oz. Also if the water is low, there are some kind of sketchy spots where you have to get out of the boat in some jagged rocks with lots of deep holes. It's a difficult proposition with two good legs and it would be darn easy to hurt another. Besides dams there are sometimes trees across the river which can be very difficult to maneuver.

I know people perhaps don't much consider it, but many people have died on that stretch of river.
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Old 10-11-2021, 05:19 PM   #8
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I know people perhaps don't much consider it, but many people have died on that stretch of river.
I don't know about "many" who have died but I do know one case in particular a week or so just after I had made the trip down river. I distinctly remember a narrow deep water section with significant current where a double log had spanned bank to bank with a gap between them about 2 feet wide. Exiting on either left or right high river bank was not inviting. Traversing both logs by stepping on each while pushing my canoe across, I thought it would be awful to slip and fall between the logs into the deep current. Sure enough a week or so later I heard the report that a paddler had drowned by falling between two logs in current.
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:20 PM   #9
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I spent a few days at the campsite furthest downriver on the Upper Osgood and had a great time. I put-in at Osgood Pond, paddled past White Pine Camp to the river. It was a great paddle up the river to the site. The campsite is in a great location and is spacious. There is a fire ring but no other "improvements."
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:14 PM   #10
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The Oswegatchie from Inlet up river offers probably the most solitude while river paddling in the ADKs. There is one portage, a short, maybe one-tenth of a mile portage around High Falls if you make it that far up the river.

However, it's also worth mentioning that the Oswegatchie is well know for it's many, many beaver dams along the river. You'll be hauling your canoe up and over multiple dams per mile- not sure if that's something that will cause your injury to act up or not. But you can also just take your time going up the river; there's campsites all along it so you don't need to go any further up river than you want.
An excellent suggestion! I have paddled up to the falls many years ago and then hiked into Sand Lake. I really enjoyed that trip. I think it would have been too much for my knee with all the beaver dams though. I plan to do it again maybe next year with packrafts and bring them along for the ponds along the Sand Lake trail.
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:15 PM   #11
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I had the same thoughts about the Oz. Also if the water is low, there are some kind of sketchy spots where you have to get out of the boat in some jagged rocks with lots of deep holes. It's a difficult proposition with two good legs and it would be darn easy to hurt another. Besides dams there are sometimes trees across the river which can be very difficult to maneuver.

I know people perhaps don't much consider it, but many people have died on that stretch of river.
Are you referring to the stretch above the falls? I have not paddled that section, but am mighty curious!
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:22 PM   #12
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Are you referring to the stretch above the falls? I have not paddled that section, but am mighty curious!
With the deaths, strainers or deep holes?

AFAIK all that exists and has happened on the stretch from Inlet to High Falls.

One recent death was mentioned previously in the thread, and while I don't have the numbers, I know there have been more historically. Perhaps some before the days of regular PFD use and therefore preventable, but some not-so-much, as above, if you get stuck or pinned beneath something in high water.

Low water is dangerous as well as it forces you out of the boat more and having to walk the bank or navigate water which you cannot see into (most of the Oz is pretty opaque). You may not be killed, but it'd be damn easy to break your ankle or leg.

Above the falls is much lower flow and more beaver dams. So the same risks apply.
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:31 PM   #13
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PS I only mentioned all that to reinforce what DS was saying about the beaver dams being an impediment to an injury, but to be aware it's much more than than just the dams. That river is highly variable and has some serious rock sections that at times you can just float over, and at others require navigating out of the boat, particularly going upriver.

Also in regards to strainers, those should never be taken lightly and I often spend a good bit of time figuring out how to go around or over them. I also have no issue with turning back i.e. giving up, if the situation seems too dangerous and I'm not prepared physically or mentally. I think people get themselves in bad situations i.e. SAR situations because they don't see giving up as an option, but whether a river or a climbing a mountain, you have to know when the conditions are not right or in some cases if you don't have the right training or right equipment. I've surely turned back on mountains when I didn't bring crampons because they were situations where I didn't feel safe with just snowshoes.
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:47 PM   #14
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Got it, thanks!
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:55 PM   #15
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I ended up paddling Lower and Middle Saranac Lakes. Such beautiful lakes, but it was a circus! I was amazed at how many people were out cruising around in motor boats in October! Things have changed quite a bit over the past few years. I saw one group of people with large gas grill set up in a new lean to on Middle. They also appeared to have a shower set up and dish area right next to the shore, radio turned up, cooler sitting out, no one in sight. Pretty sure they were the ones cruising around the north bay in a motor boat at the time. I glad up to Weller as quickly as I could go! Last time I was there Weller was a quiet peaceful place that didn't appear too beat up. While it was still pretty quiet, the campsites have seen a lot of abuse over the years. I sat out the storms up there and after a couple nights returned to Middle Saranac to find it was mostly quiet, though the lean to set up was still there. I have never been so grateful for bad weather!
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Old 10-22-2021, 03:45 PM   #16
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I was on Middle Saranac last weekend buiding a new leanto (replacing an old one) near the outlet. The one Sinite mentioned with the noisy occupants was probably one we built 2 years ago. There were a few motors out last weekend, but nothing too unusual I don't think. A few more padders, which was good to see. Glad we finished early in two days and got out of there before the big rain hit on Saturday. This leanto was built with the help of regional BOCES students in Saranac Lake as their project.
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Old 10-22-2021, 10:11 PM   #17
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Right, the one in the north bay was looking pretty new to me, but not literally "new".
Nice work on the truly new lean to! I checked it out on my way out on Wednesday. It looks great! Hoping to go back and stay there for a night or two this coming week.
For me, it was a zoo on the lakes until after the storm. This is my own perspective and I can see how it would be different for someone else. I go way out of my way to paddle places with no motors and generally few people when possible.
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Old 10-22-2021, 10:22 PM   #18
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You are not going to be able to void motorboats on the Saranacs until ice over. As you probably know there are a number of waters and canoe routes in the Adiondacks that are absolutely motor free. Particularly if you are able to carry into more remote regions.
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Old 10-22-2021, 10:31 PM   #19
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Yessir, I do know, but as I had sprained my knee I was restricted to the easy access ones for this trip. I enjoyed the scenery on the Saranacs quite a bit despite my distaste for motors!-) The last few days were exceptionally quiet and peaceful.
Say, were you on the boat that came to the campsite on Umbrella Point on Wednesday looking for dead trees?
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Old 10-23-2021, 07:41 AM   #20
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Say, were you on the boat that came to the campsite on Umbrella Point on Wednesday looking for dead trees?
No, I canoed into the leanto site at site #63 by the lake outlet on Thursday. Several L2R regulars spent the day dismantling the old leanto and excavating and moving large boulders to use as corner supports for the new leanto. The DEC had previously delivered all the cedar logs that were previously assembled into the new leanto by BOCES students months earlier. Most of the log wall constructrion was completed that day by members of Leanto Rescue (L2R). BOCES students arrived Friday morning on a large DEC motor boat and completed the roof and final construction tasks. The old dismantled leanto parts were later hauled away on the DEC boat.
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