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Old 03-26-2022, 10:22 PM   #21
montcalm
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Thanks again for all of the great info. Plenty of ideas to consider. I am going to plan for now on the Whitney Loop to the Lower Falls. I skipped going all the way around back to Round. Have heard plenty of stories about that stretch.

I am going to plan for 6 nites, with food for 7. Intend to take my time and do plenty of exploring.

Planning on leaving LTL and going to Rock Pond - Hardigan - Little Salmon - Lila - Clear - Grass Pond - paddle out.

How far can you paddle up Rainer Brook to the Pond? Is it worth a run up there?

Maybe a layover day if I feel like it. Making plans for a shuttle back to LTL at trips end.

Anything else I should check out along the way? Will climb Grass Pond Mt, explore the Upper Dam again, and just generally take it easy.

Thank you!
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Also, you've got some suuuuuuper short days built into your itinerary. Not necessarily a bad thing... but have you thought at all about combining them and then also extending your itinerary to include the Oswegatchie?

They are short, but I'd actually suggest spending 2 days on Lila, and 2 days on Lows rather than rush.

So say in terms of nights -

Rock Pond
Little Salmon
Lila x2 (best sites + good to stay for a day and rest or day paddle or hike Frederica) Grass Pond
East Lows/Bog River/Hitchens (again best sites + time to hike Grass Pond Mtn or Lows Ridge in the am)

That's 6 nights with an easy paddle out on the last day. You could skip the Little Salmon, but I'd take one day out there to break it up. You'll have a nice rest at Lila, and hopefully any site you want to rest up for the next big portage. After that it's all easy (mostly) paddling on Lows.
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Old 03-27-2022, 06:36 AM   #22
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DSettahr,

Thank you for the site intel. I will use this when I get back there!

You mentioned continuing on to the Oz and I have thought about that quite a bit over the years. I read the report you posted about your trip a couple of times and it intrigued me, however in the end Chick wants to join this trip and her portaging limits have increased a bit over the years. (Something about turning 60.) I canoed to High Falls with my son a decade ago, and want to go back and get above the falls. She was up for this so I'll pencil her in for that one. Thinking about setting up by the Robinson and exploring upstream from there. Come back and hit High Rock for the last nite.

I am looking forward to getting back to the ponds on this trip. I bring a portable fish finder and I enjoy checking depths as I travel. Also, on these ponds I will paddle a grid pattern and identify shallows and holes across the entire pond. This always comes in handy.

montcalm, I agree - thank you. With both weekends and the Memorial Day holiday I can adjust my schedule fore and aft for weather and plan for a layover day (or 2) as I travel. I have taken 3 trips to Lila over the years (including a stunning 3 nites on Spruce Island) so feel pretty good about that, but love thoughts on Lows. I have never explored to the west after coming out of Bog so am looking to spend time checking out Virgin Timber Landing and then head to Grass Pond. Figured this could be a great layover as you mentioned. I read DSettahr's description of some sites there so thought I would check those out.

Leaving GP I am looking to explore the north side of Lows and it looks as though I jump over a couple of obstacles on my way towards Frying Pan and such.

I am interested in selecting a new site on my return, however site #18 always pulls me in. If I can make it past #18, any good sites on the way to the upper dam? Once I pass the upper dam I'll head straightaway back to the lower dam since it will be the holiday weekend and folks will be heading in.

Thank you to everyone for your input. I have a new canoe to break in and a new Garmin inReach to play with so I am like a little kid at Christmas!

Can't wait!!
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Old 03-27-2022, 09:18 AM   #23
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I wouldn't bank on it being too busy on Memorial day - usually bugs out in full force by then... and perhaps you may want to try to push a week forward if you can.

I don't know any of the site numbers by memory and I'm too lazy to look up the map, but there are a number of great ones in the islands area on the east of Lows - take some time and check it out, doubt there'll be anyone there. There's also a number of nice ones on Hitchens if you want to push all the way back there.

Last time I went out on Lows I planned on doing 3 nights - I was cut short and had to come back on my third day, but I could have spent at least 3 nights out there.

Maybe per my plan above you push right through Lila in a day and spend 2 nights on Lows and the last on Hitchens?

Personally I love Lila and if I had to myself I could spent at least two nights out there, although probably not on the islands, so that probably influenced my advice above.


Adding in the Oz is a big commitment. The carry from Lows and the upper section are a lot of work on a trip I consider pretty carry heavy. Once you get to High Falls, it's an easy run out... perhaps not as easy as the paddle from Lows/Hitchens to the lower dam, but pretty quick.
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Old 03-27-2022, 05:39 PM   #24
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Yeah, the headwaters portage would be the longest on the route by about half a mile. But FWIW, during my 2020 traverse, I found both that portage trail, as well as the one from Lows to Big Deer, to be in far better shape (better maintained) than any of the other portages along the route.

I think the bigger consideration would be the beaver dams on the Oswegatchie.
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Old 03-27-2022, 07:38 PM   #25
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Yeah - I'd imagine there are far more people doing the Lows/Oswegatchie traverse than the Little Tupper to Lila section of Whitney. I'm relatively new (within the past decade) to canoe tripping, and I believe this (Whitney) was cut shortly before I started. I believe the Lows/Oz traverse is quite a bit older route. Certainly either end is well travelled. Connecting the two seems logical.

From the perspective of the Lows/Oz traverse - the carry and the upper river aren't bad. The rest is really fairly easy. When you throw it in with the other two major carries between Lila and Lows and Rock Pond and Lila, then it's really adding up. I've never done the full trip, and tell you the truth, I'm not exactly sure I ever will - it's kind of brutal. Adding in the carry from Cranberry and the lower Bog River is downright masochistic IMO.

What's great is you can put together a fairly long-distance canoe trip, but where the rubber meets the road there's some pretty big distances between water bodies that I really think limits most people from doing the whole thing.


I was also thinking we often talk about (and I read about) this loop going clockwise from LTL. But I might actually be inclined to start on Lows. This might seem counterintuitive but my thought was if you're bringing food for 7? days (I usually only go about 5 and that's A LOT), it might be best to hang on Lows for a couple days and knock that food supply down before you have to carry it. You'll also have your lightest food load for the carries south of Lila.

The other school of thought is to knock out the hard carries when you are fresh and end on an easy paddle, but in terms of days of exhaustion vs carrying extra weight, I'll always pick less weight.
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Old 03-28-2022, 05:08 PM   #26
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Thank you all for your advice, suggestions and contributions to my spring trip.

montcalm, after my first go around on this trip some years ago I was kicking myself for not reversing this trip. Live and learn I guess.

Anyway, the trip is ready. I'll still start on LTL - I usually get there about 2:30 am so I should be good, but I will reverse if wind dictates.

Push off on a Saturday about 6 am.

Plan to paddle around and camp the last nite past the upper dam - easy stretch to depart in the morning.

Shuttle will move my car so I can depart whenever I get to Lows. Plan now to hit the Lower Dam mid-afternoon the following Saturday, so 7 nites. However, since the car will be there I can take a layover day if I want.

Food has arrived - trying some new ones since Hawk is gone. No Hawk is gonna be a drag. Did somebody purchase the company?

Getting familiar with the Garmin inReach - looks pretty straightforward.

With this wrapped I'll turn to 9 Carries in the fall, Oz above the falls next spring. Then back to Michigan for big water stuff - Lake Superior, Isle Royale and all of the National, State and Provencial parks till I drop.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-28-2022, 07:21 PM   #27
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montcalm, after my first go around on this trip some years ago I was kicking myself for not reversing this trip. Live and learn I guess.
Did you start on LTL the first time?
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Old 03-28-2022, 08:06 PM   #28
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Yes I did.

If I had been on the water by 6 instead of 10 I would have had a much different trip. Very rushed.
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Old 03-28-2022, 08:28 PM   #29
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Ah yes, I recall you talking about getting hung up on LTL.

Wind aside, I think I prefer starting at Lows. If the wind is problematic, I'd say just layover a day on the closest site you can get to, then get at it early in the morning - maybe even start with the headlamp if you feel comfortable paddling in the dark.
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Old 03-28-2022, 09:32 PM   #30
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montcalm,

You are giving me pause for thought about this. You have good points -

That would take the wind factor out of LTL, and it is easier to tackle head winds at Lows than LTL.

The portage between Hardigan and Rock Pond would be with lighter packs.

Plus, I would be leaving my car at LTL.

At trips end, which will be a Friday nite (Memorial weekend starts) this would put me at Rock Pond instead of the Hitchens area, which might be less pressure. And coming from Rock usually has that tail wind.

You may be on to something here.....
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Old 03-29-2022, 07:27 PM   #31
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I mostly had thought in respect to wind and weight, but yeah, those are all valid concerns.

My strategy for tackling LTL would probably be to hit it early on the last day - I mean like real early, so I'm watching the sunrise as I hit it. That might mean staging up one of the southerly/western sites on LTL for your last night and cranking out early that next morning. But you could probably make it from Rock. I don't recall any numbers but I'm guessing one can make it from Rock the the Rangers HQ in 2 hours. Leaving at sunrise would get one back before 9am in good conditions. You might hit a little wind in the end, but should mostly be calm.

It's about the same distance from Rock pond to Ranger HQ as it is from the east islands of Lows to the Lower dam. So your paddle out would be similar distance.
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Old 05-10-2022, 05:43 AM   #32
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Getting ready to head out - provided the gate is open at Lows.

I am looking to travel the north shore this time. Any reason to stop in the area of sites 13 or 14 or just keep going to 19/20/21 area? (must stay away from 18 this time)

Also, does anyone have any intel on the site where the portage trail from Mud meets Shingle Shanty? Not a destination by any means but logistically it might make sense.

How are the blackflies?

How is the water level on Lows below the Upper Dam?

Thank you.
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Old 05-10-2022, 08:35 AM   #33
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Do you mean the Portage from Lilypad Pond to Shingle Shanty? Mud Pond is further downstream from the upstream end of the portage.

The downstream end of the portage is roughly around where the marker is located on this map.
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Old 05-10-2022, 08:59 AM   #34
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Black flies are out now. Site 18 has traditionally been the windiest site on the lake, best for avoiding the flying buzz saws.
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Old 05-10-2022, 04:40 PM   #35
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Thank you DSettahr - yes I do mean Lillypad.

Wldnrs - I do love #18 and seem to get pulled to that site, but I have to break the habit. Do you like either #13 or #14?

Looks like I am bringing the No Bug Zone, or one of the variants taking up space in the gear closet.
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Old 05-10-2022, 04:47 PM   #36
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Thank you DSettahr - yes I do mean Lillypad.

Wldnrs - I do love #18 and seem to get pulled to that site, but I have to break the habit. Do you like either #13 or #14?

Looks like I am bringing the No Bug Zone, or one of the variants taking up space in the gear closet.
No, although 13 seems nice, and I often see campers there, I don't tend to stay at 13 or 14 in my more than 30 years of annual paddling on Lows and vicinity. I have a number of other very favorite sites that I do frequent.
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Old 05-13-2022, 09:11 AM   #37
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Can anyone confirm if the gate to the Lower Dam is open?

Thank you!
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