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Old 02-14-2021, 04:10 PM   #1
DSettahr
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Little Tupper Lake paddle to Inlet on the Oswegatchie, 7/8 - 7/15/20


I first realized years ago that an extended paddle trip was possible from Little Tupper Lake to Inlet on the Oswegatchie River. Ever since, I've pined for this trip- and finally, this past summer the stars aligned (I had a week off, access to a canoe, and a friend willing to shuttle my canoe and I... for a price) and I was able to achieve my goal of undertaking a paddle trip through some of the most remote waters the Adirondack has to offer.

I planned 8 days for the trip- I felt reasonably certain that I could've done it in less time, but I was also in no rush. The added time would facilitate a few opportunities to poke around and explore along the way- and more importantly, would give me extra nights to bag a few new lean-tos on the Oswegatchie River that I still needed for the Lean-to Challenge.

And so, after dropping my car at Inlet, contacting the ranger for the area to advise them that my car would be there for a week (so as to alleviate any concerns that I was a missing person), and getting shuttled to Little Tupper Lake, early afternoon on the first day saw me setting out from the sandy beach at the Little Tupper headquarters.


I've heard that Little Tupper can get windy in the afternoon. On this day, was moderately breezy- not horrendous but windy enough that I decided to cut straight across to the south shore and stick close to that side as I made my way west up the lake. This allowed me to use islands and bays for cover, and there were only a couple of peninsulas along the way that demanded hard paddling as I slipped past them.


My goal for the evening was any of the tent sites on the west end of the lake, but as I made me way along the south shore I did stop at intermediate sites along the way to check them out. The island sites are clearly the prime real-estate, as they were all fairly well impacted and obviously well used. The shoreline sites were also nice but is was fairly apparent that they get less use- in a relative manner of speaking, that is. I don't doubt that the lake does fill close to capacity at times, especially during holiday weekends and other periods of high use. As camping is allowed at the designated sites only (no 150 foot rule dispersed camping permitted at Little Tupper Lake), I wouldn't want to be a late comer on a holiday weekend.










While poking around on the south shore I also observed a lot of evidence of past lumbering. The forest has regrown a substantial amount in the years since state acquisition of the property but the evidence of tree harvesting activity from several decades ago was nevertheless pretty plain. I know some members of this forum have steadfastly expressed a belief that the former owners of the land were better stewards than the state... but holy cow did they cut close to the shoreline (leaving not much of a buffer), and holy cow did they cut hard. It's almost like they maybe knew a few years in advance they were going to sell... and decided to maximize their short term profits before doing so.


Site #18, one of the island sites, was the first site I checked with intent to set up camp, but it was occupied. Site #19, also an island site nearby, was unoccupied so I called dibs for the evening. Mid-afternoon saw me unloading my canoe and setting up camp. The weather was nice and there was little chance of rain so I decided against the tarp. Even though the steady breeze was keeping the bugs at bay for the time being, I knew it would not last past dark so I did at least pitch the bug bivy.


While cooking dinner, a husband and wife pair of kayakers pulled up, looking for an open site. We chatted (from a distance with consideration for the pandemic) for a minute or two, and then they paddled on further west down the lake. They would prove to be the only group I would have any conversational contact with for the entire trip (I would see other groups but always at a distance).

Evening brought with it some nice sunset views across the lake. And, as expected, the wind soon died down and the blood sucking insects came out in force- and I was diving into the comfort and safety of my bug bivy for the night.






Blue skies were back in force with the arrival of dawn the next day. It didn't take me long to pack up and hit the water again, and soon I was checking out more campsites as I continued west across the lake. Interestingly enough, Site #15 appeared to get relatively little use despite being an island site- the fire pit had a number of seedlings poking up through and evidence of only one small fire at any point in the past year or so. But this site was also on a bigger island, and set back further from the water than many of the other sites, which I think explains low levels of use.










Before long, I was starting up the outlet of Rock Pond. This was a wide and somewhat marshy, slow-moving stream that made for a very pretty paddle. I did attempt to check out site #23, the first designated tent site headed upstream from Little Tupper Lake, but was waylaid by thick, deep mud along the shore- too thick to get the canoe through, but yet not solid enough to support my weight to stand on. I was able to hop out and check out site #24 a little further upstream- set in lush, mossy evergreens and obviously very little used.




The outlet had a few small obstacles to throw my way- a couple of beaver dams that necessitated getting out and hauling the canoe over, plus one very short portage around a rocky stretch and an old culvert where a logging road once crossed the stream. One of the beaver dams did it's best to snag my crocs in deep mud when I hopped out below the dam- it took a few minutes of blind searching through the muck with my hands but I was able to recover both of them before continuing on.




I was a bit surprised to find that I had Rock Pond all to myself. Apparently the added distance, plus the beaver dams and short portage is enough to keep most overnight paddlers to Little Tupper instead. I did take the time to poke around and check out most of the campsites there. They all showed moderate impacts but clearly get less use than the Little Tupper sites do.

Most of the sites ranged from decently nice to gorgeous. The island site, #28, was also nice but small- and there were a number of not-quite legal satellite sites around it (plus a few closed sites along the shore of the island).












Except for site #26, however, which appeared to have been hit by a microburst or tornado at some point in the not too distant past. The site had been cut open again but it was overly sunny and hot, overgrown with ferns, and just not that nice.


Continued in next post...
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Old 02-14-2021, 04:11 PM   #2
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Continued from above...

My arrival at the west end of Rock Pond heralded the first major portage of the trip. At 1.75 miles, this carry would be the second longest I'd face out of the 11 total portages across my route. For the relatively short portages I had no qualms about making multiple trips, but for longer carries such as this one, I was determined not to backtrack any. And so onto my back went all of my gear, plus the canoe (with a few lighter odds and ends dangling from the thwarts).


The portage was in OK shape. Much of it follows an old logging railroad grade, and so the route was generally obvious. I didn't see much in the way of markers however, and parts of it were starting to get a little bit brushy. There has also been some beaver flooding along the portage- nothing major (and certainly nothing worth getting back into the canoe for), but nevertheless there were a few spots with muddy and uneven footing.

My original tentative plan had been to camp at the designated tent site at Hardigan Pond. However, it was still only early afternoon when I arrived there. The site looked alright- it was fairly open and flat and appeared to get some regular use, plus Hardigan Pond itself was quiet and serene- but at the moment of my visit it was also absolutely teeming with deer flies. If those factors weren't enough to convince me to continue on, the massive anthill on the edge of the campsite that I'd accidentally stepped on- sending biting ants swarming up my legs- made up my mind that I was better off camping elsewhere.




I also discovered that someone had forgotten both a water bottle and a PFD at the Hardigan Pond end of the portage. Oops... I certainly hope they didn't regret in particular leaving their PFD behind. That'd be a rough thing to absolutely need in such a remote area, with little hope of any sort of quick rescue.


The paddle across Hardigan went quickly and soon I was starting the portage to the outlet of Salmon Lake. This portage also followed the old logging railroad grade and despite also being brushy, was short and easy. Soon I was paddling down the outlet.

I realized belatedly (several miles downstream) that there were falls a short distance upstream on the outlet. Ah well, something to entice me into making a return visit into the area.






The outlet of Salmon Lake also traversed open and marshy terrain, with nice views. I also passed a few more beaver dams that forced short exits from the canoe to haul it up and over the woody debris. Just before entering Little Salmon Lake I hopped out to check out site #32. This was also a small and pretty infrequently used site, judging from the accumulation of organic material in the fire pit. Nice enough otherwise, though, in a pleasant stand of balsam and spruce.






Like Hardigan Pond, Little Salmon Lake was also full of solitude- quiet and serene. Site #33 on the north shore was situated atop a small hill on the edge of the pond, with beautiful views- although also small, and somewhat lacking in flat ground to boot. Room enough for a solo camper without too much difficulty at least, and I was tempted to stay there, but decided to press on at least as far as the next site, site #34 at the start of the carry to Lilypad Pond. I figured I'd maybe set up there for the night and at least haul my canoe over the carry that afternoon so as to facilitate an easier start the next morning.




Within 30 seconds of seeing site #34 I'd made up my mind to continue on to Lake Lila, however. The site itself was OK- brushy and with room for only one tent (or maybe two tents if they were both small). But it was also right smack in the middle of the portage trail to Lilypad Pond. Granted, this is not an area that sees high levels of use- and the odds of anyone coming through while I was camped there were slim to none- but it was just such poor judgement on the part of whoever decided that this was a site worth designating that I found myself unable to condone it by staying there. And since the 150 foot thing isn't an option until one reaches Lake Lila, I was out of luck for finding my own spot off in the woods somewhere.




The portage to Lilypad Pond was fairly straightforward. As with the previous portages, it was also brushy and not well marked but the route was nevertheless pretty obvious. At this point, I was starting to think about remaining daylight, and so when I got to Lilypad Pond I didn't really do much poking around. Both the put in and the take out at Lilypad Pond were also a bit muddy.




Next up was the infamous carry to Shingle Shanty Brook, a moderately long traverse at about three quarters of a mile. There was also some noticeable elevation gain along this portage (in contrast, all of the previous carries had been pretty flat). Nothing major, however, and to be honest... judging from the map, I suspect that this carry is still the faster route than paddling the long way around.

Shingle Shanty itself is a twisty, windy traverse through what feels like endless marshes. I don't doubt that the paddler traverses at least 3 to 4 times as far as what the crow can fly along this stretch. There was also some element of trial and error involved, with a few false passages along the way that petered out into thick, endless grasslands. Naturally, there were also a few more beaver dams to negotiate along the way.






I made it to Lake Lila with a bit more than an hour of solid daylight left, and immediately began scoping out the campsite situation. What I saw was a bit discouraging- I'd expected that since it was a Thursday, while maybe the choicest sites would already be occupied, I'd have little difficulty finding something quickly. Too my surprise the lake seemed just about filled up to capacity. Sites #17, #18, #19, and #20 on the east shore were all occupied, as was site #21 on the island. Further across the lake I could see boats pulled up on shore near sites #15 and #16, and there was obvious activity on the west shore where the lean-to and sites #7, #8, #9, #10, and #11 all lie.

I decided to try my luck on the north shore. Sites #4 and #5 were both occupied, but as I rounded the peninsula into the bay I found site #3 empty. I was quick to call dibs- I could see a few other boats out and about and I think some of them were looking for open sites as well. (And while I'm not opposed to sharing a site if and when necessary, I'd rather not be the second comer who has to awkwardly ask if it's OK if I move in.) Darkness was fast approaching, and with my late arrival I didn't have the luxury of afternoon breezes to keep the bugs at bay, so a smudge fire was necessary to be able to enjoy dinner before turning in for the night.






Day 3 dawned noticeably more humid than the previous two days had been. My goal for the day was only Lows Lake, but after seeing how crowded Lake Lila and been- and knowing that it was the start of the weekend- I was eager to waste no time getting there so as to give myself plenty of time to look for an open campsite. I was packed up and on the water before I'd seen much in the way of movement or activity from any the other occupied sites on the lake.


It was only a relatively short paddle down the lake to the start of the portage to Harrington Brook, adjacent to the private road along the north shore the lake. As I was taking out and getting ready to begin the portage, I happened to notice that the culvert through which Harrington Brook flows into Lake Lila is actually a massive old boiler. What purpose this boiler served (or where it came from, if indeed it were even located locally) are anything but apparent, but it was neat to think about the potential history involved.


I'd heard that the Harrington Brook portage was a bit rough in spots. Even though it was close to half a mile, I elected to traverse it twice- once with the canoe and once with gear. For the most part, it wasn't that bad, but there was one stretch in the middle, for perhaps a couple of hundred feet, that could use some work. Not only was the tread uneven- small boulders piled against each other, with plenty of gaps to trap the ankle of the uncareful- it was also well hidden beneath a carpet of grasses and ferns.

In any case, even with the out-back-out method of traverse it wasn't long before I was launching again on the still waters of Harrington Brook and paddling upstream towards the turnoff to Rainer Brook.


The next portage, to Clear Pond, follows a stretch of the Remsen-Lake Placid railroad for a bit. Taking out requires first climbing over yet another beaver dam before scrambling up a steep embankment adjacent to a bridge over Rainer Brook- and honestly, this was probably the trickiest takeout of the entire trip. After following the railroad for a bit more than a quarter mile, the portage trails turns off to the west (at a junction that is easy to miss with a canoe over one's head, I managed to wander about a tenth of a mile past it before realizing my mistake), and from there follows old logging skid trails to Clear Pond.

Honestly, both this portage and the previous one (Lake Lila to Harrington Brook), sort of felt like afterthoughts... possibly even portage trails that first formed through use, rather than the product of any explicit managerial intent to facilitate a paddling connection between Lake Lila and Lows Lake. Both could use some improvements- the ankle grabbing rocks on the Harrington Brook portage, and the steep gravelly climb up and out of the water at Rainer Brook.






Clear Pond was small but nice. I did take a few minutes to check out the designated tent site on the north shore- it was set back a bit from the water but otherwise nice, with plenty of flat ground. This site was pretty obviously once the location of a hunting camp.

I'd heard the roar of jets during portions of every day of my trip so far, but it wasn't until I was on Clear Pond that I happened to get a good glimpse of them. Two military fighter jets, directly overhead, engaging in a mock dog fight with each other. As disruptive as it was on the wilderness experience, it was pretty neat to watch for a few minutes... and then they disappeared back into the clouds and the roar once again became just plain obnoxious.




Continued in next post...
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Old 02-14-2021, 04:12 PM   #3
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Continued from above...

The carry from Clear Pond to Bog Lake was also short enough that I had no qualms about resorting to several trips. It follows a portion of another private road for a short stretch before turning off and descending down to a large clearing on Bog Lake- the site of another former hunting camp. The DEC maps for this area show a designated tent site here- and it's clear that folks do occasionally camp in the clearing where the hunting camp once stood. FWIW, I also thought that this clearing was meant to be the designated site despite missing a "Camp Here" disc, but I found out after my trip that the actual designated site is located a bit further west down the shore- and is apparently a much nicer spot to camp to boot.

After a quick lunch on the shore of Bog Lake I was launching onto that body of water and paddling down the outlet towards Lows Lake.




Most maps mistakenly show the connection between Bog Lake and Lows Lake as a broad body of water- in reality it is a narrow and marshy stream, a bit meandering (although not nearly as meandering as Shingle Shanty Brook). I'm not sure how that error came to be or why it continues to persist- if you compare maps with aerial photos it is pretty obvious that the water level has never been high enough for the outlet to be as wide as depicted.


With my arrival at the causeway that carries the old (and long abandoned) logging road across the outlet of Bog Lake I was re-entering somewhat familiar terrain. 10 years prior, I had spent a week on Low's Lake, visiting every single designated tent site and collecting data about camping impacts to aid in a research project. That week of data collection in turn would facilitate the capstone project for my professional GIS certificate, and furthermore would play the primary inspiration in what eventually became my Master's thesis.

I remembered there being a designated tent site on the west end of this causeway (Lows Lake site #37), and that from the tent site it was possible to follow the old logging road a short distance to a pine plantation set back further in the woods. I hopped out, and quickly found the tent site, which was as a I remembered it- a large clearing with sandy soils that appeared to have once been a log landing. It was also absolutely swarmed with deer flies. The old road had grown in noticeably since my prior visit but I was able to also find the pine plantation without too much difficulty.






From the old causeway the outlet of Bog Lake gradually widens as you approach Lows Lake itself. Soon I was passing site #38 to my right, and approaching the main body of water. Grass Pond Mountain was visible across the lake, and I could see a number of boats out and about. Some of the campsites that were within view were also clearly occupied, and I was glad that I'd put in the effort to get to Lows early in the afternoon, as it appeared likely that I'd again be putting forth extra effort to find an open site.




I cut around the impressive floating bog mat lodged in the lake and turned northwest to cross the main body of water. My goal for the night was one of the sites up on Grass Pond- an adjacent body of water connected to Lows Lake via another broad channel. I've camped twice previously at Grass Pond- once during the aforementioned week long Lows paddling trip, and once on a late autumn backpacking trip where I hiked in from the north by way of Sucker Brook and Chair Rock Flow. To date, Grass Pond is one of my favorite spots I've ever camped in the Adirondacks and I was looking forward to (hopefully) another night camped there.


I was a bit surprised when I pulled up to site #29 and found it unoccupied. This is a larger site, with no short amount of flat ground, also apparently once the location of a former hunting camp pre-dating state acquisition of the land. I was tempted to claim the site and set up camp then and their, but I'd also remembered that site #31, further up on Grass Pond proper, was a nice one situated on a pine covered knoll overlooking the pond. I figured I was close enough to at least take a quick gander at that site, and if it (and the others at Grass Pond) were occupied I could scoot back to site #29 quick enough before anyone else was likely to claim it.

As I paddled into Grass Pond it soon became clear that my fears were misplaced. The pond was deserted- not a soul in site, and each of the four campsites there was open. After the apparent hustle and bustle on the main body of Lows Lake itself (and the weeknight crowds I'd witnessed the previous evening at Lake Lila) I was a bit shocked to fine no one at all set up on Grass Pond. In retrospect I think Grass Pond is maybe just a bit too far of a paddle for most visitors to the area- the main body of Lows itself is the better part of a full day's paddle in itself from the put in at the Lower Dam, and Lows itself is also host to a number of simply phenomenal sites. Fine by me, of course, if it helps preserve the solitude of Grass Pond.


I was settled in to site #31 by 3:30. My early arrival allowed me to spend a relaxing afternoon in camp, hanging out and ready by the water while a small smudge fire kept the bugs at bay. I saw no one else all afternoon, save for a solo paddler who showed up, paddled a quick loop around the pond, and had disappeared back towards Lows Lake within 15 minutes of their arrival. As the afternoon waned and dusk approached, the skies grew hazier and hazier. By the time I turned in for the night, it was apparent that storms were not far off.






Saturday showed up with those storms hot on the heels of sunrise, and several bands of storms passed through during the morning, with periods of heavy rain and some thunder and lightning. My traverse from Little Tupper to Lila in a single day had put me ahead of schedule, so I was perfectly content to spend the morning reading under my tarp- especially since I had no desire to be out on the water in thunder and lightning.

Early in the afternoon, the last band of storms passed through and blue skies started to open overhead. By then I'd more or less resigned myself to spending a second night camped at Grass Pond (without complaint, of course). But the nicer weather appeared likely to hold- so I decided to make a break for it and paddle on at least as far as the head of Lows Lake. The lengthy Oswegatchie Headwaters carry was certainly on my mind as I'd be tackling it the next day no matter what- and I figured that if I could do it earlier in the day I'd probably be glad that I did.


I had camp broken down in record time and was soon making my way back down Grass Pond and up Lows Lake towards the beginning of the carry to Big Deer Pond. For some reason the numbered Oswegatchie River designated tent sites start with site #1 on the west end of Lows Lake- and the site was unoccupied. I briefly contemplated staying here but the good weather was holding- and besides, this site was set back from the water and getting no breeze, and the deer flies and mosquitoes were pretty bad here also. I decided to haul everything over the portage to Big Deer Pond and camp there for the night at tent site #2.






Site #2 at Big Deer Pond clearly gets very, very little use- I can say without exaggeration that it gets maybe 1 or 2 groups using it a year at most. At some point, eons ago, someone had built a few benches using fallen logs, but the benches were pretty rotten. More recently in history, mere millennia ago, a tree had fallen across the site, rendering a good chunk of it unusable. The site is also flat but not very level, with a steady slope down towards the pond itself- and furthermore, the site is right smack in the middle of the marked hiking trail around the pond. Apparently this is not the original site #2- rather, the OG site is currently underwater, thanks to the industrious resident beaver population at Big Deer Pond.

(Just before arriving at Big Deer Pond, the portage trail from Lows crests a low hill. I didn't look but it appeared that if you followed the broad ridge of this hill north, there would be good options for tenting on level ground in open forest, and in compliance with the 150 foot rule. Honestly, this would probably be a nicer spot than the designated tent site itself.)




There was a decent breeze blowing here and no bugs at least, so with some effort I figured out a way to pitch my tarp so that I'd lie across the grade somewhat. As I was putting the finishing touches on dinner the breezes died down, and the resident mosquito population was quick to take advantage of the situation, so even with some daylight left I was soon climbing into my bug bivy for the night.

That night it stormed harder than anything I've ever experienced in over 1,000 nights spent camped in the backcountry in my life. I've been out in driving, torrential downpours before, but in the past they'd always let up after 20 minutes or maybe half an hour or so. This storm kept going like the energizer bunny- an absolutely heavy, soaking downpour that continued for hours. The rain on my tarp was so loud it was difficult to hear one's own thoughts, and before long there were rivulets of water streaming through the campsite.

The rain did eventually taper off to a light but steady drizzle as dawn approached, and I found myself breaking down camp under my tarp, which was the last part of my overnight setup to come down. Just as I was about to set out across Big Deer Pond the drizzle ceased, and while the clouds remained heavy overhead I could see sunlight trying peer through the cover on the horizon.






The paddle across Big Deer Pond went quickly, and within a few minutes I was unloading again at the far side and prepping for the great traverse to the Oswegatchie headwaters. This so-called headwaters portage would be the longest of my trip, at just over 2 miles. Given the remoteness of the terrain, I was expecting a somewhat brushy portage trail like I'd encountered throughout the rest of the trip, but to my surprise the trail was well maintained, with a wide and clear corridor the full way through. There is one part about 2/3rds of the way through where the outlet of Big Deer Pond is crossed on a beaver dam- here I did drop the canoe and carry gear across separately from the boat.

I was particularly excited to see the Oswegatchie mailbox again, a highlight I remembered from my previous backpacking foray into the area 9 years prior. Just past the afore-mentioned beaver dam, a full sized metal mailbox sits alongside the portage trail. Inside is a log book for groups passing by to sign.




It took me about an hour and a half to finish the portage at a steady but not particularly fast pace. Portage-trail was cursing my decision by the end to make the trip in one go- but post-portage trail me was pretty happy I'd chosen to do so.

Prior to setting out on the river, I took the time to check out the two designated tent sites at the west end of the portage trail. Site #3 is right off the portage trail, in a stand of hardwoods. Site #4 isn't super obvious at first; if you follow a path downstream along the river for about 100 feet you'll find it in an open clearing surrounded by evergreens. Both were ok sites, nice enough but nothing to write home about.






The Oswegatchie River was overladen with runoff from the previous nights heavy rain. In fact, it was soon obvious that the heavy downpours were a boon in disguise- before long, I was passing beaver dam after beaver dam, submerged deep beneath the surface of the river. I've heard that the Oswegatchie beaver dams can be quite a hindrance- there is an estimated 70 of them between the headwaters portage and Inlet, and to travel the river by canoe during normal water levels demands hauling canoes over nearly every single one of them. A few extended family members took an overnight up the Oswegatchie a while back, and in the years since all my mother can talk about from that trip is how much she detested the beaver dams.

In contrast, I was only forced to exit the canoe a total of 3 times along the entire stretch of the river- once for a beaver dam, once for a strainer across the river, and once for the short portage around High Falls. It certainly made the wet feet I'd gained from the water running under my tarp during the night before more than worth it.

The water was also moving at a good clip in spots. While the river was never really technically challenging, I did find myself keeping an eye peeled for the occasional submerged rocks that were lurking just beneath the surface of the dark water.






Continued in next post...
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Old 02-14-2021, 04:12 PM   #4
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Continued from above...

I had lofty plans of stopping, checking out, and photo-documenting the majority of the designated tent sites along the Oswegatchie. I had 4 days worth of provisions remaining for the 20-odd mile downstream paddle, which afforded me plenty of wiggle room for some poking around. However, as I paddled downstream I soon found myself with the sneaking suspicion that I should've already been spotting sites. My suspicions were confirmed when I did come across an obvious designated site- and discovered that it was site #9. Where sites #5, #6, #7, and #8 were I could not have said- I did see a couple of spots where faint paths climbed up and away from the river, but all were unsigned and any one of them could have just as easily been a game trail.

There are 44 total designated tent sites along the Oswegatchie River- and as it turned out, I would only spot about half of them. Many of these sites clearly get little use- and I suspect that a good number of them have lost their signage over the years, and likely grown in considerably from disuse. In the end, I only documented the more visible and the more well-used sites, for the most part.

Site #9 was plainly obvious, at least- and it was a nice and moderately well-used site right on the banks of the river. I did get out here to poke around a bit, and found a nice authentic woods toilet someone had constructed nearby. An old logging road also clearly once crossed the river here- decades, if not the better part of a century, ago.








Less than an hour's paddling downstream from site #9 brought me to the upper side of High Falls. Along the way, I passed the county line- appropriately marked with a metal highway sign.






My goal for the night was High Falls Lean-to #1, which I still needed for the lean-to challenge. High Falls #1 is on river left and across the river from the hiking trail, normally only accessible by boat (in particularly low water one can hop across the river at High Falls where it channels into cracks in the rock outcrop, but this is not possible in normal conditions). I figured I'd be able to take out on the left bank and access the lean-to easily- but it turned out that there is no official portage trail on this side of the river, and I instead ended up portaging my canoe and gear down a faint and brushy herd path with some steep scrambles that were anything but easy with a canoe on my shoulders. I later realized that the easier option- which I should've taken but didn't- is to use the actual portage trail on river right, and then cross the river by boat below the falls to reach Lean-to #1 when coming from upstream.

In any case, I was soon setting up camp for the night in High Falls #1.


Once unpacked and moved into the lean-to, I took the time to poke around and explore a bit. I'd visited High Falls thrice before- once while backpacking the High Falls loop, once during a longer trip through the Five Ponds Wilderness, and once during a return trip to backpack the High Falls loop with a side trip to Sand Lake, but this was my first return visit to the area in nearly 9 years. High Falls itself was absolutely raging.






I also took the boat across the river to check out Lean-to #2 and the two nearby designated tent sites. This far side of the river- which is accessible from the CL50 via a short side trail- clearly gets more use than the boat-accessible only side, and High Falls in particular can be a popular spot to camp. There were also a few other fire pits scattered around (some legal, some not so legal, and one directly under a "no camping" sign), indicating that there's even periods where there is overflow traffic.






Just above the falls lies the remains of an old foot bridge foundation. This was once the northern terminus of the Red Horse Trail, a trail that connected the High Falls area with the northern shore of Stillwater Reservoir, far to the south. The southern 5 miles or so of this trail as far as Clear Lake still exists, but the connection between there and High Falls was abandoned decades ago. Interestingly, the name is a bit of an unintentional misnomer. It was not actually a horseback riding trail- but rather the name comes from rapids along the Robinson River, which take on the appearance of galloping red horses during high water due to the red hues of the tannin-laden water.




I soon returned to Lean-to #1 and spent a pleasant afternoon reading and hanging out in camp. At one point I heard the voices of hikers across the river back at Lean-to #2, but the noise quickly disappeared and it was soon apparent that they'd moved on.

Sunset over the river brought with it some nice contrast and I was able to snap a decent photo before turning in for the night.


The next morning I was on the river by 9:30, again paddling down stream. The water was still high and moving quickly in spots, and I was again forced to dodge the occasional rock as I made my way down the river.


No more than half an hour of paddling brought me to the bridge where the Five Ponds trail crosses the river. I remembered from my prior backpacking forays into the area that there were a few nice designated sites here so I decided to hop out and re-acquaint myself with them.




Site #25 was on river left, downstream of the bridge. This was a nice enough site in a stand of fir trees, but a bit lacking in level ground.


Site #23 was also on river left, but just upstream of the bridge. This is a nice, moderately-sized site with plenty of room, and a nice view of the river through the trees looking directly upstream. There were also remnants of an old wood stove in the site.






A short path continuing upstream from site #23 lead to site #22. This was a large site right on the bank of the river, again with some nice views out and over the river. This was clearly the party site of the bunch- the one most frequently occupied by larger groups (and I don't doubt that it has occasionally been used for a permit hunting camp).

The first two sites had the normal array of July bugs buzzing around- but weren't too bad. Somehow, despite being only a hundred feet away, site #22 was much, much worse in this regard- the deer flies here were downright vicious. I only spend the amount of time it took to snap a few pictures before retreating back to the bridge.




I knew that site #24 had to be close by somewhere (given the obvious gap in numbering between #23 and #25), but it took a few minutes to find it. Across to river right on the bridge, and up on a steep hill to the south of the trail was the arrow marker and wooden site number. I followed a faint and brushy path obscured with deep ferns up onto the top the hill where I found the site. It was a decently nice site- a grassy clearing in the forest- apart from being located further away from the river. It clearly gets less use and serves mainly as an overflow site for the occasional busy period when the other 3 sites across the river fill up.




Content with my campsite explorations for the time being, I returned to the river and continued on downstream.




Continued in next post...
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Old 02-14-2021, 04:13 PM   #5
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Continued from above...

Less than an hour of additional paddling from the bridge brought me to my destination for the night- the Cage Lake Springhole Lean-to. It was still super early- well before noon, even- but again, part of my goal for the trip was to bag a few additional lean-tos as part of my endeavors towards finishing the Lean-to Challenge, so I intended to spend a night in each of the 3 lean-tos on the Oswegatchie that I'd yet to camp at.

The Cage Lake Springhole Lean-to is really nice. It sits on a bank on the west side of the river, with excellent views out over the river and surrounding marshes. The lean-to itself was maybe only a foot or two above the water level, however- and in spite of the fact that the water was still running quite high from the heavy rains a few nights prior, I couldn't help but wonder if there'd ever been flooding bad enough to put the lean-to in the water.




A year prior, I'd attempted to reach the Cage Lake Springhole Lean-to on foot following the old trail from Cage Lake without success, while on a backpacking trip into the heart of the Five Ponds Wilderness. The old trail was followable up until the last tenth of a mile or so, just shy of the lean-to (and the river)- where it disappeared into dense and epic beaver marshes with no easy way through that didn't involve wading through deep water and muck. Now that I was armed with a canoe and plenty of free time once I'd completed unpacking and setting up camp, I was determined to finish the connection. Some navigational trial and error through the marshes, and some hauling over beaver dams brought me to the end of the old trail where I'd been forced to turn back the year prior.






I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in camp, reading and enjoying a small smudge fire to drive away the bugs. The moisture from the heavy rains was still working it's way out of the area- while parts of the afternoon were sunny and brilliant with no shortage of blue sky, there were nearly always billowing clouds somewhere in view. A couple of drizzles did pass through overhead during the afternoon but for the most part it stayed dry.




The next morning brought with it more bright sun and blue sky, and as the lean-to was perfectly oriented for the rising sun to shine right in my face, I was up and breaking down camp early. Before long, I was on the river, once again headed downstream.




My destination for that evening- the Griffin Rapids Lean-to- was so close that a mere 40 minutes of casual paddling was all it took to traverse the distance from the Cage Lake Springhole Lean-to. And thus mid-morning saw me once again unpacking the canoe and setting up camp for the night in yet another lean-to.


There was a plaque inside the lean-to commemorating a Jim Williamson- indicating that he'd lost his life on the Oswegatchie River. In the moment I was left only to wonder about the story, but after the conclusion of my trip I looked him up. He'd apparently been paddling the river with friends during a period of high water when his canoe capsized and he was caught in a strainer and drowned. A sobering reminder that even "flat water" can at times be dangerous- especially given that my visit also coincided with high water. I'd seen a few hefty strainers along the way myself, and was glad that I'd given extra effort towards giving them a wide berth wherever possible.


The Griffin Rapids Lean-to was set back a bit further form the river, and had some solid vegetative screening all around, making it a bit more private of a site than Cage Lake Springhole had been. With some strolling along the banks of the river it was possible to take in some nice views nonetheless. And the screening did cut down on the breeze somewhat so it was a noticeably buggier site- although not horrendous in this regard, and nothing that another small smudge fire couldn't handle. I spent another pleasant afternoon in camp, reading and enjoying the solitude.

At one point, I did hear voices, and soon a group of 4 folks in two tandem canoes paddled into view. I thought maybe they'd stop to see if the lean-to was open but they continued up river without any hesitation whatsoever- clearly their main goal was further on. Their canoes were filled to the brim with gear- they clearly intended to set up camp in comfort and/or remain for a longer duration.








The next day was the final day of my trip- and all I had left to do was paddle the last stretch back to my car at Inlet. I spent a leisurely morning at the lean-to, and didn't hit the river until the sun was already high in the sky. The river was still running quite high but had come down a few inches overnight- a few of the beaver dams were just starting to broach the surface of the water, but even the worst of these had enough flow spilling over that I was able to easily scoot by. Most were still deep beneath the water, and I glided over these effortlessly.


About 45 minutes of paddling brought me to High Rock, a rocky nub sticking up over the river on the east shore. I remembered from my previous backpacking forays into the area that there was both nice views from High Rock, as well as a somewhat popular tent site there, so again I hopped out to revisit the area.


It turns out there's actually two designated tent sites on High Rock. They are officially numbered "41A" and "41B" so the second site must've been an afterthought, added in response to the popularity of the initial single site. In addition to their desirability (due to the views), alternate options in the vicinity are limited for backpackers traversing the High Falls Truck Trail/CL50.

The first site is pretty obvious- it's the site that both paddlers and hikers will encounter first. It's a moderately large and well-used site with plenty of flat ground.


The second site isn't as obvious, and despite being decently nice appears to get less use. It's located right on the summit of High Rock, and the only way to reach it is to pass through the first site. I think once the first site is occupied, most looking to camp at High Rock elect to move on instead, rather than disrupting the occupants of the first site- and so they don't ever realize that the second site exists.


The views from High Rock itself had grown in a bit since my previous visits (again, my last visit was nearly a decade ago!), but were nevertheless still nice.




As I continued downstream, the campsites grew both more obvious and more well impacted. Clearly the sites closer to the put in at Inlet get a lot more use than the sites further upriver- and undoubtedly a lot more use by larger groups in particular. Nevertheless, even the most well-used of these appeared to be quite nice. I was tempted to get out and take more photos for the purpose of sharing with the community, but at this point I had one goal foremost in my mind: Stewart's pizza and a milkshake. I continued onwards through beautiful sections of the river.








Just shy of an hour downstream of High Rock, I rounded a bend and found myself face to face with the canoe launch at Inlet. My 8 day, ~50 mile trip through the heart of some of the most remote terrain in the Adirondack Park was over.




All in all, it was an excellent trip in just about every aspect. Even the heavy rains and general wetness I'd endured at Big Deer Pond turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as they enabled me to float over nearly ever single beaver dam on the Oswegatchie- fortitude that is nearly unheard of outside of the spring freshet. And while I already had some familiarity with much of the route, gained through shorter trips over the years, I was glad to have the opportunity to traverse such a wide swath of the Adirondacks in a single trip and gain intimate familiarity with the entire route.

It's unlikely that I will ever retrace my steps exactly along this itinerary- if and when I have another full week available I'd much prefer to tackle something new. But I will undoubtedly be back again to revisit portions of it- certainly to camp at Grass Pond again. The Five Ponds area has also been high on the list of proposed destinations for our annual Duck Hole trips. In particular, a paddling trip has been considered and we've talked about the Low's-Oswegatchie traverse as one option (although as much as I'd love to share this trip with them, I also know without a doubt that some of my idiot friends would show up with royalex- or even worse, aluminum- canoes no matter how much I encouraged them to borrow or rent something lighter).
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Old 02-14-2021, 05:40 PM   #6
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Absolutely wonderful write up and photographs, helps cut through the pain of winter and was detailed enough where I felt I was out there with you. The perfect post to get lost in on these cold days. The Oswegatchie/Five Ponds area is truly such an incredible zone for adventure. I paddled it most recently in August 2020, and we happened to paddle the weekend that hurricane went up the east coast. Our trip in we were lucky enough to paddle over every dam, but then on the way out 3 days later we noticed the river was drastically lower, like over a foot of change. Totally forgot to account for the “storm surge” of the hurricane. Was crazy to see the river so different only 3 days apart.
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Old 02-14-2021, 07:54 PM   #7
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Great report of an area I have frequented many times over the years. Thanks for the memories.

You were there on the river in far better times than I was in the wake of the 1995 Derecho (see photos below). Wile guiding a BSA troop we did in fact lose count of upwards of 70 beaver dams to cross above High Falls.

The DEC replaced that Oswetatchie Wild River trailhead sign seen in the photo with a new one a few years back, A ranger presented me with the old sign seen in the photo which I now have hanging on my garage wall.

As I am sure you know, and some places you have probably been, there a number of side trail hikes to explore along the way, including areas near Lows and beyond: Robinwood, Nehasane lodge, Rainer River, Lows Mtn, Grass Pond Mtn, GPM Ice caves, Fishpole and Darning Needle Ponds, Tri-County Marker, he "Old Man" huge pine tree, Ranger's Rest, Cowhorn Pond, Robinson River, to name just a very few.
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Old 02-14-2021, 10:29 PM   #8
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Absolutely wonderful write up and photographs, helps cut through the pain of winter and was detailed enough where I felt I was out there with you. The perfect post to get lost in on these cold days. The Oswegatchie/Five Ponds area is truly such an incredible zone for adventure. I paddled it most recently in August 2020, and we happened to paddle the weekend that hurricane went up the east coast. Our trip in we were lucky enough to paddle over every dam, but then on the way out 3 days later we noticed the river was drastically lower, like over a foot of change. Totally forgot to account for the “storm surge” of the hurricane. Was crazy to see the river so different only 3 days apart.
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, I am certainly glad that I was lucky enough to be able to avoid most of the beaver dams- and that the high water held for the 4 days that I spent casually floating downstream. In normal conditions I can imagine that even downstream travel can be frustrating at times with repetitive dam after dam after dam to haul the boat over.
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Old 02-14-2021, 10:43 PM   #9
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Great report of an area I have frequented many times over the years. Thanks for the memories.

You were there on the river in far better times than I was in the wake of the 1995 Derecho (see photos below). Wile guiding a BSA troop we did in fact lose count of upwards of 70 beaver dams to cross above High Falls.

The DEC replaced that Oswetatchie Wild River trailhead sign seen in the photo with a new one a few years back, A ranger presented me with the old sign seen in the photo which I now have hanging on my garage wall.

As I am sure you know, and some places you have probably been, there a number of side trail hikes to explore along the way, including areas near Lows and beyond: Robinwood, Nehasane lodge, Rainer River, Lows Mtn, Grass Pond Mtn, GPM Ice caves, Fishpole and Darning Needle Ponds, Tri-County Marker, he "Old Man" huge pine tree, Ranger's Rest, Cowhorn Pond, Robinson River, to name just a very few.
A few of those places I've visited. I caught some glimpses of Nehasane on a backpacking trip to Lake Lila a few years back. Fishpole and Darning Needle Ponds I visited on a backpacking trip into Chair Rock Flow and Grass Pond nearly a decade ago. I remember that Darning Needle Pond especially was a very scenic and remote body of water that clearly gets few visitors. Cowhorn Pond I've visited a few times over the the years- the first was during a slightly abbreviated traverse of the CL50, where we hiked past Cowhorn Pond just prior to setting up for the night at Olmstead Pond not too far away. The second was also on my first visit to the Oswegatchie headwaters by foot, when I spent a night in the Cowhorn Pond Lean-to.

The Robinson River especially is a spot that I'm interested in- but have not yet visited (apart from paddling past the confluence where it joins the Oswegatchie on this trip). Ever since learning the history of the Red Horse Trail, I've been intrigued... I'm sure that at this point there's not much (if any) remnant of the long-abandoned part of the trail left, but I've thought about trying to follow the route all the way through from Stillwater to High Falls (with a water taxi shuttle to get dropped off at Big Burnt Lake).
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Old 02-14-2021, 11:00 PM   #10
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The Robinson River especially is a spot that I'm interested in- but have not yet visited (apart from paddling past the confluence where it joins the Oswegatchie on this trip). Ever since learning the history of the Red Horse Trail, I've been intrigued... I'm sure that at this point there's not much (if any) remnant of the long-abandoned part of the trail left, but I've thought about trying to follow the route all the way through from Stillwater to High Falls (with a water taxi shuttle to get dropped off at Big Burnt Lake).
I've been through to the Os from Stillwater via the Sand and Rock Lake routes a couple of times. That's a pretty easy way to go. I also made the trek from Lows to end up at Stillwater. And taken the Red Horse to past the end of the trail at Clear, Crooked and Summit Peak on toward very the unique shaped Oven and then Toad, short of the Robinson. Beyond Summit I found no clear trail, past or present as evident.

The 1995 derecho so destroyed any hope of making safe passage in the years after. I had to abandon two separate attempts with my Hornbeck due to unsafe conditions on thousands of slick rotting logs and tops invisible under lush ferns and extremely dense fresh sapling growth in the new found sunlight after essentially 100% of all the mature trees had blown over and disappeared from the skyline. Maybe conditions have improved since.
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Old 02-14-2021, 11:13 PM   #11
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  • Shame about WCW Wilderness. The forest will come back, the fish, probably not though.
  • Crocs are no match for Adirondack pond muck. I once lost a fully tied, high top backpacking boot on a portage. I know other fools who easily lost booth flip flops when used as portage footwear. Gone until the next ice age. I was able to get my boot back though...
  • One of the sites at High Rock had some NASTY ground bees in years past. It still looked well used though.
  • With the promise of driving to Blue Moon in Saranac Lake for breakfast, I was once able to make it from the 5 ponds bridge to Inlet in two hours flat.
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Old 02-14-2021, 11:23 PM   #12
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I've been through to the Os from Stillwater via the Sand and Rock Lake routes a couple of times. That's a pretty easy way to go. I also made the trek from Lows to end up at Stillwater. And taken the Red Horse to past the end of the trail at Clear, Crooked and Summit Peak on toward very the unique shaped Oven and then Toad, short of the Robinson. Beyond Summit I found no clear trail, past or present as evident.

The 1995 derecho so destroyed any hope of making safe passage in the years after. I had to abandon two separate attempts with my Hornbeck due to unsafe conditions on thousands of slick rotting logs and tops invisible under lush ferns and extremely dense fresh sapling growth in the new found sunlight after essentially 100% of all the mature trees had blown over and disappeared from the skyline. Maybe conditions have improved since.
I was finally able to undertake the western (bushwhack) approach to the Five Ponds from Watson's East Triangle last year- it was on that same trip where I tried to get to the Cage Lake Springhole Lean-to on foot and was forced to turn back less than a quarter mile from the lean-to. But I've not made the connection from there to the Stillwater Reservoir to the south.

I've also wondered about the condition of the interior of the Five Ponds Wilderness and whether things have improved to the point that a through trip (with or without a canoe) would be easier. If anyone here would know, it's Conk- who I believe has been all over that area with his canoe in recent years.

Case in point RE: the recovery of the Five Ponds. On the above trip (where I came in from Watson's East Triangle), I spent a night in the Little Shallow Lean-to. It was my first visit back to the actual Five Ponds themselves in 8 years. My memory of the Little Shallow Lean-to from previous visits those years ago was that it was in a small but obvious grassy clearing, with no tree cover overhead. When I arrived back at the lean-to again last year, I was absolutely convinced at first that the lean-to must've been relocated sometime after my last visit- it was no longer in a clearing whatsoever; the tree canopy was densely closed in overhead.

It was only after I'd left the woods, and was able to compare the photos from that trip to the photos I'd taken on my previous visits that I realized that the lean-to was right smack in the same spot it had been 8 years prior. The same exact trees were clearly visible in photos from both trips- they'd simple just grown so much that the open clearing had ceased to be.

It does seem like the saplings are starting to die out as the stronger specimens shade out the weaker ones. If the worst-hit areas of the blowdown are not more conducive to bushwhacking already, I'd expect that the understory will start to open up considerably in those spots over the next 5+ years for sure.
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Old 02-14-2021, 11:26 PM   #13
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  • Shame about WCW Wilderness. The forest will come back, the fish, probably not though.
  • Crocs are no match for Adirondack pond muck. I once lost a fully tied, high top backpacking boot on a portage. I know other fools who easily lost booth flip flops when used as portage footwear. Gone until the next ice age. I was able to get my boot back though...
  • One of the sites at High Rock had some NASTY ground bees in years past. It still looked well used though.
  • With the promise of driving to Blue Moon in Saranac Lake for breakfast, I was once able to make it from the 5 ponds bridge to Inlet in two hours flat.
Well, now I can't show this trip report to one friend in particular. She will see your crocs comment and use it as further evidence that I have bad taste when it comes to proper footwear.

No sign of any ground bees at High Rock but I don't doubt that they've been an issue there before.
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Old 02-15-2021, 12:18 AM   #14
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Well honestly the crocs faired no worse than heavy boots so they can’t be too bad. It’s hard to find the right aquatic footwear for the Adirondacks. I prefer neoprene waders if it weren’t for the weight. Neoprene knee high boots are great too.

But seriously just like your other recent report it’s all stuff I’ve seen but unfortunately never tied together in a long trip. Like you, I kind of found my favorite bits of it I want to come back to but have other stuff I want to do and see. The appeal of this is length. There aren’t any other wilderness canoe trips in the park of this length. But much like the npt, it’s easy to section paddle it.
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Old 02-15-2021, 02:19 AM   #15
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Thanks for posting a great trip report and photos. It not only connected my visits to the individual areas of your trip, but the Oswegatchie portion brought back memories of the many trips I made up and down that river when I had my guide service (Five Ponds Guide Service), worked as an ASF on the river and adopted/maintained four of the leantos on the Five Ponds trail (Big/Little Shallow, Wolf and Sand) back in the late 80s-early 90s. It was interesting to hear that campsites on the Oswegatchie were missing numbers. That was the case back in the late 80s as well. On one extended trip on the river, I renumbered all the sites up to the Robinson River (including one that had been skipped during the previous numbering). Back then Pine Ridge still had the old growth white pines; I would always stop there and sit among them. One time, while walking into them, I tripped and did a face plant. When I got up, a deer antler was wrapped around my ankle. That antler still sits on a bookshelf in my home office. Thanks again for bringing back so many treasured memories.

Although it is not great quality, here is a photo of Pine Ridge on the Oswegatchie back in 1988.

Oswegatchie Pine Ridge.jpg

You can just make out the huge beaver dam on one of the headwater streams of the Oswegatchie. I dragged my canoe up it and paddled around the beaver pond.

Beaver Dam Oswegatchie Headwaters.jpg
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Old 02-15-2021, 09:12 AM   #16
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Well honestly the crocs faired no worse than heavy boots so they can’t be too bad. It’s hard to find the right aquatic footwear for the Adirondacks. I prefer neoprene waders if it weren’t for the weight. Neoprene knee high boots are great too.
Crocs admittedly aren't the best water shoe, but they also have the advantage of being a comfortable (and light) camp shoe. As I was already carrying a pair of trail runners for the portages, I was trying to keep my weight down. I did consider a proper pair of water shoes also, but in the end decided against them. Apart from the one almost-mishap on the beaver dam, the Crocs worked perfectly well.
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Old 02-15-2021, 09:16 AM   #17
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Thanks for posting a great trip report and photos. It not only connected my visits to the individual areas of your trip, but the Oswegatchie portion brought back memories of the many trips I made up and down that river when I had my guide service (Five Ponds Guide Service), worked as an ASF on the river and adopted/maintained four of the leantos on the Five Ponds trail (Big/Little Shallow, Wolf and Sand) back in the late 80s-early 90s. It was interesting to hear that campsites on the Oswegatchie were missing numbers. That was the case back in the late 80s as well. On one extended trip on the river, I renumbered all the sites up to the Robinson River (including one that had been skipped during the previous numbering). Back then Pine Ridge still had the old growth white pines; I would always stop there and sit among them. One time, while walking into them, I tripped and did a face plant. When I got up, a deer antler was wrapped around my ankle. That antler still sits on a bookshelf in my home office. Thanks again for bringing back so many treasured memories.
With 46 sites, some of them little used, I don't doubt that it's been an ongoing effort to keep them all marked. In addition to signs falling down on their own as they age (and the tree grows out and around the nails), I'm sure that a few folks over the years have also purposefully taken down the signs for their "favorite campsite," so as to discourage others from finding and using it- a problem that I've witnessed elsewhere in the Adirondacks.

In any case, though, it seems like it's time for another enterprising DEC employee to head back with the objective of once again trying to re-mark them all.

It's sort of coincidentally funny that the count ended up at 46- sort of makes me want to become an "Oswegatchie 46er," by spending a night in each campsite on the river. Since the lean-tos are counted among the numbered sites, that puts me at 6 down, 40 to go. (41 to go if we're counting the two High Rock sites separately.)
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Old 02-15-2021, 11:14 AM   #18
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Excellent report and photos, and a welcome escape from the current deep snow and cold of winter. Lila to Inlet has long been on my bucket list- I've done Little Tupper to Lila and the Oswegatchie from Inlet to High Falls in the past. I loved revisiting some of the places I've been through your photos, thanks!
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Old 02-15-2021, 12:12 PM   #19
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With 46 sites, some of them little used, I don't doubt that it's been an ongoing effort to keep them all marked. In addition to signs falling down on their own as they age (and the tree grows out and around the nails), I'm sure that a few folks over the years have also purposefully taken down the signs for their "favorite campsite," so as to discourage others from finding and using it- a problem that I've witnessed elsewhere in the Adirondacks.

In any case, though, it seems like it's time for another enterprising DEC employee to head back with the objective of once again trying to re-mark them all.

It's sort of coincidentally funny that the count ended up at 46- sort of makes me want to become an "Oswegatchie 46er," by spending a night in each campsite on the river. Since the lean-tos are counted among the numbered sites, that puts me at 6 down, 40 to go. (41 to go if we're counting the two High Rock sites separately.)
I think "Oswegatchie '46er" is a great idea. I plan to paddle it again this season and will be making note of how many of the sites I stayed at over the years. I had favorites I stayed at more frequently for various reasons and still think of going back to them in the future. Thanks again for a great report and photos.
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Old 02-15-2021, 07:09 PM   #20
Zach
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Orwell NY
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Thank you for taking the time to post the report and pictures. It's nice to think of summer trips in the winter. I made my first visit to Low's in 2019 and made a day trip down to Lila and back. I'm very much looking forward to getting back there, and also to exploring Lila and Little Tupper. On my return trip from Lila I paddled under the RR track and took the canoe out on the upstream side, where there was a channel that ran parallel to the embankment. It was a bit less steep than going in on the downstream side, but not much.
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