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Old 05-22-2019, 12:30 PM   #1
Eddie Fournier
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Montreal
Posts: 54
Newbie questions

I have never owned a boat, nor have I gone on any significant canoe or kayak expedition (say more than 3 hours). Reading The Trails of the Adirondacks has triggered my interest in knowing more about paddling in the area. But being such a newbie, I have no idea where to start.

Here is some background:
- I generally find that kayaks are more comfortable - in fact, I rarely find comfort in a canoe, but maybe I'm doing it wrong
- I enjoy fishing (as a leasurly activity, nothing serious), but I probably would not be confident enough to fish out of a canoe, much less of a kayak
- my significant other does not enjoy camping, so overnight trips are probably out of the question
- I'm not scared of a little portage

So, for starters, what would make the most sense? A 2-person canoe? Two 1-person kayaks? Other?

I realize this might seem stupid, I am truly a newbie in paddling.
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:43 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 195
whatever gets you out on the water, canoe or kayak is a personal preference,
storage and loading could be an issue
if your planning on getting 2 people out on the water would probably suggest a canoe to start, that would get you both out on the water right away,
confidence with either will come in time,
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:00 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 90
I greatly prefer the independence of kayaks - especially light weight kayaks (non-plastic). Rent a boat from one of the 3 outfitters around the village of Saranac Lake and have them shuttle you to Middle Saranac. Make sure it is a warm day as the beaches are fun on Middle and make sure it isn't very windy. Maybe paddle the classic from Middle to Lower Saranac Lake and meet the shuttle there. This takes around 4 hours but make sure to go with the direction of flow which is from Middle to Lower! Have a picnic on one of the rocky islands on Lower (Bluff Island...).
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:10 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 356
Why don't you try some different kinds of boats by renting them from an outfitter, like St Regis Canoe Outfitters? Or you could go with a guided trip, again either with an outfitter or a guide? You can also try out boats at a number of stores if they have water adjacent (but then you can't really give them a longer run like if you rented). The tipping point for my decision to buy a Hornbeck was a guided day trip.
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:25 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Western Adirondacks
Posts: 4,132
Don't discount the benefits of a canoe over a kayak. they are much roomier, easier to load and carry gear, much easier to portage, and IMO more fun to paddle. Of course there is a steeper learning curve with a bit of skill to be learned with controlling a canoe rather than simply swinging a double blade paddle in a kayak. Try before you buy, get some good instruction. Any of the outfitters listed below can do that for you.

You just missed the Mountainman Paddlefest in Old Forge last weekend. You could have trial paddled any number, dozens of canoes and kayaks from many of the vendors themselves.

St Regis Canoe Outfitters:
73 Dorsey Street
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Raquette River Outfitters:
1754 State Route 30, Tupper Lake, NY 12986
Adirondack Watershed Alliance
518 891-2744 (Brian's cell)
MAC'S Canoe Livery
​(518) 891-1176\5859 State Route 30
Lake Clear, NY 12945

mountainman outdoors:
(315) 369-6672
Location: 2855 Rt. 28, Old Forge, NY 13420
"Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

Last edited by Wldrns; 05-23-2019 at 07:22 AM..
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Old 05-23-2019, 06:39 AM   #6
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: 06333 & Pittsburg, Berlin GR, Edmonton
Posts: 455
Buy a cheap boat and spend your money on a nice paddle and comfortable PFD that you can wear all the time. If the boat is as heavy as lead to you get a cheap canoe cart/trolley.
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:18 AM   #7
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Richmond,Vt
Posts: 85
First off, don't buy anything until you've tried various canoes and kayaks. Make use of the various outfitters mentioned above. You may find that your significant other just isn't into paddling, nothing wrong with that but no sense buying a tandem if you end up going alone.

Second - stick to smaller lakes to start, ST Regis Outfitters has a location on Floodwood Pond, nice pond to get use to paddling and handling a boat. Perhaps try a couple of different boats over the course of a day. Bring a lunch, paddle and then stop at a open campsite and enjoy lunch & a view. If you are feeling comfortable, you can paddle down Fish Creek a ways and then turn around and come back.

Third - Start with short trip and one that allows for an easy bailout back to the start. Remember this is suppose to be fun, don't over plan and over extend you first few times out.

It takes some time to have confidence in a boat. Newbies tend to believe that they will flip at any moment, which is just not true. In fact, if its a warm summer day & the water is warm, try leaning the boat over to see how far it goes. Do this near shore and you get practice and a refreshing dip! Remember to relax and have fun
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:29 AM   #8
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Elizabethtown
Posts: 213
I agree with VTskier about St. Regis Outfitters. I've rented boats from both of their locations and paddling from the Floodwood site is really fun.
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