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Old 04-13-2021, 07:43 AM   #21
montcalm
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Oh geez - I'm sorry. Somehow I thought you said the kids were 5 and 8

With a 2 year old I'd definitely recommend the campground.
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Old 04-13-2021, 07:51 AM   #22
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The firewood mention is a good idea- but if you do this make sure that you understand the firewood regulations. If you get firewood from a gas station, make sure it is treated. The label on the bag will indicate if it is treated (kiln-dried or similar); make sure you keep the label as proof in case a ranger happens to come by your campsite and asks.
Correct. I mentioned a bag but this is more precise.

Perhaps a moot point now, but you can buy local, which is good as long as it dry. The bags are treated and kiln dried, so they burn real well and the bag is good for carrying garbage.

I also thought the OP mentioned taking two boats... but then mentioned a big barge... so I'm totally confused. (Edit: it was two families... so I assume the OP is going with someone else?)

Now that I realize a two-year-old is in play, I'd also not recommend Long Pond Mountain. It might be too tough (I have no direct experience, but 2 is pretty young for something like that unless you're carrying them on your back).

You might try Floodwood mountain if you come and stay at the campground. It only has one small scramble, if you could even call it that. More a big step. I could easily carry a kid up and over that. The summit is fairly safe, but I'd keep a close hand on both kids. It's big and wooded mostly with overlooks in certain areas. The views are meh, but it's a good start.

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Old 04-13-2021, 08:28 AM   #23
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Oh geez - I'm sorry. Somehow I thought you said the kids were 5 and 8

With a 2 year old I'd definitely recommend the campground.
You all are trying to talk me out of it!

Sure, it's ambitious, but the way I see it, we can bug out from almost any point. The kids are pretty used to being on the water, and a few hours of paddling doesn't seem like a lot to ask to me - of course all kids are different.

My thinking is we'll know a lot about how we're feeling by the time we hit Follensby clear - either we'll be feeling great, or we'll find a campsite and stay put for a couple days, and then paddle out either back up fish creek or back via Polliwog + Middle if we want to see some new ponds. If we're feeling amazing, then we can go into the St. Regis area. We've car camped a whole bunch and are really looking for something a bit more challenging
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Old 04-13-2021, 08:31 AM   #24
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Now that I realize a two-year-old is in play, I'd also not recommend Long Pond Mountain. It might be too tough (I have no direct experience, but 2 is pretty young for something like that unless you're carrying them on your back).
Should have clarified - you're correct, two families. The hike would probably be just some parents and maybe the older kids - a benefit of a bigger group is that some folks can stay back at the camp while other people go on an excursion. We do a ton of hiking both with kids on our backs or walking (slowly) so that is the least worrisome part of the logistics of this trip
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Old 04-13-2021, 08:35 AM   #25
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Well it sounds like you know what the kids are capable of.

And yes, compared to Lows, this area is not especially remote. Floodwood road and Rte 30 are never far away. I'd assume if you really got in a pickle you could get the wife and kids to the road, hike back to your car and pick them up.
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Old 04-13-2021, 08:46 AM   #26
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Also I bet you'd have just as much fun carrying into the west side of Long Pond on Thursday and staying out there for the whole weekend.

This would mitigate some of your worries about finding a site. This is kind of the best part of the trip (Long Pond feels a lot more remote than it is). And you can access all the other areas as day trips.
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Old 04-13-2021, 09:03 AM   #27
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There is a prominent white sign with green lettering at the landing for the trail to LP Mountain Pond. I haven't been there for a few years, but it has always been an easy to follow trail. Summit views have been becoming more limited due to advanced tree growth. The trail goes first to Mountain pond, with a pretty view overwater, whch by the way has a couple of campsites nearby (but too far to haul a heavy family size tent with gear), then the trail gets slightly rougher and steeper beyond on up to LP Mountain summit. Nothing terrible, but watch the kids.

If the adults are in for a little more adventure and are comfortable with map and compass navigation, there are a couple of interesting ponds and impressive large very deep glacial kettle holes south of Mountain Pond and east of Ledge Pond to investigate. If you have never seen deep kettle holes, these are worth the effort. The ponds are depicted on the map, the kettle hole countours should be there but are not. Be sure you are comfortable bushwhack navigating before you attempt this, as there is no trail.

Nellie and Bessie to the north are worth an easy ttrail hike if you have the time.
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Old 04-13-2021, 09:06 AM   #28
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Also I bet you'd have just as much fun carrying into the west side of Long Pond on Thursday and staying out there for the whole weekend.

This would mitigate some of your worries about finding a site. This is kind of the best part of the trip (Long Pond feels a lot more remote than it is). And you can access all the other areas as day trips.
Interesting! One of the downsides of the shorter loop in my mind was never getting north of Floodwood road and into the SRCA. We could even do ambitious day trips without having to carry the whole campsite with us the whole way. It only took us two pages of messages to hit on this, but it's feeling right I really appreciate the time you're taking here

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Old 04-13-2021, 09:15 AM   #29
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If the adults are in for a little more adventure and are comfortable with map and compass navigation, there are a couple of interesting ponds and impressive large very deep glacial kettle holes south of Mountain Pond and east of Ledge Pond to investigate. If you have never seen deep kettle holes, these are worth the effort. The ponds are depicted on the map, the kettle hole countours should be there but are not. Be sure you are comfortable bushwhack navigating before you attempt this, as there is no trail.

Nellie and Bessie to the north are worth an easy ttrail hike if you have the time.
I'm assuming you mean these?
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Old 04-13-2021, 09:18 AM   #30
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Bessie and Nellie are to the northeast of Long Pond Mountain.
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Old 04-13-2021, 09:31 AM   #31
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Ha - not a problem. Last time I was here was 5 years ago this summer and my wife was pregnant. So I'm more/less in the same boat as you... pun intended.

I understand the itch. We used to get out nearly every weekend. But I have a unique situation and I know my kids limits. We still have fun though:




Regarding Nellie and Bessie - yeah you can hike to them from Long Pond (on the northeast most corner there is a portage trail. There is/was an extensive beaver pond to contend with before getting to them. You could carry a boat the short way to that pond and ferry everyone across and then stash it, or try to bushwhack around. When I did there were a million herd paths and none all that great. Might not be ideal for a little kid (I'd recommend the ferry). Just FYI. Below is the obstacle:




The ponds are gorgeous though (this is Bessie):

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Old 04-13-2021, 10:15 AM   #32
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Yes, you know your kids best... but bear in mind that the consequences of making the trip too easy are far less severe than the consequences of making the trip too difficult. If you're determined to make this trip work, I'd still strongly encourage you to err on the side of caution. For better or worse, your kids are going to remember this trip for years to come- and as their first big camping trip, it will shape their foundations of how they perceive paddling and camping. Do you want them to have a positive view of the outdoors experience? Or do you want them to come away with a negative perception of paddling and camping because you were so intent on conquering a backcountry traverse you didn't consider their needs?

Kids are kids. A 2 and a 5 year old aren't going to find the experience in any way less fulfilling because you picked base camping over a more challenging traverse. Or because you picked a developed campground over a backcountry experience. At that age, there is quite literally no possible way you can make the trip too easy, to the extent that it is a detriment on their experience. But if you push them outside of their comfort zone, they will remember that- and it will affect their enthusiasm for future trips.

And you've got their entire childhood ahead of you still. If you ease them into the outdoors experience through a more simple trip now, there's no reason why you shouldn't have plenty of trips as challenging as the itinerary you propose once they are a bit older (and there's room yet for even more involved and more challenging trips once they reach middle/high school).

I think a lot also depends on how your partner feels about the trip, and what effort they are also willing to put forth with regards to trying to undertake a more potentially demanding itinerary while also needing to devote energy towards ensuring that the kids are both safe and happy. I would definitely make sure you have that conversation with them if you haven't already done so.

A few other thoughts:

For a trip like this, if I were similarly determined to relocate camp each day, I'd still pick an itinerary that ordinarily demanded no more than 2 or 3 hours of paddling per day, for a bunch of reasons. With kids, campsite breakdown in the morning is going to be an eternal process. Campsite setup in the afternoon is similarly going to take forever. And an earlier arrival at the destination maximizes your chances of site availability, while also making more time to hunt for open sites if needed- before anyone gets hungry in the afternoon (and subsequently cranky). And kids will want to stop and check things out along the way- every small bit of scenery will be vying for their attention. And if it rains, it minimizes the time that the kids will be stuck sitting in the cold and wet while you're out paddling.

I'd also plan my itinerary so as to avoid popular spots on Saturday night especially. Case in point: Follensby Clear is pretty popular. Don't let the high number of sites there fool you- the parking areas at the boat access points do fill up, as do the sites. If you do arrive at FCP on a Saturday, don't be surprised if you arrive to find everything just about taken. Even a Friday arrival there could be iffy, if you don't get in until late.

Two families means another tent in addition to yours? Possibly also on the larger end of the size spectrum? That will also complicate campsite selection. Again, many of the sites in this area are well used and have plenty of space- but not all.

Generally speaking, portages are probably the single biggest reducer in use levels- any body of water that is at least 1 portage away from the nearest access point will get less use (especially overnight use). But portages with overnight gear combined with kids especially aren't quick- even if the portage is short.

Also, is the youngest still in diapers at all? Keep in mind that used disposable diapers need to be bagged and carried with you for the duration of the trip to be properly disposed of in the front country. You can't bury them or stick them down outhouses (most have plastic and/or synthetic compounds in them that don't break down- and can even disrupt the normal decomposition process of other human waste).

Also kids can be picky eaters- so there's the "I don't like this, I don't want to eat the rest of my dinner" factor to consider as well (which may be amplified by the introduction of backpacking food that is outside their typical fare). Any leftover food similarly needs to be bagged and carried out with you to be properly disposed of in the front country. It would probably be worth your while to cook a few dinners for them at home over the backpacking stove to get them used to what they can expect from meals in the woods (and figure out in advance what they do and don't like).

I climbed Long Pond Mountain a few years ago in the winter with a friend. We hiked in over the ice on the frozen ponds. The climb is pretty straightforward and the trail was obvious, but yeah there are a couple of spots with scrambles that the kids might need a boost at. Good views to the east at the summit, and if you bushwhack a few hundred feet west, there is another overlook there with good views in the opposite direction.
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Old 04-13-2021, 11:35 AM   #33
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Yes, you know your kids best... but bear in mind that the consequences of making the trip too easy are far less severe than the consequences of making the trip too difficult. If you're determined to make this trip work, I'd still strongly encourage you to err on the side of caution. For better or worse, your kids are going to remember this trip for years to come- and as their first big camping trip, it will shape their foundations of how they perceive paddling and camping. Do you want them to have a positive view of the outdoors experience? Or do you want them to come away with a negative perception of paddling and camping because you were so intent on conquering a backcountry traverse you didn't consider their needs?
Totally hear you - and I appreciate the time and thought you put into your post. Montcalm suggested a basecamp on Long in the post before yours and it was the lightbulb moment I needed. I agree that we want to kids to have fun, not to do a loop because mom and dad say so. We've got a decent amount of experience putting them out there and they have thrived, so I'm actually more worried about mom and dad getting overwhelmed with logistics and finding campsites.

Removing the overhead of relocating each day definitely makes it a lot easier so I think that's what we're going to do - we can even portage a (much lighter) canoe if we want to go check out some more remote locations.

The good news is that my wife has ten years of experience as an ourdoor guide in California - backpacking and sea kayaking as a part of the UC davis guide program. She taught *me* about leave no trace, about mentally getting through hard trips, etc. I just love the pre-planning portion, so we make a good team. Food/diapers/pickiness/what the kids enjoy - they are good reminders, and who knows what will actually happen, but I do really think that a little bit of challenge makes the whole experience richer.

Awesome pictures by the way! Looking forward to sharing mine when I'm done.
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Old 04-13-2021, 11:35 AM   #34
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I'm assuming you mean these?
Yup, the dry kettle holes are between those and Ledge.
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Old 04-13-2021, 11:46 AM   #35
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i'll add that the kettle holes are populated by large white pines and squirrels. At one I saw the largest pile of pine cone midden I have ever seen, 3-4 feet high around the base of the tree created by those busy squirrels.
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Old 04-13-2021, 12:24 PM   #36
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Removing the overhead of relocating each day definitely makes it a lot easier so I think that's what we're going to do - we can even portage a (much lighter) canoe if we want to go check out some more remote locations.
I think this is a good choice. FWIW, if an adult with no prior backcountry experience came to me and said, "I want you to take me on an overnight backcountry canoe trip," I'd still probably pick a base camp approach in that situation as well, even without kids involved.

And like I said- the more challenging trips will definitely come in time. And with easier trips already under your belt, you'll be able to tackle those more challenging itineraries with greater confidence that your kids are up to the task.
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Old 04-13-2021, 01:07 PM   #37
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Maybe optimistic but if this trip works out for you another really good place to base camp at is St Regis Pond. It’s a little bit more work to get to than long (paddle little clear and a fairly easy portage).

You can access some of the best parts of the canoe area from there as day trips.

The southern ponds in Saranac Lakes Wild forest are nice but can all be hit as day trips either from the campground, roadside sites on Floodwood road or base camping on any of them. When your kids get older you’ll be able to do lots of different loops and figure eights using this and the canoe area. The portages, on average, are a longer in the canoe area though so doing thru trips there will be more advanced than on the south side of Floodwood rd.
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Old 04-13-2021, 08:28 PM   #38
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Lots of great advice already posted. I was going to mention base camp and day trips too. Id like to give advice coming from a dad who canoe camped with a 2 year old and later with a 3 and 7 year old. First and foremost please be sure to get good pfds for your kids and make sure they wear them while on the water. Young kids will sink like a rock if they fall into the water. We purchased ours even though we rented canoes for years. A wise outfitter gave us this advice when we showed up with our 2 year old for the first time. Riding in a canoe is fun for a child, portaging is not. Get a small paddle for the 2 year old so she can help with the paddling. A toy fishing rod is fun too. We took our 2 year old up Long Pond mountain but had to carry her down on the return. She had a blast especially when we let her reach the top first. The trail is very easy to follow. I would also recommend a tarp. You may not need it but if you are hit with a full or multi day rainstorm, the tent with 4 people no matter how big it is gets old pretty fast. One of my fondest memories is watching a huge thunder storm come towards us on Little Tupper while under a snug tarp and hot chocolate on the camp stove. Something else that out daughter loved (when she was about 4)was pulling her behind the canoe on an inflatable air mattress.rA hammock is lots of fun too. We used a car camping 4 man tent for a few years so it is doable. Be sure to use an air mattress. Rollins is a great campground but water sites fill up 9 months in advance. For me, not having a water site is not as fun or interesting. Long Pond is a great choice with just 1 longish portage to get to the water. You can spend an entire week there doing side trips and exploring. Some sites have a decent beach for the kids to play too. It is very popular but there are lots of sites. If you can get there before Friday you should be ok. You mention June - if you can go before school lets out your chances of a site are even better. June can also be buggy so make sure you have repellent. My 2 year old is now 23 and she has great memories of the many years we took her camping. Btw - your 5 year old will surprise the heck out of you and you can spend some time teaching her how to paddle a canoe! The Adirondacks (especially the SRCA) are magical and hopefully your kids will want to return every year. Enjoy.
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Old 04-13-2021, 08:32 PM   #39
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Great post Richard! I agree!

SRCA is one of the more special places I've been in the Adirondacks. Something about the topography, which looks kind of flat from the mountain tops, but when you're in it is much more interesting. There's a reason all those ponds formed there.
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Old 04-14-2021, 02:11 PM   #40
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Lots of great advice already posted. I was going to mention base camp and day trips too. Id like to give advice coming from a dad who canoe camped with a 2 year old and later with a 3 and 7 year old.
Thanks for the thoughtful and helpful reply - I've been meaning to get a tarp and poles and your reminder was the one I needed. We're actually going to pop the canoe on top of the car and drive down the road from the Floodwood outpost - sounds like you can put in to the westernmost end of Long Pond without any portage at all. Love the idea of a toy fishing rod or paddle... just have to find a way to make sure it doesn't end up at the bottom of the pond

We'll be putting in on a Thursday the week before school ends, so fingers crossed that we beat the crowds.
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