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Old 01-02-2022, 05:53 PM   #1
SteveSam
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Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
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Southern Adk Bike Trip 7/22-7/24/21

I drafted this post a few months ago and never had a chance to finish it....

Day #1 - 51 Miles

I took a bike tour of the Southern Adirondacks starting at Lake Desolation, NY. The trip was a Thursday thru Saturday to avoid the worst of the summer weekend traffic. We rode gravel bikes and camped out two nights. From Lake Desolation, we headed north to Sacandaga Reservoir and then Northville. There was still a short section of Fox Hill Rd beyond Lake Desolation that was unpaved. However, it was paved several weeks later, so the entire way through is now pavement. From Northville, we headed north on Rte 30, this was the busiest road on out trip. Fortunately, there is a good shoulder and traffic was not too heavy on a Thursday afternoon. We enjoyed a brief quiet ride through the NYSDEC Sacandaga campground and then it was back on Rte 30 for a few more mile to the village of Wells. The ride around Lake Algonquin was quiet and then we headed up to Lake Pleasant via Gilmantown Rd. It was a pretty good climb on a paved road that eventually turned to a soft gravel road, we had to push a bit on the soft gravel climb. There was virtually no traffic until we got into Speculator. We made a quick stop at the Mountain Market and we were off to find a place to camp near Fawn Lake. I had not been to Fawn Lake From the south in a number years. I was surprised to see how wet everything was. It had been a wet summer and the trail was very wet and there was standing water in the woods. We were fortunate to find a relatively dry spot to set up our tents and enjoy a quick swim before dinner.

Day #2 – 67 Miles

The next day was a beautiful morning with loons on the calm lake. We quickly packed up and headed to the west. Traffic was light and we made good time down to Piseco and Rte 10. It was hard to leave Rte 10 that has a great shoulder, no traffic, and nice views, but I planned on riding the Powley-Piseco Rd. I was quickly questioning my plan when we encountered miles of soft gravel. The road has been resurfaced and it has not been packed in yet. We struggled through the soft dirt, but occasional sections of packed road kept us hopeful that that the road conditions would improve. As we pushed south, the sections of hard pack became more frequent and longer. We took nice breaks where the road crosses the East Canada Creek at a couple of different spots. By the time we got to The Potholers, the road upgrades were done and it was a quick ride back to civilization. We had a nice ride across Rte 10A to Caroga Lake. One of the highlights of our ride was a camp road along Canada Lake and London Bridge Road that avoid the busy state highway and got us down to County Rt 112 that we took to Benson. The road to Benson was just beautiful; great pavement, occasional views, and no traffic; it went very quickly. We were hit by showers a couple of times, but they did not last very long. We ended up going to North Hampton to camp for the night, fortunately, they were able to squeeze us in.

Day #3 – 44 Miles

The trip home was uneventful. We went back through Northville and across the bridge. Traffic headed north was busy on a Saturday morning, but traffic was not too heavy headed south. We opted to avoid the climb back up to Lake Desolation and instead headed a little further west to Fayville Rd. My partner for the ride is from Niskayuna, so we parted ways near the former Camp Boy Haven. I had an easy ride back into Saratoga, Broadway was busy with the start of track season.

A few pictures from our trip:
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File Type: jpg IMG_4048.jpg (146.5 KB, 57 views)
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Old 01-02-2022, 08:43 PM   #2
DSettahr
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Yeah, this summer was extremely wet. There was a period partway through where it seemed like things might finally dry out like they usually do come August... and then the rain just started again in earnest. Finding decent (dry) campsites in the backcountry got to be a bit of a challenge just about everywhere.

Powley-Piseco Rd and it's environs (the Ferris Lake Wild Forest) is a place that has long been on my "to visit" list, but apart from a short hike to Sand Lake while driving through a few years ago, I've spent zero time in that area. I remember it being horrendously buggy during that trip, which was roughly the same timeframe as your ride- the deer flies were unbearable. How were the bugs on your ride?
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Old 01-02-2022, 08:58 PM   #3
montcalm
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Looks like a nice trip!

My recollection from many years of riding bikes on roads and trails up here in my teens was this: the deer flies could never get you as long as you were going faster than a walking pace. I recall a number of rides getting bogged down in swampy bits and being absolutely destroyed by them, but once a trail presented itself again you could generally stay clear of them. Open roads and double track I never had much issue. You'd think they'd get you on the climbs but I think it takes them a bit to actually track you.

I have seen particular roadside campsites where they are absolutely insane though. Like I'd pull my car and park and they were swarming the car. They attacked as soon as the window was open.
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Old 01-04-2022, 07:41 AM   #4
SteveSam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
Yeah, this summer was extremely wet. There was a period partway through where it seemed like things might finally dry out like they usually do come August... and then the rain just started again in earnest. Finding decent (dry) campsites in the backcountry got to be a bit of a challenge just about everywhere.

Powley-Piseco Rd and it's environs (the Ferris Lake Wild Forest) is a place that has long been on my "to visit" list, but apart from a short hike to Sand Lake while driving through a few years ago, I've spent zero time in that area. I remember it being horrendously buggy during that trip, which was roughly the same timeframe as your ride- the deer flies were unbearable. How were the bugs on your ride?
No issues with deer flies during the day. Mosquitos were not too bad either despite all of the standing water. Only issue we had were some loud campers at the campground, but it was a Friday night.
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