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Old 07-22-2006, 09:29 PM   #1
canoe_junkie
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Question Cranberry Lake to Lows Lake portage?

On my map I noticed a 3.5 mile hiking trail that goes from Cranberry to Lows. Judging by by the contour lines it might not be real flat. Is anyone familiar with this trail and is it suitable for portaging? I'm contemplating a circuit trip starting at one of the dams on the bog river, into Lows Lake, portage to the Oswegatchie, into Cranberry Lake, portage back to Lows Lake and back to the put-in.
I'm thinking this shouldn't be more than 3-4 solid days of paddling.
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Old 07-22-2006, 10:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canoe_junkie
On my map I noticed a 3.5 mile hiking trail that goes from Cranberry to Lows. Judging by by the contour lines it might not be real flat. Is anyone familiar with this trail and is it suitable for portaging? I'm contemplating a circuit trip starting at one of the dams on the bog river, into Lows Lake, portage to the Oswegatchie, into Cranberry Lake, portage back to Lows Lake and back to the put-in.
I'm thinking this shouldn't be more than 3-4 solid days of paddling.
It's the Chase Rock Creek trail. It's not a bad trail, though rough in spots and does have a few ups and downs. The topo map shows it ending at the creek headwaters (at a gorgeous wide open beaver meadow) with an extension to Darning Needle (don't go that way). A recent addition has been cleared south past Fishpole Pond into Grass Pond of Low's. I know people who have completed such a circuit in a single day (Inlet to Inlet), though a couple of days would definitely still fill your time. If you are a reasonably accomplished paddler you can get from the Low's Lower Dam to the the west end of Low's in not much over 4 hours. I hope you are using a Hornbeck or other very light and easy to carry boat.
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Old 07-23-2006, 08:10 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wldrns
It's the Chase Rock Creek trail. It's not a bad trail, though rough in spots and does have a few ups and downs. The topo map shows it ending at the creek headwaters (at a gorgeous wide open beaver meadow) with an extension to Darning Needle (don't go that way). A recent addition has been cleared south past Fishpole Pond into Grass Pond of Low's. I know people who have completed such a circuit in a single day (Inlet to Inlet), though a couple of days would definitely still fill your time. If you are a reasonably accomplished paddler you can get from the Low's Lower Dam to the the west end of Low's in not much over 4 hours. I hope you are using a Hornbeck or other very light and easy to carry boat.
Just to clarify for the original poster, from what I've read of glen's posts, even he only pulls this off during the longest days of the year, and then just barely. If you're planning on spending multiple days, I assume you obviously have more gear than he would for a single day marathon, including a tent/hammock, additional food, etc, and if you can't single these portages, it's going to be a very long trip. Having done Bog River-Inlet, I'm thinking that 3 days for this full circuit is VERY ambitious, and even four days may not give you a ton of time to really enjoy what the trip has to offer.

My biggest regret about our Bog-Inlet trip is not taking the time to explore Five Ponds a little bit, explore the blowdown area in more detail, fwiw.
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Old 07-23-2006, 09:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keithk
Just to clarify for the original poster, from what I've read of glen's posts, even he only pulls this off during the longest days of the year, and then just barely. If you're planning on spending multiple days, I assume you obviously have more gear than he would for a single day marathon, including a tent/hammock, additional food, etc, and if you can't single these portages, it's going to be a very long trip. Having done Bog River-Inlet, I'm thinking that 3 days for this full circuit is VERY ambitious, and even four days may not give you a ton of time to really enjoy what the trip has to offer.

My biggest regret about our Bog-Inlet trip is not taking the time to explore Five Ponds a little bit, explore the blowdown area in more detail, fwiw.
Very true.... a marathon quick trip has but primary one purpose, to complete the trip in as little time as possible. Taking time with reasonable amount of equipment to enjoy the landscape is why most of us go out there.

If at all possible you should be configured for single trip portaging. You don't want to triple your time hauling gear. In spite of the heavy damage from the 1995 blowdown, there is much varied and interesting terrain to explore in side trips. A visit to the top of Grass Pond Mountain is a treat not to be missed on a clear day. You can also hike to numerous seemingly untouched trailless ponds. In an area in the middle of dense blowdown, huge glacial kettle hole craters filled with nothing but soft ferns make a scene reminiscent of "Jurassic Park" (where you expect dinosaur herds to come galloping through). A turtle nursery uphill half a mile from any water, in a clearing covered in lush thick moss will get you guessing what made those divots in the sandy soil. Use your map reading skills to find the exact spot where you can stand in 3 counties all at the same time. All through this region, no place is a better training ground to hone your traditional map and compass navigation skills and the satisfaction that comes with success.
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Last edited by Wldrns; 07-23-2006 at 10:26 AM..
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Old 07-23-2006, 10:45 AM   #5
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Cranberry -Low's carry

CJ
There's some info re that trail in this thread:
http://www.paddling.net/message/show...rip&tid=208269

Take out @ Cranberry's campsite #17. Follow yellow marked Darning Needle Pond trail onto old rd bed beside Chair Rock creek. If you watch closely in 3 min on left you'll pass unmarked jct w/ blue trail which heads E to Otterbrook easement(Wife & I used this trail as part of a backpack around Cranberry L last fall but it's incorrectly placed on Adk paddlers map)
10-15 min from #17 you'll find another, unsigned in '05 jct, where another blue marked trail diverges R (SW) Markers seem to disappear here until you rock hop across Chair rock creek in 3 min. You then head S thru the Usher tract which state acquired in 1933. You'll skirt W of low area after passing by Fishpole Pond where brambles obscure trail a bit. It feels like a walk thru a commercial sugarbush here w/ stand of nicest Hard Maples I've ever seen.
Blue trail meets old log rd around N shore of Grass Pond. Go W on it. Continuing trail diverges S in 5 min +/- to arrive @ obscure, unsigned spot on Grassy pond shore. It's easier to just go W another 2 min into campsite #32 & launch or takeout here depending on direction of travel.
Although I don't use them, estimate trail is 85% wheelable. (It's that easy) S end is roughest. Most of it appears to be an old rd. Only one steep section & it's dry throughout. Great scenery. Have been across it 6-8x (3x carrying a light canoe) & always enjoyed the trip. As you note it makes for a great loop trip from Lower dam (if you don't mind the 8m total of carrying)
You'll love this trip !

Last edited by Glen L; 07-23-2006 at 01:26 PM..
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Old 07-23-2006, 12:29 PM   #6
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Great info...thanks

Thanks for all of the replies. To answer some of the questions, I typically paddle a 40lb Bell solo canoe and I've been a lightweight backpacker since the mid-80's. So needless to say I single-carry everytime.
The strange part is that I actually enjoy some of the longer carries. Like Bill Mason said: "whoever thinks portaging is fun, is either crazy or a liar."
I'll take the former please.
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Old 07-23-2006, 12:42 PM   #7
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Forgot to ask...

What's the parking situation at upper and lower dams? My plan would be to arrive after dark and I was thinking of snoozing in my car or finding a nearby spot suitable for tenting so I could get a super early start the next day. Let me know this isn't feasible. Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-23-2006, 01:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canoe_junkie
What's the parking situation at upper and lower dams? My plan would be to arrive after dark and I was thinking of snoozing in my car or finding a nearby spot suitable for tenting so I could get a super early start the next day. Let me know this isn't feasible. Thanks in advance.
You can't park at the upper dam, there is no public road access into there. You can paddle to this point in 45 minutes from public access at the lower dam.

The lower dam has a tiny parking lot which is usually filled on nice weekends. The 3/4 mile long dirt road leading to it becomes your parking lot. But heck, it becomes just one more relatively short carry on your trip. I've slept there after arriving after dark a couple of times.

At the lower dam there's not much of a place for setting up a tent (wet and hummocky, thick with spruce, and TP strewn around near the parking area). A hammock would work better, or just sleep inside your vehicle. Note that the 150 foot setback regulation would apply here for camping.
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Old 07-23-2006, 02:11 PM   #9
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If you're looking to set up tent close to Lower dam there are a # of nice, waterfront drive in sites on Horseshoe Lake both before & shortly past the turn S off 421 ext to Lower dam. There's another non-waterfront but large designated site on W side of access rd, 2K ft from gate. Draft UMP calls for this campsite to eventually become 30 car parking area. Current pkg lot before gate @ dam to be drop off only & 2 pkg spaces for people w/ disabilities.

I'd surely agree the area deserves as much time as you can afford to give it. However, if you wanna avoid taking camping gear along over the carries you may want to consider the plan some smarter friends than I proposed. It worked well on a subsequent trip, met their needs, & allowed for 2 days in area w/o heavy lugging : We dropped overnight gear in Wanakena. (Inlet would work also) Drove to Lower dam & launched. Camped in Wanakena, leaving camping gear behind on 2nd part of trip across Cranberry & back to Lower dam. Picked up camp gear on drive home. Downside's lotsa driving
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Old 07-24-2006, 09:15 AM   #10
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Appreciated

Thanks again. I'm thinking about doing this trip in late September, overnight camping gear and all.
Looking at Glen's trip summary and taking into account my own abilities while still allowing time to smell the roses, I figure 1 night on the western part of Lows and the second somewhere on Cranberry, then shoot for the takeout the next day.
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