Oswegatchie ?'s

I’m thinking about paddling up the Oswegatchie from Inlet into Five Ponds Wilderness the 1st week of Oct. What should I expect in the way of water levels, liftovers, walk-throughs, travel time (easy solo paddling) to High Falls, etc. What are good campsites? Bear problems? Thanks.

River trip
A while ago I did a similar trip .In a plastic kayak , one of the first , a Nimbus Puffin ,

I paddled up to high falls . There were numerous small dams of logs and debris . You

have to get out off you’re boat and pull it over and get back in . The river is very twisty and

the current is good some of the time . You pass though at lest three types of ecosystems

and its a nice trip . At this time off year , you may have to walk you’re boat in shallow

water a ways . I had to in one area in mid summer . Fishing is not what it use to be , when

people came from all over to catch trout . The river is considered fished out , though you

might still catch a few .

As for bears , when I camped at high falls a ranger came along and showed me the

correct way to hang my food backs . Bears can be a real problem .My boat and gear

were a little heavy to lift over the dam , so that’s as far as I got . Good Luck , John.

Thanks, John. How long did it take you to get to High Falls?

River Paddling
The trip up to high falls was an all day affair . I left about 10 in the morning and arrived

about an hour or so before sunset in the summer . Its a ways and the river is often

twisty . The first part of the river is the most difficult as far as twists and turns . When

you come down stream , be sure to be alert as the combination of turns and current can

be difficult .The river does straiten out after a while and the current is not as strong .

I remember at least one campsite on the way up . There were a group off people camped

out in a clearing on the right side of the bank about 3/4 of the way up .

I was about 10 years or so younger then and paddled all the up without taking much

off a real break . If I had to do it again today , I would make it a two day trip . The one

problem with that is the bears . At high falls , they had a line between two poles to

hang you’re food bags and the area was patrolled by rangers . John

Thanks, John. I was figuring on making it 2 days (or 1 1/2) to High Falls. I was thinking about renting a bear canister - finding a really good tree for hanging and getting it done is usually a pain in the neck.

River Paddling
I was thinking , it was some time ago when I went up that river . It may have been late

spring or early summer . The water levels at this time of year may be a lot different than

when I paddled . Only one small part of the river was too rocky to paddle , and it would

have been a good ripple in the spring .Most of the river is fairly deep .The water color

on part of the river is sort of tan from minerals in the water . It changes to a darker

color further up .In the first part of the river the sides are fairly steep , good for a trout

stream but not great for taken a rest on the bank .I don’t know what kind of boat you’re

going to use , but you have to paddle hard at times to make any forward speed .

Again , if the water is not as high , as is likely at this time of year , it should be a bit

easier .Good luck and be careful . John

I’ll probably be in a Bell Wildfire - unless my sister joins me, then it’ll be a tandem. Sometimes water can be lower in the fall and I was hoping someone had been there recently, but I’ll just hope for rain - the week before I’m there, of course.

Osw below High Falls
To answer your original ?, water levels are more than adequate @ present & I expect they’ll improve w/ some rain in forecast. I don’t recall any beaver dams or obstructions requiring exiting your boat below High Falls on my last trip, but like water levels, these things can change over time. This late in season paddlers tend to cut out or remove obstructions.

Time depends on your craft, ability, & how many roses you stop to smell. It’s 13.2 m from Inlet to High Falls. My last trip which was downriver form Low’s carry in a solo took 2:00 to Cage Lake Springhole leanto & additional 1:50 to Inlet. I tend to push some & upriver will take longer in any case. Between Inlet & High Falls there are 24 designated campsites inc 4 leantos. Most are very nice & you’re sure to find one that suits. Have heard of some bear problems if food is hung improperly so try not to do that. Enjoy

River paddling
I did see a lean to or two on the way and they seemed nice .I wish I could come along

but am not sure I even have the right type of boat anymore . After trying a few different

kayaks , I settled on a Bell Rob Roy . Its fun and is pretty stable with decent speed and

handling .Last week I had the boat out in rough wind and waves for the first time .It

handled very well .Most of the last year Iv done small lakes .

Iv done cross county skiing , some hiking and that one river trip up that ways yet haven’t

been up there in years . Living in northern NJ , it gets tough trying to find a good place

to paddle . Again , have fun and let me know how the trip goes . John

Thanks for the info, Glen. When did you come down the Oswegatchie?

Oswegatchie R.
I live on lower Oswegatchie outside Rensselaer Falls & paddle it numerous times weekly. Upper river tends to stay up w/ any precipitation as headwaters drain a large flat watershed that release their waters slowly. Haven’t been above Inlet this yr since late July but have made countless trips in that section w/o ever having water too low to paddle. You may have to get out @ Round Hill rapids (& line 10 ft under footbridge)if you’re concerned about a scratch but otherwise low water level won’t be a problem

Thanks, Glen. I’ve been a little ways up it from Inlet several years ago - a ways past High Rock - and seem to remember a couple of beaver dam liftovers, maybe carried around one, maybe one walkthrough, but I could be confused with someplace else, or things could have changed. I’m looking forward to it. Now, if you could just fix the weather so it rains the week before and I have Indian summer days while I’m there…

Thanks, again.

Thanks, John. I’ve heard some good things about the Rob Roy. Does it have enough capacity for a week-long trip?

Rob Roy
The Rob Roy is often used as a tripping canoe . I have read a few reports of people doing

that . Its also used by people who bring their dogs along . It has an area behind the seat

for a small person or a pet,

I haven’t done any real trips in the boat , but it does have a good amount of storage. One

drawback is it doesn’t have bulkheads like a kayak .If you wand to play it safe you would

use a floatation bag or two . The built in foam flotation stops the boat from sinking , but

that’s about it .The floatation bags take up most off the storage space . Another way

would be to use dry bags that could act as flotation .They would also leave less water

to be drained out .One problem is the Rob Roy has no attachment points or bungies .

The one thing you can tie anything to is the thwart behind the seat.

I bought the Kevlight or kevlar version and its nice and light . You could portage it

pretty easy . The people at bell recommended flotation if you did not have to portage a lot.

The foam floatation material is a bit suspect .

The boat seems tough yet the gel coat might crack if you hit a rock .That happened to

me this last spring when I was a bit drowsy .The boat has a foot long crack in the gel

coat from one good hit on a rock .

The Rob Roy I ordered from Bell , is natural , no color . Its good camouflage yet hard to

see on a lake with boats.

When I went to my local retailer that caries Bell , they said a six month wait . I called

the Bell folks and the retailer got the boat in 6 weeks .

The back band that comes with the boat is not very comfortable .I am using a gel pad in

front off the back band as well as a cushion in place of the seat .Its works for a few hour

trip , then starts to become uncomfortable .Folks have bought the Rob Roy thinking it

would be good for a bad back only to be disappointed .With some work , it can be a

comfortable boat .John