September in the 'Dacks!

-- Last Updated: Jul-13-04 8:28 AM EST --

Hello again everyone!

I don't know if any of you may remember, but I posted a while ago with a trip planned for this summer from Long Lake to Lower Saranac Lake (yes, yes, two nasty carries, I'll be okay!), with a group of varied experience. Well, the "group" is down to two... me and a lady buddy of mine!

The trip has been pushed back now, though, to the week after Labor Day... Sept 7-12. Definitely enough time to do what we need to do (esp. for her first time out), but I'm wondering about weather. I'm guessing even low 40s at night and maybe mid-70s days... does that sound about right? We both need new sleeping bags, and I want to make sure I go with the right temp rating.

If anybody has any bag recommendations, too, that'd be helpful... it has to come in a long, since I'm 6'3". I've been looking at the Blue Kazoo, Marmot's Sawtooth, the Sierra Designs Cloudripper, and Kelty's Light Year 25, all of which have models rated 15-25 deg F. I'm gonna go try these out at my local EMS, but I wondered if anyone had anything to say that might not be apparent after a 5-minute test drive on the sales floor.

Also, I'm hoping to find the ADK much less occupied, especially by motorboats, after Labor Day. Any firsthand experience in this area? Am I right, or just overly hopeful!? Any other pertinent advice would, of course, be welcome!

Thanks to all!

September is the best
I did the Long Lake to Axton Landing trip in late September several years ago taking 3 nights. Had weather from 40’s to 60’s with some rain. Only saw limited # of folks with maybe 2 small power boats in the river near Axton. The Cold River lean-to is a very attractive spot and I spent 2 nights there. You can explore the Cold and another tributary just N. of it entering from the West.

You’ll probably see more people being earlier in Sept., and powerboats will be more nunerous on Lower Saranac but it’s big enough to keep your distance.

The Raquette portage isn’t good with wheels by the way.

I would think a 40deg bag would be OK as long as you didn’t mind sleeping in clothes if it got colder than that. Have fun.

Sept. on the Raquette
The weeks after Labor day are the nicest times to be up in the Adirondacks. You will have plenty of company on that route on the Saturday after Labor day since that is the day that the 90 mile Adirondack Canoe Classic goes from Long Lake to Tupper Lake. The route you are doing used to be Day Two, from the head of Long Lake to Axton’s then up Stoney Creek and across the Indian Carry to Upper Saranac and up the lake to Fish Creek Campsite. Takes about 6 1/2 hours.

A sleeping bag good dowm to 40 should be fine, one honestly rated for 15 degrees may be TOO hot if the weather is mild. I use my summer bag until the first frost and early sept by the water is still mild.

You can use wheels over the Raquette Falls carry, but be prepared to lift over some rocks and stepping stone sections, usually not more than 50 feet at a time and thats much better than carrying the whole mile and half.

My mixed partner, Gearwoman much prefers using the cart and single carrying the portages on that route. Everyhing can stay in the boat and its upright. The toughest part of Raquette Falls carry is the first two hundred feet up the stone steps to where it starts to level off a bit. You may want to carry the heaviest gear up that stretch and load it into the canoe where you can start to wheel. Our cart has 20" bicycle wheels and it will clear much higher stuff than the donut wheeled beach carts. A cart with an axle from wheel to wheel is limited in what you can straddle with the wheels, sometimes only 6" or so. The bike wheeled Swedish style carts will clear 16-18’ obstacles.

Have fun, and if you are on the race course, wave when we go by.


I don’t know nothing about the “Dacks,” but in the Adirondacks September can be quite wild.

While it is possible to get three clear blue days with day temps in the 70’s and nights in the upper 40’s, it is just as possible to get 3 windy days peppered by cold cloudbursts with day temps in the 50’s and night temps in the 30’s.

Really, really cold is 42 degrees with a day-long rain.

Prepare for the worst and hopefully you’ll be carrying stuff you won’t need.

Expect the unexpected
I am seconding Joel’s input. Adirondacks can be heavenly in September - my favorite time. But… I have seen snow or sun and 80s, just can’t tell. My advice, since your ARE canoe camping is don’t scrimp on the sleeping pad. It adds 10 - 15 degrees in warmth, and really takes the aches out of hard lean-to floors and and that root you always miss under the tent. Have fun

'daks weather
I was there in May the past couple of years. The first it was in the 20’s and constant snow sleet and frezing rain, nonetheless an excellent trip for my girlfriend and I.

This May it was in the 90’s, I went swimming in the lake and towards the end of the week the bugs were active.

Like the last post stated prepare for everything and hope you carry stuff you don’t use.

As far as sleeping bags I go with a zero degree bag and carry a military surplus waterproof overbag which adds 20 degrees of protection. If it gets real warm (over 40) I leave the zipper open some. On the other extreme I have a 50 degree bag for the summer. Rather have too much and leave the zipper open than not enough.

EMS? Give Campmor a try. Great store and EMS is right next door if you don’t loke what you see in Campmor.


Fall in the Daks
I think September is an awesome time to try the Daks . I think a zero degree bag is more than enough, let alone an overbag on top of that . I have carried a 20 degree bag in northern Ontario and been fine in September, so the Daks are no problem, assuming as someone else pointed out you have a decent ground pad.