Many of you have been kind enough to help me out on tentative questions about the Adirondacks in the past year, and now I have some more specific ones that I’d appreciate your input on. I was able to get the last 10 days of July off, and will be traveling from VA to the Adirondacks with my wife and young’uns (daughter 14-1/2, son will be 11). I know this is a busy time, tourist-wise, but that’s how my schedule worked out this year. Base camp will be at Buck Pond, and we plan to have lots of day trips, and some loops out for a night or two. Wife and I will be paddling a MR Revelation and serving as the general freighter, kids are capable paddlers and will be paddling their own WS Bandit kayaks (at least as the plan stands now).
We have been to the BWCA, loved it, and hope to have a similar experience much closer to home. Planned areas to visit include the Great Camps on St. Regis lakes, loops through Bog/Bear/ Little Long/Green/ St. Regis Ponds and Follensby Clear/ Polliwog/ Horseshoe ponds. Hope to also visit Lake Lila, probably as an overnight. One book I have makes the Marion River sound interesting, saying it can be paddled both ways.
With all that in mind, along these short carries, would the kids fare better in their own kayaks as planned, or doubling up in another tandem canoe? I think all of these carries are short enough that double trips shouldn’t matter. The other thing I worry about is that one of the kids will tire, and need frequent rest stops- in a canoe that would be less of an issue. We’re in no hurry, though, and are explorers by nature, so hopefully frequent stops will not be a problem. Obviously, we want the kids to enjoy the experience, rather than just plod along.
Also, is the Marion River worth seeing, along the stretch that can be paddled in both directions?
Are winds likely to be a major problem on any of these lakes?
Any outstanding campsites that you’d care to recommend? Are any of these areas we want to visit likely to be crowded to the point of not finding a camping spot?
Any input into other things to see, places to visit, etc.? All four of us enjoy scenery, nature, and natural and human history. The kids, of course, look forward to lots of wading and swimming. Any other suggestions would be very welcome! Many thanks, happy paddling! Regan
Fish Creek Loops
Your family might like the Fish Creek Loops, West of Upper Saranac Lake, and South of the St Regis Area. The portages are easy and short enough for the kids. There is even the posibility of an icecream.
This is a pretty river and easy to paddle upstream.
The problem is getting to it. The start is at the old portage railroad bed at the end of the Eckford Chain of Lakes and the mouth is on the east side of Raquette Lake. There is no road access to the portage and you must paddle across a large section of open lake on Raquette lake to reach the mouth.
The best paddle would start at Raquette Lake village, going across Raquette Lake to St. Hubert’s Lake (which is a large bay of Raquette Lake), up St. Huberts to the mouth of the Marion and up the Marion to the portage and returning. Its a good 13-14 miles round trip with two open water crossings that can get very windy with large 3foot + waves. On a calm day its a breeze, on a windy day its an adventure, and rarely will you get calm weather at both ends of the day.
With a shuttle you could start at Blue Mountain Lake, paddle the Eckford Chain, do the portage, and paddle down the Marion and across Raquette ending in the village. I believe there may be an access to Eagle Lake, but will need to dig out my canoe route map to confirm that.
The Marion River is very scenic, i have seen it every Sept. for the last 5 years as part of the Adirondack Classic, and going upstream is no problem till the very end at the portage. The last 1/4 mile is twisty and can have decent current to paddle against if the water is up.
There are other small day trips up near Paul Smiths with similar scenery and less travel.
Enjoy your trip.
Kids & kayaks
We have a 12 year old that paddles a canoe and a kayak. I think the feeling of self accomplishment for the kids when they paddle their own boat is worth the extra inconvenience. It is definitely a confidence builder for paddling and life. You just need to know their ability and stay within that.
The ADK's ain't no BWCA, that's for sure. But it still is very enjoyable and way closer to home. And the fishings great too.
On my first trip on the Marion last year, I found the scenery somewhat marred by the motorboats that traveled up a good part of it from Raquette Lake. Needs to be a quiet water!
What days do you plan on being at Buck Pond? We will be there Jul 18-23. Have done a lot of paddling in the Follensby-Fish Creek- Floodwood area but it’s our first time at Buck Pond. Looking forward to the trip, may see you there.
Time to enjoy
All the places you are thinking will take time to travel to, both from your base camp to the shuttle, loading and unloading paddling, then returning, not to include driving time. It looks small on the map, but it isn’t so small. I would advise taking more time paddling by looking at those lakes and rivers closer to your basecamp, especially with kids the ages that you are dealing with. The St. Regis area is beautiful and more pristine, and also for day trips the Follensby Clear Pond and that area is nice for loops and getting back to your vehicle. The main idea in my mind is to make sure the kids don’t get frustrated with the getting there, and enjoy the being there.
As our plans stand now, we hope to arrive mid-afternoon Thursday (July 21). Maybe we will have a chance to meet and a few minutes to talk! We’re looking forward to our trip, too. Take care! Regan
Good advice, and appreciated!
I thank y’all for taking the time to respond, and for the information. The suggestions about the kids are well taken. They’re good travelers, and are developing into competent paddlers. From most of what I’ve read so far, the short trips we’re looking at can be done in a day by adult groups- we expect to take them a lake or two at a time over a couple or three days, exploring as we go, so that there are no “forced marches”.
Sounds like we’ll keep the kayak plan, too, then (boy, will Mom and Dad get a workout paddling all that gear in THEIR canoe!). Are any of the lakes I’ve mentioned likely to give us wind/ wave trouble (I’m asking this in general- I know that passing storms can change things in a heartbeat)?
I’m still open to any info, tips, or favorite spots anyone wants to offer. Happy paddling! Regan
As CrazyAsALoon mentioned, there would be a significant amount of travel time involved to go from your base camp at Buck Pond to areas such as Lake Lila (app 70 mi) and Marion River (app 90 mi).It’s not undoable, but does take away from your paddling time. From Buck Pond there is Lake Kushaqua and Rainbow Lake with plenty of paddling opportunities. Within a half hour drive there is the St Regis area and Fish Creek area. I will have plenty of maps with me so will be looking forward to seeing you there and offering advise on the area. Email me at email@example.com if I can be of any help between now and July.