Using a Sea Kayak on ADK waterways?

I’ve become seriously addicted to the look of the Chesapeake 17 Kit. I was comtemplating making one this winter, but would it be at all useful in the Adirondacks? It seems a shorter boat would be better for the rivers.

Any thoughts on that?

I think you could manage the turns
and a longer sea kayak will be light enough on the water to clear the shallows— usually. You will be able to handle lake conditions that might keep canoes on shore.

Go for it !
I use a 18 foot kayak on lakes all spring summer and fall, and have been for years.

Jack L

It would be great on the large open bodies of water but I think it would inhibit you from exploring the many smaller streams which I find most interesting. I will be paddling my 15’ QCC 400X when I go to the Daks this Summer which I find to be a good compromise although I have sometimes found it to be to big when traversing some smaller Flows.

I am LOL
for the most part you can make a sea kayak work but I cant imagine paddling one on some gems like the Oswegatchie River. There are hundreds of tight turns on that one.

Certainly limits your range in this case.

Dont try smaller rivers. Unless you enjoy climbing out of your yak repeatedly to go over beaver dams.

And the portaging in the paddlers areas…motorboat free but hardly portage free.

With portages and canoes we always beat our kayaking co trippers.

I did see some folks embark on the three mile Oswegatchie Carry with kayaks. Wonder how they did?

Portage the bigger issue
Lots of the nicest pathways thru the 'daks on water involve protages. That’s why canoes are still on top in many of those areas - they do that a lot better than kayaks.

rivers are fun!
I did a bunch of freshwater rivers in my Romany this winter in Florida.

Ok, not the Adirondacks, but they were rivers with current.

Except for the portage portion of your event and really narrow twisty stuff, why the heck not?

About the only thing I had a problem with was Juniper Springs - but so did most of the canoes, due to width and current.

These rivers

– Last Updated: Jul-06-10 2:45 PM EST –

These Adirondack rivers are easily negotiated by my 17-2 Valley Sea Kayak.

Miami River for 5 miles
Raquette River from Tupper Lake area
Bog River Flow from dam parking to Lowes Lake, no problem!
South Inlet from Raquette Lake
Charle Pond outlet-Little Tupper

These are much more suited for a short rec kayak or canoe and not a sea kayak!

W. Sacandaga River
Fall Stream
Jessup River

The real issue as mentioned is not really the water paddled, it is if there are portages involved.

Thanks for the Advice!!
Its pretty much what I was expecting. But I didn’t raelize Canoes were easier to manage than kayaks. Thats worth looking into.

Thanks again!

look at these
Maybe take a look at Hornbeck boats, they’re made in and for the Adirondacks. I saw their kayak at Paddlesport a few years back - it was quite light, but their small canoes are truly featherweight

Can you test paddle one?
Is there one in your area that you could test paddle? I mention this as I use a 17 foot Cetus LV in Lynch’s River and Black Creek. These are both very tight waterways with turns that my boat will almost take up the entire channel. Several boats I’ve paddled track too well to negotiate these areas quickly, but this boat turns very well once up on it’s edge. I’m amazed at the difference in tracking and turning from boat to boat.

I also feel the lust for a CLC boat. I’d love to build a Petrol or Night Heron: both are gorgeous to my eye. I think I’m gonna try to go paddle them next spring before jumping in at CLC’s spring festival. They’ve got some beautiful kayaks.

Of course you can

– Last Updated: Jul-07-10 2:59 PM EST –

The Daks have zillions of miles of water, the vast majority of it being open or straight.

Tandem canoes and guideboats have been traveling almost everything there since time immemorial.

It may be easier to negotiate twisty streams with a shorter boat, but it's no big deal to do them with a 17 or 18 ft. canoe or kayak. I've paddled and carried my 22' outrigger canoe through the St. Regis area.

Carrying may be easier with a canoe. But my 35 lb. Surge kayak can easily be carried on a shoulder as can my outrigger. Moreover, you can choose a near-zillion day trips that don't require carries. (There is no "portaging" in the Daks.)

Def of portage

– Last Updated: Jul-07-10 11:14 PM EST –

Portage or portaging refers to the practice of carrying watercraft or cargo over land to avoid river obstacles, or between two bodies of water. A place where this carrying occurs is also called a portage; a person doing the carrying is called a porter.

There are those who paddle water that isn't open or straight in the 'Daks, or take a longer paddle that involves moving from one water body to another. I've known many of them, have loaned our cart to one guy who regularly did this in a kayak on an annual trip he took with friends. There are decidedly paddles in the Adirondacks that involve portaging.

I demur on terminology, Celia
"In the Adirondacks the portage has always been known as the carry." – Paul Jamieson & Donald Morris, ADIRONDACK CANOE WATERS: NORTH FLOW, p.x (3d ed, 1988).

While the word “portage”, the term used by the French voyageurs, is used in Canada, Minnesota and most other places, the term “carry” is a historic tradition in the Adirondacks. All the famous canoe carrying routes are called carries: for example, the “Seven Carries” route, the “Nine Carries” route, and the legendary “Indian Carry” that connects the Saranac drainage to the Raquette drainage.

The trails are called carry trails, and the signs you see on trees marking the beginning of a trail will say “Canoe Carry”.

Of course, the point that there are a zillion Adirondack routes that involve carries is correct. But there are another zillion that don’t.

I think this important terminological heritage of the Adirondacks should be preserved even on the informal internet. Tradition is how we honor those who have come before us.

Can you use a cart on these trails
I’ve used a cart on some pretty rough trails in North Carolina but the trails are all less than a mile long. Could you use a cart in the ADK?

The main thing that really stood out for me on my kayak trip to the Adirondacks last year, compared to places I usually paddle, was the portages. They can be long and rough. Some of the put-ins amazed me—like climbing Mt. Everest in a mud slide. My small-wheeled Paddle Boy was no match for the rough portages and I missed out on some good paddling because of that.

Personally I wouldn’t want to subject a fine new wooden kayak to those conditions.

French “porter,” to carry

Yes, but
the next time I go back to the Adirondacks it will be with a high-wheeled cart. And a high-wheeled truck—ain’t no place for a compact car with 6" of clearance.

lakes should be no problem but
I wouldn’t take my hand crafted beautiful Chesapeake 17 on a narrow rocky river—nor would I take a fiberglass sea kayak on the same stream—best bet is an RM but even that, at 17 feet may be a bit cumbersome in tight rapids—but your chances of putting a hole in the hull are less

Yes, the one’s I’ve seen
The primary trails in the popular areas are well trod. There are hills and tree roots–and mud of course after long rains–but no mountain goat stuff or serial killer blowdowns.

Some paddlers with plastic boats simply drag them across the trails, especially the smaller and lighter rec kayaks.