Posted on August 29th, 2009 3 comments Add a comment >>
I had been wanting to paddle the Deer River Flow for some time, so when my friend, Phil Blanchard, came with his family to the Adirondacks for vacation, I suggested we take a trip there. Unfortunately, Phil got ill on the morning of our scheduled outing, so his son, Ben, and I did the trip alone.
Ben, who is twelve, was an enthusiastic companion. As we headed down the flow, we had to fight a moderate wind. I feared this might be difficult for Ben.
“Too bad about the wind,” I remarked.
“That’s OK. It makes it more fun,” Ben replied.
“The more you work, the more fun it is,” he said.
“I’ve never heard that theory,” I confessed.
“Because once the trip is done, you feel more satisfaction because you know worked more and you earned it more,” he said.
And you know what? The kid is right.
We paddled nine miles in all. We put in along Cold Brook Road on the south end of the flow, canoed to the large dam at the north end, then took the flow’s riverine east fork to Horseshoe Lake. You can read all about our adventure in a future issue of the Explorer.
Posted on August 24th, 2009 4 comments Add a comment >>Most people who canoe the Bog River start at the Lower Dam and paddle upstream to Hitchins Pond. From there, they can carry around the Upper Dam to enter Lows Lake. But there is another flatwater trip on the Bog that doesn’t see as much traffic.Last Friday, my daughter, Martha, and I were looking for a short trip as the weather forecast called for rain. We launched our canoes near the Bog River Falls (just above where the river flows into Tupper Lake) and paddled upstream for about one and three quarters miles to the confluence of the Bog and Round Lake Outlet. Rapids on both rivers prevent paddling farther.
About a half-mile above the falls,we passed under an old bridge. Just around the next bend we passed a solitary boulder in the middle of the river. Bolted to the upstream side of the boulder is an iron ring, evidently an artifact from the logging days. I am wondering if anybody knows the story behind this ring. Or if any would care to speculate. If so, please leave a comment.The Lower Bog is a pleasant paddle that ends all too quickly. However, you can extend the outing with a hike along Round Lake Outlet. Just past the confluence, look for a flat spot with grass and mud. A short path leads from here to a more established trail that parallels the outlet upstream. We didn’t follow it, but Bill Ingersoll has described the route in the Explorer and says it’s quite scenic. The trail is used by paddlers who do the forty-five-mile Lows Loop that starts at Little Tupper Lake and takes in, among other waterways, Lake Lila, Lows Lake, and the Bog River.
After your adventure on the Lower Bog, you can cool off with a dip in the natural pool near Bog River Falls.
Posted on August 18th, 2009 3 comments Add a comment >>
A few years ago, the Explorer published a story by Mark Bowie about a canoe trip on Fall Stream, a tributary of Piseco Lake. Mark did the trip with some volunteers from the Adirondack Mountain Club who were investigating the possibility of adding Fall Stream to the state’s Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System.
Mark concluded that all or most of Fall Stream should be classified as Scenic. After paddling the river to Fall Lake and Vly Lake last weekend, I heartily agree.
Most of the river lies within the state Forest Preserve, but the put-in and some of the land upstream are owned by the Irondequoit Club. You paddle upstream to Fall Lake and then Vly Lake, winding through beautiful marshes decorated with pickerelweed, cardinal flower, turtlehead, and other flowers. We saw lots of ducks and a few great blue herons.
I can think of three reasons for adding the stream to the Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System:
1. To give this lovely stream the cachet it deserves.
2. To provide some extra protection against development.
3. To give the state more reason to ban motors from at least part of the stream.
The last would be controversial. Despite beaver dams above Fall Lake, anglers take small motorboats all the way to Vly Lake. On Saturday, we saw three motorboats on the lake. Given the dams and the smallness of the stream, I was rather surprised that they made it that far.
As a compromise, motors could be allowed as far as Fall Lake, which is located about a mile from the put-in. Most of the property in this stretch is private, and the stream is broader. Above Fall Lake, the stream narrows and becomes wilder as it penetrates the interior of the Jessup River Wild Forest.
Directions: From the intersection of NY 8 and NY 30 in Speculator, drive west on NY 8 for nine miles to Old Piseco Road (County 24) on the right. Turn and drive 1.6 miles to the bridge over Fall Stream. The put-in is on the right on the far side of the bridge. Park along the road, being sure not to block the entrance to the put-in.
Posted on August 12th, 2009 6 comments Add a comment >>
We at the Explorer just received copies of our new book, Wild Times, a full-color anthology of 120 hiking and paddling adventures from the past ten years of our newsmagazine.
This is news you can use, whether you’re looking to paddle a quiet river, spend time on an uncrowded summit, visit a fire tower, or jump in a lake. As in the Explorer, most of the stories are personal accounts of trips, accompanied by hand-drawn maps and color photographs.
Our writers, photographers, and artists made this publication possible. A lot of credit also goes to Susan Bibeau, our designer, who laid out the book.
Wild Times sells for $14.95 (or $13.95 if ordered from our Web site). That works out to about 12 cents an adventure. Not a bad deal.
You can find a few samples from Wild Times on our main Web site. The book can be ordered online and soon will be in stores.
To order from our home page, click on “Order Now” in the Wild Times box on the right side of the screen. That will bring you to the sample pages from the book. Click on “Order Now” again to get to the order form. Or you can simple click here to get to the form.
Posted on June 22nd, 2009 1 comment - Add a comment >>
Charles Morrison, a former DEC official, wrote a letter to the Times Union in response to my op-ed piece on the navigability of Shingle Shanty Brook. He agrees that it should be open to the public. Morrison is the former director of natural resources planning at DEC. In that capacity, he once commissioned a lawyer to study the legal history of the common-law right of navigation. A few years ago, he co-authored a booklet on navigation rights that can be found on the Web site of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks.
Posted on June 15th, 2009 2 comments Add a comment >>
In an earlier blog, I mentioned that I did a two-day canoe trip from Little Tupper Lake to Lake Lila in May. A story about the trip will appear in the July-August issue of the Explorer. It’s more than just another account of Adirondack adventure, for I took a route that has been posted for years.
Essentially, I avoided a mile-long portage by paddling from Mud Pond down the outlet to Shingle Shanty Brook, which flows into Lake Lila. Despite no-trespassing signs and a cable across the brook, I believe what I did was legal. I explain my rationale in an op-ed piece published by the Albany Times Union. A fuller airing of the legal issues will appear in the next Explorer.
Incidentally, Susan Bibeau’s photo will grace our next cover.
Posted on May 31st, 2009 3 comments Add a comment >>
The latest issue of National Geographic Adventure features an Adirondack canoe trip as one of its “50 Best American Adventures.” The trip in question is a forty-five-mile loop, beginning and ending at Little Tupper Lake. In between you visit Lake Lila, Lows Lake, the Bog River, Round Lake, and several smaller ponds and streams.
“So new is this route that it has no official name and several of the portages, or ‘carries,’ are merely flagged with tape,” the magazine says in its one-paragraph description.
It so happens that I did part of this route in late May, going from Little Tupper Lake to Lake Lila. I can attest that the carry trails are “merely flagged.” Yet the truth is that this part of the route, at least, is not so new. The state bought the Little Tupper tract in 1998, more than a decade ago.
Frankly, it’s a shame that the state has yet to properly mark the carry trails after all these years. This is one of the premier wilderness canoe routes in the Northeast. The lack of trail markers and signs makes it seem as though the state is neglecting this wonderful resource (for which it paid $17 million). Is that the impression we want to leave with people who drive hundreds of miles to do this route?
David Winchell, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, says the trails cannot be signed and marked until the agency writes a management plan for the Whitney Wilderness. He can’t say when the plan will be finished.
DEC is years and sometimes decades behind in writing management plans for Forest Preserve tracts around the Adirondack Park. The agency lacks the staff and money to get them done.
Something has to give. The public shouldn’t have to wait more than a decade for DEC to mark canoe-carry trails that are already in use. There must be a way to undertake small projects such as this, in a responsible manner, before a management plan is written.