Thursday, September 09, 2010

Oswegatchie Canoe Trip

Last week a friend asked if I wanted to go camping, maybe a backpack in the Adirondacks to get away from everyone, catch some solitude.

I figured there wouldn't be much solitude on any of the normal backpack routes on Labor Day weekend, so I suggested a water trip.  Once you get to a pond with no road access (have to carry your boat from another pond) the crowds thin out pretty fast.  Besides, the weather's been in the 80-90 range so water would be good on that count as well.

With portages in the plans, a canoe sounded simpler than kayaks.  Less boats, you can have all your stuff in backpacks without worrying about bags that fit through a small hatch. Besides, I hadn't been on a real canoe trip in 10 years or more.

By the time Friday rolled around, so did Earl.  Not a direct threat, but he was still messing with the weather.  Forcast was winds ~20 and likely rain.
As a backup plan to canoeing an open lake with big waves we printed off some info on the Oswegatchie River, which feeds Cranberry Lake.

Even though the Adirondack Park is only about 10 miles from my house, the lake district is on the western side.  With the ferry it took about 4 hours, an hour longer than driving from Albany would.  Put the boat on the car, put the car on another boat:

On the way, every lake we saw was showing bigger waves than you'd want with a canoe, so we did opt for the river trip. We finally arrived at the launch point for a "Crack of noon" start.

We headed upstream and upwind, though on this type of river, you will be paddling in any direction to the compass with turns up to 270 degrees followed by one in the opposite direction. The wind and current like to work together to push you into the bushes. That got better once I got my "river sense" back and gave a quick lesson in cross-bow maneuvers.

A blue heron flying upriver.

Morning misty view from our campsite:

I think we saw more people than we would on a carry-in pond, but the campsites were about a mile apart, and it seemed like somewhat less than half were occupied. A few have lean-to's but most are just a clearing with a fireplace. Overnight I heard owl, loon, and coyotes, but all were pretty far away.  Given the on and off rain, we decided to just day-trip on Sunday and not move camp, rather than go for maximum distance.

There was also some quality "wait out the rain" time.

One of the straighter sections.  We had the best weather on our way out

On the way home we stopped at the Natural History Museum in Tupper Lake, aka the Wild Center.  I recommend  it if you are in the area with a few hours available.  Lots of indoor and outdoor exhibits, films, and guided tours.

In the cafe, the pond is right at your elbow.

No comments: