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Old 10-25-2017, 01:47 PM   #1
Titanium Spork
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Day trip portaging canoe to Fish Pond route?

I'd like to set up a base camp in the St Regis Canoe area and portage and paddle to Fish Pond as a day trip. I'm looking for ideas to help me choose from:
  • camp in Long Pond and take the Bessie carry. DEC's Backcountry Information for the Northern Adirondacks General Notices mentions flooding by beaver.
  • camp in Turtle and go via Clamshell. Looking at the topo, this route has a 120ft hump between Turtle and Clamshell.
  • Camp in Saint Regis Pond. This would have extra portages just to get to the base camp, but I've heard it's possible to paddle to Ochre, so that route might have the least carrying. Is it better to take the Mud Pond route, or the Truck Trail?
Come to think of it the first two options can be combined. Camp in one of Long or Turtle and use different routes to go out and back to Fish.
Can anyone comment on these three routes? I'll be carrying a tandem canoe that weighs about 50lb and has a fairly decent yoke, so hopefully not too onerous....
I have already camped on all of these ponds and done the seven carries, but never had the urge to portage my camping gear out to Fish.

I see there was a thread on this forum four months ago about some possible closures due to blowdowns and beaver.

Last edited by Titanium Spork; 10-25-2017 at 07:47 PM..
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Old 10-25-2017, 07:41 PM   #2
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Mr Spork,
Here is a link to my trip report from a trip to Fish via St Regis outlet, from spring 2017.
http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.p...highlight=fish
The post you referred to is 9 years old...
You don't mention what time of year you expect to go. If it's in the early season, you'll likely have an easy paddle. If it's later in the year, it's a roll of the dice. Depends on how wet the year was. Either way, I wouldn't recommend the carry from Ochre to Mud to my enemies! (not that I actually have any enemies!)
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Old 10-25-2017, 08:09 PM   #3
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Nice trip report, and photos! Planning to go sometime in the next couple of weeks, depending on the weather. I take it you'd recommend the Fish Pond Truck Trail over the Mud Carry. For what it's worth, I was in Follensby Clear Pond last weekend and the water levels were high there.
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Old 10-25-2017, 11:13 PM   #4
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Mr Spork,
If the water levels are agreeable, you will have a fun time between St Regis and Ochre.
From St Regis, I'd say Fish as a day trip is very doable. Keep your eyes peeled for that spur trail from Ochre to the truck trail, it's a little hard to spot from the water (or, it was for us). It's clearly shown here.
My gang didn't want to paddle back upstream on the return to St Regis, they preferred to take the truck trail all the way rather than struggle against the current. I didn't think it would have been a problem...

Enjoy your trip and be sure to take lots of photos and share your experiences here. I, and others (I think) enjoy the alternate perspectives.

Oh, and welcome to the Forum. There's a spot in By the Fireside to introduce yourself, if you so desire.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:17 AM   #5
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First time I went in to Fish Pond was with my son when he was about 12 (a small 12 at that). We carried the St Regis Ocher Mud pond route on the way in, but carried the truck trail on the way back, Minnesota II about 40 pounds. The former was interesting but it was a lot easier on the truck trail on the way back. Beautiful spot and you likely won't see anyone this time of year. JD is 25 now, wow, how time flies, still love that whole area though.
Enjoy
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:19 AM   #6
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first of all fishing season is closed. I have carried gear and canoes by each of these routes many times. From my perspective the easiest route is via the truck trail from Ochre. This trail can be picked up either from Ochre or St Regis. With the lack of rain lately doubt the river betweek St Regis and Ochre is passable in a canoe. The Turtle Clamshell Carry goes over Blagden hill which is quite steep, the Ochre to Mud carry is very hilly and one of the harder carries. The Long Pond to Nellie is not bad, there is a flooded area but just requires a little paddle across and well marked.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:28 PM   #7
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Different perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed the carry from Fish to Ochre on the esker, bypassing Mud. The esker is a pine canopied wild ecosystem worth exploring...mushrooms and wildflowers and mixed under growth. I plan to go back just for the esker. There is a creek crossing near Ochre that required water shoes, but I found that curvy babbling Brook enticing as well. Note...the entry from Ochre to the trail is hazardous. My son walked slippery logs towing the canoe while I bush whacked thick brush to the ponds edge. So it depends on your goal...easy or scenic adventure. Either way...have fun!
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:34 PM   #8
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PS...I found the Floodwood to Bessie carry to be long, slippery, and with occasional thigh deep muck hole.
Scott
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Old 10-26-2017, 08:52 PM   #9
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Scott, I gather you mean Long to Bessie.
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Old 10-26-2017, 10:03 PM   #10
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Another perspective:

I've been to Fish pond every way there is and I actually think going through Mud pond is the easiest. Not sure what is so bad about it? The muck after Mud to Fish? Not the worst I've encountered. There is some on the takeout at Ochre too. Make sure your shoes are tied tight... But the ups and downs? Pretty much the same on the truck trail and on the Esker, lots of them. The Esker is the most scenic route by far (you can see Mud pond too from up there) but you can't see all that much with a canoe on your head.

My recommendation is if you plan on going in and out that way, do one and the other, that is go through Mud once and the Esker once. Despite Mud only being like 1/4 mile long paddle, it does break up a somewhat long carry IMO. I prefer to double carry the Esker to the intersection of the Mud trail from Fish. You get two trips to enjoy the scenery that way, and one with a boat on your dome.

And FWIW, none of them are easy. You can probably pull a cart on the Truck trail though.
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Old 10-26-2017, 10:18 PM   #11
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Yep, that's it Spork.
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Old 10-30-2017, 04:26 PM   #12
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So what did you decide, Spork???? Paddling season is running out!
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Old 10-31-2017, 02:17 PM   #13
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Trip report: Little Clear to Fish and back in a day

After much consideration, we established a base camp from which to make a day-trip. All of the following took place on the last Saturday of October.

Signed the register and put in at Little Clear Pond amid the calls of a pair of loons. A strong southerly pushed us up to the portage at the north end of the pond, where we observed a pair of bald eagles, many gulls, and a pair of juvenile loons.

The portage from Little Clear started with a sandy beach followed by a wide and flat trail, ankle deep in birch and beech leaves.

On the Saint Regis side there is a long boardwalk or dock where I was surprised to see pollywogs and dragonflies.

The West Branch Saint Regis River to Ochre Pond being low, we took the so-called Truck Trail straight to Fish. This trail is long, wide, and flat. It’s easy to keep a good pace, apart from a single blowdown, and a beaver pond where the stream from Clamshell Pond crosses the trail. I stood at the edge of the stream wondering how I was going to wade through it with a canoe on my head, when I realized: I can just paddle across!



Above, Mrs Spork blazes a trail from Little Clear to Saint Regis Pond canoe carry, as viewed by Mr Spork from under the yoke.

Luncheon was served at the north side Fish Pond lean-to. There we heard more loons, and saw more eagles circling.

The return trip started at the Fish to Mud Pond carry, followed by a short paddle across Mud. Although the leaves were all on the ground at this altitude, we did enjoy some lovely golden tamaracks lining the swampy shores. Copious pitcher plants were dying down at the eastern end of Mud.

Mud to Ochre is a tough carry, starting with a steep climb up the esker and followed by much dénivèlement, mud, roots, rocky stream crossings, and a Very Angry Bluejay.

My lightweight day hiking boots were adequate, but waterproof might be necessary at other times of the year. The Ochre to Regis carry is similar but not so hard. Comparing the longer, easier, “truck” portage versus the shorter, tougher, “Mud and Ochre” portages, they take about the same time.

Took our time backtracking up wind along Little Clear, arriving after sunset under a half moon at 18:00 courtesy of our trusty Garmin eTrex Legend C. It was unseasonably warm, and: Don’t try this with your iPhones, kids!

We were mostly too busy to get out the camera but the next morning Mr Spork's erratic behaviour was photographed at the lower end of Upper Saranac.



The entire 20-kilometre round trip took six hours (time moving, according to Garmin), during which we did not see or hear a single other biped.



Our canoe is a 16.5 foot Odyssée made by Quessy in Shawinigan, Quebec. It is perhaps better known as the rebranded Langford Nahanni. It weighs about 55 pounds with a standard wooden yoke. The above photograph from an earlier trip to Saint Regis Pond.

Last edited by Titanium Spork; 11-02-2017 at 12:19 AM..
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:34 PM   #14
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Sounds like you all had a fantastic end of season trip to a beautiful area.
The shoulder seasons are always quiet (people wise).
Was the blowdown on one of the steep sections of trail. I X/C ski in on the truck trail in the winter. One year there was a tree across the trail on the one steep downhill section around a corner, so you didn't see it until you were quite close. Actually that hill is before the junction to St Regis Pond, but I digress. I like to ski in to Fish though , have lunch at the lean-to then head back, a nice day trip. It used to be a nice easy day trip, but now that I'll be 67 in a few weeks it's become more of a good solid moderate difficulty day trip, and with my knees goin'......
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:29 PM   #15
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Nice trip report. Glad you got out there!
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:16 AM   #16
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Mr. Spork,
Sounds and looks like you and the rest of your table setting had a good time.
Nice photo of you(?) being devoured by that erratic!
Any more paddling planned for this season?
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Old 11-01-2017, 08:20 PM   #17
Titanium Spork
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Connecticut, the blowdown was not at a steep section. If I remember correctly it was a large tree laying about waist-high across the trail. Not insurmountable, I shouldn't think, especially with the snow piled up around it. I don't know with what frequency the rangers get after these things. Once a year? Once a month? What might be awkward though is getting around the beaver flooding I mentioned. It was a good three canoe widths across.

Stripperguy, that was indeed yours truly in the erratic. It's actually a nice little spot at the bottom of Upper Saranac. From the 3 you go up Indian Carry Road. There's a bridge there, an outhouse, and some trails going up the hill. Saw deer droppings in there too. Just the droppings, no deer.

Not sure if there'll be more paddling this year. Depends on the weather. Don't think I've ever paddled or camped this late.
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Old 11-01-2017, 08:29 PM   #18
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More often than not those beaver flooded areas are frozen solid during the ski season and present zero challenge.

Glad you got out and had a good trip, FWIW, pretty much all of St. Regis canoe area can be reached and done as day trips. But now you know, you pretty much went as far out as you can.
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