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Old 12-26-2014, 09:05 AM   #1
djblankenberg
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Question spring kayaking trip

Hello, I'm planning a spring trip for myself and 5 coworkers. We're novice kayakers and want to take a 2-3 day trip in the boats with either lean-to or tent camping. Would appreciate input from experienced boaters that may have some ideas for quality trips they may have already taken . We would like to be in the adirondak region. Thanks Dan
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Old 12-26-2014, 09:23 AM   #2
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The Bog River - Lows Lake would be a good paddle for novice kayakers. Lots of tent camping sites. Reasonable carry that can be done with carts if you have them or a few trips back and forth between take out for the carry and put-in with two people carrying each kayak. There is enough water to paddle and explore without getting in any real trouble. Side benefit nice hike up to Hitchin's ledge for a view of the surrounding area.

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Old 12-26-2014, 09:51 AM   #3
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Define spring.

Ice is out early May at best.
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:14 PM   #4
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I was hoping to be out in mid may. would like to stay clear of the black flys. thoughts?
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:24 PM   #5
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That is pushing the season.. Its apt to be very windy a few days after ice out as the lake sets up to turn over and mix.

You can live with blackflies. Inhospitable windy weather and just above freezing water is another level of peril.

Likely the blackflies will swarm two weeks after ice out and bite two weeks after that.

By picking appropriate color clothing and appropriate campsites the blackflies are an issue only if you have a severe allergy.

Blackflies are not always predictable. Last year where I live in the woods of Maine the first four hatches failed so the September hatch of females still bit.
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Old 12-26-2014, 06:38 PM   #6
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Our gang of four (sometimes 6 or 8) generally gets in a trip soon after ice out and before leaf out and before the black flies.
Here's a photo from May 3, 2013...



We did the Lila to Lows traverse, there was a tiny bit of snow left in the shadiest of spots...no ice.
There was a good study of ADK ice in and ice out in the Huntington Wildlife Forest (think Rich Lake, Arbutus Pond, Caitlin) with data from the 1870's.
The last 3 or 4 decades have had a median ice out date of April 24-28.
Here is a link to the paper:
http://www.uvm.edu/giee/pubpdfs/Beie...tic_Change.pdf
There also is a database of photos from Arbutus Pond stretching back 10 years or so, although the camera seems to have recently been moved to Goodnow Mt and appears to work intermittently now, it may work again by the time you're ready for your trip. Here is the link for that camera:
http://phenocam.sr.unh.edu/webcam/sites/arbutuslake/
It may or may not be fully functioning, but the historical photo database is still a good guide.

Aforementioned caveats about cold water are real, water temps could be in the 30's...tough to stay conscious in that sort of water.

Keep in mind that some seasonal use access roads may not be open early season. A call to the specific region DEC ranger can usually identify which roads will or are open, within a week or so...
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Old 12-26-2014, 07:34 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input on this trip. The cold water definitely crossed my mind. Maybe the thing to do would be to plan on going the first weekend in June and hope for the best with the flies. I really want this to be a memorable trip in a good way.
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Old 12-26-2014, 07:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djblankenberg View Post
I was hoping to be out in mid may. would like to stay clear of the black flys. thoughts?
Mid May would be fine as far as ice on Lows. Lows is rather shallow so it warms above freezing quickly. You are probably safe there from ice in most places at the very end of April, depending on the actual conditions that particular year.

Black flies may or may not be out by the second-third week of May. In normal years they are in full force and biting strong by Memorial Day, certainly in early June. The first batch to hatch, maybe for a week or two, may be rather annoying but not biting. If you can handle the annoyance, the middle two weeks of May may be a good time to go. But the water is still very cold. Note that most trees do not fully leaf-out until the third week of May. Most of the lakes you will be in will have black bass, easy to catch on lakes like Lows, but the season for them does not open until the third Saturday in June. Rangers will check your catch.
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Old 12-29-2014, 07:59 PM   #9
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There will be cold water until July, so don't plan around that... just go! I always do a north country canoe trip in mid-May. If you'll be in kayaks, skip the various permutations of the Little Tupper-Lake Lila-Lows Lake-Oswegatchie River traverses (I've done them all, but in a lightweight canoe). I've had nice sea kayak trips on Lows Lake/Bog River (plenty of opportunity to paddle, and you can climb the trail up to Lows Ridge). Lake Lila begins with a carry, but is good for kayaks, and you can paddle up & back Shingle Shanty Brook or do the easy climb up Mt. Fredericka for great views. The Oswegatchie River (launch at "inlet", east of Star Lake) and Raquette River (launch at the fishing access ramp near Tupper Lake) offer up & back river paddling with no carries. Middle Saranac Lake is also nice in spring, as is the Fish Creek Ponds "wilderness" area. All of these are great paddling destinations in the Adirondacks, and are mostly tent camping, with a lean-to here and there. I might be up there too - usually the first weekend after ice-out.
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Old 12-30-2014, 07:28 AM   #10
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Dan,
Indian Lake has many formal sites, which will be free early season. There could be motor boat activity...would that spoil your trip?
Do you prefer lake paddling or do you want more intimate surroundings? Middle Saranac and Forked will have easy access and more exposure. The ponds around Rollins also have easy access, but are more sheltered.
There are a number of small river trips, the aforementioned Raquette, complete with lean to's, but again, you may hear or see a motor boat.
There's a short up and back on the lower Bog, maybe combined with some time at Horseshoe Lake and Hitchins Pond.

Let's hear what your preferences are...
Can/will you and your group carry? if so, what might be the limit? And how about wilderness vs wild forest? And any preferred sections of the ADK's, north, south, west??
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:39 AM   #11
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I think I may have mentioned this in another post, but two years ago I was in a group that paddled the Jessup River from where it crosses Rt. 30, downstream a few miles into Indian Lake where we camped for the night at an awesome campsite. We made the trip the last weekend in April and the river was a challenge. We carried around one set of rapids but shot the other. I believe we were the first paddlers in there that spring. When we came out the next day there was still ice in the lower bay north of the boat launch/campground, about three miles worth, that we had negotiate through a pressure crack and then hug the shore. It was work, but overall it was a great trip. The previous advice to tackle the Bog is also a good one. If you set up base camp on Hitchens Pond you can explore from there. I'd also suggest a loop between Follensby Clear/Horseshoe/Pollywog Ponds as soon as the ice goes out. The carries are not bad and the trout should be biting.
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:48 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the great tips. I don't really have a preference on which part of the adks we end up. If we can avoid motor boat traffic it would be nice. I have experience with the mountains but the rest of the guys don't. One of them is driving up from Pennsylvania for this trip and I would really like to show them a great time. There will be two in a canoe with gear and the rest of us in kayaks with gear. Thanks again for the insight on this trip! I'm really leaning toward bog-lows and staying there in a lean-to. Are the lean-tos in good shape there or should we plan on tents? Also should we be using bear canisters there?

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Old 12-31-2014, 08:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djblankenberg View Post
I'm really leaning toward bog-lows and staying there in a lean-to. Are the lean-tos in good shape there or should we plan on tents? Also should we be using bear canisters there?
Note that there are no leantos on the Bog River - Lows. But there are plenty of designated tent campsites. Note also that the final 3/4 mile road leading to the lower dam (the usual put-in) may be gated until the DEC decides that the mud has dried enough for travel. Could be the middle-end of May, depending on recent snow and rains. No problem parking or getting to the dam to launch, but you may have to carry that final 3/4 mile. You can always call the NYSDEC to find out. Click here for more info.

You are not required to use bear canisters in the Lows area, but they are highly recommended. Otherwise keep a clean camp and hang all food and smellables according to accepted guidelines. Bears (and mice and squirrels) are well known food robbers in the region.
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:10 PM   #14
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Here is a link to an online topo for the area...

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=44.12079,...er%20Lake%20NY

I have flagged the usual put in for Bog River Flow, but, as Wldrns cautions, the 3/4 mile access spur may be closed early season.
If the spur road is closed, you can still access Hitchins Pond (and Lows Lake) from the alternate access, which I have also flagged on the topo map.
I have not paddled to Hitchins from that access in many years, but satellite views look OK and others here have done it, maybe someone that has recently paddled that route will chime in.
In the meantime, here are a couple of views that you and your group will get to enjoy...



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Old 12-31-2014, 09:14 PM   #15
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If the spur road is closed, you can still access Hitchins Pond (and Lows Lake) from the alternate access, which I have also flagged on the topo map.
I have not paddled to Hitchins from that access in many years, but satellite views look OK and others here have done it, maybe someone that has recently paddled that route will chime in.
In early spring the alternate access may be ok with high water. Later on it quickly becomes heavily choked with weeds and lily pads.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:17 PM   #16
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A big thanks again to all.
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:12 PM   #17
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I was looking for the paper that I mentioned upthread today

The file has apparently been moved or deleted from its previous site, it can currently be found here:

http://www.esf.edu/fnrm/stella/websi...enologypdf.pdf
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