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Old 02-13-2017, 06:09 PM   #1
Hikercanoer
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Question Hitchins Pond July 4th Week Site Availability

My wife and I are heading up on Sunday July 2 hoping to get a site on Hitchins Pond. We know we are bumping into July 4th and that many campers may stay that previous Saturday through the 4th, taking Monday off, but some may leave Sunday night and head home.

Best guesses: what are our chances of getting a site early/late afternoon Sunday, July 2 on Hitchens?

Thanks!
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:51 AM   #2
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close to zero - unless it's pouring rain all weekend...
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:49 AM   #3
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I have no experience on being there over any holiday, always visiting early or late in season. However, The landing for the carry to Lows is a quite open space where the camp was... If you were looking for a fail-safe spot, that you could depend on to set up for one night, planning on tearing down and moving to look around Hitchens or better yet up on Lows the next day for an open site, perhaps you might find someone vacating on a Sunday... Anyways, you can always plan on definitely finding an emergency flat spot there. Allows you to arrive the night before, heck , if the weather is clear... you could paddle it after sunset- just go slow, and stay in middle. This way you are on-site for an early scout the next day.

Follow the rules, and you can camp anywhere along a very long shore-line- avoiding the Boy Scout camp, their islands ( they will be there I think) and private land of course... but that still leaves 90% of it or more. . A lot of hardwoods surround that lake- not quite as thick as some other places- where you might need a machete to penetrate, let-alone set up. Depends on how big your tent is. If you need a wide open expanse... well it would be a crap shoot.

You will miss out on the amenities of a dedicated site of course.
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:26 AM   #4
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You cannot set up just anywhere along a very long shore-line outside of a DEC desgingated site. You must not camp within 150 feet from any body of water, trail or road. And you cannot camp on the landing or carry trail to or near the upper dam(or within 150 feet of it). there is a large designated campsite on Hitchins (site #7) within a short walk of the trail. You cannot use the BSA owned islands during June, July, and August. BSA private property occupies a fair amount of the north shore (approx 5 miles) from campsite #12 until you get west of the mouth of Graves creek. Using a machete, cutting any live wood to hack out a site would be quite illegal as well. Rangers do patrol the region regularly.

If you only want to get as far as Hitchins, there is a fair (close to but not quite zero) chance of finding an open campsite there late in the weekend, as most people would be pushing to go farther into lows than that. Perhaps site #4, but that is a lesser desirable spot, often choked with weeds and mosquitoes.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/38963.html
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:31 AM   #5
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Wldrns... LOL...

I did mention specifically "following the rules"- it is up to anybody to look them up for themselves if they wish to responsibly and legally camp anywhere on state owned lands in the Adirondacks. However following the rules leaves untold numbers of options available. The landing has a lot of open area one could find an easy to find EMERGENCY spot for ONE NIGHT - even following the RULES to the letter... though i have not specifically taken out my ruler... half a football field isn't that far from the landing, around the dam, or off the roads on either side of the Lows/Hitchens dam. I personally wouldn't want to stay there longer anyways... but would not hesitate if I found it necessary.

The machete reference was to describe the impenetrable nature of some other parts of the Adirondacks... in reality- a machete wouldn't work anyways in those spots..... a small nuke might. However, upon re-reading- it might be indeed be misconstrued - but really I was pointing out that the nature of the woods here would NOT require ones use, being a more open sort- especially the farther one moves from the typically thicker vegetative shoreline.

Usable state owned shoreline of Lows lake and Bog Lake is approx 30 miles long... This figure does NOT include the private 1.5 miles immediately along the south shore from eastern launch or the BSA's approx 4 miles of shoreline ( not measuring every weenie bay/point etc.) , and not measuring any islands either the off limits BSA own or the in play state owned ( which many of the state owned islands are large enough to get farther than 50 yards away from the shore) .. , nor the obvious small parcel of private land on Parker island around that private camp. All this is clearly marked on the DEC maps.

30 (conservative measurement) miles indeed is a very long shoreline - I am betting, in a pinch, baring any available sites which would be much preferable... someone, FOLLOWING THE RULES could find a place to stay (without illegally using a machete). I personally have a hammock- camping anywhere FOLLOWING THE RULES leaves me with innumerable comfortable options.

Hitchens has (conservatively) 8 miles of shoreline- add em up, and following the rules, Hitchens + LOWS + Clear Pond has available more than 40 miles of state owned shoreline- not all of which is suitable, but never-the-less potentially available.

So in answer to the OP... Plan accordingly for roughing it, follow the rules, and go for it.

Least I would.


Cool web based surface area shoreline length tool- though Garmin Map tool is more accurate... just non-satellite shoreline maps aren't all that accurate- note entrance to Bog lake looks nothing like maps.

http://mapsof.net/distance-calculator/shoreline

Last edited by RichieC; 02-15-2017 at 10:41 AM..
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:11 AM   #6
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Richie, I too am a hammock camper, and have indeed utilized legal spaces away from Lows shoreline that I occupied while bushwhacking the adjacent backcountry of the region. Hammock hanging has released me from what previously had taken hours of searching within heavy blow-down areas (Lows was especially hard hit in 1995), looking for the tiniest of clearings where a tent might be useable.

I guess I'm a little sensitive about people camping illegally on Lows because I have been on staff for an annual guide's training course there since I first took the course in 1990. I do work closely with the DEC. I have seen all manner of disrespectful, illegal, and non-LNT use of the land and water in my travels on and near Lows and the Bog River flow. I do know you are not in that category.
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Old 02-16-2017, 03:32 PM   #7
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Guys:
Thanks for your thoughts, and especially your passion for our beautiful park.

Scott
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:10 PM   #8
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me too

I also hammock camp legally not using campsites at times. Sometimes even though trees to hang from at not a problem, there is brush and small trees in the way. It's tempting to cut them but, what I do is to bring some string and temporarily tie them out of the way.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:20 PM   #9
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Turns out that designated campsites are often poorly configured for hammock hanging.Trees in large sites tend to be too far apart, or are simply too massive to get a normal strap around. Utilizing trees at the edges of designated sites only serves to expand the impacted area and is not in keeping with LNT. Therefore a true pristine site (while always keeping LNT in mind) is more often a better choice for hammockers.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:54 PM   #10
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Ritchie.. When I did the carry from Hitchens to Low's there was a party camped on that estate grounds. There were also two rangers making the campers take the camp down. It was a rainy miserable day.
No means no. Especially in high season.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by yellowcanoe View Post
Ritchie.. When I did the carry from Hitchens to Low's there was a party camped on that estate grounds. There were also two rangers making the campers take the camp down. It was a rainy miserable day.
No means no. Especially in high season.
Thank you YC. When they say 150 feet from a trail, that means 150 feet. Inability to find an unoccupied designated campsite does not constitute an emergency.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:12 AM   #12
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measuring

I also carry a 150' string to measure with. I was once questioned by a ranger about my distance so I got out the string and showed him-he was amazed.
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:15 AM   #13
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A few years ago on a Saturday in August I paddled into Lows on a day trip and every single designated campsite was spoken for on Hitchens, the Bog and the river area of Lows (near the Scout camp). I didn't go much further as it was just a day trip. Plus, I wanted to bass fish.

An alternate nearby suggestion would be Round Lake off Little Tupper but I'm sure all of the ADKs will be busy that weekend. That's why it's usually a home-chore weekend for me.
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Old 02-17-2017, 09:27 AM   #14
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I would expect most people to take advantage of taking Monday off to expand the 4th of July holiday into a 4 day weekend. Given these expectations, I wouldn't expect many people heading out on a Sunday, leaving the majority of sites on the entire flow occupied.

If you have the time and endurance, why not head all the way down the bog river into Lowes Lake. The sites are more spread out there and you'll see less traffic that far down. Once out there, you are bound to run into the amazing park ranger that maintains the area, and they are very helpful at letting you know which sites are available. I ran into them everyday on each of the 2 trips i have been on the Lake.

In addition, if you are up for the adventure, you could try the St Regis wilderness area. My wife and I made a long weekend out of July 4th last year by combining the 7 carries and 9 carries. We spent the weekend on Fish Pond and had it all to ourselves. The only other camper we saw out there was a solo paddler on Little Long Pond. It was a great trip and the unexpected emptiness on such a holiday was definitely a treat!
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:03 AM   #15
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Thanks Scooter. We're coming from NJ Sunday morning but we'll be leaving early, hopefully getting on the water by 12/1 so a long paddle into Low's is doable. Few hours?

I did the 9 carries with my brother a while back. It was August and awesome, and we literally saw a handful or people and no one where we camped. Couldn't believe it. My wife and I did the Oswegatchie too. Same deal. Beautiful.

Thanks,
Scott
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Old 02-17-2017, 01:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooter_Canoe View Post
I

If you have the time and endurance, why not head all the way down the bog river into Lowes Lake. The sites are more spread out there and you'll see less traffic that far down. Once out there, you are bound to run into the amazing park ranger that maintains the area, and they are very helpful at letting you know which sites are available. I ran into them everyday on each of the 2 trips i have been on the Lake.
Dawn is the Assistant DEC Ranger who patrols Lows. She lives with her family on the access road, not far from the Flow. Her husband is the BSA camp caretaker. Dawn is easily recognizable in her green kayak with bright yellow paddle blades. She works for Ranger Corenne Black, who is the primary ranger assigned to the Lows/Bog River area. Ranger Will Benzel may sometimes assist during busy times as well (it was his area before Coreenne) All are very helpful and nice to LNT friendly campers.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hikercanoer View Post
Thanks Scooter. We're coming from NJ Sunday morning but we'll be leaving early, hopefully getting on the water by 12/1 so a long paddle into Low's is doable. Few hours?
If you move right along, you should be able to reach the carry from the lower dam in about an hour or less. Another hour and a half paddling up the flow to reach the main opening of Lows beyond the BSA waterfront property, then depending on wind and ability, another hour or a bit more to reach Grass Pond to the west.
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:06 AM   #18
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Thanks Wldrns!
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