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Old 06-02-2016, 07:40 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 164
Lake Lila Swimming

I'm heading to Lake Lila next week and I was looking for a little feedback.
First, any idea what the water temps may be? Was really hoping that we could do some good swimming (rather than a dunk and dash)?
Second, can you guys recommend a camp site with a good rocky steep dropoff for jumping out?
I'm a bit torn. I typically prefer the rocky drop-offs to a long flat bottom where you have to wade for a while to get deep enough to swim. However, my 5 year old son is coming and that would make a better play area for him. Also, it would probably be warmer.
Finally, any input on a campsite with enough breeze/exposure to keep the bugs down?
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Old 06-12-2016, 04:17 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 164
Just got back from Lake Lila and figured I would post an answer to my own question so at least it's cataloged for other people who might be looking for similar info. Also figured I would leave some other info that I had a hard time finding before we left.

There were only two other groups in the parking lot before we left. Only 2 additional groups came in over the weekend. We met two Rangers at the parking area and they were very friendly and helpful. They checked PFD's, fishing licenses, and self issue permit for the firewood we brought.

Our goal was spruce island, but it was already taken. The other group went to Canada Island so we decided to try for Buck Island.

First, we headed out on Thursday in the worst wind I have ever canoed in. Really big waves, steady 30-35 mph with gusts easily into the 50's. It took us about 4 hours to get to the big point. We were paddling directly into the wind.

After that we decided to stay at the site #20 on the point. There was a bit of wind shelter from Spruce Island and despite being fairly exposed the wind in camp was not too much of a problem.

Over the course of the trip we checked a few other campsites and concluded that the one we chose was the nicest. All the sites were nice, but Spruce and Buck were smaller and had very small landing areas. They were also up on the tops of the islands and further from the water. Site 19 was also smaller but had a nice beach and a rocky point. Snell island was very exposed and small. All sites had been picked clean of firewood. All sites had a good thunder box with good privacy. Site 19's box was a little close to camp for my comfort.

Our site, #20, had easy room for 3 tents and a wide open understory. Good firepit and kitchen area on some downed trees. As for swimming, it was a great combination of beach and deep water rocks. There was a nice crescent sheltered beach for landing boats and wading although you needed to walk about 50 yards before the water got more then knee/thigh deep. Sandy bottom with areas of reeds and areas that were clear. To the left of the beach was a rocky point where you could jump (carefully) into deep swimming water with no problem. The fisherman in our group caught a few bass off the point there.

The water temp was perfect. Maybe a tad warmer would have been nice. I would guess it was in the high 50's in the deeper areas. The shallow beach area was well into the 60's. I brought my 5 year old son and the deep was too cold for his liking, but the beach was about as good as it gets for a kid.

The other side of the site had great views of the sunset from several nice sitting spots.

We paddled part of the single shanty up to the first beaver dam and it was such a beautiful relaxing easy drifting trip.

Thursday and Friday the wind was really bad, but Friday afternoon and Saturday were nice and calm and we could do a bit of exploring. The lake is a great size. I read somewhere else that it was small enough that you could check out every campsite and then go back to the one you wanted. That may be a bit of a stretch, but only a bit. In fair conditions a fit person (or pair) could paddle around in a couple hours. At a comfortable relaxing pace you could get around the lake if you left mid morning, took a lunch break, and finished up in the afternoon.

Coming back from site #20 we were paddling as slowly as we could, given that no one wanted the trip to be over, and it took less than 1/2 hour to get to the trailhead.

There was a lot of mixed info online about the carry trail and whether wheels would help. Wheels help. There are many tough spots for wheels, but there are many stretches where you can cover a lot of ground without picking up the canoe (or kayak). Big wheels are much better.

Our process was to pack like a backpacking trip but we also had a tackle box, firewood, a small cooler, tents not in packs, and an extra handbag. We had 4 adults and one child. 2 canoes and 2 kayaks. We took 2 trips down the carry trail. First trip was wearing backpacks and carrying kayaks (2 people per) with the tents, pfds and tackle box in them. One of us also had the cooler over the shoulder and one had the handbag.

Next we walked back up and put the firewood in the two canoes over the center part over the wheels. The wheels were strapped on, if you can't strap the wheels on, don't bother with them. The firewood was heavy, a mix of black walnut and cherry. We laid the wood pointed front to back and made one stack in each canoe filling the area under the yoke. Wheeling them down there were a few parts where all 4 of us would lift a canoe over obstacles and then get the other one. Most of the trail 2 people could hand the canoes on the wheels with minor lifting.

On the way back, with no fire wood and an empty cooler, we put all the gear in the canoes. I was able to pull one of the canoes on the wheels almost all the way back to the parking lot without lifting it. A little speed and yanking in some spots was all it took.

Last but not least, not a bug in site. No mosquito bites, no black flies, nothing. Probably because of the wind, rain and cold. The highs were probably in the low 60's at best. At night it was in the high 30's.

That's about all I can think of to share. It was a fantastic trip and one I will be doing again. I hope this info helps some other people who might be planning a trip out there.
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:04 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: central NYS
Posts: 267
Thanks so much for your trip report. The last time I was on Lila my daughter was in 6th grade; she's now in her early 30s. Sounds like it's time to get back with my grandsons!

That's all for now. Take care and until next well.

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Old 06-17-2016, 08:54 AM   #4
RichieC's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 342
Site 20 is my favorite, but it can get windy, and the White pines are huge. Sadly, I was told a woman was killed at that site, by a falling tree in the storm of '95. If its very windy, we have chosen other sites.
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Old 06-17-2016, 08:59 AM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 972
Originally Posted by RichieC View Post
Site 20 is my favorite, but it can get windy, and the White pines are huge. Sadly, I was told a woman was killed at that site, by a falling tree in the storm of '95. If its very windy, we have chosen other sites.
I've often wondered how often people are killed or injured by trees while camping. I look up a lot myself, especially near huge white pines with eroded root systems and wonder when she is going to come down, and in which direction.

Then I usually forget about it and figure my chance of being killed by a falling tree is probably about the same as being struck by lightening. And well, I guess there are worse ways to go...
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lila, swimming

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