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Old 03-23-2021, 12:45 PM   #20
RichieC's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 349
Well the main part of Stillwater and any large expanse of water you plan on paddling... is about timing IMHO. Wldrns is about as experienced a paddler and back-country navigator as you will ever meet, his credentials are unassailable, so i am not contradicting his experiences.. . But I am betting he isn't starting out at 1:00 in the afternoon- I'll bet its closer to 5 am... coming or going LOL.

SO i offer my experience learned over many years, and it is the trick to ANY lake in the Adirondacks is arrive very early, do your main part of lake traveling well before noon, or wait and do it in the evening- though morning is better. Basically, before the sun comes up and starts up the gods wind motor, especially in lakes that lie in the prevailing wind direction like any of the larger lakes in the Adirondacks with a southwest/west to northeast/east orientation, wind can get up a head of steam the direction of travel.

Small lakes and ponds don't concern me much. But lakes like the north end of Raquette and Stillwater, and heck i got caught bad at Essex Chain alone in a guideboat. (See images) Right after they opened it up i scouted it out, I had gone to first and camped down the outlet- where it has always been state land. Then the next day, i toured them all, It was a lovely fall day, I thought i was safe. But then the wind kicked up! White caps were nipping at the gunnels. Guideboats can swamp in a split second and the front was getting caught in gusts and swinging without a steering partner in the back . But i had an option with the road right there- so I turned around 1/4 of the way up third, and returned to the road. Had to roll out all the way from the culvert between 4th and 5th. Glad i brought my wheels with me! ( Last image is on the road out!) So no matter what... sometimes indeed you have to make a responsible decision to wait and NOT fight it.

So this is my strategy- and it has held true for me. If a storm or front is moving in, all bets are off, pick somewhere else... but starting early is ALWAYS your best bet. And it optimizes your time on the water! I don't think anyone will disagree with it.
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