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Old 07-16-2020, 12:41 AM   #21
DSettahr
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Thanks for this link- I'm curious as to the total mileage of my trip. This post indicates (but does not outright state) that my itinerary clocks it at over 50 miles total. I'm thinking about spending an afternoon with ArcGIS mapping out the full route (click by click by click) to come up with an at least fairly approximate mileage for my itinerary...
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Old 07-16-2020, 01:29 AM   #22
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Lucked out on the Oswegatchie portion... epic rainfall amounts meant that I was able to float over every single beaver dam except one (which as I understand it, is incredibly unusual for any time period outside of the spring freshet).
I will also add that I am glad in retrospect that I did have some ability (gained from previous paddling experience) to read the river... while the Oswegatchie was certainly anything but technical for the most part during my trip, there were some sections (particularly between the headwaters and High Falls) with the high water that I was glad to be able to have some skill at picking the "best route" through submerged obstacles, unseen except for their influence upon the surface flow patterns of the moving water.

The monument plaque inside the Griffin Rapids lean-to to a paddler who drowned on the river in 2003 at a strainer was sobering, to say the least.
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Old 07-16-2020, 05:59 AM   #23
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You were indeed lucky with the water level and the beaver dams. I have done that trip and lost count when crossing upwards of 70 dams and heard that others have done the same. Some dams could be blown through, others not so much. I have not seen that monument plaque, but I do remember the one particularly dangerous strainer that I passed over a short time before the fatal incident. There were two smooth parallel logs stuck over a narrow deep water relatively fast current section where exiting to shore was not an easy option. One would have to get out with feet stepping from one log to the next and pull the boat across over both. I remember thinking at the time it looked bad because there was just enough room between the logs for a a person to slip through into the slot and be carried underneath. I later heard from a ranger that is what happened to the paddler.
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Old 07-16-2020, 08:40 AM   #24
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I got back from doing this trip earlier today. It was amazing. I didn't speak to a single person for nearly 7 full days (saw other groups from a distance at times on Lila and Low's, even waved to 1 or 2 other paddlers across the water, but no other contact). Lucked out on the Oswegatchie portion... epic rainfall amounts meant that I was able to float over every single beaver dam except one (which as I understand it, is incredibly unusual for any time period outside of the spring freshet). Will try to get a proper trip report up at some point, but it will take some time (gotta edit the hundreds of photos I took along the way first).
Great to hear. What boat did you take?
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Old 07-17-2020, 10:25 AM   #25
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Welcome back. Curious to hear about the portage from Low's Lake to Big Deer and onto the Oswegtachie. (My wife and I are doing that the week after next.) Also, where'd you end up camping on Low's (Grass Pond)?
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Old 07-22-2020, 11:22 PM   #26
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Great to hear. What boat did you take?
Placid Boatworks Spitfire 13.

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Welcome back. Curious to hear about the portage from Low's Lake to Big Deer and onto the Oswegtachie. (My wife and I are doing that the week after next.) Also, where'd you end up camping on Low's (Grass Pond)?
Those two particular portages were in great shape (especially compared to some of the other portages on the trip). Both were cleared to a wide corridor (making maneuvering with a canoe over your head fairly easy). There was some very mild blowdown but nothing that presented a substantial challenge.

The put in/take out on Big Deer Pond were a bit of a challenge- mostly due to recent beaver activity that has raised the level of water on this pond. Apparently the former Campsite #2 at Big Deer Pond is now underwater... a new site has been marked but it's not the greatest (a bit lacking in flat ground).

I camped at Grass Pond- one of my favorite spots to camp in the ADKs. Surprisingly, after seeing Lila packed on Thursday night, and many of the sites on Low's proper also occupied, I was the only person camped on Grass Pond on Friday night. I briefly contemplated snagging site 29, which is fairly open and has tons of flat ground, but I remembered site 31 also being nice from a prior visit so I camped there. My memory was mostly correct- site 31 is in a nice stand of pines atop a small hill adjacent to the pond. It works well for a small group (1-2 tents) but a larger group would probably have trouble situating 3 or more tents.

On previous visits (both by foot and canoe) I've camped at sites 32 and 33, and both of those are nice as well.
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Old 07-24-2020, 06:14 PM   #27
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Nice work, DSetthar! I'm a bit jealous but very happy you got to do this trip. Looking forward to seeing pictures.
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Old 07-24-2020, 06:42 PM   #28
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On previous visits (both by foot and canoe) I've camped at sites 32 and 33, and both of those are nice as well.
I'll claim 32 as the nicest on the lake with its pine needle floor, view, and nice landing bay. 30 is cozy and small. 29 is the closest for climbing the ridge to the top of GPM (did you make that bushwhack climb?). 33 is not bad on an elevated area a few feet higher over the lake. 34 is just bad. I have a story of a very unfortunate experience encounter with a float plane and a couple of redneck yahoos at 33, but that story is in the far distant past now.

The Deer Pond campsite and trail beyond along the shoreline has often been and is frequently flooded many times. It is best to launch and paddle across the pond to pick up the trail on the other side.

Did you see the mailbox on the trail along the way? People used to leave it with interesting written messages. Was there still a beaver flooded portion of the trail beyond?

When I took that trail shortly after it was cleared after the 1995 derecho blowdown, I had a wheeled cart. The wheels were held on by big knurled knobs. Unfortunately the trail crew did not cut the logs wide enough for ease of wheel passage. Every time the knob on the left side partially climbed the end of a log it turned it a little until the wheel finally fell off and I had permanently lost the knob some distance back. On trips after that it was best to carry my canoe overhead on that trail.
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Old 07-26-2020, 04:50 PM   #29
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I remember the mail box, and at the far end of the carry the remains of a cart, spoked wheels , don't think the tyres had any air left in them though!
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Old 07-26-2020, 04:58 PM   #30
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I remember the mail box, and at the far end of the carry the remains of a cart, spoked wheels , don't think the tyres had any air left in them though!
Not my cart. I jerry rigged something to hold my wheel on and continued all the way with my cart which I still have and use to this day with a better locking nut.
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:42 PM   #31
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Grass Pond Mountain was on my "to do list" and I even got to Low's relatively early in the day with the intention of facilitating the climb. However, that day was so incredibly disgustingly humid that I elected to instead spend the afternoon hanging out in camp on Grass Pond. Can't say I really regret that decision.

Yep, the mailbox is still there, on the headwaters carry. It's just past the beaver dam. Interestingly, the guidebook (my copy of which is 12+ years old) describes the mailbox as having been at the height of land on the carry, which is maybe another few tenths of a mile west. So perhaps the mailbox has moved? (I checked my photos from my first visit to the headwaters carry, by foot in 2011, and they show the mailbox more or less in the same spot as it is now.)

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Nice work, DSetthar! I'm a bit jealous but very happy you got to do this trip. Looking forward to seeing pictures.
You'll be happy to hear that I finally scratched off a few other items on my "to do list" this past week- paddle to Duck Hole (where I camped for 3 nights) and climb (bushwhack) Couchsachraga from the Cold River.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:23 PM   #32
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It sounds like you had a great trip, I'd be very interested in seeing the pictures or more trip details sometime when you have time to post them. It's a great area and I'm looking forward to when I'll be able to explore it more, in a year or two or so.
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