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For the past year now I have had this desire to paddle across Raquette lake and into the Marion river. Here I would make the flat half mile carry to Utowana lake continuing through Eagle lake and reaching Blue Mountain lake, a total distance of about 14 miles. On Sunday September 30th myself and three other friends did just that.

We arrived at Raquette lake just as the sun was rising and the fog was rolling across the surface of the lake like the stage of a rock concert, however the silence was deafening.  It was a cool 39 degrees as I unstrapped my kayak from the roof of my car. Yes I brought my heavy kayak for this adventure. For some reason I have always been intimidated by the size and notorious winds of Raquette lake. The weather report for the day was calling for 8 MPH winds and I had visions of white caps dancing in my head. With that said I chose poorly and that decision would haunt me a little later in our adventure.

The water was like glass as we set out to cross Raquette lake under the watchful eye of Blue Mountain towering 14 miles in the distance. With only a small navigation snafu we reached the mouth of the Marion river in 3.30 miles according to my GPS. The Marion river was beautiful with its mirrored reflections of autumn beginning to paint the landscape. We twisted and turned up the river several miles before we reached a somewhat large beaver dam. We knew this dam would be here and that we would have to exit our boats in order to get around it. Once we got over the damn it was only another quarter mile or so to the Marion river carry.

This carry from the Marion river to Utowana lake follows the former road bed of the Marion River Railroad. It is only a half mile long and was the world’s shortest railroad. Here is where my kayak would come back to haunt me. Without gear my kayak weighs in a 52 pounds at 14 1/2 feet long. I probably had at least 8 pounds of gear stowed in the boat. So I had the pleasure of carrying 60 pounds on my shoulders for a half mile. A huge departure from my 17 pound canoe…

Once we reached the put in on Utowana lake we were about half way through our journey. In other significance this is where the wind would finally kick up as we paddled our way up through Utowana and into Eagle lake. The entrance from Eagle lake into Blue Mountain lake has two routes that go under bridges and around a small island. Entering Blue Mountain lake we would see the only other paddlers during our trip. From here it was about a mile or so to our take out spot in the hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake.

Once we were off the water and boats loaded I was ready for my long trip back home. As I approached Old Forge I had thought I might want to stop quick at Fulton Chain Craft Brewery. But I was exhausted and just wanted to get home. I made a quick stop to top off the gas tank, grabbed some coffee and kept rolling for home. Not only did I rack up another 425 miles on my car I was part of some great memories with some amazing friends. I look forward to doing it again soon somewhere in the Park.

Cheers!

Pulling into Raquette Lake, NY the sunrise was amazing. This is one of my favorite views in the Adirondack Park. © Joe Geronimo

Starting my day on Raquette lake. © Joe Geronimo

Crossing Raquette lake on our way to the Marion river. © Joe Geronimo

Wayne, Jan & Hugh crossing Raquette lake on our way to the Marion river. © Joe Geronimo

When the autumn colors are just starting to pop you improvise and bring your own. Jan giving a big wave on Raquette lake. © Joe Geronimo

Jan & Hugh on Raquette lake. © Joe Geronimo

Wayne making his way across Raquette lake. © Joe Geronimo

Blue Mountain keeps a watchful eye as Hugh crosses Raquette lake. © Joe Geronimo

Hugh and Jan entering the mouth of the Marion river. © Joe Geronimo

Making my way along the Marion river. © Joe Geronimo

Hugh and I on the Marion river. © Joe Geronimo

Hugh and I on the Marion river. © Joe Geronimo

Hugh and I on the Marion river. © Joe Geronimo

Wayne and I chatting it up on the Marion river. © Joe Geronimo

Wayne & Jan along the Marion river. © Joe Geronimo

This was a cool obstacle along the Marion river. The reflection in the water was amazing. © Joe Geronimo

Wayne & Jan along the Marion river. © Joe Geronimo

Hugh & Wayne getting their boats over the beaver dam. © Joe Geronimo

Wayne assisting Jan getting her boat over the dam. I dragged my heavy kayak around the beaver dam through the mud. © Joe Geronimo

Jan & Hugh carry their canoes between the Marion river and Utowana lake. © Joe Geronimo

Wayne & Mya make their way along the Marion river carry. © Joe Geronimo

On Utowana lake the sun peaked out from behind the clouds for a few minutes. © Joe Geronimo

Wayne paddling up Utowana lake. © Joe Geronimo

Hugh & I paddle up Utowana lake with Blue Mountain looming in the distance. © Joe Geronimo

We’ve gotten a little further up Utowana lake. © Joe Geronimo

Hugh & I along Eagle lake. © Joe Geronimo

I’ve just entered Blue Mountain lake. © Joe Geronimo

Wayne & I on Blue Mountain lake. © Joe Geronimo

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