October 2016 I spent a couple days kayaking in the Adirondacks under amazing Autumn skies. While on 7th lake I discovered Payne’s Air Service and was immediately intrigued. I’m not really a big fan of video and I think this was literally the fifth time using the video feature on my DSLR camera, but gave it a go. I only took a few very short clips. I asked my son if he would take them to school for me and merge them together.
The video is a bit bumpy most likely due to the motion of my kayak, however I think it represents the uniqueness of the Adirondacks.
It does not take much to persuade me to visit the Adirondacks and I had been getting the urge to kayak another small portion of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. I had been stalking the weather and foliage report for days now and according to the information I could find foliage was close to peak conditions near Old Forge. On Wednesday morning I packed up and headed north.
I rolled into Old Forge around 12:30 making my first stop at Walt’s Diner for lunch. After lunch I headed about 10 miles north to 6th Lake in Inlet, NY so I could check the launch site for the next morning. Arriving I found a gentleman sitting on a bench attempting to catch some fish, he looked familiar to me so I approached and asked “Are you David Patterson”? Turning his head replying “Yes I am”. David is a extremely talented local photographer who I have only had contact with online. It was a real pleasure to meet him in person and chat for a bit.
My goal for this trip was to kayak 6th and 7th lake in my ongoing attempt to paddle as much of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail as I can in my lifetime. I have studied the maps and in my opinion there is not the “Perfect” boat for every section of this trail. So I thought to myself heck if I do it in pieces I can use a multitude of boats depending on where I am paddling, sounds logical, right!
Returning to Old Forge I checked into my motel and went right down to Old Forge Pond to witness sunset. It truly was a beautiful evening with the crisp autumn air, setting sun and a sky that was dotted with puffy white clouds. For dinner I found myself at Stetson’s Bar in the VanAuken’s Inne across from the Thendera train station. This was a great place to kick back with some good food and a cold beer after a long day.
The morning was blanketed in a heavy fog so I decided to put off my kayaking for a little while giving the sun time to burn a lot of it off. Stepping out of my car at the 6th lake boat launch an immediate aroma of burning wood was tantalizing my senses, signaling that fall was truly here. Gazing out over the placid waters of 6th lake, I quietly pushed myself off under a palette of beautiful reds, yellows and oranges quickly noticing that I was the sole paddler that morning. A single Loon shortly passed me by and its call echoed off the mountain sides shattering the silence. Just over a mile in length 6th lake passes under 7th Lake Road and into the significantly larger 7th lake. My first order of business was to make my way towards the Payne’s Air Service dock so I could watch the intriguing frequency of float planes taking off and landing. This was extremely fun and I’m already planning ahead for next Autumn and taking a ride myself.
Hugging the shoreline, admiring all the beautiful homes dotted along the lakes edge I again found myself being the only one on the lake. As I approached the east end I could hear a motor boat in the distance and the planes taking off and landing but not one other canoe or kayak was on the water. At this point I was getting hungry and noticed a sandy beach on an island with a picnic table and thought that would be a perfect spot to take a break on my way back. Shortly after I arrived at the New York State 8th Lake campground and discovered there were quite a bit of campers getting ready for their final hurrah during the upcoming Columbus Day weekend. In order to get to 8th Lake you would have to carry your canoe or kayak through the campground approximately 1.5 miles. I decided not to do this as my kayak is a bit heavy and I didn’t have canoe/kayak wheels with me so I’ll save that for another day.
I did stop and take a break at that sandy beach and was able to absorb the shear beauty of the scenery that surrounded me. While I was there a couple arrived in their boat with two dogs. They told me they come here all the time as a place to relax and let the dogs run and swim. I was back in my kayak and the wind had begun to pick up a bit creating little chop on the lake. I was excited because this would be my first time experiencing this in my new to me kayak. I love this kayak and it performed exceptionally well. The wind would play games for a while by settling down and then it would pick up again making this a recurring theme for the rest of my time on 7th Lake.
Once I was back on the somewhat sheltered 6th Lake the waters became calm and glass like again. Getting off the water and loading my boat back onto my car I sat on that same bench I had mentioned earlier, took a few moments in order to reflect on my journey and the shear beauty of it all. The colors were amazing, the scenery spectacular and the time spent in a place I love, Priceless!
Ever since I laid eyes on the Old Town Cayuga 146 (14′ 6″) kayak I was in love. However I was just simply too fat to fit in the boat. Old Town stopped making this boat a few years ago and they are almost impossible to find used. Early this spring I discovered that St. Regis Canoe Outfitters of Saranac Lake use them in their rental fleet and occasionally they will sell one or two.
As luck would have it a Cayuga 146 complete with rudder did come available and I immediately reserved it and made my trek north. The weather in Saranac Lake today was absolutely perfect, a cool 38 degrees this morning when I woke. I picked up my boat right after they opened and shortly I was on Lake Flower.
Paddling along gazing at the serenity, making a few adjustments to my seat a gentleman in a beautiful Eddyline kayak came up upon me and asked me where I was headed. I promptly said “I Have no clue”. He introduced himself as “Dave” and offered for me to tag along. Dave would guide me along from Lake Flower, Oseetah Lake to the lower locks & dam where Oseetah and the Saranac River meet. According to my map we paddled about 9 miles down and back. As an added bonus to me this section is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, adding a few miles in my ongoing quest to complete the 740 mile route in pieces.
I love this boat! Super comfortable, fast and tracks pretty darn well and has a ton of storage for a multiple day camping trip. One last impression was that I’ve been using my 17lb Hornbeck canoe for sometime now so this 50Lb kayak was an eye opener.
Looking forward to getting some more miles in this sweet thing here real shortly.
Julie had plans to head north for the day, check out some new canoes and kayaks and do a little paddling ourselves. The weather wasn’t perfect but it was warm and we had no rain. Upon arriving in Old Forge we made our way right to the waterfront where all the boats were and the test paddling was taking place. Julie quickly fell in love with a very light weight Swift Kayak http://www.swiftcanoe.com/#!adirondack-12-lt/c1wd4
This boat is beautiful and pricey so she is keeping it in mind for a future purchase. After spending time Oohing and Awing at all the beautiful products it was time to take “Elsie” off the car and hit the water ourselves. We launched on Old Forge Pond and paddled the channel to First Lake where we would take in the views and the homes that dotted the shoreline.
A few hours later we were back on dry land and hungry. No trip to Old Forge would not be complete without a good meal at Walt’s Diner. Now that we were fed it was off to Mountain Man to see all the other cool products that were part of the weekend. There were lots more canoes and kayaks, shoes, clothing, paddles, etc. However there was one thing that caught our attention quickly, a Sylvan Sport camper http://www.sylvansport.com We absolutely loved it and are seriously considering one of these in the near future.
To finish out the day we took a ride north a few miles to Inlet, NY where we spent a little time taking in the views of Fourth, Fifth, Sixth & Seventh lakes. While stopped at Seventh Lake we bumped into an extremely friendly local resident. I didn’t notice at first but eventually I realized she was wearing a 2016 Binghamton Bridge Run shirt.
Our day was long but extremely fun and we scouted some new places to paddle on our next trip to the Adirondacks.
On a recent morning before going to work I was reminiscing in my mind of a trip to the Adirondacks I had taken not to long ago. The trip was a memorable one to say the least. Fresh in my mind was the vivid sunset I had laid witness to while in Tupper Lake, NY that evening. I’d have to say it was one of the most breath taking I’ve seen in my lifetime.
I was fortunate to be able to make several images of that sunset during its many stages. However one image in particular I never really liked so it never made it to the editing process. Over the past several days that particular image has grown on me and I’ve found myself going back to look at it repeatedly. I finally realized what it is I have come to love about that image. Its not perfect, and neither am I or anyone else for that matter. It reinforces to me that even though we as humans are not perfect there is something to love about everyone.
The state paid $14.5 million for the tract, according to a deed filed April 5 in the Essex County clerk’s office. The state has yet to announce the sale, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation refused to answer questions about how public access will be managed. In the past, DEC has suggested that the public will be allowed to drive to within a mile or so of the ponds via a dirt road.
A source told the Almanack that the road to the ponds is gated (and probably will remain so for the duration of mud season) and that the ponds are still frozen. The Nature Conservancy confirmed the sale after the Almanack broke the story. Its news release linked to a video of Boreas Ponds.
The conservancy’s website also offers breathtaking photos of Boreas Ponds. The Nature Conservancy bought all 161,000 acres of the Finch, Pruyn lands in 2007. It later sold 89,000 acres to a Danish pension fund. The state owns a conservation easement on these lands that permits logging but prohibits subdivision and development.
In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would purchase, in stages, 65,000 acres for the Forest Preserve, including the Essex Chain Lakes, OK Slip Falls, parts of the Hudson Gorge, and Boreas Ponds. The other properties have already been acquired.
“We are grateful to Governor Cuomo and his team for recognizing that investing in nature is an investment in New York’s future. From providing cost-effective natural water filtration and carbon storage to bolstering the tourism economy, protecting these forests and waters is an investment that will produce very big returns. We look forward to continuing to work with the state and Adirondack communities,” said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy.
DEC and the Adirondack Park Agency now will have to decide how to manage and classify the Boreas Ponds Tract — decisions sure to be controversial.
Environmentalists want most of the tract added to the High Peaks Wilderness, whereas local officials favor a Wild Forest classification. The main difference between Wilderness and Wild Forest is that motorized uses and bicycling are banned in Wilderness Areas.
The Adirondack Council and Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) are sponsoring a petition drive dubbed Be Wild NY to persuade the Cuomo administration to add to the High Peaks Wilderness not only the bulk of the Boreas Ponds Tract, but also the Dix Mountain Wilderness and some smaller parcels of former Finch, Pruyn lands. If this is done, the High Peaks Wilderness, already the largest Wilderness Area in the Adirondack Park, would grow to roughly 280,000 acres from 204,000 acres.
But North Hudson Supervisor Ron Moore, whose town includes Boreas Ponds, told the Adirondack Explorer last fall that he wants the tract classified as Wild Forest to facilitate public access and maximize its recreational potential. For example, he wants people to be allowed to bicycle on old logging roads in the area.
“We’re not looking to destroy the environment,” he said. “We’re looking to use an existing infrastructure of roads. We want as many people to enjoy the area as possible.”
Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council, maintains that the Wilderness classification will attract a variety of outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, paddlers, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers, and boost the local economy. He added that the tract could serve as a new gateway to the popular High Peaks Wilderness.
Controversy also has arisen over the status of Gulf Brook Road, a former logging road that leads to Boreas Ponds. Environmentalist groups agree that much of the road should be left open to allow the public to drive as far as LaBiere Flow, an impounded section of the Boreas River about a mile from Boreas Ponds. From there hikers could walk and canoeists could paddle and portage to the ponds.
Some wilderness advocates, such as Bill Ingersoll, publisher of the Discover the Adirondacks guidebooks, maintain that the road should be closed. This would require people to hike about seven miles to get to the ponds. In contrast, Moore contends that the public should be able to drive beyond LaBiere Flow to within three-quarters of a mile of Boreas Ponds. The disabled, he said, should be able to drive to within a quarter-mile of the ponds.
Gulf Brook Road also figures in a disagreement among environmentalists over where to draw the line between Wilderness and Wild Forest.
Protect the Adirondacks contends that Gulf Brook Road is the logical boundary. Under this scenario, it would also serve as a snowmobile trail in winter connecting North Hudson and Newcomb.
The council, ADK, and Adirondack Wild favor a plan that would extend the Wilderness boundary south of Gulf Brook almost to Blue Ridge Road, a major county highway. The snowmobile trail would then be cut between Blue Ridge Road and the Wilderness Area.
The hitch with this plan is that Gulf Brook Road would then penetrate the Wilderness Area. In order to allow people to drive to LaBiere Flow, the road would be classified as a Primitive Corridor.
Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, contends that creating a Primitive Corridor would weaken the protections for Wilderness in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. “If we’re going to have a motorized road, it should be in a Wild Forest Area,” he told the Explorer last fall. He also said that using the road for the snowmobile trail would obviate the cutting of thousands of trees.
Janeway counters that the Be Wild NY plan maximizes the amount of land to be classified as Wilderness and that state regulations would limit the number of trees cut for the snowmobile trail.
Other issues are whether a lodge on the south shore of Boreas Ponds, built by Finch, Pruyn as a corporate retreat, should be removed and whether a concrete dam at the foot of the ponds should maintained.