Recently I carried my canoe 3 miles into Middle Settlement Lake in the west central Adirondacks outside of Old Forge, NY. I’ve been eyeing this adventure for a while now. This is one of the reasons I originally purchased light weight carbon/kevlar canoes in order to explore ponds and lakes further into the wilderness.
Middle Settlement Lake is located in the 26,600 acre Ha-de-ron-dah Wilderness in the western foothills of the Adirondacks, there is a lean to located on the lake as well. Almost immediately after signing the trailhead register you are treated with 2/10 of a mile steep climb. From here the trail descends and becomes relatively rolling all the way to the lake. However there are some muddy sections and at one point I thought I was going to literally loose my shoes.
Once we reached the 46 acre lake we discovered a large group currently at the lean-to. We were disappointed but found a nearby vacant campsite to take a break and have lunch. I enjoyed paddling this lake and the adventure of getting there and back. I will say by time I got back to my car I was done. It was so humid on the trail and my clothes were completely soaked through. In the end I was happy that I did it!
Life has been hectic for me this year as I have barely gotten out on the water. Below you will find a video link to this adventure and two other recent outings in the Adirondacks.
In mid August I had the opportunity to paddle a portion of the upper Susquehanna river here in New York. In all honesty I really never thought much about it. When a friend suggested we do it I was intrigued.
We launched from the Crumhorn Pond/Susquehanna State Forest a few miles north of Portlandville, NY. Upon arrival I was shocked to see a Waterway Steward at the launch site checking boats for invasive species and washing them before they enter the water. In the Adirondacks I have seen many of these stewards but not so much around here. I think this is a great program!
The morning was warm and sunny as we slid our canoes into the water making our way from Crumhorn Pond into the Susquehanna. This section of the river differs immensely from where I live. The river is narrow and has more water due to the dam on Goodyear Lake. I loved the way the river snaked its way through the rural farm land of Central New York, throwing in a few hairpin turns just for fun.
Paddling north 4 miles to where the Cherry Valley Creek enters the river, we hung a right hand turn exploring the creek for about a mile. One spot we had to navigate a narrow passage due to a fallen tree across the creek. Shortly after we came to a point where we had to exit our boats due to low water and a small rock garden. We decided to take a break and have a snack and chat here for a bit before turning around and heading back. “Cherry Valley Creek is a 34.1-mile-long headwater tributary of the Susquehanna River in central New York. Cherry Valley Creek flows southwesterly through the Cherry Valley in Otsego County, making its way through the towns of Cherry Valley, Roseboom, and Middlefield before joining the Susquehanna River east of the village of Milford”.
On our way back that beautiful sunshine gave way to some storm clouds. We could hear thunder in the distance and we dodged a few rain drops as well. Thankfully the storm steered clear of us. As we entered Crumhorn Pond the boat launch had a few more people starting their day on the river. This was a fun 10 mile round trip adventure. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the upper Susquehanna river in the near future.
Nelson Lake which is tucked away south of Minnehaha, NY or just outside of Old Forge in the Black River Wild Forest has been on my radar for close to a year now. The week of September 23rd I found myself working very close to the Adirondack Park, combine that with beautiful weather and you have a recipe for adventure.
The Nelson Lake trailhead sits along route 28 several miles south of Thendera, NY. There is a .35 mile carry along a wide dirt road to the put-in. After you cross the railroad tracks the path narrows and drops for the remaining several hundred feet to the Middle Branch of the Moose River. Once on the river it was about .06 mile paddle to the Nelson Lake outlet according to my GPS. The outlet was shallow and loaded with Pickerel weed. I zigged and I zagged through the outlet and easily crossed a small beaver dam before entering the 84 acre lake.
A palette of red, orange and yellow was evidence that Autumn was here while the sun at my back gave me some warmth from a cool breeze. Slowly paddling the shoreline I realized I was alone, I had the entire lake to myself. As I made my way around the lake I was looking for campsites. I did see what I thought was one however it wasn’t marked. I’ll have to look into it for the future.
I would paddle 3.6 miles, hike just over a half mile but more importantly spend time in a beautiful landscape.
Last week the weather was spectacular and I would find myself in the Adirondack Park for a few days. I’ve been wanting to visit Helldiver Pond in the Moose River Plains area for quite some time. Mostly because “Harold” the resident bull moose makes his daily morning appearance, sadly Harold is rumored to have passed.
Moose or not I would make the trip to Helldiver Pond. Helldiver is nestled 10 miles in on a dirt road from the DEC sign in off of Limekiln Lake Road in Inlet, NY. Once at the parking area it is a short 1/4 mile carry to the 15 acre pond. I had the place to myself until I noticed a mountain biker show up with a pair of binoculars and scope the place out. I paddled over for a few minutes to chat.
As I have mentioned this pond had been on my to do list for a while. Although I went mooseless I was not disappointed. Autumn had begun to show its true colors.
This past week my friend Gary and I had planned to canoe camp 3 days in the St. Regis Canoe Area of the Adirondacks. The first day was a bust as it rained cats and dogs all day. By 6PM that evening the rain finally stopped, the clouds parted and the sun shined. However it was to late to get started so we spent the night in Lake Placid beer tasting..
The weather report for the remainder of our time looked sketchy but early Tuesday morning we set out on our adventure under beautiful clear skies. Peering at our paddlers map it was determined we had wanted a lean-to instead of tent camping. Launching off of Keese Mill Rd. in Paul Smith’s we passed two lean-to’s that were in decent locations but didn’t have the esthetics we had envisioned. Shortly we entered Lower St. Regis Lake rounding a point where the Peter’s Rock lean-to stood with it’s panoramic view of the lake. This was it! The downside it wasn’t nearly remote as we had hoped with its view of Paul Smith’s College across the lake. That said it was picture perfect and as it was vacant. Dropping our gear and staking our claim we were back in our canoes and off on the day’s adventure.
We would paddle just a little over 15 miles through some amazing scenery, carry our canoes between several ponds meeting other paddlers on their adventure as well. During the middle of the night the weather would start to change. The winds kicked up and the pitter patter of rain on the lean-to roof was a soothing sound. Lightning flickered in the nights sky like a candle with the soft rumbles of thunder in the distance. It took more than an hour for the first of two storms to finally reach us.
Laying in our sleeping bags we had an amazing view of the show. The rain and storms would be gone by 8Am but the wind was relentless. We waited the wind out until about 1-1:30 that afternoon before calling it as the weather wasn’t going to improve. We packed up our canoes and fought the wind for several miles attempting to reach the launch. Some of the gusts I would say exceeded 20MPH with a steady 15MPH head wind taking us a good 2 hours to get back.
This was my first time camping in a lean-to and I’ll admit it has spoiled me. And although the weather dashed our grand plans we still had a really fun trip and look forward to the next adventure.