Re: Section two questions
Mark Canoe tripping in mid-May you are typically just ahead of the major black fly emergence. Temperatures are harder to predict. You could easily have a frost at night, or snow flurries, or a cold 40 degree rainy day – or a string of perfect days in the 70s… The water is still very cold in May – I am quite conservative about open water crossings and whitewater that early because of the danger of hypothermia if I take an inadvertent swim.
Paddling in the Adirondacks before Memorial Day you’ll mostly have the lakes to yourselves, other than a few folks out fishing for the day. You will be camping on the Saranac Lakes for at least one night – it is possible to reserve those in advance. I do not know how popular they are in May. During the Summer they are booked far in advance. I’d advise you to make reservations before the trip to be safe.
The Raquette Falls Carry and the Indian Carry are each over a mile long. They are well marked and well-trodden paths, although a bit rocky in places. There are a couple of shorter carries too, including my all-time favorite at the quaint hand-operated Upper Locks.
Three nights is a typical trip length from Long Lake to Saranac lake. It would be easy to stretch that out by exploring more, (or spending more time in camp cooking, etc!). For an experienced and strong group with good weather Long lake to Union Falls Dam would be quite doable in five days, but that would not be a leisurely itinerary.
The ten miles below Union Falls Dam are difficult, technical whitewater, and fun for skilled whitewater kayakers, but not practical as part of a canoe-camping expedition.
Camping the first night on Long Lake, the next on the Raquette River somewhere, and the third and fourth nights on the lovely Saranac Lakes might make a real nice trip for your purposes!
For campgrounds before and after your trip: Lake Eaton State Campground is a few minutes outside Long Lake – it has tent and RV sites, and hot showers, and opens May 15th this year. Fish Creek State Campground has similar amenities and is adjacent to Upper Saranac Lake – I think it opens in April.
Happy trails! – Kalmia