May section 1 trip
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January 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm #110
My group will be doing section 1 this may probably around the 18th. I have a couple of questions. How long a paddle is section 1? I am thinking 2-3 days? What about if we do sections 1 and 2? Do you normally camp at the campgrounds or the lean to’s? I was also thinking about doing this the last week of April. Any thoughts on temps on either week? Last week of April or Mid May?
Also, are there any places to eat in local restaurants along the way, or should be plan on cooking at the camp sites. Thank!January 16, 2013 at 4:08 am #250
I think there were a string of replies to this question last year before the site went down–or has your question mysteriously reappeared again???
I repaddled Maps 1 and 2 last summer and did it in a more leisurely 6 vs. 3.5 days. I posted trip reports on my blog. http://www.kdaanen-nfct.blogspot.com
I’d say 4-5 days would be the slowest pace for doing section 1. 3 would still be pushing it.
I’d definitely plan on doing some cooking. There are places to eat up until Raquette Lake (on Fourth Lake and Inlet, and again at Raquette) but after leaving the hamlet of Raquette Lake at the west end of the lake, there aren’t any restaurants again until the village Long Lake, then nothing until the town Saranac Lake. There are lots of lean to options. I like them if they aren’t buggy. At this time of year though, the nights could still be cold and a tent would keep you warmer. I think the campsites on Forked, Middle and Lower Saranac Lake are spectacular, but require reservations (at least in summer. Not sure about the pre-Memorial Day policy.) Check out ReserveAmerica.com for rules. I also really liked staying at Tioga Point on Raquette Lake. You should be able to show up there without a reservation and get a site. There is no well-water at Tioga, but there is by the Forked Lake Ranger Station.
Unless you have bad weather or wind, you should be able to reach the lean-tos or camping on Seventh Lake on Day 1. The first lean-to on top of a small cliff is the nicer of the two on the north shore. Otherwise Alger Island, another state owned campground on Fourth Lake, is your other option. Day 2 to Tioga point or if you are pushing it, Forked Lake campground.
Maps 1 and 2 include some of my favorite sections of the NFCT, primarily for their scenic beauty and camping, but the Fulton Chain can be crazy busy with motors in summer. I do think April might still be really cold for camping–maybe even ice still on the lakes??? and some restaurants not open yet.
Good luck and post a trip report!January 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm #243
thanks for your input. When the site went down last year, I lost all the comments. If I am reading your correctly, if we can only paddle 3-4 days we should look at just section 1? I’ll stick with the May 18 dates. Also will check out the campgrounds. We typically hammock. We also filter our own water so that won’t be an issue. Thanks again. Will check out your blog.January 22, 2013 at 4:09 pm #251
@markaroberts 199 wrote:
thanks for your input. When the site went down last year, I lost all the comments. If I am reading your correctly, if we can only paddle 3-4 days we should look at just section 1? I’ll stick with the May 18 dates. Also will check out the campgrounds. We typically hammock. We also filter our own water so that won’t be an issue. Thanks again. Will check out your blog.
Would definitely be REALLY pushing it to get to Saranac Lake in three or even four days. Map 1 only to Long Lake would be about right. If you did feel like going a bit farther you could also take out at Axton Landing at the end of the Raquette River section–another 22.5 miles. But alas, no restaurants in this stretch! And a rather long portage midway.
FYI–Both times I paddled to the village of Long Lake, it was in the afternoon and I had head winds.January 22, 2013 at 10:30 pm #240Chris GillMember
I did Map 1 last June with my 10 year old daughter and it took us 2.5 days. We spent the first night on Seventh Lake, the second night at the end of the Forked Lake to Raquette River Carry in a lean-to, and ended at the town of Long Lake pretty early the next morning. The days were about 13.5, 19 and 6.5 miles. I would recommend shortening day 2 probably by lengthening day one.
If I were to plan the trip I would try to make it to the lean-to at the end of Eight Lake and the beginning of the Brown’s Tract Carry (17miles). There are lots of options if you don’t want to go this far. On day two you could plan on getting to one of the campsites on the Raquette River (15 to 18 miles).There’s a lean-to at the end of the carry from Forked Lake and several others on your way downstream to Long Lake. This would leave you a short last day. I would plan on having at least some wind issues especially on Raquette Lake which is notorious for weather problems, especially getting to Outlet Bay.
I’m from the northeast and the weather in May can be variable. Mid May is a great time to go, with any luck you might miss the bugs and see some great birds and wildflowers. This is right around the time the trees start to leaf out. Look at the forecast and bring appropriate clothing for the weather. You could have anything from frost to the 80’s.
Be ready to change plans if the original itnerary doesn’t work out. I highly recommend Raquette River Outfitters if you need a shuttle or anything else.February 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm #260
I paddled Map 1 May 14th-17th, 2009 with a ten-year-old and another adult. We slept on Fourth Lake the first night after driving over from Vermont, setting our own shuttle, and probably eating lunch in Old Forge. Our second night was on Raquette Lake, and the third on Forked Lake. There was some snow and ice still along the portage to Brown’s Tract in the woods as i recall, and the first few black flies were out, but not many. This was the same week as the Adirondack Paddlefest which made it hard to find an un-booked shuttle driver. We had rain on the first and third days and were glad to hole up in camp and not make long miles those days. The birding was pretty good and the trillium and goldthread and shadbush were blooming. We encountered only two other overnight paddler groups. Since it was before Memorial Day the campsites and leantos were all but empty. If you are comfortable with the cold water and prepared for the weather those weeks between ice-out and bug season are a really nice time of year for an Adirondack trip.February 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm #244
Thanks for all your input. We’ll stick with section 1 for this first trip. We have all done multi day trips here in KY Rivers, as well as having done week long trips in the Boundary Waters the last 5 years. They guys were interested if there was any places to eat along the way. Any suggestions where either of you stopped to eat along section 1? We don’t mind cooking for the 3 days, just thought the change up would be nice. Also, did you use an outfitter to pick you up at the take out or did you leave a car there? We were considering camping the night before in Old Forge at the camp ground by the put in. Dropping off the boats there, and driving the Explorer and canoe trailer up to the take out at the end of section one. How did you guys handle it?February 5, 2013 at 8:37 pm #252
I stopped for lunch at Daikers (a bar/grill) on Fourth Lake after launching around 10 am from Old Forge last year along the north shore about 1/3 of way onto the Lake. There are docks were you can tie up, but there are no signs from the water indicating that a restaurant is there. (Two-story log cabin sided building with a deck and tell-tale table umbrellas.) Inlet has several restaurants, but I only stopped for ice-cream there. The Raquette Lake Tavern is a nice stop any time of the day (especially if you are doing a pub-crawl by canoe!) We had steamed clams and a beer there waiting out a thunderstorm just after emerging from Brown’s Tract. The tavern is in the same building as the general store, on the back side. They may have burgers too. Nothing (I think) after that until Long Lake–where again there are several options, some closer to the water than others. The Adirondack Inn is across the street from the beach–another pub and restaurant. After Long Lake, your next gastronomic option isn’t until the village of Saranac Lake–lots of places there. I like the Blue Moon Cafe, but you’ll have the car by then and able to
We stayed in a motel the night before launching (softies!) and used St. Regis for shuttling from Old Forge to Saranac Lake. Left the car in Old Forge at the parking lot across from the snowmobile bridge (the visitor center will tell you where to park and leave a note in the window) and St. Regis picked it up and brought it to their place. (Had to send keys ahead of time with the payment.) We paddled to the car which meant we didn’t need to worry about meeting anyone at a specific time.February 6, 2013 at 1:14 am #261
We drove over from Vermont with two cars, and left one at the take out in Long Lake – would have paid for a shuttle, but since we were on the water the week of the Paddlefest no drivers were available!February 6, 2013 at 1:17 am #262
I paddled Map 1 May 14th-17th, 2009 with a ten-year-old and another adult. We slept on Fourth Lake the first night after driving over from Vermont, setting our own shuttle, and eating lunch on the beach as we launched. Our second night was on Raquette Lake, and the third on Forked Lake. The first few black flies were out, but not many, mostly at the beginning and end of the carries. This was the same week as the Adirondack Paddlefest which made it hard to find an un-booked shuttle driver. We had rain on the first and third days and were glad to hole up in camp and not make long miles those days. The birding was pretty good and the trillium and goldthread and shadbush were blooming. We encountered only two other overnight paddler groups. Since it was before Memorial Day the campsites and leantos were all but empty. If you are comfortable with the cold water and prepared for the weather those weeks between ice-out and bug season are a really nice time of year for an Adirondack trip.April 4, 2013 at 5:10 pm #259Chuck HorbertMember
Hopping on this thread late, but figured I could add something. A Mid to late April timeframe for this trip would likely be bug free, but not necessarily ice free. When I tried to do it in 2007, we had to reschedule from the third week of April to the third week of May since the lakes had not iced out yet.
We did it in three days: Day 1 to the 8th lake Lean to, Day 2 to Forked Lake, and Day 3 (a short day) to Long Lake Village. If you run into wind issues on Days 1 or 2, then you can easily lengthen Day 3 to Long Lake to keep that 3 day timeframe. Or just plan on 4 days. Before Memorial Day, you can pretty much pick your campsite…not a lot of people out there. We saw no one.
Black flies in May could be a non-issue, or could be murderous if they have an early spring. You pays your money and you takes your chances.
Enjoy the trip! The Adirondacks have a lot to love.
-ChuckApril 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm #245
Looks like we will be doing section one May 17-19. Any suggestions on a campground to spend the night the night before so we can push off at dawn? What about leaving our vehicle at the takeout at the end of section one. Any suggestions on where? Any any recommendations on an outfitter to follow us to the takeout and bring us back to the put in? Thanks!April 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm #263
We left a vehicle at the DEC boat ramp parking area in Long Lake, a bit beyond the bridge. Mountainman Outdoors in Old Forge offers shuttles. They have their Adirondack PaddleFest May 17 – 19 this year and may be busy/ already booked. St Regis Outfitters Canoe Outfitters also provides shuttles, but mostly serves the parts of the trail closer to Saranac Lake and Plattsburg. Either business could give you other leads for a shuttle driver. If I were planning a trip that weekend I would make arrangements NOW, and not wait, because of PaddleFest. If you have multiple vehicles and have the time, then setting your own shuttle is also feasible. As I recall it is about 45 miles and takes about an hour to drive each way. Your shuttle driver will have recommendations about where to park. Paddlefest brings in a lot of people to Old Forge and might impact your parking options, but you will not see that crowd after you leave First Lake. I do not know if there is off-season access by vehicle to the public campgrounds at 8th Lake or Limekiln Lake (near Inlet) for your night-before-launching.
My short answer: if I were planning your trip I would call MountainMan this morning and ask their advice and availability.
Have a fun and safe trip! – KalmiaApril 28, 2013 at 6:13 pm #246
we are in final stages of laying out our trip. Arrive at Old Forge on Thursday, May 16 and stay in the Old Forge campground that night. Friday we plan to push off shortly after daylight and paddle through to Eighth Lake Campground . Will probably try to stop for lunch at Daikers on the way. Saturday, leave after daylight and paddle through to Forked Lake Campground. Sunday we are anticipating arrive at take out at Long lake sometime before noon.
Any suggestions on this? We will be taking hammocks and tents. Any suggestions on sites at these two campgrounds? I am having a little trouble booking a site on line as they keep popping up as two night minimums.
also, regarding a shuttle. We need someone to follow us to the takeout at Long Lake on Thursday, and drive us back to the campground. No gear. . .just one guy from our group. We are getting shuttle fee bids in the $165 range. Seem really high considering they are not transporting any kind of gear and don’t need a van. Any suggestions on this?
MarkMay 1, 2013 at 12:24 am #241Chris GillMember
I don’t like doing carries first thing in the morning.
If you stay at Eighth lake Campground try and get a site at the far end so you dont have to do a carry in the morning. Think about camping at the lean-to at the start of the Browns tract carry instead.
I’ve done this section twice and both times I stayed at the lean-to at the end of the Forked Laked Carry. That way you get the long carry out of the way and you don’t have to do it first thing in the morning
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