Adirondack Canoe and Kayak Tours
by Elizabeth Folwell
Scan a map of the Adirondack Park and you see so many patches and threads of blue that the appeal of water exploration comes naturally. What’s difficult for many visitors, though, is just where to go. One river may lead tantalizingly into terra incognito, but is that a good thing if you’re not an expert?
Choosing great destinations and offering help with the basics of canoeing and kayaking are services offered in several locations this summer. Every afternoon through September 3 the Wild Center leads short trips on the beautiful, winding Raquette River. For newbies or families with kids five years and older, these two-hour treks are a simple way to sample the sport. Canoes, paddles and PFDs are provided, and a Wild Center naturalist explains the flora and fauna you’ll encounter along the way. Each outing begins with a short hike on a nature trail too. You can register online at the Wild Center’s website and the cost is $20 per boat, with discounts for Wild Center members.
On Tuesdays, licensed guide Connie Perry presents a free introduction to Adirondack boats and boating at Woods Inn, on Fourth Lake, in Inlet. In the early evening you can try solo and tandem canoes, kayaks and even an Adirondack guideboat.
Says Perry, “Recently, we’ve come up with the idea of ‘Paddling Partners.’ We see and hear of many individuals or even couples who may want to go paddling, but who need support to do so with gear, technique and transportation. For late summer and early fall we’re trying to book dates and/or destinations for supported group paddling. If someone has a boat, great, bring it along. Or you can try something new. If you need a boat, we will have one waiting that is specifically chosen for the paddler’s body type, skill level, destination and comfort. Our trips in this program may include Forked Lake, Bog River Flow, Little Tupper/Whitney Wilderness Area, Lake Lila, and my favorite, Henderson Lake. For us, this is much more about creating an experience, not just a paddling trip.” For reservations contact Connie Perry.
BYOB means different things to different people, and for members of the Adirondack Museum, in Blue Mountain Lake, and the Wild Center, in Tupper Lake, the acronym means “Bring Your Own Boat.” Naturalist Jen Kretser and historian Hallie Bond combine forces to lead canoe and kayak trips to waterways that tell the complex intertwined stories of people living and working in the wilderness.
On July 25, during the trek to Osgood Pond, paddlers saw a spectacular bald eagle, climbed a tall esker and toured White Pine Camp, a collection of rustic buildings that served as Calvin Coolidge’s summer White House. Coming up on August 8, launching at 9:00 a.m. the BYOB crowd heads to the Bog River, where A. A. Low operated Horseshoe Forestry and a slew of other backwoods industries. The paddling on the river is sublime, and the history-hunting leads to the sugarhouse and other remnants of a backwoods empire.
Massawepie Lake, in the town of Piercefield, was the site of the huge Childwold Park House and the lake also connects to one of the largest pristine wetlands in the Northeast. On September 1 the Adirondack Museum/Wild Center expedition examines both sites, on land owned by the Boy Scouts and preserved by the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy. The Massawepie trip is about three miles of flatwater paddling plus a hike of about a mile and a half to see rare bog plants and boreal birds. Register online via the Wild Center.