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5/28/10 - Rise and shine with the morning fog at 6:00 AM. It was beautiful yet a little bite to the air. With nothing more than a day bag to throw in the truck, we were on the road. We were able to stop at a local gas station and grab some breakfast food. Our first stop on the journey was at a bridge that crossed the Hudson River. It is quite amazing to see this river at a point where you can wade across it, when your used to seeing it with large ships floating up and down it. The views on the drive are beautiful as well as the small villages you drive through. The anxiety began when the road became dirt.
We arrived at the boat launch at approximately 8:00 AM. We were the first car in the lot as well as first meal for the mosquitos. Have bug spray accessible first thing! A quick register in the book and the gear was being brought to the beach like/stoney launch area. The wind was calm and the skies partly cloudy. Soon after our arrival, two more groups of couples showed up. We were able to launch just ahead of them in hopes our "dream" site wouldn't be occupied upon arrival, site #21, approximately 12 miles I'm guessing.
We had a relaxing paddle, as it was my girlfriend's first canoe-camping trip, up the river to the dam. Along the winding river, near the beginning, we noticed a few buried boulders just under the water surface, be careful! We then came under a retired railroad trestle into Hutchins Pond area. Suddenly my girlfriend, in the bow, pointed out something swimming across in front of us about 100 yards. I noticed rounded ears on the head and realized it was a bear cub! We were fortunate enough to think quick and catch some last minute photos before the cub disappeared into the thick woods.
There was a group of guys fishing out of kayaks who said they had not been getting a whole lot of action nor seen the bear (don't know what they were doing wrong). The portage start was the site of our mid morning snack and moment of relaxation. The portage has a rough trail, wide enough for a pickup truck to drive on. It is mostly round river stones and soft dirt/gravel. I tried out my home-made portage wheels (wider tires would have been easier) that strap under the canoe and it worked just as planned. The portage is slightly uphill and the relaunch is steep with deep water.
At the mouth of Long Lake is the first time my girlfriend said "are we there yet?", pretty good for a rookie I thought. The arrival of site #21 was not what I had remembered from my first trip here as a kid with my dad and scout troop. There was a nice beach landing, but a steep uphill hike to the actual camp. We could not see the water of the lake from the camp. It looked very unused and it was very buggy. I set up camp while my better half got the firewood gathered. We set up camp, ate dinner and enjoyed a nice solar shower at the waters edge in the sand as the sun set.
5/29/10 - The loons as an alarm clock? What better of a way to be woken up? A little vacuum packed pirogi with onion and butter for breakfast and the day was off to a great start! With the fire raging the bugs were not too bad. We planned on lunch out on an island in the lake. Midday we voyaged across the lake to a boulder of an Island that had some sand on it's shore to enjoy our windy/cloud covered sandwiches. With no protection around and the beginnings of a storm brewing, I decided to paddle across to the protected shoreline and follow it tightly back to camp.
We made it back and enjoyed camp for the afternoon. I followed up all this paddling, eating and relaxing with some afternoon casts. I had great success with small-medium sized largemouth bass. It got to the point where I was bored of catching & releasing them. I have not, to this day been able to catch a trout out of these waters, although I have witnessed 2 caught in my 5+ trips. Both trout were caught at the mouth of the damn in Hutchins Pond.
5/30/10 - The mornings on this lake are probably my favorite time/place on earth. We decided to start the paddle out a day early and break the trip into 2 segments. We packed and paddled downstream to campsite #11. This site has a nice spot to tie up your boat, a large step up the bank to the actual site, a large stone fire pit, pit privy (shared w/ site #10), plenty of firewood and beautiful view of the river from the tent. It is a site I will be using again in the future! Again we had another day of eating great vacuum sealed food, relaxing in the hammock, and fishing around the camp.
5/31/10 - An early start to the day and we portaged in no time. We were surrounded at the portage relaunch by other travelers as we enjoyed our lunch. Figured we would let them get ahead, so at the truck, it wouldn't be too crowded. Even though we planned it that way, it was packed with chaos and people who didn't have much common sense. On the way out of town we stopped at a friendly's just off Rt. 87 for some ice-cream. Then the drive back to reality began.
Have bug spray/head nets handy from the start, sign in & out, pack lightly, arrive early, leave late if possible
5537 State Route 8
Chestertown, NY 12817-2403
To Bog River Flow - Primary public access to the area is by a short gravel road off State Route 421 to Lows Lower Dam, where a canoe may be launched.
Bent Shaft Canoe Paddles
Hardshell Kayak Sail Rigs