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Old Forge to Saint Lawrence River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Extended Trip Report
Trip Dates: Aug. 2001
Nearest City: Old Forge, NY
Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult
Submitted by: Richard_Koch

Description:

As I sat in my kayak on First Lake I could hear the clutter of noises from downtown Old Forge swirling around me. I was about to embark on a very long trip which I hoped would eventually take me the full length of the Raquette River to its confluence with the Saint Lawrence River near Hogensburg, 175 miles away.

Day 1; It took about three hours to paddle the 5 miles to NYS owned Algiers Island on Fourth Lake, also known as Big Island. I paid the usual state fee, I think it was $12.50. Excessive I felt for a primative site. However my late evening swim off the eastern point of the island was worth it. Early evening stars were out in the darkened eastern sky, while the west was afire in the sunset. Some noisy college ages campers at an adjoining site didn't keep me awake, I slept well.

Day 2; Leaving Algiers Island I paddled up the right hand shore to the short passage through the Villege of Inlet. Earlier this year a bear pushed open a screen door and entered the cottage of a woman, lured by the smell of food, and mauled her in its frantic attempt to get back outside. She was saved by the timely arrival of a neighbor. Last night, lulled by the thought I was safe on an island, I had slept with my food sack in the tent with me. Bears can swim however.

Arriving shortly at Tiny Fifth Lake, I had the first carry of the trip. A dirt path led about 200' up to Route 28. I attatched the wheels to my kayak, clipped my shoulder strap onto the grab loop at the front of the boat, and hoisted the fully loaded kayak onto my shoulder. Pulling it behind me I followed Route 28 right for about a quarter mile to the base of the dam on Sixth Lake, putting back in on the left side above the dam.

The route went though Sixth, and then out onto Seventh Lake where I followed the undeveloped left hand shore to the large NYS public campgrounds between Seventh and Eighth Lakes. I cut the portage by a half mile by following the North Channel on the left to the Bug Lake Trail, then carrying through the campground to the swimming beach.

Eighth Lake is undeveloped, and a paddle of a 1.5 miles brought me to the carry trail to Brown's Tract Pond Outlet which would take me to Raquette Lake. A DEC register is located about halfway along the 1.5 mile path. The northern end of the trail is in a wet, marshy area and a planked walkway had been designed to keep the hiker off the boggy terrain. But a beaver dam had raised the water level, and the wooden sections had floated away. I had to slog through ankle depth water to where I could float the kayak. Not a real problem since I wore shorts, booties and sandles.

Brown's Tract Outlet has numerous beaver dams along its 2 mile length, but an agressive stroke is usually enough to propell one over the top, and then slide down into the pool below. I had to get out and pull over only one dam. Another mile or so brought me across Raquette Lake to Big Island where I found a vacent leanto. A thunder storm broke as I was eating my meal of Lipton's Beef Stroganoff, and I watched the tourist steamer's bright lights disappear into the curtains of rain and night gloom.

Day 3; I paddled down the left shore of Raquette, passing shortly the mouth of the Marion River on my right which I had come down the year before from Blue Mountain Lake. The actual source of the Raquette, Blue Mountain Lake is about 12 miles up the Marion River. Continuing down the lake, a gently rain began to fall as I reached the island chain at its middle. I paddled up Outlet Bay locating the end of the carry trail to Forked Lake. Last year I had difficulty finding it among the clutter of cottages on the shore, and mistook it for someones driveway. It is a dirt and gravel road which runs for about a mile to Forked Lake. It is bisected by paved Route 30, at which point a pay phone is located, and which allowed me to use my phone card to phone home and leave a message for my wife.

On Forked, mostly undeveloped, I took about an hour to paddle the mile or so up the inlet to the base of the rapids coming out of Raquette Lake. This pretty section is bypassed by using the carry road, is shaded by tall pines and filled with matts of water lillies. The lake is about seven miles long, although it is only about five miles to the foot of the lake, controlled by a DEC owned dam, and the NYS public campground where one takes out.

The rapids below the dam are described by Jamieson as being nearly continuous Class I to III white water. Because of the low water this late in the season I choose to bypass them altogether. I rolled the mile and a half along the paved highway and down the dirt side trail to the leanto located on the river just below the rapids. I was napping here when I was joined by a party of eight students from Cortland State College, on an outdoor education class excursion. I moved out of the leanto and set up my tent to make room. Although I failed to get the solitude I was seeking, I found them to be a delightful group to camp with. A thunder storm that night sent everyone to bed early.

Day 4; From Forked Lake the Raquette drops about 116 feet down to Long Lake. I paddled about a mile and a half when I got to Buttermilk Falls, well marked by signs warning of the danger approaching, and which drops about 40 of those feet. A short carry on the right brought me back to the river. Back on the river I paddled the half mile to the next set of rapids, rated Class II to III. Last year I had run them, but found them scratchy even then. This year, with even lower water, I decided to carry on the right shore the few hundred yards down to the still water at the head of Long Lake.

It was flat water now for the next 18 miles to Raquette Falls. I stopped at the beach near the float-plane base in Long Lake Village, planning on mailing some promised post-cards. However I found the only place to mail them was at the south end of the village, about a mile away. I took the walk, and had a chocolate sunday at at an icecream stand near the post office.

That afternoon I paddled the nine miles to the north end of the lake, near its outlet, following the right hand shore. At one point sheets of rain slashed across the lake, building to whitecaps and forcing me to shelter behind some small islands in order to put on my rain parka. It had stopped by the time I reached the lovely strip of beach north of House Island, where I set up my tent on the sandy forest floor admidst the tall pines. The view south down the lake was spectacular, as storm clouds scudded across the sky, Kempshall Mountain stood high above the eastern shore, its top hidden in the clouds. At last, the solitude I sought.

Day 5; Early morning the sun had not yet come up, but its early rays back-lit the tall mountains beyond the shore to the east, which had streamers of mist peeling off their summits, a halo like effect. I pushed off for the outlet and found the navagatable channel marked with branches stuck in the mud banks. Shortly I came to the outlet of Cold River. It was another five miles to the head of fast water above Raquette Falls, and where the broken and twisted bow of a canoe nailed to a large sign clearly illustrates the danger of continuing on past this point down the river.

The carry is about a mile and a half long, on the right shore leading to the pine flats near the ranger station. Neither last year or this had anyone been in attendance at this DEC outpost. The cotter pin holding the wheel on the axel came out at some point and the wheel fell off just as I reached the pool below the rapids. Careful searching located both the pin and the washer along the trail. I plan on taping extras to the wheel set in case this happens again.

I signed the DEC register and paddled the 6 miles further to the confluence of Stony Creek. I set up camp where I had the year previous, on a flat peninsula about 15' above the river.

Day 6; The year before I had paddled up Stoney Creek and crossed over the Indian Carry to Middle Saranac Lake before returning and paddling to a takeout at Axton. This year I was going on past that point, and from now on would be in unfamiliar territory, I was a little apprehensive. The river now is fairly wide, with flat floodplain on most of the left shore, and occasionally wooded hillsides along the right hand shore, which is state owned and where any campsites are located. From the base of Raquette Falls to Setting Poile Dam below Tupper, is 30 miles of flat water, the longest in the Adirondacks according to Jamieson. I hoped to camp on Tupper, but the guide indicated only one site. I was not sure it wouldn't be taken.

When I got to Simon Pond I climbed up onto the raised roadway of Route 30 and scouted the far shore of Big Tupper Lake with my binoculars, the site was occupied. However after navigating the marshy channels of the delta I was told by the campers where other sites were located along this western shoreline. I eventually located myself at a site labeled "group camp ground", and certainly it would have accomadated several dozen tents. I left my tent and equipment and paddled over to Tupper Lake Village on Raquette Pond to get dinner in McDonalds, and buy some supplies at the A&P.

That evening at my campsite, I watched houseboats navigate the twisting channels of the delta between the two lakes. They appeared to be headed towards me, then to turn and go off in another direction, sometimes even appearing to be headed away in the opposite direction, as they wended their way through the twists and turns of the marked boat channel through the delta between the lakes.

Day 7; From my camp I passed out onto Raquette Pond, under the railroad trestle, and slipping by Sabattis Rock which is named for a native-American guide who lived nearby in the early 1800's. Flat water continues for about seven miles to Piercefield Dam, interspersed only by a short portage around the right side of 5' Setting Pole Dam.

Take out is at a fishing access spot next to Route 3. Attatching my wheels I hauled the boat up through the village of Piercefield to the public beach about a mile away. As I passed the small village park I saw a crew of inmates from the minimum-security prison cuttting the grass and brush. I noticed one man closely watching me, resting on this grass-whip. I waved a hello to him, and he back, just two people greeting each other in the warm noon sun; I was headed down river where the whim of the current and my own decisions would take me, he wasn't.

Below the village and back on the river I was now passing into the little traveled section of the Raquette, a 17 mile canyon of fastwater, rapids and falls. Around the first bend are some riffles. Upper and Lower Sols Rapids are about 1.5 miles from the beach. Sols Island, on the right, is named for one of the sons of the guide we have aforementioned, who was supposedly born here. Upper Sols is mostly Class II-III, but ends in a Class IV-V where it pours off a rocky ledge into a pool. I carried on the left shore, being careful to avoid clumps of poison ivy a friend had cautioned me about. It follows a 4-wheel trail. Putting back in below the ledge, it was only a few hundred yards to Lower Sols, rated Class III-IV, that is if you avoid the Class IV-V hole. I also carried this on the 4-wheel trail on the left shore, trying not to encroach on the hunting camp located near the pool at the bottom. I stopped for a bit to eat lunch.

A few camps are located in the next 3 mile section of the flat water. Along here I saw a family of racoons ambling upriver on the left shore. Mom took off into the woods but the three kits continued exploring along the shore for clams or crabs. I drifted almost up to them before they spotted me and scrambled after their mother.

Burnt Island Rapids, also called Pier Rapids, comes in two parts. The upper was straightforward, but ended in a rock gdarden that required me to walk the kayak part way through. The lower was not difficult, a Class II. A carry could be made on river right. Mt. Matumbla is visible at spots above the right shore, and at 2,688', is the highest point in St. Lawrence County. A fire tower once added some feet to that, but is now long gone.

A half mile or so past forested banks and a few islands brings one to Hedgehog Rapids, a Class II rapid a couple of hundred yards long, and quite delightful. It is nearly 6 miles of flatwater to Moosehead Rapids.

As I approached Smith Island in another 2 miles, near the old bridge abutment, I spotted a yound man on the right-bank. When he saw me he turned and furtively dashed back into the forest, causing me to wonder is he had recently been engaged with the landscraping crew in Piercefield.

It was late afternoon as I approached the head of Moosehead Rapids. I planned on camping there, as it was the first state land available for that purpose since Tupper Lake. I explowed the old growth white pine forest on the left bank but decided to ferry across to a small site at the very head of the rapids. After setting up camp, and doing my daily chores of washing smelly T-shirts, pumping fresh water into containers, and cooking dinner, I walked down the right shore. Picking my way on cobbled banks, I studied the rapids. They were rated Class III, the most difficult part at the bottom end where they twised through some islands. However they were over a 1.25 miles long, and could be a problem for a solo paddler if something went wrong. That night as I sat on the rocky ledge, I listened to boulders thudding along the river bottom, moved by the current. Upriver a strip of stars in the sky, bracketed by the dark forest silhouette, was mirrored on the smooth surface of the river. There were twice as may stars as usual.

Day 8; It took me nearly two hours to carry my dunnage down the shore, clambering up cliffs, pulling myself through fallen trees, to a pool near the bottom, there being no carry trail on this side of the river. I had decided to run with my boat empty, and more boyant. On my return I was able to scout the lower portion well. The run itself was over in a couple of minutes, and posed no problems, not even the more difficult lower section. A couple of smashed metal rowboats attested to the power of the river in higher water however. My successful run, after a night of nervous anticipation, brought to me a rush of exhilaration.

A short distance below this I came to some islands. By keeping in the right channel I approached the head of Moody Falls where the carry trail was located on the right bank. Within feet of the take out spot, fast water quickly developes into rapids and then the falls themselves. Not a spot to miss a stroke. Dropping 22 feet in a few hundred yards, it was for me a manditory carry past what is rated Class V-VI. It was named for a man and his son who missed the takeout spot one night, and were carred over the falls and died. I explored a camping spot across the pool below the falls, located on some state land and at the bottom of an access trail leading down from Route 56 about a mile away. However it was still too early in the day, so I pushed off.

Another 8/10 mile brought me to the head of Jamestown Falls, with the carry trail located on the left just before the white water begins. Rated Class V-VI, it rushes through a tight gorge before spreading out and dropping over a wide ledge. I was able to put back in below the ledge, and run the easy rapids into the pool below. A hunting lodge is located on the right shore, and owns the land on both sides of the falls.

I thought it would be flat water all the way to Carry Falls Reservoir, a mile or so away, so I was suprised when I heard rapids ahead of me after a half-mile or so. It was Long Rapids, which emerges from the reservoir when the water level is low. It was shallow, with lots of boulders, and just enough of a channel that I was able to run without grounding. Thankfully, since a boat of fishermen in the reservoir below were watching my descent. Another half mile brought me to Parmenter Site campground. I picked out a empty site among the camper-trailers and set up my tent. I paid the caretaker the fee of $15 or so and was disappointed to learn there were no hot showers, nor fresh water even. She was a bit fefuddled by not having a license number to put down on the registrtion sheet, and said she had never had a camper arrive by boat before. I felt somewhat out of place among the pop-up trailers and Airstreams. I wish now that I had simply camped on one of the several senic islands in the lake which are open to camping.

Day 9; I paddled down Carry Falls Reservoir, encountering strong winds, which quickly began to build up white caps. Coming from my rear quarter, they kept trying to swing my boat around. It would have been a long swim to the far shore if I did dump. I finally got behind the sheltering lee of a mountain, and followed the quieter waters along its left shore to the takeout at a boat ramp left of the dam. Here I attatched the wheels and pulled up to the gravel access road, which I left to walk down the steep far sloap of the gravel embankment to a beaver pond, where I paddled a short distance, pulling over its dam and into Stark Reservoir impoundment.

Unlike Carry Falls impoundment, with wide gravel and sand beaches left bare by the lower water levels, Stark was full, the trees overhanging the surface. It was attractive. Not very large, a mile or so long, take out is on the right, at the far end of the rock retaining wall. Dirt jeep roads lead left and then down alongside the penstock to the power building on a paved road. Follow this road a few hundred yards right, then cut back left toward the tailrace on 4-wheel paths. Eventually, after about a mile, I was able to refloat the boat in the still water of Blake Falls Reservoir.

Blake is nearly 4 miles long, and like Stark the forest meets the water. It is attractive and mostly undeveloped. Take out is along left shore, past the warning orange buoys, and several hundred feet down the narrow intake channel at a dirt launch ramp. I wheeled the boat at the bottom of the gravel access road to the powerhouse, but was unable to find any trace of a carry trail on the left shore which should have taken me to still water below the tailrace. Instead I passed behind the powerhouse and put back into the old channel seperated from the tailrace but joining it in a dozen feet. 18" of wet rock on the rocky shoreline incidated rapidily fluctuating water levels, and although I had no problem in the tailrace below, currents and eddies at times of release may make this rather dangerous.

A few hundred yards of fast current brought me onto Rainbow Falls Reservoir, a nearly 4 mile impoundment, with occasional cottages on the left shore. The takeout was on the left at a gravel boat launch and small picnic area. I rolled a short distance down the paved road for a few hundred feet before turning off again onto the access road to the power plant, and putting back in off the end of a long rock spit, into the old river channel on the right. Just upriver some teenagers were jumping off the cliffs into deep pools below what, in times of higher water, must be Rainbow Falls.

A paddle of a mile or so brought me to a short mild rapid above Five Falls Reservoir. This I ran on the left after scouting it. Five Falls impoundment I recall as being an unattractive place, its shores low and boggy. But it was only 1.5 miles long, so I was quickly at the takeout spot, on the left at a small boat launch and picnic area. I was now outside the Adirondack Park boundry.

The carry goes down the paved Three Falls Highway a few hundred feet, and crosses below the power house to a long rock spit to the South Colton Reservoir. As I put back into the old river channel on the right side of the spit, a surge in water swung my boat around, and the current reversed itself for a moment. I think they shut off the penstock, and after the rush of water out of it slackened, a vaccume in the penstock then sucked some of it back in, thus resulting in the reversed current for a few moments.

South Colton Reservoir is 1.7 miles long, with some camps on the left shore. Take out is on the left, up a rock bank to the paved Three Falls Road. I followed this down hill, past the powerhouse, pausing at a spring pipe to fill up on cold fresh water. A little below the powerhouse a side road on the right leads down to a fishing access dock, where one can put back in. Before this however I crossed the Route 56 bridge, and got some gasoline for my stove, and some food, including a tub of cottage cheese consumed on the spot.

I ran the rapids below the bridge, finding the standing waves quite exciting. I suppose the conditions vary depending on water release from the dams upstream. When I ran them the waves seemed quite large. It was a couple of miles more to Higley Flow State Campgrounds. However when I pulled out in the side bay at the boat launch, a ranger informed me I had to go to the registration office before I could set up camp. It was over a mile away, and as he didn't offer me a ride, I had to walk. It was getting dark and I had already done about 20 miles that day, and didn't need to walk another couple of miles. It was pouring rain walking back in the dark, and after finally locating my assigned site, I erected my tent, which got soaked inside as well. I took what dry clothes and headed to the showers. If I was going to be wet, I'd be wet and warm. Running the hot-water tanks cool took about a half hour. Suprisingly, the damp tent was fairly warm, and after a cold meal of pork-and-beans, I slept well.

Day 10; Pushing of early, I paddled on down Higley Flow, passing under the bridge carring north bound traffic to Potsdam, where I hoped to be by that evening. Less than an hour by car, it would take me all day to get there. The carry around the dam is on the left, at a paved boat launch. Using the wheels to roll up it and along an access road, I came to a barred access road down to the powerhouse. I slipped the boat under the bar, and rolled down the gravel road to a path that led in turn to a pool below the tailrace. Below Higley Dam is flat water for 2.4 miles to Colton Dam. With many small islands, and paralleled by Gulf road onthe left, it is scenic. I pulled over to the right bank at the bridge just above the dam in Colton. Scouting downriver on the left bank, and using the nature trail along it, I decided there wasn't enough water to make river travel possible. Instead I decided to use the dirt access road which paralleled the penstock for 3.5 miles to Browns Bridge. The sign said, "no motorized vechicles", and I reasoned that didn't include me. Besides, I figured if the power company, Orion, was going to put my river in it's pipe, I could reasonably use its access road to reach the place they were through using it and put it back into the river bed. Actually as I traversed the long carry a company employee in a pickup came along side, and instead of ordering me to leave as I feared, offered me a ride. Although I declined, he left the gate open at the lower end so I could easily finish my carry.

Crossing over Browns Bridge I put in on the right bank. It was about a mile to Hannawa Falls Flow, with the banks lined with small cottages. Crossing the open flow I pulled out on the right and up the rocky embankment of Route 56. Here a car pulled up and a couple of young men approached me, asking if I was the guy doing the long trip. Apparently their friend was the ranger who took my money back at Higley, and he'd told them about me. They were helpful in giving me directions for the next section.

Just down the road a few hundred feet was a country store, behind with dirt access roads led into Sugar Island impoundment. I hauled my boat about a mile or so until I got close to the small reservoir backed up by Sugar Island Dam. Paddling across it I scouted the left shore near the dam. In hindsigt I wish I'd carried along the access roat which paralled the penstock to the Potsdam Flow, a couple of miles north. But instead, wanting to float as much as possible, I crossed over to the right shore and took out up a steep bank and back down to the river. The first rapid I successfully ran, but then the river spread out. If it had stayed in one channel, I could have paddled all the way to Potsdam, but it kept flowing around shallow islands, through rock gardens, and I ended up walking a good distance to Potsdam. To make matters worse, somewhere along the way a new SOG knife which was clipped to my life jacket, popped off and was lost.

I carried across the island in the middle of the river on which stands that beautiful red stone church, through the small park, and put back in below the confluence below the island. I tied my boat up behind the police station, thinking that it would be somewhat safe there, and walked a up to Wear-on-Earth, a camping store. Here I tried to buy a filter for my waterpump, which was getting hard to operate. They didn't have that one, and could order me one. Instead I asked them to fill my gallon plastic jug with village tap water. I ate a sandwich and sipped coffee in Fields, a sandwich shop on the corner, as I read the paper and soaked in warm afternoon sun coming through the window. Pushing off in the late afternoon, I pulled to the left bank at a bulldozed clearing, out of sight of any houses, I set up camp. Private land, and I was trespassing, but there were no signs, and I intended to leave no sign of my having passed the night there. Besides, in this section of the river, I had no choice, there was no state land on the river that I knew of. I had come some 20 miles in about 14 hours.

Day 11; known to me as the day of dams. The firstcame at Hewittville, about 3.4 miles below Potsdam. I carried this on the left, through the powerhouse yard, whose gate was left open while someone was servicing it. I'm not sure how one would get past this dam if the gate were locked, as a high chain link fence surrounds the property. The river in this section if wooded and pleasant to paddle. Not very many camps are along the shores.

At Unionville Dam, [Potsdam Paper Company], I found my carry options limited by a cliff on the left shore, and mill buildings right on the water on the right. I took out upstream from the mill itself, and wheeled across the railroad track. An employee gave me directions around the mill and back to the river. Passing out of the entrance, I followed the parimeter fence to a horseshoe pit, where another access road led left back toward the river. At a gate, I passed onto 4-wheeler trails on the right which took me in a hundred feet to the tailrace. At a slight eddy, I reentered the riveer and ran the fast water at the end of the tailrace, through some mild rapids.

It was another 3 miles to the Norwood Flow, where they hold hydro-races in the summer. A misty rain was falling as I puled up to the fishing access site and boat launch on the right shore. I wheeled the boat up to the paved strees, turning left at the VFW post lodge, and down to a store near the bridge. At a store I bought some bottled water, and also a quart of orange juice and sub for lunch. At the bridge a man in his 50's approached me and showed me where I could reenter the water, just below the bridge on the right shore. He wistfully said he had always wanted to do the whole river, and almost had when he was a teenager. I pointed out that we were the same age, and he could still go for it.

As I drifted downstream I ate my sub, approaching a railroad trestle just as a bright blue engine rattled across it high above my head. It was about 2 miles to Yaleville Dam. A mile rapid is located about half mile above that dam. This is the only dam on the whole river with a signed carry path. Located on the left bank, it cuts back to a farm road, and then right between the power company [Orion] buildings to a paved road. Here it ended at a barbed wire fence, the other side of which had a nice rock ledge which sloaped gently into the river. An employee who was working nearby had no idea how a boater was expected to get back to the water, but helped me lift my boat over the fence.

Below Yaleville Dam, the river is attractive, the shores wooded and interspersed with pasturland. Numbers of herons were startled into flight by my approach. The rain continued on an off until I reached the East Norfolk Dam. I pulled out next to a cement retaining wall on the right and carried over and behind it to the river. However the right move might be to take out on the left shore, and follow roads to below Raymondville. Below the dam there isn't enough water to float a boat, and I walked most of the quarter mile to Norfolk. There a man at a garage told me there were two more dams, the Norfolk Dam and a mile below that the Raymondville Dam, both of which were inaccessable because of homes and buildings blocking access. The next possible access was 3 miles downstream at Raymondville. So I trudged up the long hill along route 11 as the sky open up a cold torrential rain upon me. I stopped at a diner and ordered a steak, figuring at least I'd warm up and save myself having to cook dinner that night.

Shortly, at my low point in moral, a young man stopped and offered me a lift to the put in spot off River Road, below the abandoned iron bridge. As I put back out on the water the sun broke through, and I passed under the Route 11 bridge. An easy rapid came in the next half mile, and I began looking for a camp spot on some state forest land on the right bank. I pulled up by a large rock to take out, the clay banks being very slippery, and hauled my dunnage up to the flat wooded floodplane above.

In coming back for another bag, my feet popped out from under me, and I rolled off the rock and onto my kayak, hitting it with my back before flipping into the river. I was unhurt, but it could have been bad. A heron landed near my camp that evening, but sensed me and took off for another roost. Early in the morning, a deep huffing sould woke me, a deer trying to scent the unfamiliar object in its territory. In the dark it sounded a lot like a bear.

Day 12; In the morning the trees were still dripping moisture from yesterdays storm. This is a pretty section of the river, forest land mixed with pastureland. It was 8.4 miles to Massena Springs, and the rapids are easy with obvious routes. 3.5 miles below the iron bridge comes Baxterville Rapids, and another 3.2 to the next rapid, followed in quick succession by two others .2 miles apart, all quite easy. On the Baxterville Rapid however, next to two homes on the left, a cable is stretched across the river which required I duck to get under.

At Massena Springs I left the river to phone my wife and eat lunch at McDonalds. Putting back in I ran the moderate rapid below the Massina Springs Bridge. Below this was a quiet stretch of 4.2 miles. Three easy rapids about .2 miles apart, are easily navigated. At Rooseveltown Bridge a shallow S shaped rapid sweeps around two bends, and brought me onto the Mohawk reservation. In another mile I passed under the Route 37 bridge and could see the last of the river out onto the St. Lawrence. A passing freighter really pressed the fact that I was at the end of the Raquette. I paddled the final quarter mile to a fishing camp on the right shore, Sit-N-Bull, where my wife picked me up that evening. Done!

Fees:

NYS public campgrounds charge fees around $15 and up, depending on the facilities.

Directions:

Old Forge is located in the Adirondacks on NYS Route 28.

Resources:

Adirondck Canoe Waters, North Flow; Paul F. Jamieson and Don Morris, ADK Club publication, 2000, [detailed maps and route description from Raquette Lake to Higley Flow Impoundment. Adirondack Canoe Waters, South Flow; Don Morris, ADK Club publication, 1989, [detailed map and route description of Fulton Chain of Lakes]. The Raquette River, in St. Lawrence County; NYS Department of Environmental Conservation pamphlet, [ maps and brief description of route including dams, rapids, fishing conditions from Piercefield to Rooseveltown, below Massina.


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