Barry, Thanks for the suggestion of the Whitney Loop. It's on my radar, consulting Cilley's book. Your picture of the pup in your canoe is a fine one; the deck detail is nicely finished with tapered inhales and looks very aesthetic! I've admired your canoe in the pictures you have posted. Pup is pretty nice too; I would enjoy having a furry pal in my canoe for a trip.
Both of my trips to the SRCA have been pretty much people free. The first time in November I had the same concerns as you. Every trailhead I passed along the way in Keene Valley, Keene, and the Cascades Lakes area was jammed with cars so I assumed the canoe area would be as well. That first trip I saw no one! 18,000 acres of ponds and woods.... and it was ALL mine. This trip I waved at one guy at his campsite, observed a party camped on a distant island (with shrieking little kids in the water- but that's OK), and only encountered the one older gent like me on the carry trail. I would highly recommend that you go for it.