Adirondack adventure

Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
197
Location
Genesee Valley, Western NY
Source of the Sixmile
May 11-14, 2014
Paul Conklin (Curtis Mayfly)

I bushwhack with a small canoe; this allows the advantage of traversing wet areas with relative ease. Beavers and the work they do are beneficial to my mode of travel. I have long sought to explore the marshes southwest of Bassout Pond in the Five Ponds Wilderness. The shortest carry to Bassout is from the southern tip of Dead Creek Flow but because these wetlands are the source of the Sixmile Creek it seemed more appropriate to approach from the north, following the Sixmile from Cranberry's West Flow. This route had the advantage of offering additional adventure in the exploration of Indian, Olmstead and Cowhorn Ponds.

Radio station selection on a drive to the Adirondacks is crucial to an enjoyable trip. Tune into a screwball station and you will be haunted by the fear of anal probing aliens, listen to the wrong music and a mind-numbing tune will play over... and over... in your head for days. I am largely ignorant of pop culture and the Pharrell Williams tune - Happy - was new to me, it kept my head bobbing and toe tapping for much of the drive.

I arrived at the Wanakena launch shortly after 8am; I was happy but soon sadden at the sight of the historic pedestrian bridge that was taken out by ice earlier this year. On the paddle down the Oswegatchie Flow, the wind was at my back, good at that moment but made me fearful of the conditions to be encountered on the bigger water of the lake. Beyond Wanakena Rock conditions actually improved, the 12½ ft. Mayfly was up to the challenge of a Cranberry crossing. It took 2½ hours to reach the West Flow.

Traveling south on the blue trail my destination was Indian Mountain Pond. I took the time to scout the navigability of the Sixmile Creek but saw little advantage beyond adventure to using it as an avenue of travel; the blue trail would be my easiest way of reaching the bushwhack to Indian Mountain Pond. That bushwhack would start at the north end of a large beaver meadow on the Cowhorn outlet. It was a rather short distance but one with considerable elevation gain, the toughest part was finding a safe crossing of Cowhorn outlet. I reached Indian Mountain Pond early enough to establish camp and still have ample time for exploration. There are some busy beavers in the area; they have created a new pond on the northern outlet equal in size to Indian. I took great delight in the exploration of both ponds and their interesting rock formations. Many cold winter evenings are spent studying maps and dreaming of destinations, this one had been on my mind all winter.

Monday started with a bushwhack back to the blue trail. From there I made my way to Olmstead for a circumnavigation of its shoreline. I had coffee on the large rock island. Then back to the trail and the three-mile carry to Cowhorn. It is difficult to enjoy your surroundings while carrying a canoe. It is not so much the added burden of weight but ones impaired vision and hearing while wearing the big green hat. I made frequent stops to set the canoe down and have a good look and listen on the way to Cowhorn. Cowhorn demanded another circumnavigation. There were some friendly folks fishing from rubber rafts on the pond but none was having any success. After lunch, I was off to Bassout.

Very little of Bassouts shoreline is what you would call hospitable, either boggy or densely clustered with young spruce. I found an acceptable landing on the west end. It had clear passage to the hardwoods up the hill and I found two good trees for my hammock. Once again, I had ample time for an evening excursion. These were the environs I sought to explore. I paddled to the far end of the wetlands with relative ease encountering only three beaver dams. Here I pondered my maps and could see that a short bushwhack SW from this point would give me access to another chain of beaver ponds that would take me close to the Oswegatchie River, near the St Lawrence-Herkimer County line. The next day's agenda was set, I returned to the Bassout camp for a good nights sleep.

I was up early and decamped quickly; I wanted more time on Bassout and the adjacent wetlands before commencing with the journey to the Oswegatchie. I like to poke my bow into all the bays a beaver channels. When I arrived at the source of the Sixmile, I plotted a course to the chain of beaver ponds and then put all my faith into a magnetic needle. It's never a question of getting lost but a worry to how difficult the journey might become. I skirted the southern base of Threemile Mountain and descended into a valley where the first of the beaver ponds was intersected. The first two were more walking than paddling but the third, fourth and filth were easy paddles, deep and obstruction free. At the end of the last pond all easy ended. I was only three football fields from the river but it took me 45 minutes to get there.

I decided to travel upstream on the Oswegatchie. CampJohnny was vacant so I established camp and spent the rest of the day exploring further upstream. I paddled as far as the headwaters carry before time forced my return. It was to be the night of a full moon but I could not stay awake, fortunately, I awoke early enough to see it. The last time I witnessed a full moon form Camp Johnny, astronauts were walking on its surface. I reminisced my first trip on the Oswegatchie and the Apollo 15 moon landing over morning coffee. I then set about the chores of decamping for the long journey down river.

The water was high and I could not resist venturing into some of the dead end flows. Deep into one, I parked the mayfly in a narrow channel to experience the calm and quiet of an Adirondack morning. Apparently, I was blocking a beaver thoroughfare and one tried to squeeze between the canoe and the side of the channel, there wasn't enough room. It resulted in a rather violent collision and a tail slap to my outwale. I had to locate and gather up all my bejabbers before I could continue. Gray Jays and a Least Bittern were two ornithological highlights encountered before HighFalls. A second cup of coffee was had at the brink where I again reminisced 43 years of Oswegatchie adventures.


There was no concrete plan for the reminder of the day but I was entertaining the idea of making camp near de Straight of de Wood and a bushwhack west to Otter Pond. When I got to Carters Landing, I had additional ideas and decided to see how navigable Glasby Creek would be. I made it to the point where the old Plains trail made its first crossing of Glasby. Today this trail stays south of the creek until it nears Sand Hill Junction. I believe it would be possible to paddlewhack Glasby all the way to its source at Glasby Pond. It would be an adventure best saved for a looping one-way trip.

I returned to the river and continued the downstream journey. All of the O's rapids were mere ripples and the beaver dams were run with ease. I made many stops; the most interesting was a Hymenoptera encounter at High Rock. At de Straight of de Wood I made an exploratory venture into the bush behind site #44, it was dense enough that I didn't feel I had another bushwhack in me. Therefore, with the nixing of the Otter adventure my journey was nearing its end. I paddled to the Moore Trail and made the final carry to Wanakena.

Photos: https://picasaweb.google.com/114267878012874538920/SourceOfTheSixmile#
 
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G

Guest

Guest
Shiner Bock, eh?

Here’s a hint for you. Do not buy Pale Ale (full strength, not 3.2) in Moab Utah. It runs $1.85. Per can.

I still came out with the traditional single unopened beer remaining as proof of proper planning. (I have a trophy shelf of them with the trip date and location inscribed on the can. Having never tapped into that supply also shows proper planning on the home front)
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
197
Location
Genesee Valley, Western NY
Never tapped into them! How is that possible? I thought you raised two young boys.

You must have done something wrong.

My newest favorite brew comes from Utah... called Hopnosh 7.3% ALC. and comes in a can! Uinta Brewing Co. Earth, Wind and Beer I think your boys might like it... but maybe not?
 
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G

Guest

Guest
I keep enough in the basement that neither they nor I have had to resort to ancient and dusty beers.

I guess I raised them right, they left me some even though I was away for almost 7 weeks.

Someday I should sit down with the trip report album in hand to read and sip my way through each trip-appropriate beer. In the name of science, to see how different brands have aged over time.

Ah, science.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I don't know about these beer choices...

Genny, Shiner Bock, Uinta!?!

You lost me at the Oskar Blues...
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
Messages
3,460
That was a good read! How bout your new canoe? Are we going to see that on the water soon?
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Messages
924
Location
Red Lake, Ontario
Please tell me about this Sailor Jerry soaked apples you speak of.

Pre-soaked at home? Soaked then dried? Nah, that would defeat the purpose. Soaked just before you eat? Please do tell.

Nice trip report. Really enjoyed the slide show.
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
197
Location
Genesee Valley, Western NY
A bit of Sailor Jerry is poured into a titanium cup with the dried apples at the beginning of that evening's meal preparation. By the time the dishes are done the apples have softened somewhat and their flavor has mingled with the rum. It taste best with freeze-dried apples but either will work.
 
G

Guest

Guest
A bit of Sailor Jerry is poured into a titanium cup with the dried apples at the beginning of that evening's meal preparation. By the time the dishes are done the apples have softened somewhat and their flavor has mingled with the rum.It taste best with freeze-dried apples but either will work.

Hint of the year!
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,820
Location
Schenectady, NY
Conk,

Great stuff, as always...Did you take a ride on Sliding Rock Falls? Just watch out for that bump in the middle!
I have an OT question, what is the hull in your Oatka Trail photos, the green one? Is that a Yellowstone?
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
197
Location
Genesee Valley, Western NY




There would be a lot fewer emergency calls to SlidingRockFalls if it were renamed Rump Ripper Falls. Maybe there has been a geological shift since its naming but I can't see how the ass catcher half way could be avoided.



Yes, the green canoe you question is a Yellowstone Solo.



 
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