Lake Vs. River trip

Joined
Jun 12, 2012
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Appleton, Maine
Not a survey, but just curious of what you like better.

Me, I prefer to camp on a lake, the vistas from the campsite and the ability to go for an evening/early morning paddle into areas seldom visited are what I like.

I have done river trips where there weren't any lakes on the route and the campsites all where riverfront. I never really enjoyed the campsites as much as lakefront, look up the river, look down the river and look across, not as interesting as a lakefront site to me. The sound of the river is nice, but campsites along a rapids are not my thing, too much noise of one type. Can't hear the wind in the trees, loons, birds behind the campsite....
I liked the current puling me along vs. paddling into a headwind across a lake, I don't do white water much so that doesn't draw me to a river.
I guess a combo of river and lake travel is good, as long as I can get that open lake campsite.

What's your preference?
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
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Northern Wisconsin
My answer contains pretty much the same both sides positions that you make. Included in my pros for river tripping would be wind protection, more solitude, continually changing vistas, fewer and shorter portages so you can take some luxury items like a bag chair,. My pros for lakes tripping would include sunsets, more fishing sites near camp, better swimming, (less chance of a large family group surprising you while you're skinny dipping) and the reasons that you mentioned.

I guess that I love both types of tripping and would be hard pressed to say that I prefer one over the other. When planning a trip, I get the large area maps out first and my frame of mind at that moment points me in the direction I want to go.
 
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Willis

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I prefer lakes for longer trips, but love to day trip on rivers. Especially with friends.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
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Schenectady, NY
When it's black fly season, I like lakes...all other times I much prefer small water. My favorite kind of trip is pond hopping with multiple carries and multiple sites, moving each day or so.
Most of my boats are just not safe on big water, everything I own is skinny and light, built to suit the water I prefer! Also, I much prefer the destinations not popularly visited by paddlers...if there is no carry trail around rapids or between ponds, so much the better. I have a long list of future trips, seems that the the grows longer each year.
Here in NY, specifically the Adirondacks, we are fortunate to have new acquisitions every few years, and new recreational easements as well. So every now and then, I get to visit those places that I have yearned to see. At the moment, I am patiently waiting for access to sections of the Indian and Hudson rivers, Boreas Ponds, Essex Chain Lakes and Follensby Pond.

Some of my favorite places are readily accessible, but seldom paddled due to logjams, rapids, and lack of trails...some of these spots seem as if you are the only person to ever set foot (or paddle) there, not even a footprint or granola wrapper.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
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Illinois
I prefer padding a string of small to medium sized lakes. Every portage means more solitude. I agree with strippergguy, no portage- no problem.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
I'm getting lazy. I prefer a string of large lakes. One had its way with me yesterday with howling winds and whitecaps. One crossing of a mile was scary. I am bushed. TR will follow. I did not see a single person over five days. My boats are skinny and light too and I stayed off West Grand Lake. (Makes Opeongo look like a duck pond). I don't put much faith in planning for sunsets. I saw the sun twice in five days. I saw a lot of rain and warm weather which turned mean and snowy last night.

I am ashamed to admit becoming fond of picnic tables, and a nice lounge chair. I like an occasional river campsite for the immediate details of the scenery but prefer lake vistas more.
 
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Willis

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There is no shame in using picnic tables. They are a luxury to be enjoyed.
 
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Joined
Jul 31, 2011
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Aberdeen, MD
i've only done two river trips, and while enjoyable, i find that i prefer the quiet of small ponds and lakes. i keep returning to the St Regis and Five Ponds Wilderness Areas of the Adirondacks because of this.

I'd like to do some Canadian trips someday, but until i get the time off, and the freedom from other family obligations (which tend to cut seriously into vacation time), i'll have to stick with that. hopefully with my kids soon to be both out of the house, my summers will be different in a few years. wife has actually expressed an interest in visiting Minnesota. Lakes again, but different lakes.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
i've only done two river trips, and while enjoyable, i find that i prefer the quiet of small ponds and lakes. i keep returning to the St Regis and Five Ponds Wilderness Areas of the Adirondacks because of this.

I'd like to do some Canadian trips someday, but until i get the time off, and the freedom from other family obligations (which tend to cut seriously into vacation time), i'll have to stick with that. hopefully with my kids soon to be both out of the house, my summers will be different in a few years. wife has actually expressed an interest in visiting Minnesota. Lakes again, but different lakes.

I ran some comparable travel distances for three places. From NOLA (Just for a reference point) to Ely MN, to Tupper Lake NY and to Red Lake ON.

You are actually driving as far to the Adirondacks as it would be to Red Lake (With Woodland Caribou Prov Park) and you are driving farther than it is to Ely MN!
 
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I would very much like to attend next years gathering in Woodland Caribou. The last time I went was about three years ago? Maybe four.. I loved Artery Lake. What I wasn't so crazy about was the string of portages from Leano to Mexican Hat. The last year I went I wanted to start at Onnie but the trail was flooded so badly that there was quite a current you had to wade through..or fall in.

What year was that?
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
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Northern Wisconsin
I heard about that. I think it might have been 2010. Harlan and Bob B talked about the road being flooded by a beaver dam.

There's always the Lund Lake entrance or traveling in to Leano Lake from Ear Falls rather than Red Lake. Harlan would have the road conditions. Farmer and I lucked out this past August by hopping a flight into Carroll Lake on a pick-up flight. It was inexpensive and started us on the west side of the park.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
Yup. While we don't have solotripping anymore, Harlan is on Facebook and posting some great stuff about Woodland Caribou. What I do miss is the info from Claire regarding current conditions.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Oct 24, 2012
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Connecticut
Beavertail raises two related but separate issues: on which would I rather paddle and on which would I rather camp?

I prefer paddling on moving water more so than still, though I have a deep love of swamps. I like smaller and twistier streams more so than big wide rivers. As for lakes, I generally like links of smaller ones more so than giant lakes, mainly because I don't like paddling in big fetch winds and the accompanying wind waves.

I agree lake campsites can be more scenic than river sites, but many are set back from the shore such that you can't get much of a view.

My favorite flat water place to paddle is South Carolina's Sparkleberry Swamp in the spring. It is an endless slalom through a Jurassic forest, where many have become lost and even died. Not many non-locals know where the hidden high grounds are for camping, but I do.
 
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The other issue is sometimes you don't WANT much of a view, such as it might be foul weather. I haven't camped on very many interior lakeside campsites. More often the issue is too much exposure as in Algonquin and Temagami and Woodland Caribou has you perched on a rock quite a bit!

I am eagerly awaiting Glenn's ADK TR from the land of indeed sometimes secluded campsites. And his advice on cartage.. for another thread.
 
Joined
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Appleton, Maine
I would still like the option of picking a site on a lake vs sitting along a river bank.If it's windy, maybe that open site on a point will be perfect to keep the bugs at bay. Or that site you see around the point on your map is just right to keep you out of the cool fall wind but looks like it will get a nice sunset/daybreak.A combination of both river and lake travel seems like a good compromise, but I always lean towards a lake campsite if I have a choice just for the view and an evening paddle option.
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2012
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Alburnett Iowa
I would still like the option of picking a site on a lake vs sitting along a river bank.If it's windy, maybe that open site on a point will be perfect to keep the bugs at bay. Or that site you see around the point on your map is just right to keep you out of the cool fall wind but looks like it will get a nice sunset/daybreak.A combination of both river and lake travel seems like a good compromise, but I always lean towards a lake campsite if I have a choice just for the view and an evening paddle option.

My feelings in a nut shell. Saved my a lot of typing. Dave
 
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Feb 1, 2013
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I live about three hours north east of Thunder Bay. If you do any trip over a couple of days, you will have no choice but to run rivers and lakes. In fact, my favorite trips have those combinations in them. Always being on a lakes or always being on rivers gets kind of tedious for me. My last trip in August down the Kapikotongwa River up here was a perfect example of the mix. Started with about 40 k of sedate river paddling, followed by about 20 k of very nice white water, and then several large lakes, and then back on to river travel. That variety really "wets my whistle", so to speak.
 
Joined
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Dodgeville, Wi
Like Beaver tail and Rippy, I much prefer a lake campsite. Yellow Canoe, I hope you can make the gathering, it is real nice to meet up with folks from the board, and WCPP is such a beautiful place to paddle.

Bob.
 
G

Guest

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I'm with you for the same reasons. http://garysoutdoorwanderings2.blogspot.com/2011/05/canoe-camp-on-calderwood-with-douglas.html
I have a particularly beautiful lake I adore and it's large enough to be new with each visit. The mountains are high all around it and hiking is my thing after camp is set. Wildlife photography is of particular interest and there's plenty of it. Waves lapping against the shore at night and the occasional beaver that thunderclaps his tail against the water when he sees or hears my dog and the hoot owls that keep it up all night - all clear as a bell in the quiet evening. Rivers are fine but I guess I'd have a problem getting back to the truck when I get downstream as I have no one to paddle with. So, it's down stream and stuck. At 67 years of age - I doubt I'll be getting a river canoe anytime soon. But, lake paddling is a passion - a strong passion that is dominating my life, next to my dog!
 
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