Lows Lake, Aug 13-18 2013 (very long & pic heavy)

Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
91
Location
Eastern PA
Lows canoe trip, Aug 13-18 2013


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Me and a friend of mine (Woody) left my house in PA around 5am and arrived at Lows lower dam around 11:30am. The parking lot was surprisingly full and busy with other paddlers loading and unloading for a Tuesday morning. Even though cars were parked on the sides of the road here and there on the way down we were able to squeeze in a spot at the upper end of the lot. Took a little while to, unload, sign in, carry everything down to the water, load up and shove off. I was planning on taking my new cart that I had bought over a year ago but never used. Put some gear in the canoe and put the canoe on the cart. It's a short carry but I wanted to test it out and was thinking it would save on trips back and forth. It would have too if the quick release pin that holds the wheel on wouldn't have somehow broke just past the gate. We gathered up the pieces and threw it in the back of my car and shuttled the canoes and gear back and forth like normal. Even with the cart fiasco we were on the water by 12:30pm.

Our plan for this trip was to paddle in to site 31 on grass pond and base camp there for 2 nights. From there we wanted to make our way up to the face of grass pond mountain and do some rock climbing. Then we figured to paddle our way back to Hitchins, camping 1 night somewhere on the way, and base camp 2 nights again near Hitchins (either before or after the upper dam) and climb the slabs on Lows Ridge.......

On the ride up we drove through some rains and the sky looked always threatening but we loaded up and set out without a drop.

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I don't remember for sure but I think we made it to Hitchins before it started raining again, it was pretty much an off & on drizzle. We paddled up the outlet of Lows and took out for the carry on the left bank. We made good time scrambling up the bank with our gear and canoes but met up with some talkative paddlers at the dam. We ended up being there an hour before getting back on the water.

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The water was pretty high and we were able to squeeze past the floating bog on the left without getting out and dragging over. The rain came on a little heavier from here on out. We followed the north shore just about all the way to grass pond, but we opted to paddle in front of sites 20, 21 and 22 and skip the short carry. We did cut back in after 22 and dragged over the road to the private cabin near site 25.
Once in grass pond I was again surprised to see the bright colors of canoes, tents/tarps and smoke slowly making its way up through the tree tops at sites 29 and 32. We scouted out site 30 on the way in and weren't real impressed. We thought we were were going to get lucky and get the site we were shooting for but as we approached 31 a figure seemed to appear out of nowhere near the water. We looked over to see if we could see 33 and noticed a couple canoe paddling in so we spun around and double timed it back to 30.

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It was around 6pm and the rain let up as we drifted up to the dark narrow path leading up to site 30. We were wet and tired but took advantage of the lull unloading and carrying our gear up the path to our site. We were hungry and rushed to get camp setup and a fire going before the rain decided to start coming down again. We got set up, settled in and a fire going. The rain seemed to be giving us a break so we strung up lines and hung our wet stuff to drip. I don't recall what I ate that night (soup I think) but it was quick easy stuff and snacks.

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Woke up to a light drizzle and decided with yesterday's rain that conditions were not good for climbing so we threw some snacks and rain gear in our day packs and headed up through the woods to scout out the area we wanted to climb. We followed the trail behind the site up to the thunder box and kept going. We made our way to and old logging road, now a path, and followed it north. We came to a little draw and followed that up to the base of the face. Near the base was a neat area with a lot of boulder weaving and hopping. We saw were others climbers had been there and a few possible routes.

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We made our way back to camp and the sun made an appearance soon after we got back! We were happy to see the sun with hopes of it drying the rock. We had been talking about moving camp up to 31 if it opened up so Woody wanted to paddle up and see if site 31 had opened. He paddled up and I paddled out in the middle to get a better look at the mountain from the water.

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I went back to camp and put some steaks of the coals. Woody came back to camp by foot. 31 was open but there was a pack and map there but nothing else, fire was doused and everything cleaned up. We were not sure what to make of it..... We ate our steaks and a couple hours had passed so Woody hiked back up around to 31 to see if "the guy who forgot his pack" came back. We had kept watching the water for any people but did not see a sole. A little while later Woody returned, but this time by canoe. It turned out that the guy who left this morning did not forget his pack, here the young couple that were on site 32 had the same idea we had. After seeing the guy leave 31 the guy ran over to 31 and left his pack and map and then went back to 32 to clean up. We stayed on 30. Worked on drying stuff out, planning our attack on the rock for the next day and enjoyed the sunset and time relaxing around the fire.

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It rained again pretty good during the night so we gave up hopes on climbing grass pond mountain this trip and decided to pack up and start our way back toward Hitchins. As we were packing up the canoes Ranger Dawn paddled up. We talked a bit about the weather, water level, and the amount of other paddlers on the water. She was soon off to finish her rounds.

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It was pretty windy so we hugged the north shore again and decided on doing the short carry. The carry was my idea, I'm lazy but deep down like the challenge. We met two other party's, one looked to be a husband, wife and older teenage boy. They were heading the way we were and seemed to be in a hurry, didn't say a word or even look at us. At the other end we met a real nice older couple (from Vermont if I remember correctly) on their way in. We talked for a little bit and helped them carry there gear since we were heading back empty handed for more of ours.

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We were heading for site 17, we stayed there on a kayak trip a year (or two) ago and liked that site. As we came out from behind the shelter of the island we were hit with wind and waves. We knew it was windy and the lake was rough, we got a small taste of it coming out of grass pond. We knew the waves were going to be worse on the east end. After the carry we had looked at the map and talked about the best way to go.
Option 1: come out near campsite 20 and turn east, head for the lee side of Pole island and then shoot over to the south side channel of Gooseneck island and around to 17.
Option 2: stay to the north and go around behind Frying Pan island and then head south to the tip of Gooseneck and around down through the channel.
Option 2a: same as 2 but skirt Gooseneck the other (longer) way around.
We tried option 1 but ended up getting blown back and quickly switched to option 2.

I took this pic after the crossing and a ways down in-between the islands (Gooseneck is on the left).

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We check all the sites in the area except for 18, it's pretty exposed to the wind and we didn't want to go back in the opposite direction. The only site we found open was site 15, 16 was occupied by the unfriendly family we saw earlier at the carry. 15 is not too bad once you summit the steep hill to it. Not much of a view but the thunderbox is nice and has a good view into the woods.
I got my tent and tarp set-up while Woody hung his hammock back in the woods. Someone was there with a chainsaw and had cut up a bunch of blow downs. We gathered up what we thought we would need for the night and morning plus some extra, we like to leave a pile ready to go for the next people. We took turns splitting the bigger stuff and then got a fire going. While waiting for it to burn down to good cooking coals we kept busy by setting up some cut logs around the fire for side tables and such.

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With camp set-up it was still a little early but I cooked up a couple hamburgers and got some water boiled up on my pocket rocket to make velvetta shells & cheese. I topped the burgers with Swiss cheese and bacon. This trip was 6 months ago but I can still remember how good those bacon Swiss burgers tasted! The fire pit was big enough that we were able to have a fire on one side and rig up the grill on the other and drag coals over as needed.

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Still fairly early we climbed back down to the canoes and cleaned them out and then went for a quick swim. Spent a relaxing afternoon/evening around the fire with a few drinks. Woody brought some chicken breasts and was a little worried about them because the ice in his cooler was about gone. We were hungry so we solved the problem by eating a really late supper.

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Woke up to a beautiful morning.

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We broke camp, loaded the canoes and hit the water.
We were hoping to stay at site 9 to be close to the trailhead and the slabs at Lows Ridge. We checked sites 12, 11 & 10 on the way out just in case. Site 9 was taken and even though one of the ones before it were open when we passed a couple sets of paddlers had passed us. So rather than chance going back we pushed on ahead hoping sites 7 or 8 would be open. We got to the upper dam and I stayed with the boats while Woody grabbed a pack (or something) and walked down to site 7. He came back carrying his pack so I knew it wasn't good news. There were people at sites 7 & 8, plus Ranger Dawn was down there talking with people and she informed him that all sites were occupied except 2 and 3 back on the Bog. She was not sure about site 4 though so we quickly carried his gear and canoe and he took off for site 4. The plan was if 4 was taken he would go to 3. I carried my gear and canoe down and got back on the water. Ran into Dawn on Hitchins and she informed me that there is people at site 4 and my buddy headed to 3.

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As I paddled within eye site of site 3 I could see what looked to be a familiar canoe in front of it. As I got closer I could see person laying on the bank snoozing in the sun. Looks like we'll be calling 3 home for our last 2 nights! We wanted to be closer to the upper dam but yeah well.
Site 3 was pretty nice, has a nice flat spot down below the fire ring perfect for a tent, and as usual we soon got busy setting up camp.

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Site 3 is out on a point with water pretty much on three sides so firewood was slim pickins. Woody volunteered to go for wood so I enjoyed the views until he returned.

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After getting enough wood collected and getting a fire going. We decided to get the phones out and try to call home and let our family's know that all was well. Someone had cut a tree down behind my tent. They cut it off about 3' off the ground and Woody was able to get enough signal to call home while standing on it. It's a little swampy around the site and the mosquitoes were enough to be annoying for a little while.

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Woke up to another beautiful day. Day 5 and my 37 oz water bottles that I had in my cooler were still pretty much solid ice!

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We grabbed our climbing gear and paddled back to the carry, beached the canoes and headed up to the trailhead for Lows Ridge. Signed in and headed up.

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Here is a view from the base of the slabs looking back toward Hitchins and some pic's of the slabs.

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Like over on Grass Pond Mountain there was evidence of previous climbers (see the slings in the last 2 pic's?).
Woody gearing up for the first accent.

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Left the Slabs and had a nice paddle back across Hitchins and down the Bog flow to our camp.
Couldn't have asked for better weather!

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Woke up the last morning snapped a few pictures, broke camp and paddled the short paddle to the lower dam to load the car and head for home. On the way out we saw there was a family camped at site 2 also.

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The lot and road had more cars parked there than when we got there 6 days earlier. There were even people camping in the lot, I guess they weren't lucky enough to get an open site. Don't remember the exact number but I counted the vehicles on the way out and it was in the high 40's or low 50's.
Other than more people than normal it was still an excellent trip.


Thanks for reading I hope you liked my report.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
596
Location
Aberdeen, MD
Great pics. I was there the week before you, and the cars were similarly thick...

I made it to 3 the first night, in a drizzle like yours, then stayed at 21 for several days, day-tripping from there.

This was a perfect trip report for those of us (all of us?) itching to get back into the woods soon. Thanks.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,667
Location
Appleton, Maine
Thanks for that report, I have stayed at site 3 more than once, nice spot. I guess lots of folks have found out how great Lows Lake is. Camping there off season with a canvas wall tent and stove gives you an opportunity for some great solitude, I'm looking forward to making my way back there this spring or fall.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
91
Location
Eastern PA
Thanks for the replies!

Seeker,
How was site 21?
Do you have any pictures of it?

Robin,
My buddy and I did a 5 day kayak trip there in the fall of 2011 (I think it was 2011). Didn't see many people on that trip.
I'm looking at the paddlers map and guide book now for a solo trip this spring that will offer some solitude.
I'd like to see some pictures of your camp set-up with your canvas tent if have any.
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
1,819
Location
Schenectady, NY
Tracker (or is it BFH?),
Again, great TR thanks...our gang did the Lila to Lows though trip in early May of 2013. Lows was nearly deserted, we only saw a couple other groups. Lila was much the same, it was the 2nd day that the access road was open.
When we passed through Bog Lake in the evening, the peepers were deafening!! It was cool.
I'll definitely keep the cliffs of Grass Pond in mind when I go back.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,667
Location
Appleton, Maine
Hi Tracker,
Here's some pictures of my wall tent and stove before and after. It was an 8x10 by 6'3" tall tent when I bought it. I also bought an interior frame and a 12x12x24 stove. The whole outfit was "weigh" too heavy, good only for car camping. So I bought a cheap sewing machine (wife's would not let me near hes), cut that tent up and you can see the results. About 6x7 with 5'7" height. Very good for a couple of campers.

http://s1204.photobucket.com/user/Beavertail100/library/Wall Tent?sort=3&page=1

Here are the pictures of my canoe in deer hunt to Lows Lake with the tent and my wood canvas Chestnut Pal. I had a great time solo there with this tent, plan on going back this fall.
http://s1204.photobucket.com/user/Beavertail100/library/Lows Lake deer hunt?sort=3&page=1

A big tent is too heavy and finding the poles is hard. My interior frame set's up sets up in minutes, throw the tent over the top, hammer in some pegs and your golden.
My stove is now 12x12x12 and that's too big, looking to downsize again.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
91
Location
Eastern PA
Stripperguy,
Yes one in the same. My username is Tracker on most forums that I am on but it would not let me use it when I signed up over at the ADKforum. I tried different variations but none worked. Finally got tired and typed in BareFootHiker hit register and bam, It worked! Ugh. I PM'ed an admin over there about changing it but never heard back....oh well.
I have been enjoying your TR's for years, glad to hear you enjoyed mine.
The base of the cliffs was a really neat area. I would like to go back and spend a day there exploring all the nooks and crannies and search for the ice caves I read about somewhere.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
91
Location
Eastern PA
Robin,
Thanks for the info and pictures, I really enjoyed them and would love to do a hunt like that sometime.
I've always had an interest in mountain men, reading and hearing stories about them. I always thought a elk hunt out west using a wall tent and horses would be awesome! An adirondack wilderness solo deer hunt out of a canoe would be just as good. I have never seen much wildlife (or even signs of) while up there but never planned to, wasn't there for that but I always look when walking around the woods. I'm at a point in my life where I could care less if I would even get anything, just the experience of it all is all I'd be after anyway.

How do you plan for transporting your harvest? Just gut and put on top of gear or quarter and pack it out?
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,667
Location
Appleton, Maine
I saw more moose sign and tracks than deer, and I'm the same way, harvesting a deer there is not a big priority. I guess my plan was two trips out if I ever did get a deer of any size. Maybe paddle down to the dam, set up the tent and go back for the deer. Or stop by that nice rangers place and knock on the door and ask if they can haul it out. :)
I can't bring a full carcass back into CT from NY because of CWD, so I would have to drop it at a butcher somewhere along my trip home. I wasn't all that confident that being my first hunting trip there. I kinda found out where not to hunt in my travels vs. where too hunt.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
596
Location
Aberdeen, MD
Seeker,
How was site 21?
Do you have any pictures of it?

MINE! MINE! ALL MINE!

Nothing to see there folks... just move along... nothing to see...

Seriously, yes. It's one of the nicer campsites I've ever been on... I'll try to link to my Low's trip photo album on FB... It was a nice grassy spot with a decent fire pit and four pretty convenient trees for a tarp. I hung my hammock off to the right/east. There is a small beach off to the left too, so you can pull up parallel to the shore and just step out dry shod. I really liked it. Hope it doesn't lose its grass.

https://www.facebook.com/almarte/media_set?set=a.10201027836996105.1073741830.1172884947&type=3
 
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