Raquette Lake canoe loop

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Been planning out some of my summer fun lately and I have had Shallow Lake in the Adirondacks (PiLWA) on my mind.

I was pouring over maps (although not my paddler maps yet) and thinking that I'd have a pretty nice loop if I include Browns Tract and Raquette Lake (part of the 90 miler). Shallow is a bit out of the way but only 1.4 miles, not enough to deter me from spending a night out there (I know there are some legal sites).

http://www.cnyhiking.com/ShallowLake.htm

I'd also like to go back up West Mtn if time permits. Seems like a nice detour to take and a place I haven't been in over 17 years. It would be nice to see how I remember it.

I think I'd start in the village of Raquette Lake (park the car) and close the loop via the Brown Tract Inlet.

Looks to me it is a 3 day, 2 night, but I might stretch it an extra day (probably could realistically be done in a day but I want to stretch it out).

Question is then... first, does anyone want to join me? It would be July or August.

Second - what to do the first (and maybe second) night? Are there any free sites on Raquette, or must we use DEC pay sites (this is where I should consult my paddlers map, but I'm not sure how accurate that is).

Third - does anyone have any intel on the landing at Sucker Brook Bay near Clark's Point - I'm sure I can find it but wondering if there are any marks.

http://www.cnyhiking.com/WestMountain.htm

Many thanks,
Mike
 
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Mike - Hopefully I can answer a couple of your questions. Here goes...On Raquette Lake there are many free DEC approved sites. You can find 3 of them, all with lean-tos so they are popular, on Big Island alone. From one of them you can see the General Store in the village quite clearly. You can also find 2 or 3 tent only sites on Big Island as you head up towards Pine Knot Point; which is located off of Long Point. There are also some free sites (lean-to and tent) up near Hasbrouck's Landing in the north end of the lake as well as deep in Lonesome Bay on the south side of Indian Point. The two sites off of Lonesome Bay also have lean-tos and used to be popular with the Raquette Lake Girls Camp so they might be crowded during the camp season on some nights.

As for the landing near Clark's Point, it's a small sandy beach just to the right of where Sucker Brook flows into the lake. I haven't been there in a couple of years but there has never been a sign there in the past and I've pulled in there quite a few times over the past 20 years. If the lake level is down you'll find a nice beach for swimming and plenty of room to unload you canoe. The pathway out of there is a bit narrow but that makes it easy to find. It's a quick minute or so up from the beach to reach the trail. If you're into frogs legs for dinner, there used to be a lot of large bullfrogs in the swampy area just off the lake where the brook enters. Bring a strip of red wool flannel and you should be in business.

I hope that helps. Feel free to contact me if you think I can be of any other assistance. Until then...Be well.

snapper

PS - It's been a few years since I was last on West Mt. so I don't know what the current view is. The fire tower was taken down a long time ago and there isn't/wasn't that great a view the last time I was there. You might want to speak with DEC to see if they've opened it up a bit. If not, about all you see is a little bit of the lake heading off towards Big Island.
 
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Thanks Snapper!

We plan on starting Thursday, so hopefully it won't be too crowded. We'll end up back at Shallow by Saturday or Sunday.

I read that about the view on West. I was there in '96ish. I thought there was a view. I don't know if it was from the summit or from the site of the old ranger cabin (that's all I really remember is that clearing).

Maybe we'll forgo West and just spend our extra time on Shallow Lake. In that case I may start on Friday morning.

We usually don't go for the lean tos (too popular). So a tent site would be nice.

I may bug you again once I look at my paddlers map.

Actually if we leave out West it doesn't make a lot of sense to port all that way along the Sucker Brook Trail... Probably just spend a night on Raquette and one on Shallow.

I found some current pics of West. Looks pretty overgrown. The only way it will ever get cleared again is if there is a fire.
 
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Mike,

I've looked at Shallow on maps more than a few times, even asked about it...I got some good info.
ADK Pole n Paddle guy (Rich) went there not too long ago.
I have been eyeballing a loop from Shallow to Raquette. I did get some feedback that it's not that practical, not because of the drops in elevation, but due to the many deadfalls. Bing maps has the best satellite photos, you'll see what I mean.
Even so, I think an exploration of the inlet and outlet of Shallow could be a fun way the spend most of a day, or more.

I just checked, there is only a 10 ft drop from Shallow to Cranberry, but then a 30 ft drop to Raquette.
 
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Mike,

I was going to carry it - that is Raquette to Shallow. I think I remember reading about the Cranberry pond issues i.e. deadfall, low water, etc.

Now that I think about it, it seems dumb to carry from Sucker Brook Bay when I can just paddle back and forth on the Browns Tract Inlet and carry over to Shallow from the lower pond.

Seems like a fun place to diddle around though for a couple days. Shallow lake is really pretty, I've hiked out there before (and saw boats on it)... so people do carry out there.
 
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Mike,

I checked the old responses to my queries (on some other, unnamed forum), there is a faint carry trail around the rapids below Cranberry Pond, and a short cut from Sucker Brook Bay to Lonesome/Beaver Bay, so you wouldn't have to be exposed paddling around Indian Point. The paddle on Raquette, combined with Browns Tract Inlet and Lower Browns Tract Pond, completes the loop.
The whole loop looks incredibly possible as long as you travel light. The trick would be to negotiate all the beaver dams and deadfalls with a loaded boat. I counted 15 beaver dams (from Bing images, don't know how current) between Shallow and Cranberry.
The sources with direct knowledge state that a walk (sans boat) from Cranberry to the beach at Sucker Brook Bay is 10 to 15 minutes. Indeed, the distance is well under a mile.
I should think an extended stay at Shallow would allow paddling (and clearing?) the waters all the way to Cranberry Pond. The other end from Raquette to Cranberry can be investigated as a day trip another time, maybe in advance.
The full loop is about 12 miles, as the crow flies, a little more if paddling around Indian Point.

When?
 
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Hmm... sounds kind of scary :)

I'm sure my wife would hate it. That might have to be a boys only trip. September or October? With Solos? Hopefully it's dry, but not too dry... Pigeon Lakes is notoriously swampy. Maybe I'll bring snowshoes for floating over loonshit.

I def want to get out there this summer though. I'll do the mellow version (no loop) and see if I can scout out the outlet of Shallow.

I'm guessing it would be easier going from Shallow to Cranberry to Raquette? As long as we know where the falls are and don't go over!
 
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I've looked at coming from Queer Lake on through to Raquette. Made it as far as Windfall Pond with the boats once on a recon trip.
 
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See....this is what happens.
A little seed of an idea germinates, and eventually grows into a plan of epic proportions!
My early season is spoken for, lest I would be out there before leaf out.

Keith, are you going to do it this season?
 
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So many blue spots on the map. So little time. :)

Looking at it now it might make more sense to just go in and out Sucker Brook instead of a loop.

It's been on the list for a few years.
 
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I read this post... I saw this "Question is then... first, does anyone want to join me? It would be July or August." and immediately want to respond with a "YES". I love ADK and adventure, and have been wanting to take a canoe trip adventure for a long time. I visit ADK regularly to wilderness camp, and fly fish out of my kayak, and I also do a lot of hiking. The only reason I am hesitant, is because I am a horrible canoe paddler. I'm trying to learn the technique, but I'm having a hard time. I just took my canoe out in the water for the first time this season, last Friday. It was awesome to be out, and I watched paddeling videos online, but its a whole new game, when you are out on the water by yourself, trying to remember what to do. I would never complain, I would spend all of my free time fly fishing, and I would enjoy 100% of my time there... but, i wouldn't want to slow you down.

2014 Paddle.jpg
 
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Patch,

We should get together this spring and head down to Canadice Lake and bomb around. I'm pretty slow in a solo boat. In a tandem the wife and I can move but we usually aren't in a hurry.

We can test the waters so to speak. Drop me a PM and I'll give you my info.

Does your wife paddle? Or just you. I saw your other post about dragging her up a mountain :)
 
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Mike - The carry trail that stripperguy mentions connecting Sucker Brook Bay over to Lonesome Bay is a season snowmobile trail. I've taken it a few times when the wind has been high so as to avoid having to paddle around Indian Point but it's definitely swampy in places. I'm not sure how much actual maintenance is done on it for paddlers but it is definitely an option to shorten your distance and time on the water.


That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.

snapper

PS - There used to be a couple of tent sites back off of Eldon Lake. They were on the south shore of Tioga Point but away from all the lean-tos. The caretaker never came over to bother the tent folks but with NYS needed more and more cash that may no longer be the case. It might be worth checking into though.
 
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... I am a horrible canoe paddler. I'm trying to learn the technique, but I'm having a hard time. I just took my canoe out in the water for the first time this season, last Friday. It was awesome to be out, and I watched paddeling videos online, but its a whole new game, when you are out on the water by yourself, trying to remember what to do. I would never complain, I would spend all of my free time fly fishing, and I would enjoy 100% of my time there... but, i wouldn't want to slow you down.

Get a book titled, "Paddle Your Own Canoe" by Gary and Joanie McGuffin. Copy the pages of skills you want to work on, put them in plastic page protectors or a map case, and get out there and practice. That what I did some years ago, and now I are a kanu instrukter.
 
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For those of you who want to improve your paddling try the Adirondack Canoe Symposium. Its not about tutus. We want to get you going and going with ease and speed. Plus there are trips offered in the St Regis Area.

Meadowbrook is cheap camping.. never full.

http://www.freestylecanoeing.com/adirondack.html.. Come for the week or one or two days. All up to you.

I think LDC does some sessions on the lake too.

And the Solo Canoe Rendezvous in PA is only three hours from Lockport.

http://wpscr.proboards.com/
 
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I learned a lot from the Bill Mason videos. Of course modern canoe instructors will tell you the way he does it is wrong, but it works, and it's a good place to start.

I had to watch the videos about 20 times before I could translate those things out on the water. I'd watch it, go try it... it wouldn't work, so I'd watch again, then try, etc... It would be nice to have the video in the boat with you!

I can translate some of those things from the video if you watch it. I might need a refresher myself.

I'll post the link if I can find it.
 
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I think LDC does some sessions on the lake too.

Dave?!? Lessons? I doubt it. He throw you in a boat and let you have it - and have a laugh when you fall in...

There is a guy who gives solo lessons in Rochester. He's really hard to get hooked up with but he's a good paddler.

Really the main thing you need to learn is how to go in a straight line. Once you get that down you'll be dangerous.

And if you carry a double blade when you get frustrated just go to that, you'll go straight.
 
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There are informal lessons given at the Solo Canoe event.

You are so sadly off the mark when you give up with just going straight. Going straight in all conditions is a good thing to learn.. Going straight without a J stroke counts. Body mechanics count. And confining yourself to a double blade.
But do what you want. Videos can't begin to do two way communication which you get from an instructor. I have a list of them... gee one lives in Honeoye Falls.
 
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Whatever. Come give the guy a lesson then. It's a boat. It's not rocket science. Not everyone needs to twirl around and do ballet to have a good time.

PS this thread isn't about canoe instruction. Thanks!
 
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I'm trying to learn the technique, but I'm having a hard time. I just took my canoe out in the water for the first time this season, last Friday. It was awesome to be out, and I watched paddeling videos online, but its a whole new game, when you are out on the water by yourself, trying to remember what to do.
Short of spending a couple of days with professional instructors, watch some of the better videos, such as from Bill and Becky and Caleb - watch only to show you that there are many things you can do with paddle and canoe that you may have never thought possible. Don't try to memorize the details, only that incredible things can be done once you learn how to manipulate your body, the canoe, and the paddle. Then go out and play around with the paddle in a quiet area where you have some time.... find out what you can do for yourself with different angles and positions and pressures on the paddle blade.

Then go back and review the training videos or books a second time to relate what you actually did with what you could have done. Your brain and muscles will learn "oh, this does that..." as you soon will gain the ability to make the canoe dance across the water. It doesn't have to be fancy, but a few basic useful movements will become natural.

It is important to first learn how to go straight. Do that and you have it down. The rest is just details. It has been said: "If you can keep the canoe on a straight track with ease, then you already know how to make it turn at will." It is like riding a bike - once you learn, you do not have to expend much conscious thought making it do what it needs to do.
 
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