About a year ago, I was paddling from Middle Saranac Lake to Lower Saranac Lake with three friends to finish up a week of camping that had taken me to several destinations throughout the Adirondacks.
The final night’s destination was an island at the end of Lower Saranac Lake, which is part of a state campground run by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
As we paddled through the last stretch of river between the lakes, the sun settled into the trees on the horizon, lighting up the sky in a brilliant orange. The lake was completely calm and there was very little boat or canoe traffic.
As we arrived at our campsite on Martin’s island, there was still nobody in sight and the only sounds were from the loons and small waves hitting the shoreline.
It was a great paddle that day, and it was made even better by the fact that we knew our campsite would be open when we arrived, which doesn’t always happen at first-come, first-serve primitive campsites on the Forest Preserve. But this site was part of a state campground and we had a reservation, giving us the security to take our time on the way to the tent site.
For most of the spring this type of camping has been non-existent in the Adirondacks as the pandemic forced state campgrounds to stay closed. As we announced earlier today, DEC campgrounds in the Adirondacks and Catskills are opening the reservation system on Monday, July 6 for booking stays starting July 10. As a result, I’m sure many people will be ecstatic as they return to their favorite stomping grounds.
In the meantime, you can read Melissa’s article about staying at Harris Lake campground in Newcomb by following this link. She visited there with her family last summer and wrote about the experience in last September’s issue of Adirondack Explorer.
Editor’s note: A version of this post originally appeared in Mike’s weekly “Backcountry Journal” newsletter. Sign up here
Photo: Paddling on Middle Saranac Lake, by Mike Lynch