Courtesy of: Your Friendly Neighborhood Adirondack Outlaw
Greetings! As I made a quick trip out from camp for a food/water re-supply before heading back in for a long stint in camp through the Memorial Day holiday with our family, I thought a quick scouting report might be something folks find useful as they prepare to head into the Adirondacks for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
As usual, our family’s camp is at the lean-to on site #63, Middle Saranac Lake. The site known as “Bull Rush Bay.”
I began portaging most of the gear in via canoe from South Creek early on Friday, May 21st. I use two canoes, my 2 man Grumman, which I row, towing my 4 man Grumman, both loaded with gear. It took me two trips & all morning.
Then I met my wife and daughter, who had more gear & their dogs, at the walk-in from Ampersand, with more gear. I towed the empty 4 man canoe over behind my 2 man. So, by the end of the 3rd trip, early afternoon, we had most of the gear for a 2 week family stay in camp.
It went pretty smoothly, thanks to calm weather, all except for my 2nd solo trip in. As I rounded 1st Island in my 2 man, towing the 4 man, loaded down heavy, a bass boat came screaming out of the channel with two backwards hat scraggly beard young knuckleheads, who blasted by my going just shy of Mach 12. I managed to turn my 2 man into their wake, but the loaded 4 man behind me on a tow rope responds much more slowly, and got broadsided & almost flipped! I watched helplessly as my reclining Cabella’s camp chair (my bed, I cannot lie down to sleep due to post cancer complications- it is what allows me to spend nights in camp), which was on top of the load, slipped from the canoe, and disappeared into the lake.
Luckily for me, the whole canoe did not follow. Also luckily for me, it was bright out, and the chair was visible on the bottom in about 7 feet of water. I marked it off a nearby danger buoy, and returned for it later. I did manage to retrieve it, using my canoe umbrella anchor as a grappling hook. So it eventually dried in the afternoon sun and was still usable as my camp bed that night.
The lesson here-Boaters- SLOW DOWN! No wake for canoes. Yes! Your wake can capsize a canoe, and those in it. Quicky! Even when you go by 50 yards away- YOUR WAKE TRAVELS!!! And the water is still very cold. That could easily have been a disaster. Thankfully, it wasn’t. Though I suspect I taught everyone on the lake, including my daughter, who heard me curse, a few new “camping words.”
On the water, the blackflies are voracious! Bug Dope is a MUST & head nets are recommended, especially for those fishing. Most bass boats & fishermen I passed were wearing head nets. I wear a complete upper body head net suit while in the canoe for long stints. Thankfully, on dry land & in camp, we had no bugs, of any kind, to speak of. Not even along shore Only ON the water were they a problem for us. Especially when the wind died down. They were a real factor.
The water is still quite cold. We used it as a drink cooler initially, though it did warm up some. We did swim, quick dips. But use proper precautions, life jackets, etc. on the water, especially for kids & dogs! Know your limits. Watch the weather, plan accordingly.
The air is still spring chilled as well, especially with a wind, and at night it got downright COLD!!! Pack cold weather gear, hats, warm shoes/boots, a good jacket, warm sleeping gear, etc. It got into the 30’s Sunday night for us.
The bass were biting. ON the water, so were the blackflies! My son caught a nice 14 inch large mouth. I had a HUGE pike throw my lure just shy of shore.
We saw no sign of bear activity (knock on wood) in our camp. We did see bald eagles. I had one swoop down and Splash! Pluck a fish from the water 15 feet in front of me while I was fishing myself! We had loons, ducks, I saw a painted turtle swim by my feet on shore. Canada geese seemed to be everywhere, and BOY! Were they noisy!
I also almost stepped on & flushed a fledgling ruffed grouse while I was out gathering firewood. It could only fly a few feet at a time. That was neat to see.
We did have windy rain Sunday. Nothing colder than wet, windy rain in 40 degree temps. Luckily my son & I enjoy stocking up a good firewood pile. So we were pretty well prepared.
We also set up two canopies, one over the fire place, & the other over the picnic table. I also made a make-shift windbreak using my old army rain poncho. That worked great!
I made a venison roast, we ate Hunter’s Stews, had Jiffy Pop, bacon/sausage/egg & cheese breakfast bagel sandwiches, S’mores, hot dogs, and drank lots of hot coffee & cold bottled water. We invested this year in a propane coffee percolator. It gets 18 thumbs up! Other than the glass carafe. WHY on GOD’S EARTH would any outfit make a camp coffee percolator with a glass carafe?!? Beyond me. Sometimes I think the folks who make camping stuff have never camped themselves.
There wasn’t a ton of boat traffic on the lake, but I expect that will quickly pick up as we approach Memorial Day weekend. So- be aware of those around you, your surroundings, & most of all, stay safe out there, and have a great weekend!
Okay! Time to pack up my supplies & get some rest. Heading back into camp early for a long stint with family through June 4th.
If out on Middle Saranac Lake, guests are always welcome! I’m cooking up a batch of Wild Turkey Soup on Friday. Always plenty. Stop by!
All photos courtesy of Richard Monroe