Thursday, October 20, 2011

Canoe Camping: Bog River Area

It was a dark and stormy night when three Killington Kids finally arrived at the Low's Lower Dam of the Bog River in Bumblefuck, NY. Even with our headlamps, we could barely see where our paddles were, never mind the boat launch or water hazards. Quite a few times, in fact, we collided with various points of interest on our way to Campsite 3. A warm dinner of quinoa, sun-dried tomatoes and chicken sausage awaited us once we were all settled in our tent, all warm, dry & toasty...



But if you let yourself be limited by the weather, you will never find what life is like on the other side. Campsite 3 was a classic Adirondack site: needles littered the floor beneath ancient pine trees that seemed to reach forever upward into the sky. This was especially beautiful as we had remarked upon seeing a Champion International Paper Company Headquarters only twenty miles or so earlier; A corporation that hungrily awaits the day when New York senators will fall under their lobbyists spell and ignore this preserved area, unwittingly granting these loggers access to destroy such a unique landscape.


Woke up to discover what our campsite - and the Bog River - actually looked like! A windy river, filled with random hazards and plenty of bogs. Oh yeah, and that lovely musty, boggish scent permeated when ever you got too close to shore. Enough of a scent to attract wildlife while not scaring humans away: the perfect balance.


Our journey took us underneath an abandoned railroad track bridge, which we imagined must have been an exciting journey for some Victorian Era travelers. Thankfully, paddlers are no longer woken up by railroad cars chugging through the vast wilderness...but there was a skeleton of buildings from ages past. Apparently, a hunting club had set up camp at the site of our first portage: Low's Upper Dam.


To go from practically banging blade on the bottom of the river to 174 feet deep right ebfore the dam definately defined a paddling contrast. Obviously, A.A. Low had some kind of plan in mind with all these dams, but we are left to guess at his Rockefeller deams.


Middle Day is most frequently fishing day and the BF wasted no time getting his cast on while I carried all the dry bags up through the portage. It's a perfect combo: I like to walk and he likes to fish :)


A quick 1.1 mile hike took us to the top of Low's Ridge (sensing a naming pattern here?) to the Hitchin's Pond Overlook. We trucked up our lunch cooler and day bags to enjoy lunch atop the ridge with a kick ass view of from where we had just paddled. For me, windy rivers are soooo much more unique than wide, all encompassing lakes with aggressive and obnoxious motorboaters.



The view of our morning paddle from our lunch stop. Warm soup, hummus & carrots: a perfect break for a cold fall day :)
Photo courtesy of Aaron Normand


This little guy was also hiking the ridge, albeit a little slower than we were moving...


While The BF is more of a landscape guy, I can't help but be captivated by the smaller things in life - like dead leaves on the ground. Classic. I think I took about 20 photos of this one shot. I should know better. It's always the photos where I just walk by and shoot that come out the best.


After the dam, our second portage could be considered more of a drag. We kept looking for a way around the bog, but it seemed that we were indeed supposed to drag our canoe over these logs which had been laid across the bog. It's an interesting feeling walking on a bog. Like walking on deep powder in snowshoes, the ground just keeps moving around you as you try to find solid footing.


When we finally arrived at Campsite 12, Vespi was waiting for us to set up the tent so she could literally pass out. We used to let her lay down in the canoe, by she would have so much energy by the time we got to camp that we made some quick adjustments. She now stands. And then goes right to sleep as soon as she's had her dinner. A tired dog is a good dog :)


Since we had some extra time - and there was plenty of downed and dried wood lying around - we actually got to make a campfire. The BF headed out to ind with his fly fishing rod and the non-existant fish, I settled onto my sleeping pad for an in-depth yog session - by camofire! Although having to throw another log on does kind of throw you out of zen, I highly recommend yoga in complete darkness of the nightime forest :)


The final morning began with just enough time for us to make our hot toddies and breakfast before the rain started pouring down - but not before we packed up the tent! I HATE packing up a wet fly. It just makes everything so icky when you have to unpack later. I will say though that there is one thing that makes me really love my family: their willingess to paddle in 45 degree pouring rain :)


Well, except for Vespi. She hates her raincoat.


One final break before the final stretch home - and the sun came beating down upon us! What a wonderful way to warm after paddling without dextereity in your fingers for three days :)


May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum :)

Location:Bog River Area, St.Lawrence County, Adirondacks State Forest Preserve, NY

2 comments:

  1. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and
    I'm impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the last part :) I care for such information a lot. I was looking for this particular info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

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    Replies
    1. Glad you were able to find my blog! The Bog River is definitely a gorgeous place to paddle - I think we are planning another trip to the second half of the river this summer. I highly recommend the trip (just in the daytime!!)

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