The Crooked Canes Journal


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Essex Chain Lakes Paddle And Carry ~ Oct 3, 2014

Journal entry by Ray And Kurt



One more day of great fall weather and another great CC special - this one a visit to the newly opened Essex Chain Lakes. It all started with Ray having a plan and sending an email to someone he knew to be an easy target knowing all too well that Kurt couldn't possibly pass up an opportunity for company on a new adventure, especially one likely be really long at place neither had visited before. The plan worked like a charm and by 8.00 am on Friday we were off to Newcomb.

The ride to the put in from WCMC is about two hours and fifteen minutes, the last forty minutes or so on a narrow but nice dirt road posted for 15 mph but on which 10 mph in first gear is decidedly more prudent. The first of the day's six carries began at the parking lot where there is LOTS of room and a new outhouse that has yet to achieve its full pleasant aromatic potential. Choosing to see all the water bodies we could, we opted to start with Deer Pond, a mere quarter mile from the parking lot on really good trail and gravel road. Deer Pond is fairly small and upon launching we were greeted by our first loon of the day. After paddling the perimeter it was time for the 0.4 mile carry to Third Lake, also on very good trail and gravel road. Right after the launch, more loons! A mom and her adolescent offspring. We then paddled east through Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Lakes and made an attempt to get to Eighth but figured out in short order that it would require extreme effort and that there were valid reasons why Eighth was not included in DEC's description of the lakes one could paddle to. A planned carry to Eighth will be a lot easier on paddlers and friendlier to the environment than the naturally occurring somewhere-between-wetland-and-swamp route.

All day long a strong, gusty wind blew from the southwest giving us concern about the return trip... right up until we turned to head back to the west when it swung a few degrees to the south east and made the trip back quite easy with only a couple short sections feeling like they were steep uphill climbs.

Finally getting back to Third Lake, across the lake from the carry to Deer Pond at about four fifteen, we had to decide on whether we wanted to spend another hour or two going to Second, then First Lakes. Of course, since we were there..........

The paddle to Second Lake was directly into the wind, but worth every stroke, just like all the previous lakes. The rising half moon was much appreciated and the short carry to First was rewarded with another loon (with the most varied vocabulary either of us has ever heard) crooning almost the entire time it took to paddle around this small lake where float planes are invited and where two parking locations reserved for them.

Back in Third Lake again and nearing the next-to-last carry, Kurt and a loon, neither seeing the other because of the low sun in their eyes, ended up about fifteen feet from one another. The loon let out a mighty squawk and dove, its wings flapping and splashing. Kurt jumped out of his skin. Coming up for air shortly after that, the loon presented a photo opportunity of it flapping its wings with the moon in the background. Still in "WOW!" mode, neither of us could manage to quickly enough fumble a camera into operating to capture the moment. But what a memory!

After eight and a half hours of classic Adirondack views (including some skinny dippers), 13.4 miles, eight loons (four of that number being in two sets of a mom and offspring) found on six of eight lakes, six carries and darkness coming on strong, we two fellows arrived back at the parking lot thrilled about our day and wondering if either could stay awake for the drive home.

10/5/14 - Ray Bouchard added 18 photos.

30 photos



Deer Pond at the end of the first of six carries.



Interesting rock formation on Deer Pond.



Not very visible in this photo, but it is scenic and there are two loons just ahead of Ray.



One could easily find a worse place for lunch.



Momma Loon and Junior. One of two sets we saw.



Navigating through a floating bog-ette maze between Fifth and Sixth lakes.



Retreating from an exploration of the non-existant way to Eight Lake.



Pitchers hanging on through the last days warm weather.



Everywhere, scenes like this.



On Sixth Lake. Judging from wear around the entrance, this house has seen a lot of generations of birds.



Tunnel Vision. Between Fourth and Fifth.



Starting the carry to First Lake, the last new lake of the day.



Faint, but there, the moon over Second Lake.



Note the big smile on Kurt's face after an easy 1/4 mi. carry from the parking lot to Deer Pond. The first of six. - added by Ray



I left my bottle of Muriatic Acid home but I have it on good authority that these rock slabs jutting into the water contain limestone. See Kurt's earlier picture and note the amount of erosion. - added by Ray



We took our time exploring the shoreline of Deer Pond and now we are starting the 1/2 mi. carry to Third Lake. - added by Ray



As you can see the breeze has riled the water a bit as we set out to explore Third Lake. - added by Ray



Photo added by Ray



The channel that joins Third and Fourth Lakes - added by Ray



The culvert that connects Fourth and Fifth Lakes. Not the rope hanging in the middle. - added by Ray



Kurt has had a lot of experience using rope tows at ski areas so I let him go first. - added by Ray



Fall foliage on Sixth Lake. - added by Ray



Look carefully and you'll see Kurt bushwhacking his way to Eighth Lake even though there are only seven official ones in the chain. - added by Ray



There, he just whacked another one. - added by Ray



"That's it Ray. I've had enough. Fini! And by the way I thought I told you to bring the chain saw." And so the challenge of reaching Eighth Lake has been left for another day. Whew! - added by Ray



We had to return to Third Lake in order to explore Second and First Lakes but on the way we spotted the holdings of the Gooley Club. The constant drone of their generator could be heard all day from almost any spot on the lake. - added by Ray



This is the end of the 0.1 mi. carry from Second Lake to First Lake. The picture pretty much explains why the carry was necessary. In addition to this mess, there were two beaver dams running from shore to shore and another dam made using rocks so there was no way you could line your boat from the shore. - added by Ray



Photo added by Ray



Photo added by Ray



The last of the fall foliage shots. The natural beauty and the serenity of this area demands that we come back another day. - added by Ray



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