Or: The story of a sizeable blister, a heart-rending loss, and how Youcantreadinthedark hatched a plan to immolate every mosquito in the Northeast. So I beat my head against several figurative walls trying to figure out camping and logistics to complete the last hundred miles or so of the James River. It was difficult. Also it was mid-July, and very humid, so I figured for the same amount of time and effort I could just drive to New York and kick it in the ADK for a while. I flew by the seat of my pants, stopping in Saranac Lake one Friday afternoon, hitting an outfitter for some advice and a map, and was on the water an hour or so later. No, check that, I was carrying a canoe down to the water on the first of many portages an hour or so later. It was late in the day so I just tucked into Slang lake, on a nice big rocky campsite for the night. My first two days were pretty full, I (in lieu of having a picture of the map I used) portaged back out of Slang into Long, then up north through a series of carries and paddles to Bessie (or Nellie, maybe?), through another two ponds to Fish Pond, where I stopped and had lunch at a really great little lean-to on the north bank. Then I got bored, and pushed on through Muddy Pond into Ochre, and then through to St Regis, where I scored a lean-to for the night. Then I was up in the morning carrying to Upper Clear Pond, across Route 30, down into the woods to set the boat in the top of Hatchery Brook, which debouched into (after some trial and tribulation) Upper Saranac Lake. This was pure suckage. It was super windy, big chop, big water, motorboats all over the place, no fun. I stopped at a site on Green Island after a dicey crossing for a break, where some jackass had failed to extinguish his fire and left beer cans all over the place. Ah well. I put the fire out and continued on, cruising up Fish Creek Bay (more motors) and then north into Follensby Clear Pond, where I again lucked out and scored the lean-to halfway up the lake. Lean-to on the third night, halfway up Follensby Clear Pond. The next morning I was up and on the water by six, so I jumped over to Horseshoe, to Little Polliwog, to Polliwog, to Middle, to Floodwood, and back to my truck by eight-thirty or so. Having had stretched out some, I took a few days to relax. I went up through Long, Slang and Turtle, and portaged up to clamshell pond from Turtle, where I spent two nights. (Whoever left all those fishhooks on the ground up there is a jackass, probably a different jackass than the Green Island jackass.) Sick of scenery and canoes, yet? The lily-choked feeder leading up into Follensby Clear (I think): Best blister I've had in years, constantly soaked and re-opened and abraded some more. (I mean, if you take a picture of it, it's a pretty good blister.) Sliding through the stormwrack and little channels of Hatchery Creek: And, sing a song for the departed, boys. @NWPrimate gifted me this a few years ago, during a blizzard of mutually-beneficial tea-and-coffee exchanges on the fourm, and it has been a constant companion both indoors and out. It finally bit the dust on this trip. But - a huge shoutout to the man, and may he have many happy returns for a really nice gesture. If anyone's looking for coffee in the woods, this is your gear, right here. Best I've ever used. Gear and boat and paddle was all exactly the same as I took down the James, but I finished Sophie's Choice (Styron) and switched to Ulysses (Joyce). I spent another few days, camped out here and there, going into town for good meals, and then I ended up taking a freestyle class all weekend at the Adirondack Canoe Symposium, which coincided with the Wooden Canoe Heritage Somethingorother, which was also pretty slick. A good time was had by all.