Bog River to Lows Lake, ADK’s

Discussion in 'Outings, Trips & Expeditions' started by HeadyBrew, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    Just getting around to posting a report from our annual paddle trip. As per usual, we did 6 days, 5 nights.

    After trying Algonquin for last years trip, we opted to return to the Adirondacks this year. Interested in seeing a new area, and after some online research, we settled on the Bog River into Lows Lake. The area did not disappoint. This would be a fairly easy paddle with only one, short carry over the upper dam just after Hutchins Pond. While the single, easy carry might have offered opportunities to bring additional comfort items, I found that I personally didn’t alter my gear choices from the previous years when multiple longer portages were the norm.

    As is also our usual, we left WNY early morning, taking our time to make the drive. And again, sticking to what now may officially be tradition, we stopped at the Raquette River Brewing Co. for some late lunch and a beer before continuing to our destination.

    We dropped in at the lower dam on the Bog River and made our way with Hitchens Pond as our goal for the first night. With the all other sites occupied, we landed at site #8, right near the carry over the upper dam. The landing for site #8 is next to a beaver dam and associated beaver pond. Unsurprisingly this meant it was a bit buggy. Not awful, but the skeeters were an ever present nuisance. A breeze and eventual fire helped keep them under control.

    The next morning we took our time packing, made the short jump t the carry and again unloaded to carry gear and canoe over the dam. Here we had our first “incident” of the trip. Myself and a buddy were in my canoe and then another couple, Jay and Jess, were in the second canoe (making ours a party of 4 total). They took the lead getting their canoe and gear over the dam, we were just after them.

    Jay had put their canoe in the water, loaded with their gear, and then made his way to the weeds for a quick bathroom break. Jess, tending to the canoe, then decided she too would do the same, apparently oblivious to the fact that their canoe was not tethered to anything. Me and Arian came walking up shortly after to find their boat drifting out into open water. We hollered for them at which point Jess, bless her heart, having quickly recognized it was her fault for just walking away from the the untethered canoe came running back and proceeded to wade out and then start swimming after it. Fully clothed mind you. As she pulled it back to shore, I pointed out that we could have easily paddled our canoe to it and brought it back with no trouble. But she just smiled as she slogged from the water, pants, shirt, and shoes dripping wet. Oh well. Fortunately for her it was sunny, fairly warm in the low to mid 70’s and not too strong of a breeze.

    From here we made our way down Bog River and into Lows. We wound up on the island that shares sites 17 and 18. Me and Arian stopped at 17 as it was empty while Jay and Jess continued to paddle around to 18 as we’d heard it was one of the better sites on the lake. Me and Arian snacked and lounged for nearly an hour, wondering if they’d just decided to stay at 18 and not tell us and whether we should head out to see if something had happened. Around that time they came paddling back around the same side that they’d left from. They informed us that while 18 was a decent site, it was occupied and because it was facing the wide open lake was very windy. On their way back they initially tried to round the island the opposite way they’d come and found the water too shallow and impassable without getting out. But it was pure mud and muck up to their knees and they wound up turning around and heading back the way they’d come, no doubt to the amusement of the group at site 18.

    Continued...
     
  2. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    The plan was to hang at site 17 for three nights and use that as a base for day trips. It was in a sort of cove and sheltered from the wind that was so prevalent on the large open body of water that is Lows Lake. And that’s pretty much what we did. From here the majority of the trip would be spent paddling out to explore around Lows, lots of fishing, plenty of eating and just otherwise relaxing and enjoying being disconnected.

    Some pics (these will likely be out of order).

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    I’ll post pics then go back through and add some description as I see fit.
     
  3. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    My setup.

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    Jay & Jess’ tent.

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    Arians’s Abode.

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    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  4. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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  5. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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  6. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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  7. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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  8. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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  9. roadend

    roadend Wandering Where I Can Supporter

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    Looks like an amazing trip. The Daks never seem to disappoint.
     
  10. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    This is Roxy, our camp mascot. Usually a real spitfire around camp, keeping the chipmunks and squirrels on their toes and away from camp, she seemed subdued and uncomfortable most of the time. We noticed a rash on her underside around the second day that we couldn’t account for. She seemed to be sore in her hind end, limping and obsessively licking her paws. Best we could figure is that either she’d gotten into a plant like poison ivy or something or possibly stung or bitten by some sort of bugs that she was reacting to. Unfortunate as she’s usually a terrific and energetic camp mascot.

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    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  11. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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  12. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    Fishing was a constant activity. Often we’d paddle out and find some new area we hadn’t yet hit, other times we’d just fish from shore.

    I determined I could have left all my tackle at home and just brought a handful of worm hooks, and a bag of plastic worms and been set for the week. Seems a Texas rigged worm is all that’s needed to catch bass by the literal dozens. No trophies but plenty of mid range bass to keep things exciting.

    The majority were tossed back but we did keep two of our largest for meals. The first my buddy filleted. Not bad but a bit of work picking through bones. The next one we opted to gut, cut the head off, de-scale and then fried whole. Delicious and so much easier.

    We also got a visit from a monster snapping turtle who likely appreciated the fish guts we’d tossed in the water off shore. He hung out for quite a while getting within a couple feet of shore to occasionally poke his head out and watch us for a while before eventually swimming off to do whatever snappers do (eat I’m guessing).

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    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  13. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    You can’t spend more than 3 nights at a site without having a permit. As we had a visit from two friendly rangers not long after arriving at Lows, who made sure to remind us of this, we decided that on day 5 we would break camp on Lows and make our way back and camp on Hitchens Pond again.

    The love birds packing up.

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    @GreenFrog paying a visit.

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    So we wanted to stay at a different site on Hitchens than the one we stayed at night 1. However when we got there, we found every site occupied with the exception of site 8 (sigh). So in a bit of deja vu, we wound up at the same place we started.

    As we came back through the carry at the dam, we encountered an older gentleman landing in a kayak. We got to chatting and he pulled out an ice cold Guinness from his little travel cooler, grabbed our map and started giving us all sorts of great info for future trips. This guy was in his 80’s and had a lifetime of experience in the area and had been on just about every paddle-able inch of water in the Adirondacks. Super friendly, funny and a wealth of knowledge. It never fails that we meet some great people up there.

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    Last pic as we approached the Lower Dam where it had all began.

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    That’s about it. I’ll go back in and add some more description.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  14. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Wow. Amazing trip. Beautiful pictures and descriptions. :)

    Thanks for sharing. :)

    The yellow canoe, has seats with backrest. How do you like using them? I've a couple of those canoe seats but don't remember ever using them.
     
  15. GreenFrog

    GreenFrog In the Forest Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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    Nice trip! Was that your hammock setup?
    Glad to see the bass cooperate.
     
  16. Ragman

    Ragman Supporter Supporter

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    Nice!
    I took a day trip there, paddling to the upper dam and climbed the ridge which gives you a nice view of the winding bog river.
     
  17. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    The back rests aren’t “stock” so to speak. I have a simple stiff pad seat with attached pad backrest that has straps to provide tension/support from the seat to the back. I want to say it’s a “Crazy Creek” brand or something like that. Easily removed from the canoe and can be used in camp.

    My paddling partner has a similar setup but his is sturdier with a metal frame. Honestly not sure the brand. The yellow canoe, my Weononah Spirit II, has “tractor style” seats. Comfy but not exactly what our removable seats with backrest are designed for. This just meant they didn’t sit exactly square on the canoes seat. If you look at the pic I took of Jay paddling right in front of me, you’ll notice his backrest is sort of canted to the left. That’s because they weren’t a perfect fit on those type of canoe seats. But they worked well enough. I have to have back support if I’m going to be paddling for long periods.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
  18. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    I went back and added a note. Yea, the first one with the dyneema tarp was mine. I learned the hard way that I was pitching it too high with too much gap between it and my hammock and the ground. The third night we got a real heavy downpour after we had gone to bed. I didn’t get wet at all in the hammock but all my gear under me was soaked and muddy from splash and poor coverage. Fortunately the next day was sunny to give me plenty of time to dry everything. Live and learn.

    I was torn between that tarp and my sil-nylon 10x10. I wasn’t overly weight conscious but that tarp is still relatively new to me (thanks again @Pharmer ) and I just really wanted to get more experience with it.
     
  19. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    Yea, Jay went and hiked up to that ridge the first night. A few of the early pics from the first night are of him paddling back alone from the dam where that trailhead is. Him and Arian went again our last morning and got some great pics of the early morning sun. I wasn’t up and out of my hammock early enough to join them.
     
  20. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    This is me, day 2 (first full day). Relaxed and only about 24 hours from my last shower.

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    Me on the morning of day 6. More grizzled, and WAY more pungent, lol. I’m smiling at the thought of being only a few hours away from a shower, a burger and cold IPA’s in Saranac Lake.

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  21. Andy 315

    Andy 315 Supporter Supporter

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    Looks like it was a awesome trip. Nice report.
     
  22. plantedtao

    plantedtao Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Outstanding trip! Looks like such a beautiful area to explore and fish. Makes me want to get a canoe. :)
    Seems like everyone had a great time. Hopefully Roxy is all healed up.

    Thanks for sharing
     
  23. Luchtaine

    Luchtaine MOA #22 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    They kayak guy didn’t happen to have a kind of camo kayak and be named Terry did he?
     
  24. oathkeeper762

    oathkeeper762 Bushbum & PT Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Great trip report, thanks for taking us along.
     
  25. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    Not a camo kayak for sure, was red and white. But he did say he has a whole garage filled with different canoes and kayaks for different types of trips, so maybe he’s got that camo one you are thinking.

    I’m drawing a blank on his name at the moment. I’ll have to ask someone else in the group to see if they remember. I want to say Chris, but then that may have been the guy we met and talked at length to in Saranac Lake at the end of the trip.
     
  26. AlexD

    AlexD Supporter Supporter

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    Great trip and report from one of my favorite places. I stayed right across from you at site 16 last spring. The water must have been higher as I was able to navigate thru the SE corner. Here is a pic from that spot at sunrise heading back.
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    Alex
     
  27. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    Nice! We really liked it, though definitely busy with lots of other folks out enjoying it. Certainly not an issue other than when searching for a site. Leaving on a Thursday, we crossed paths with a lot of paddlers that were heading in for the weekend.

    We found ourselves asking and being asked by other paddlers along the way in and out, which sites were occupied/available.

    During initial planning, we discussed the possibility of trying to make our way down to Lake Lila, but laziness won out and we scrapped that idea. Perhaps on another trip.

    The Oswegatchie River may be our next trip. We saw part of that river and stayed at one of the canoe accessible lean-to’s at High Falls years ago during a backpacking trip, I think the year we did the “Cranberry 50”.
     
  28. AdirondackBadger

    AdirondackBadger Supporter Supporter

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    Great trip report. Looks like it was an excellent outing @HeadyBrew.

    Kind of funny you waited until after Jess had dove into the water to let her know you could have retrieved their boat with yours.
     
  29. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Lifetime Supporter

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    Awesome trip! I hope to do something similar with my Dad in the month of October here. Right after the bugs are gone and before the winter temperatures hit us. Should be a great trip.

    Thanks for the inspiration! :dblthumb:
     
  30. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    Yea, I know what you mean, lol. But it happened pretty quick as far as her just heading right in. One could say I was a bit flabbergasted by the gusto with which she went in.

    She just kept saying “yea, it was my fault so my responsibility to get it back” and was incredibly upbeat about the whole thing. Nor did she complain about what I assume was a chilly paddle afterwards. But if you knew her, she’s one of the most positive and upbeat people you’d ever meet. She’s the kind of person that when you meet her for the first time, she makes you feel like you've been part of the gang for years. It’s that personality and attitude that allowed her to go on what started years ago as a guys only trip. ;)

    Even funnier was Jay, her husband, who just sort of shrugged and was like, “eh, well it was her fault after all.” (He’s a character in his own right, very dry sense of humor).
     
  31. CivilizationDropout

    CivilizationDropout -MOA #17- Supporter Bushclass I

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    I'm always excited to see trip reports and even more so to see paddle trip reports; more and more I'm snagged by that ADK modifier.

    Excellent trip report, such a beautiful area.
     
  32. Red Yeti

    Red Yeti Mostly Harmless Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Beautiful trip and great Trip Report.
    Looks like a great place to explore.

    Thanks for all the great pictures and stories.

    :38::38:
     
  33. beacon

    beacon Simul justus et peccator Supporter Bushclass I

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    So, you found treasure then?! What a nice bonus on what looks to have been a great trip!
     
  34. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    Indeed! On the Hitchens Pond side of the carry is a nice picnic table. After we get to chatting, he sat right down, unfolded our map and proceeded to tell us about different routes, some of his favorites as well as some unofficial routes that weren’t obvious. Of course as he’s pointing things out, the routes would usually include stories such as how he ended up meeting his long time friend and paddling partner just by chance after he came upon him on the bank of a river with a cooler of beer where he had stopped for a rest (sadly that friend was no longer physically able to join him anymore).

    At one point he looks at our boats and asks, “which one of you is in the Coleman?” The couple we were with have a Coleman “Ram X” canoe. This thing is anything but light, built like a tank and paddles about the same. You have to work hard just to move it through the water, let alone carry it.

    He laughs, sort of nods his head, tips his beer in their direction and says something to the effect of, “better you than me.”
     
  35. CosmicJoke

    CosmicJoke Supporter Supporter

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    Great outing. Looks like the water was fairly calm for the trip. Great pic and than you for sharing your trip.
     
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  36. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    For the most part the paddling wasn’t bad as far as wind. We had to paddle into it when going in. Of course, heading out when we should have had the wind to our backs to help us, there was no breeze at all.

    Lows got choppy at times, depending on the day. Being as big as it is, wind is a regular thing there. Our camp site was protected by it but when you got out in the open water, I’d say about half the time it got choppy. Nothing awful though. Nothing like some of the wind we encountered the previous year in Algonquin.
     
  37. 66drifter

    66drifter Guide

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    this thread brings back some really fond rememberies

    the prime difference is that our rivers n lakes aren't filled w/ clear water

    beautiful pics

    THANKS for the post
     
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  38. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Amazing trip.
    How did the dog with the rash end up?
     
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  39. FIELDCRAFTLTC

    FIELDCRAFTLTC Roughian #10 Supporter Bushclass I

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    Great TR and some nice pics! Thanks for letting us paddle along with you.
     
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  40. wannabee

    wannabee Supporter Supporter

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    nice trip. did I miss the required knife shot? :D
     
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  41. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    I guess it just sort of went away within a day or two of getting home. They were originally going to take her to the vet, even tried to get her in when we got back to Saranac Lake, but then it cleared up and she was back to her normal self. A mystery for sure. This dog loves the outdoors usually.

    My guess was a reaction to exposure to some type of toxic plant. There was a small plant I noticed that looked suspiciously like poison ivy just up from the shore of our second campsite. The skeeters were the only real biting fly in any significant numbers we dealt with and those usually don’t bother her much.
     
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  42. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    No, you didn’t miss it. Believe it or not, the only knife I took was my Benchmade mini-griptilian. I’ll usually take my AS Hiker, but left her home this trip.
     

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