For those of you reading this that might be new to the Adirondack Region here is a bit of a quick overview. The Adirondack Park is over 6,000,000 acres in size broken up between public (state) and private land. Within those 6-million acres is over 2,300 ponds and lakes, 1,500 miles of rivers and well over 30,000 miles of streams and brooks. However, not all of which can be paddled due to many factors, such as lack of an access point, private property and/or not sufficient enough water to support boat travel. With that being said, there are numerous options within the park and the Long Lake Region has a bunch to offer.
The water temperatures are going in the opposite direction than they did in the spring. Every day the water is getting cooler than it was the day before. With a consciousness of safety and the proper gear, there’s a couple more months of really good paddling under our belt.
Paddling the Adirondacks is not only one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities in the park but it offers unique views into the lives of all species of wildlife. Now that the summer is on the way out, the cold temperatures are sure to bring a morning frost relatively quickly. As soon as this happens the leaves start to change much more rapidly and the fall colors become breathtaking, and from the water, no question. The red maples already have already started to change in some areas. The yellows and oranges will be next and then the vibrant yellows of the tamaracks in the marshlands. These yellows, so vibrant they take over the landscape and make paddling the marshes and boggy areas of local ponds and rivers a fantastic place to be.
Fall paddling in the Adirondacks can be experienced by all, but this definitely is no time to skimp on the gear and the preparation. A PFD is as important now as it ever was, but even more so when the exposure to cold water can affect the ability to swim and tread water. A personal floatation device or life vest should be worn at all times. When selecting which one to wear, make sure it is sized correctly and fitted to your body securely. A type III PFD, certified by the USCG is highly recommended.
Be sure to consider the type of water to explore. Adirondack lakes and ponds tend to be very shallow in areas which create more waves than deeper bodies of water. A change in weather patterns can affect these shallower bodies of water rather quickly and change your days paddle. With bigger waves come splashing. This is where a spray skirt with proper cold water gear becomes important. Rivers have a stronger current which can cause your boat to react differently. Be cautious of rapids and waterfalls when paddling rivers. In short, have a map and compass and know about the water you will be paddling.
A float plan is very important. Write out the route, and plan of the day so someone can locate you, just in case something happens. Leave the float plan with someone in your household. With the float plan you should have the appropriate gear for your trip. The proper gear would include map and compass and/or GPS, spray skirt, dry bags and even the use of a wet or dry suit or even just some neoprene layers. The neoprene not only acts as a wet suit and helps keep you warm, even when wet, but also adds a layer of floatation. There is much more paddling gear out that you should consider having. At least one person in your group should have a paddle float, a throw bag, a bilge pump and a first aid kit. Food and water are also very important in cold weather to keep up morale, energy and body warmth.
If you have never paddled before and feel uncomfortable doing so for the first time, especially in cold water conditions, we encourage you to take a lesson from a local guide service. Many guide services will offer a 2 to 4 hour introductory course for a very reasonable price. Several local marinas and outfitters like Raquette River Outfitters (one is available in Long Lake) offers paddling gear and boat rentals. There are also plenty of places to warm up after, with year-round restaurants, motels and eateries with a variety of choices. Long Lake is your fall local paddling adventure destination is the perfect answer to a serious case of cabin fever.
by Spencer Morrissey
Spencer will be leading two fall outings. September 28th & October 12th. Call the Long Lake Town Office at 518.624.3077 to register. These trips are free and transportation is provided by the town of Long Lake. All trips leave from the LL Town Offices at 1130 Deerland Rd, Long Lake, NY 12847