What I did Last weekend on the Adirondack Coast……… Late fall paddle on the Upper Saranac Lake.

In an attempt to soak in the last of the colors of the autumn leaves in the Adirondacks, I ventured off again to The Saranac Lakes chain for a nice long paddle of the Upper Saranac Lake. The color changes are now in their final stage.The Vibrant yellow, orange, and red hues are giving way now to the duller shades of burgundy, brown, and muted yellow.

We shoved off from the Upper Saranac Lake boat launch at 7:57 am under cloudy skies, crisp 37 degree air, and a mild breeze. The breeze carried with it the sweet smell of autumn leaves and pine. We had the lake to ourselves for the morning. It wasn’t long before we spotted the first signs of wildlife as we rounded into the first bay an came across a small grouping of Canada Geese who stopped to rest on their journey south. Not far off was the first of many (12) sightings of loons floating slowly through the light lake fog.

The cloud cover lifted slowly off of the mountain tops over the next hour revealing the muted shades and bringing with it the much-needed warmth of the sun on my cold digits. The distant views of St Regis Mountain, Whiteface Mountain, Moose Mountain, and McKenzie Mountain became clear in the distance as their peaks lowered out of the clouds. Mother Nature opened up the sky to a beautiful autumn day.

Distant view of Whiteface, Moose, and McKenzie Mountains.
The summit of St. Regis Mountain marked by a fire tower

The journey from the Boat launch on the northern tip to the southern tip of the Upper Saranac Lake is approximately 8 miles (one way) through mixed private and state lands. The shores of the Upper Saranac are much more populated than the middle and lower lakes. The Adirondack style camps dotting the shores are both great and small ranging from the fantastic sprawling complexes of the Great Camps to much more modest single family homes.

We paddled along the Eastern shore in silence while soaking in the sights, breathing the clean air, and feeling the breeze on our skin. Although many hours paddling time to reach the southern shore, it felt like no time at all. At the Southern shore and paused for some time at the Indian Carry site to take in nourishment and let the heat of the afternoon sun bake into our skin. The sun was positioned perfectly behind us to warm our backs for the return paddle. We ventured up the opposite (and more populated) western shore to get a closer view of the Great Camps.

We meandered back through the Islands warm in the sun. The sun was positioned behind us and lit up the shorelines and highlighted the remaining shades of autumn. Our day on the Lower Saranac Lake could easily be called the day of the Loon. One is often fortunate to witness one or two Loons on an outing, but today we counted 12 sightings and numerous photographs of this beautiful and unique creature.

I stopped to watch a Loon near the Western shore

Our 16 mile, 7 hour day on the Upper Saranac Lake was coming to an end. It was time to get ourselves indoors for some warm food. While exiting we came across a few fishermen winterizing their boats. I heard one reluctantly exclaim “it’s the end of the season” and he moped along to his truck. The closing of one season always opens the door to another. I’m not quite ready to call it quits on the water, but I understand this mans sorrow in his loss of the boating season. The Saranac Lake chain will certainly freeze over in the coming months and this may have been my last kayak trip in the area for the season.

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