the bright fall foliage has gone, but the late fall shades of browns and yellows still paint the landscape below the bare trees. There’s a bite in the breeze, and the first signs of snow have begun to pop up around the region. This past weekend my outdoor adventure partner and I decided on a journey that neither of us had been on in years. In my garage, hoisted up to the ceiling, I keep a good old Aluminum Grumman canoe. My canoe hadn’t seen the water since my mom and I took it out during the Lake Champlain floods of 2011. My kayak partner and I had been planning to take it out for a trip for the last few years, but never managed to take the time to lower it down from my ceiling.
This weekend, with the canoe now securely strapped to the top of my car, we made our way from Plattsburgh to the village of Saranac Lake about 45 minutes away. Under cloudy skies and the first feeling of a chill in the air, we unloaded at the boat launch on Lake Flower. After a quick visit to the deli across the street to grab some sandwiches for our journey, we shoved off. Our plan was simple. We were going to go as far as we felt like going, and then turning back to the launch.
We moved along at a fair pace with a light breeze at our face. There was very little traffic on the water and very little activity along the populated shore. As with any of our kayak or hiking trips together, we moved along in silence as we took in all of our surroundings. The sweet smell of autumn, the feel of the breeze, the sounds of the water moving under the boat, and the view of the nearby mountains are still vivid in my mind one week later. The cloud cover was slowly moving away revealing a bright blue sky and some welcome warmth from the sun.
Our hope was to paddle Lake Flower, Oseetah Lake, and Kiwassa Lake. All three lakes plus the Saranac Lakes Chain are all connected and require no carries between bodies of water. We Paddled about three miles from Lake Flower to the edges of Oseetah Lake before pausing for lunch. The mild breeze had picked up, and were causing the shallow water of Oseetah to stir up a lot of chop. Had we been in our kayaks we would have continued on, but with the intention of this being a relaxing trip, we began our journey back to the boat launch.
Another beautiful day remembered with my outdoor loving friend and my trusty old canoe. As we paddled closer to the launch, I stared up at the peak of McKenzie Mountain. Over the years Paddling these waters and camping on their shores, I have always stared up at this strange peak that looms high above the rest and dreamed of hiking to the top.