The early signs of winter are here. The temperatures have dropped in the last few days, light snow has begun to fall, and small ponds throughout the Adirondacks have begun to freeze. Every year, by mid-November, I take that one last kayak trip before trading my kayak for snowshoes.
This year our final kayaking hoorah was to take place on water we had not yet visited. In the past we had looked down over the St. Regis chain of lakes from our perch atop the summit of St. Regis mountain and McKenzie mountain, but had never followed through on our promise to paddle there.
This year we stayed true to that promise and headed out on the waters of the Upper St. Regis Lake. We set out under a gray sky and a light blanket of snow. The Upper St. Regis is home to Many of the Adirondack Great Camps built by the social elite of the late 19th century and early 20th century. These great camps are understated in individual size, but elaborately adorned in Adirondack architectural design. Through snowflakes we meandered through the many bays to gaze at the properties built by names like Marjorie Merriweather Post, Frederick W Vanderbilt, Anson Phelps Stokes, and Whitelaw Reid. I admit that I felt some jealousy for their good fortune. Many of the boat Houses alone would have been enough to make me happy.
We paddled the Upper St Regis for hours before the 33 degree temperature had convinced us that we should work our way back to shore. We made our way silently on smooth water. Although I could feel a chill in my toes, I was still feeling the reality of hanging up my kayak for a few months. It’s that strange push-pull of letting go while gaining something equally as great. Our choice to visit the Upper St Regis Lake turned out to be a beautiful way to close out the season. In just one week I will be back on the trail gazing down at the waterways of the Adirondacks and plotting out future post-hiking season adventures.