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Escape from NYC: Kayak Camping in the Adirondacks

In September, myself and over a dozen others took a trip up to the Adirondacks to canoe to an island campsite on Lower Saranac Lake.

By: Ethan Constable + Save to a List

Imagine being all alone (almost) camping at a campsite only accessible bycanoes and kayaks. The loons calling, often referred to as the “crazy laugh”and “wailing”, is a really neat experience as you can hear it echo across thelakes and off the mountains. Over the summer, myself and over a dozen friendsfrom work decided we should take a trip up to the Adirondacks to camp. I workat a canoe and kayak livery in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Areain Pennsylvania, so we had the boats and the vans to transport them and peopleto where we were going. We planned to camp two nights and three days on theisland, from September 21st-23rd.  I decided it was a good idea to make the fiveand a half hour drive starting at 10pm the night before everyone else left withmy one friend. The drive was not bad, mostly highway, finally pulling over at arest stop in the middle of the Adirondack wilderness to catch a couple minutesof sleep.

I woke up just as it was starting toget light and I wanted to hit the road to take some sunrise pictures. I had notbeen up to the Adirondacks in well over a decade so it was nice to see what Ivaguely remembered.  The leaves were juststarting to change color (early-mid October is the best time for fall foliagein the North East). When we arrived at Lower Saranac Lake, we unloaded the gearand boats once everyone else got there. It was a quick half hour paddle to ourcampsite on Halfway Island and we got there just in time for the sunset as wepitched out tents and hammocks and got dinner going. As we ate burgers andhotdogs and cracked a bunch of cold-ones, I went to the shore of the island andlooked up. The entire milky-way was visible to the naked eye. Of course I ran toget my camera! It was definitely a moment I will never forget.

The next day was spent exploring thelake and cliff-jumping, finishing off with sunset fishing. One of the guyscaught a 22” northern pike that we had for dinner. It started to rain thatnight and continued into the morning while we packed up our gear. Althougheveryone was soaking wet by time we paddled back to the van, everyone had agreat time camping.  I have been toYellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, and Acadia National parks, but I had just asmuch fun in the Adirondacks. I recommend going to thispart of the country, mainly because of how secluded and untouched alot of it is, and only a couple hours away from major cities like New York City, Boston and Montreal. Who would have thought New York was more than just a city?  


We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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