Today was my first solo day, on which I woke quite early to sort my photos, write, and pack. The coffee was ready early, with breakfast casserole and fruit- delicious. Leaving, I pointed out to Dad the ancient steps and paths that took the “Tray Boys” around from cure cottage to cure cottage, delivering the special healthy meals that were part of the tuberculosis cure regime.
Then off to St. Regis Canoe Outfitters for fuel, sunscreen, a second pack towel, water, and some friendly encouragement and invaluable advice. Dave Cilley has been generous indeed with his time in sharing his intimate knowledge of the Saranac River, scribbling lots of helpful notes on my map. John Mautner is two days ahead.
The moment of leaving Dad gave me butterflies, yet I yearn to test myself, to write, to reflect.
Luckily, the water had dropped a couple (?) of feet since yesterday, allowing me beneath all bridges but McCasland. The remaining escaped convict still haunted my imagination, as I carefully positioned myself in the center of the lovely current…he couldn’t lunge out from all those bushes, could he?
The Saranac moves briskly along for 10.5 miles to Permanent Rapida…I averaged 4 mph with no real slowing until the portage. Where I was much closer to the bushes and couldn’t really walk down the center of the road! I had my plan, though…bug spray in the eyes.
A good day for wildlife…many red-wing blackbirds, a deer crashing back from the river in one of its lonely stretches, and a great blue heron. Loved wild Franklin Falls and Union Falls Ponds, especially as predicted rain held off through the evening. I headed for the red circle Dave had drawn around Bear Point, finding a secluded, empty site with homemade bench and shelves. Cheerful fire, aforementioned dinner, hid timidly crouched behind tent when a man motored up and then away, all those convict thoughts making me inhospitable!
TOTAL MILES: 110.6