Day 10: Baker’s Acres Campground near Picketts Corners to Comfort Inn, Plattsburgh (20.0 miles)

Up early and on the water just before 7, with a family of Canada geese to see me off.  The logistics of packing have fallen into a rhythm and the pot cozies are helping me be able to make coffee or a simple meal in the tent vestibule. 

Sun brightens a Saranac River morning

The first aches and pains of an extended expedition are arriving…the usual pain and numbness in my hands and a tender left foot, which I stumbled on twice during my long day of walking.   Today more complicated portages, many around dams that sprinkle this river and are largely used to generate hydroelectric power. 

At one point early on, I wheeled down a residential sidewalk, thinking of the people pulling out for a normal day of work while I was off on a grand adventure.  Don’t forget- every day is a gift! – which I have been writing in the trail registers when there is room.

But I digress. Cadyville Dam, Kent Falls, Treadwell Miils Dam and the intriguing ruins of Indian Rapids Dam (which I combined into one portage per Dan Brown’s advice), and Imperial Mills Dam to end a long day!  Much walking, navigating, and concentrating, while favoring my left foot.  I also added a couple of miles of portaging above Morrisonville, where I walked after seeing the raging river and calling Dave at St. Regis for a consultation.

Decided after that to call it a day and not attempt the wild ride into Plattsburgh with the question marks of the Bridge St. rapids and detour around river remediation work.  

Walked up from the Imperial Mills put-in into a neighborhood and straight to the blessing of two more trail angels, Tom and Nancy, who spotted me from their window!  Tea, fruit, a freeze-dried chicken gumbo for the road, boat storage, a ride to the Comfort Inn, these Long Trail hikers knew just what I needed.  The hotel, too, had all I needed with a laundry and a great restaurant, The Plattsburgh Brewery attached.  I was in heaven.



Day 8: Saranac Lake Village to Bear Point on Union Falls Pond (20.1 miles)


Morning farewell to Pati and Dave, our hosts in Saranac Lake, NY.. Pati sent me off with cherries and chocolate and a baggie of cut up veggies that I steamed with cheddar and bacon mashed potatoes for supper. Yummy!

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.


Dave and Sarah from St. Regis waited outside to snap some shots of me as I paddled past onto Map 3…look for one on their Facebook page!

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!