Oseetah Lake via the Second Pond Launch

Did you know there were locks and people operating them during the summer in the Adirondack Mountains? As a kayaker if you go towards Oseetah Lake from the Second Pond Boat launch you are able to go through one of the locks.

Launch

2nd Pond Boat Launch

The Second Pond Boat Launch is southwest of the village of Saranac Lake on Route 3. This boat launch has spots for 75 cars and trailers. It is one of the busier launches in the Adirondacks because motorboats are allowed going in either direction. It also has port-a -potties. During the summer people are employed by the state to check your boat to make sure you are not carrying any invasive species from other lakes.

Second Pond

Second Pond
Passage way from Second Pond towards Lake Oseetah.

There are obstructions in the water and the only was to ensure you avoid them is to stay between the buoys. Some areas have more of these than others. Sometimes it is a huge boulder under the water that comes inches from the surface or a down tree that is slightly under the surface or a stump protruding from the water.

Campsites

On the Paddler’s Map North, one campsite without a lean-to (#62) is on Second Pond close to the boat launch on the opposite side. Another campsite is on the map with a lean-to going through the passageway from Second Pond to Oseetah Lake. The pictures below show the campsite with the lean-to.

It appears the numbered campsites have to be reserved during the summer and early fall through http://www.reserveamerica.com or 1-800-456-camp. These sites are in the Saranac Lake Islands Public Campgrounds. It appears the lean to site in these pictures is not included in that. These it appears fall under the first come first dibs campsites as on other lakes that are free and allow you to stay for three nights without a rangers permission.

A lot of the campsites in this area come with picnic tables.
Lean-to

Getting To Oseetah Lake

Canoe Carry

There are two routes you can take to get to the lake from the passageway. One way is to exit near the dam at the canoe carry. Heading north up Oseetah Lake is the direction you can take to paddle to the village of Saranac Lake. The other way to get to the lake is through the locks.

Lower locks

I choose to go through the locks. During the summer and early fall there is a lock master who operates the locks for you. Behind me a group of female kayakers led by a female guide paddled up. I felt lucky as the guide told me how to go through the locks. She also said the canoe carry here was not so easy to do by yourself. The lock master had a few motorboats go through the locks first, then later had all the kayakers in the locks at once.

Inside the lock

When inside the lock people on kayaks or canoes pull up to a thick rope or chain and lightly hold on with one hand. As the water goes up or down loosely move your hold on the rope in the direction you are going up or down.

Female kayak tour leaving the locks behind me. I think there were about 10 of them in total.

The kayaking tour was a several days long trip. The ladies were camping at different spots along the way. The tour guide told me they are an all female guide company I believe. I wish I would have asked for more info so I could have mentioned them here with specifics.

Oseetah Lake

Entering Oseetah Lake

Most of the land around the lake is private. You will see some cabins on the southern end of the lake near the locks. They are in other spots as well.

Women’s kayaking tour. You can see some stumps protruding from the water on the left side of the photo.

This area of rhe lake also had many rocks and stumps just under or above the surface.

Returning Through the Locks

This trip it was 1-2 motor boats and myself in the lock. Motorboats are allowed on all the waterways in this post.

Lovely Scenery

This was a nice trip. I actually went the opposite way from the launch in the morning to Lower Saranac Lake then ate lunch at my car. After lunch, I went the opposite way from the boat launch. I did not see wildlife going in this direction. I did hear kingfishers at the water’s edge, but I did not see them. If you take this route, just beware of the obstructions in the water and stay between the buoys. The scenery is worth the trip.

Oyster Catcher

There is a lot more to Assateague Island in Maryland than the wild horses. There are many different kinds of birds you can see from the ocean side and the bay side of the island. One such bird is the American Oyster Catcher.

I like the way it walked at times lifting his leg up high like he was marching.

I did see an oyster catcher briefly early in the morning around sunrise on the ocean side at the state park beach. I only saw one. However, when I went kayaking from the bay side launch later in the morning at the Assateague Island National Park I saw some walking around the edge of an island in the bay. This one went in and out of the water.

This oyster catcher appears to be holding a razor clam.

I was lucky enough to catch it bring up a shell with an animal protruding out. It appears to be a razor clam. This oyster catcher seemed quite proud of his catch as he walked around with it for a while. Their diet consists of shell fish such as clams and oysters.

He is back to looking for food.

I did not know I was able to get this bird with its prey until I started looking at the photos on my computer after my trip. If you hang out long enough, are patient and take lots of snaps hoping for the best, you may get lucky.

Accessing Middle Saranac Lake Through South Creek

How do you access Middle Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York? One way is by the boat launch at South Creek. This boat launch is on Route 3 about halfway in between the towns of Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake. There are multiple options on where to paddle from this launch so it is a launch that may interest you.

This sign kind of confused me. There are camping spots accessible by boat along the shore and islands of the lake. I am guessing one would have to park in the parking lot northeast from this one that does not have a boat launch according to the map. Usually these campsites are open to first come first serve for three days. Websites say you have to reserve the campsites. I did not see anyone at the campsites I passed.
Boat launch

It was kind of a rough carry from my car in the parking lot to the launch. The gates were locked and to squeeze the kayak through the rocks along the side was no easy task. I use a kayak wheeled device to move my kayak to launch sites. Where you walk to carry when I went was rough with gulleys. The boat launch itself as you can see has a gradual descent that is great for kayakers while also providing a dock that individuals who canoe may like.

View in the opposite direction from the lake.

The view above is going in the opposite direction from the lake. The view on the bottom is going towards the lake. It looks like a long paddle to reach Middle Saranac Lake on the map, but it is really not that long.

Campsites

They provide a picnic table and fire pit, campfire area at these campsites.

This was the campsite on Shaw Island. As you can see these are primitive sites that are carry-in and carry-out. They are accessible by canoe or kayak.

This campsite had two outhouses.

Going towards the Bartlett Canoe Carry

Entering a narrow body of water on the western part of the lake.

On the southwestern side of the lake you enter a narrow body of water that goes in the direction of Upper Saranac Lake. This is one option for accessing other bodies of water. Another option is to paddle north from South Creeek and go through Hungry Bay and into Weller Pond. Another option is to go east to the Saranac River through the upper locks into the southern end of Lower Saranac Lake.

This sign marks the start of the Bartlett Canoe Carry.

The canoe carry was a gradual descent into the water, ideal for kayakers. You follow the path over land to Upper Saranac Lake. It looks far on the map for one person, so I did not attempt it even with a kayak carry device. I encountered a women’s kayak tour on another lake and the guide said the Canoe Carry on the Upper Saranac side is a good launch for kayakers. I will take her word for it.

Wildlife

Black duck and her young on a rock. They were in the same area as the eagle.

I always enjoy lakes where you can view wildlife. This one was no exception. I saw two groups of black ducks, although I was nervous for them. An eagle was on a tree very close by eyeing them. Eagles in the Adirondack Mountains travel from lake to lake. They do not always stay on one body of water all day long. I arrived in the morning on this lake and a saw some fishermen on kayak and motorboat. One man I talked to said he arrived at 5 a.m. He was pleased with the bass he caught.

I did see one adult eagle along the trip.

Heading East to the Boat Launch

Heading east on Middle Saranac
Some people heading out on the lake.
Heading into South Creek back towards the boat launch.
The Route 3 Bridge over South Creek.

The boat launch is on the other side of Route 3. You kayak under the bridge and the launch is on the left when you are coming back in.

Despite it being a little rough to get into the parking lot from the launch and into the water from the parking lot I would like to come to this access point again. I do hope they make improvements on it though as it could be a hazard. I recommend they remove a rock or two on the side to make is easier to bring your kayak to the water and fill in the gulleys made by erosion. Middle Saranac Lake is another beautiful Adirondack lake.

Accessing Lower Saranac Lake Through Ampersand

What is another place to launch a canoe or kayak that is close to the village of Saranac Lake? Ampersand Bay of Lower Saranac Lake is a short drive from Saranac Lake.

Sign on Edgewood

There are two ways to get to this launch. One way to get there you travel south of the village on route 3. Then you would turn onto Edgewood. Follow the signs from where this road meets Ampersand. You turn left from this direction. Another way to get to this launch is to go south on Ampersand Avenue then follow the signs.

Adirondack Canoe Route

This location is the starting point of the Adirondack Canoe Wilderness Route. Many of the lakes or ponds on this map connect by water routes such as creeks , the lakes running together, or through portages or canoe carries between them.

This sign is in the parking lot.
This map is facing the wrong direction. Saranac Lake Village is northeast of Ampersand Bay. The you are here on the map points to the Ampersand Bay boat launch.

Boat Launch

This is the boat launch. It has several parking spots. It is only for cars putting in canoes or kayaks.

The Department of Environmental Conservation website says this boat launch parking lot has places for 12 cars. The launch was not crowded when I went. This is not a launch for motor boats, so that makes it less busy. I believe there was only one other car when I arrived. Nearby on the bay is a launch/marina for powerboats. I like this launch. It has a gradual descent into the lake and is great for kayakers.


Ampersand Bay

Heading in to the main part of Lower Saranac Lake

This part of Lower Saranac Lake has some houses and docks along it. It also has what appears to be condos near the marina.

Lower Saranac Lake

I am not sure if that is Ampersand Mountain in the background. Someone knowledgeable about the area may be able to fill us in.
It was very windy on this day so I travelled along the shoreline.What you are seeing is an island and the shoreline. This lake is quite large.

Lower Saranac Lake has many campsites along the shore or on islands in the lake. The campsites are free. They are primitive sites with cleared areas for tents, outhouses, and a campfire area/fire-pit.

Wildlife

Kingfisher

Seeing wildlife is always a bonus for me. I got several great pictures of a kingfisher. I think there may have been a nest nearby. Both parents were keeping a close watch on me as I travelled near the shoreline. They were like guard dogs.

I would highly recommend this boat launch. It is great if you would like a short drive from your accommodations in Saranac Lake. Most state boat launches and other ones in the Adirondacks are fine. Enjoy the scenery and enjoy the wildlife!

Accessing Lower Saranac Lake Through the 2nd Pond Launch

What is one place you can access Lower Saranac Lake? Which boat launch gives you options and access to several bodies of water? It is the 2nd Pond Boat Launch. It is more than three miles south west of the village of Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Boat Launch

This boat launch is a busy spot. It has one of the largest parking areas I have come across in the Adirondacks with spaces for 75 cars and trailers. It also has port-a-potties. During the summer months people are employed to check boats for invasive species when entering and leaving the water.

The state boat launch at First and Second Ponds

The boat launch is on 2nd pond. When you go west you will go under the bridge on Route 3. From there you are on 1st pond.

First Pond
On Second Pond going towards First Pond.
Wildlife

Seeing wildlife is always a bonus for me. The route I took going from the 2nd Pond Launch through First Pond and into Lower Saranac Lake had a variety of wildlife to see. The ducks stayed near shore weaving in and out of plants. They are probably in survival mode due to the eagle’s presence.

A wood duck and its young. I had a hard time getting pictures of this duck as it stayed mostly in the grasses. Eagles are very active around the ponds and the lake.
Merganser Ducks
One of the eagles I saw. Two adults were on this tree. As most eagles do in this area I witnessed it going between Lower Saranac Lake and the ponds. Other lakes are nearby, so I’m sure it travels to them as well.
Lower Saranac Lake

I stayed close to shore paddling the route I took. Motorboats were frequently passing in either direction. There are numerous campsites on the islands and shore around Lower Saranac Lake. The spots are free and you can find them on Adirondack Paddler’s Map North. I also saw a few large groups of canoeists and kayakers. Both groups appeared to be camping at one of these free campsites.

I believe this was heading into Lower Saranac Lake
Lower Saranac Lake

Overall this is a location I would love to return to. I love the scenery, the multiple lake access from this launch and the chance to see a variety of wildlife. Even though it is a busy boat launch there are positive points to more people present. I would recommend staying close to the shore to avoid motor boat traffic.Get out and enjoy the Adirondack scenery and get some exercise while you do!

Merganser Ducks

On the way up to Canada to visit some relatives and on the return as well I spent a few days in the Adirondack Mountains kayaking on different lakes and ponds. One one body of water I was lucky enough to witness several types of wildlife. One bird I saw was the merganser duck.

All of these shots were in shaded areas next to shore.

The only place I have seen a merganser is on lakes in the Adirondack Mountains. One this day I saw more than one female with a trail of young. This is the one I saw in early evening. It had quite the crew with it. I never counted. but I am sure there were at least a dozen young. The other female I saw in the morning had a much smaller group following with her. I did see both groups in the morning.

Eagles were nearby.

All the ducks I saw that day stayed mostly on the shoreline in well shaded areas. Since there were eagles visiting and known to fly in and out I am sure that was for survival purposes.

I cannot tell if this was a yawn or if the duckling was making a sound.

For those of you who have never been to the Adirondack Mountains, I highly recommend it. It was mostly in the low 70s during the day and 50s at night. If you ever go, go slow and enjoy the local wildlife.

Great Blue Heron

Is this a baby? I had heard one baby was out of the nest. What do you think? The story is these herons fight a lot. One may have fallen out. If this is a baby it is doing better than its siblings still in the nest. Sink of swim it is feeding itself it appears. I did not see the parents drop anything off for this one. I visited this one by kayak.

It was at the water’s edge at low tide.
It appeared to be about the same size as the ones in the nest. It did not fly, but stayed in the mud flats area at the water’s edge. It seemed unfazed by me.
This may be the same one later on in the day. It stayed on a pile of wood at the water’s edge. It did not fly and spent most of the time preening.

What is your verdict? Youngster? Or not?

Brant Lake

What lake in the Adirondacks has the same name as an Mohawk Indian Chief who supported the British in the War for Independence? It is Brant Lake in Warren County. It is another lake worth visiting in the area north of Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains of N.Y.

History of a Name

I cannot say the lake is named after the Indian chief, but so far I have not found information online saying where the name came from. I even emailed a nearby historical group with no response. Joseph Brant was a Mohawk Chief who sided with the British during the Revolutionary War. According to the National Park Service during the French and Indian War “In 1755, at age 13 he accompanied Sir William Johnson to the Battle of Lake George.” Lake George is south of Brant Lake and a short drive by car. Mohawks today have tribal land on both sides of the border with Canada north of the Adirondack Mountains.

Location

Brant Lake is north of Lake George. If coming from the south you take the Adirondack Northway route 87 north of Albany. Get off at exit 25- the exit for NY 8 north. Go approximately 2.6 miles to the boat launch. The address is 6799 NY 8 , Brant Lake, NY.

Boat Ramp
They had a boat ramp and dock.

This boat ramp had multiple people working it on a weekend, and it is no wonder. I likened this to the Grand Central Station of boat ramps in the Adirondack Mountains. There were boats constantly coming in and going of the the lake here. I had to wait to launch and wait to get out. I was able to park without waiting. If I remember correctly, they had port a potty toilets or privy here.

Two islands
Paddling between two islands.
Traffic

This lake is big enough that I was able to avoid motor boats by sticking to paddling along the shore. It is about 5 miles in length.It was a little windy, and I was worried about the possibility of a storm, but things ended up fine.

Regardless of the motorboat traffic it was still a nice ride. There is not a lot of development along the lake. There are a few houses spread out and camps. There is a lot of wide open spaces with nice views in the Adirondack Mountains. Get out and enjoy it.

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