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 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!

Eagles on Loon Lake

What kind of wildlife can you see on Loon Lake in the Adirondack Mountains? Currently one thing you can see is an active eagle’s nest. This is Loon Lake near Lake George. There is another Loon Lake father north in the ADK.

A summer resident of the lake community who was also kayaking was nice enough to lead me to the nest. Not sure if she wanted me to identify her, but thank you if she ever sees this. The nest is high in a tree on private property next to the lake.

I saw both parents in the same area and one eaglet. The eaglet appears to be about the size of the parents. This one would have been born this year. This was taken from a kayak while there was motorboat traffic. It is not as clear as I would have liked.

Here’s hoping they leave the resident loons alone and do not consider them as a meal option.

New Life

There is new life at one of the local eagle nests overlooking the Hudson River. More branches are obscuring the view this year. This was mid morning and although there was sunlight there was also harsh shadows. As a photographer you secretly wish the people who own the land would trim the neighbouring trees when the eagles are not around in the fall, but you know that would not happen.

Evidently there are two eaglets in the nest this year. I only saw one pop their head up at this nest. This is farthest up it popped.
One of the parents. They were feeding the babies something, but I could not tell what it was. It flew off and returned.

Other eagle’s and hawk’s nests did not survive the high winds we received with storms this winter and early spring. This nest has stood the test of time. Is this eagle a master builder?

Lake Eagles

I see one of the parents perched by this lake on my way to work. On the way home I stop by sometimes to get a glimpse. It looks like this nest may have the latest born eaglets in the area. I am guessing these are less than 2 weeks old.

Proud parent on babysitting duty.
Sibling conversation
Sticking his tongue out at me or was it pleading for food?
Is that a hawk? This was the day before the other pictures when the sky was more clear.

Get out an enjoy nature! Stay safe!

New Year, New Life

The Eagles in New York are doing well and in fact throughout the country. Several newspapers including the NY Times reported that the American bald eagle population has quadrupled since 2009. This was based on a US Fish and Wildlife Service report. In 2009 there were about 72,000 bald eagles in the lower 48 states, while now researchers say the population is above 300,000.

Local nests are seeing new life. This week two babies hatched in one nest. Good timing for me as I had some days off this week. The weather may not have been the best, but I will take it.

Incoming! Duck! One parent bringing in a stick. You can see two wee eaglets hatched during the past week. They are the little grey heads sticking out to the right of the parent in the nest.
One parent eyeing one of the eaglets.
You can see what appears to be a bit of fish in the parent’s mouth. Two eaglets in the picture below the parent’s head.
Noticed me for a second.
Bit of fish?
The other parents arrives with more sticks and dirt. Today was nest renovation day.

Go out and enjoy the great outdoors!

Same Nest New Year

Covid does not seem to have affected the eagles. Last year it meant less noise around the nest. The same may be the case this year as people are not out and about as in previous times. There are less cars on the roads.

Looking down at a passing truck.

The eagles have been taking turns egg sitting. Local estimates are 7-10 days. I’m hoping for good weather and that more activity falls during during my week off. Would be nice to get a good shot of an incoming fish. I did not have much luck with that last year. Stay safe everyone!

The spouse had a lot to say.

Just Like Dad

I am posting just a few more eagle pictures. These were taken today. Two babies are in the nest. Soon it will be hard to see the nest as the trees are starting to bud. The nest is along the Hudson River in New York.

This one seems to be copying dad.
Family portrait

Little fish for little eagles

Eagles in New York

One of the most recognized symbols of America is the bald eagle. They are in every state except Hawaii according to the DEC-NY. A few decades ago they were on the brink of extiction in New York state. Today they are making a resurgence.

Eagle Population

Eagles were previously on the endangered species list. The population of eagles suffered a major decline starting in the 1960s. Eagles were affected by DDT and other pesticides and pollutants. These chemicals were passed along the food chain. As a result, the eggshells of the eagles were weakened, so the babies did not survive.

In 1976 there was only one pair of nesting eagles in New York state. Efforts were put in place to curb pollution and protect eagle habitats. After DDT was banned, eagles were producing young in greater numbers. By 2010 there were 173 breeding pairs of eagles in New York and now eagles have been moved to the threatened species list.

Eagle fortifying the nest along the Hudson River the day after a storm.
When to See Eagles

The best time I found to see eagles, at least in the Hudson Valley, is between February and April. Earlier during that time period you may see them mate. During that time period they also sit on eggs so you may see the father bring a fish up to the mother. After the egg or eggs hatch, you will see them bring more fish up to the nest to feed the young eagles. It is harder to view them once the leaves grow on the trees, as your view of them will be obscured.

A pair of eagles during mating time.
Where to See Eagles

Since eagles mainly eat fish their nests are usually close to bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes. There are nests along the Hudson and Delaware Rivers as well as other bodies of water in the state.

See these websites to find some eagle viewing locations:

https://www.wideopenspaces.com/best-places-see-bald-eagles-new-york/

Special Content One

These only list a few good locations to view them as others may be on private property or in places where locals may not want hoards of people showing up to view them.

Hanging with dad in the nest.

These majestic birds are enjoyable to view from a distance. Curbing pollution reaps rewards for humans and for those in the animal kingdom.

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