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.
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.
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.
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.
Getting To Oseetah Lake
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.