Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Outside the TOW Line

Article written and pictures taken by Linda M. Heistman




The paddler who does the length of Long Lake will attest that the lake is appropriately named.
On day two of the Adirondack Canoe Classic, also known as the 90 -Miler, I was one of the L-o-n-g Lake paddlers. My legs, arms, shoulders and back were begging to get out of the boat. I had been warned and told about the horror stories of the upcoming portage around Raquette Falls. Stone lined stair steps threaten the faint hearted canoe/kayak carrier, but I was na├»ve to think that if I could just huff that bow of our tandem canoe up that hill, I'd be fine… but I was not told of the literal ups and downs of the carry.  Anyone who has done the 90-Miler will not soon forget the agony of that second day portage.  The whole 1.25 miles seemed to drag and the canoe seemed to gain weight with every step. The same arms, shoulders and back that were begging to get out of the boat, now longed to get back in.

I wondered how many racers were thinking about the falls, wondering if it would be an easier, better choice to run the rapids. I promised myself that someday I would come back to see those falls that caused me so much pain.
Steps leading up the carry

The trail to the falls is one of the best groomed trails I have been on in a while. I am not sure if this is due to my habit of picking more "wild" trails, or maybe the groomers are more attentive to this 
trail because it's popular. It is a fairly easy to
 moderate trail which makes for a 8.6 mile 
roundtrip, but I decided to do the extra 2.5 miles 
to hike the portage to get pictures of the beginning 
of the carry, making my trip over 11 miles.  But I 
felt like I had to do it, even if it was mostly to prove
to non-participants of the 90-Miler that we aren’t 
exaggerating about having to carry that canoe up those steps!

                   
The falls are beautiful to look at and well worth the hike in to see them.     They are a horseshoe shape and the water runs dangerously fast over         them.  As for skipping the portage to go over them in a canoe or kayak,      well, that would definitely not be a good choice!

If someone wants to paddle to see these falls, they could forgo the agony of the carry. They could enjoy an easier paddle and short hike by starting at the Axton Landing and paddle about 6.5 miles upstream to the take out and trail-head for the falls.

How to get there:
From Tupper Lake follow Route 30 and 3 east. Continue on 3 East about 7 or so miles and turn right on Corey road.   Warning: Corey Road starts out paved, but then turns into a gravely, rough road.


About 2 miles down Corey Road is Axton Landing on the right.  To get to the trailhead, continue your drive down Corey Road for another 7/10 of a mile. The trailhead parking is on the right.