I arrived at the Floodwood Road area at 8:30 on a Friday night, and parked at St. Regis Outfitters. Parking was limited, but there were 2 camping areas open. I wanted to get stared because I was unsure about how long this trip would take. So I put my one little bag under the seat, it fit nicely and was right on the center of balance. I had a drink of the water that I had in the van, switched on my headlamp, and started on the .7 mile trail to Long Pond. The walk started well, the load was light and comfortable, and I had no problem with staying on the trail. A short way in I encountered water around my ankles, I kept wading until the water was well above my knees. Then I stopped and thought Only an idiot would wade with a canoe on his head. I mounted my canoe and then thought, where is the trail now? After poking around this beaver swamp for a short while, I found what must have passed for a bridge at one time wadded up against the other end of my lost trail. A short time later, I arrived at Long Pond. The map showed several campsites on Long Pond but I doubted my ability to find them in the dark. I backtracked up the trail to some high ground and made camp.
I had this idea the week before about rigging the canoe as a shelter. I wedge the two paddles on either side of the seat and invert the boat. This give a nice dry place to sleep and the seat and thwarts give me places to store or hang stuff. I laid out my bivy sac on the soft forest duff, and got in.
I woke from my not too comfy sleep at 5am eager to start the trip anew. Long Pond is nice, with many tent sites, all in use. I did wave at one other insomniac and his coffee. A short paddle brought me to the Northeast end of the lake, and the trail to Nellie pond. This carry is a little over a mile and a half, on a nice trail. There is a brief break where you cross a beaver pond. At the north end you have a choice of visiting Bessie pond, or not, I chose the later.
Once across Nellie pond, after seeing some very tame beavers, I made the brief carry to Kit Fox Pond, and then on to Fish Pond, via the ridge trail. My course turned to the East through Fish Pond, where I had a breakfast of bagels, bacon, and filtered water while drifting with the wind to my next carry. Fish Pond is one of the bigger Ponds and sports 2 lean-tos. It is accessible by canoe from either direction or on foot from Little Clear Pond via an old road.
From the East end of Fish Pond I carried to Mud Pond and then on to Ochre Pond. This stretch seemed the hardest of the carries. Stopping to rest on the trail brought its own problems, namely deer flies. Each time I exposed my head while launching, I would attract my own cloud of the bastards, who would try to stay with me out on the water. I was lucky that while on the ponds, the wind kept the bugs at bay.
After walking the trail to St. Regis Pond, I noticed that I might have come up the stream between them, oh well. St. Regis Pond is large, maybe a mile from end to end. You can reach the Seven Carries route via the eastern end. There are ten tent sites and they all seamed occupied by happy campers. The sky was overcast, as it was all morning, it was 9am when I reached the trail to Little Clear Pond.
There is no camping and no fishing allowed on Little Clear Pond, due to the State Fish Hatchery. I paddled about 2 miles to boat launch in the southern arm of the lake. This is the funny part. I planed on being at this spot on Sunday afternoon and it was still Saturday and only 11am. Who planned this trip? I was going to leave my boat here and hitchhike back to my van. I still felt strong, and I had lots of time so I decided to keep paddling. I consulted my map, it showed a mile and a half walk to a culvert on the South side of rt. 30. I took the delightful Hatchery brook downstream to a bay on the North end of Upper Saranac Lake.
The lake was a shock. I was looking at a 2 mile crossing of an open lake with a big headwind and lots of braking waves. I chose a course a little North of West to Dry Island, and after some hard work I was in its wind shadow. After a short rest I turned South to state owned Green Island for lunch. I rested for half an hour and ate the rest of the bagel and bacon pieces. After two more miles of paddling South, I turned into Fish Creek Bay, and then up Fish Creek. I had some fun in the creek. A powerboat that passed me in the bay was going up the creek. He was restricted 5mph and no wake. If I try, I can hold 6mph for a short time. I clipped the corners, ignored the navigation buoys and caught up to the boat just as he cleared the no wake zone, and throttled up.
I paddled up Spider Creek Passage through a culvert into Follensby Clear Pond. A short paddle brought me to my last portage back to Fish Creek. I paddled up past Cooperas Pond and through Little Square Pond, and on into Floodwood Pond and to my van.
I spent 11 hours in the saddle, and under the yoke. 15 miles in the boat, and 5.5 miles with a big green hat, Good time!
Facilities include well-marked trails and fire rings at designated sites.
Floodwood Road is off of rt 30 North of Tupper Lake. There are multiple access points into the St. Regis Canoe Area
The Adirondack Canoe Map is a must have. You can get one at St. Regis Canoe Outfitters.