NEWCOMB LAKE, Adirondack Park

Sep 2-4, 2017. NEWCOMB LAKE. Backpacked in on the smooth dirt/gravel/horsepoop road. 4.9 miles to the boathouse of Great Camp Santanoni. Boat pickins were slim - I borrowed a 17' Ward's Sea King aluminum canoe. Most of Newcomb Lake is in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. There are 8 campsites near the great camp - there are 2 lean-tos in the W half of the lake which you don't see from the great camp. Paddled to Ward Pond Brook lean-to, nice views of 4,606' Santanoni Peak along the way; small beach landing, shallow sandy bottom was nice for a swim, view of 2,838' Baldwin Mtn. Took 3 hours from the car. Paddled around the W end of the lake - could see Marcy. Poked up the inlet to the W. The canoe leaked ~2 gal/hr. Saw 4 other canoes, loons. Walked a few minutes on trail E of the lean-to & found the unofficial Newcomb Lake Trail that connects to the Doodlebug Trail (skied it on Feb 21, 2016) & Lower Road of the MacIntyre West Tract. Heard fireworks from Long Lake at least 10 miles away; some faint road noise at times, mostly quiet. Day 2: Rained over 20 hours straight; remnants of Harvey. The animals don't stop - vocal loons, 9 mergansers, chipmunk, birds - all before I finished my 1st cup of coffee. Temp in 50s - good hypothermia weather - I wore twice as much clothing as I wear xc skiing at 10F. Logbook went back to 2010 so I had a fair amount to read. Day 3: Packed up & paddled back to the great camp going the long way along the N shore; saw 7 loons along the way. Stopped at the boathouse & exchanged the Sea King for a Dagger Reflection 16 which I was very familiar with. It is asymmetrical (swedeform) but still paddled well solo backwards. Paddled into UPPER DUCK HOLE which is shallow with a lot of lily pads & swampy shores. LOWER DUCK HOLE is deeper & like NL edged with cedars. Then things narrow into the Newcomb River with a lot of rocks & not navigable. Returned the canoe after 3 hours of paddling. Backpack out. More bikers than hikers en route.

 Aug 26&27 - NEWCOMB LAKE.  Carted in 4+ miles on dirt road, 1.6 hours - gently gain 350' in 3+ miles then lose over 200' in the next mile.  Tried both carrying pack on back & pulling a light load and placing the pack in middle of canoe & pulling a heavier load - the latter was easier.  Good launch spots near the bridge before the great camp.  Camp Santanoni - in the boathouse were a Dagger Axis 10.5 kayak (later seen at Fish Rock Lean-to), a guideboat, 2 canoes & 3 rowboats ( a couple of people have said that they are usable by the general public).  View of Mt. Santanoni which towers 2,900' above the lake.  Paddled the N shore & then set up camp in the Ward Pond Brook Lean-to - sandy bottom here great for swimming, lots of blowdown meant no shortage of firewood, view of Baldwin Mt which rises 1,100' above the lake, picnic table.  Lots of loons - a hawk flying overhead sent a pair of loons into a tizzy.  Explored the inlet on the W end going over 2 beaver dams & under a footbridge before logs blocked the way.  Day 2 - Paddled under the road bridge & into Upper Duck Hole (2 beavers here) which then widens into lilypad-filled Lower Duck Hole which is very shallow averaging 1.5' in depth.  Then into the Newcomb River - there is a good unmarked trail on the L which I think is used by a hunting club, a couple of rowboats that have seen better days are nearby.  After this the river drops thru an unrunnable rocky area.  Returned to dirt road & wheeled out.  Many folks hike, bike, jog or ride a horse carriage to the great camp - over 30 signed in Sunday.  I believe there is only one horse carriage operator going in these days - the two operators mentioned in McMartin's Fun on Flatwater guidebook are no more.  Only a few backpackers see the rest of Newcomb Lake.  A few mosquitoes in the evening, a couple of biting flies on the water - no reason for DEET.  Swift Keewaydin 15, a 15' solo kevlar canoe @ 30 lbs - maiden voyage, will make an excellent replacement for the Merlin II.  The cart I used is an old Wheeleez similar to the Harmony one - beware some look-alikes that are weak.


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