ESSEX CHAIN LAKES canoeing in the central Adirondacks.
Sep 30, 2021 - Bushwhacking POLARIS MOUNTAIN (2,507'). One member of our group was driven to do this & the rest of us reluctantly went along. I just wanted to make sure the Polaris Club camps were gone & see what things look like in the area. Drove dirt Chain Lakes Road North & Drake's Mill Road 2.7 miles from Goodnow Flow to gate. 0.3-mile walk to the Polaris Bridge. Took a R after the bridge & then the first left - all woods roads. Reached a clearing (you can see all this if you look at a satellite view online), from there it was a bushwhack altho there were times that we were on overgrown old logging roads. Mostly hardwoods but got into spruce near the top. Only got minimal views: Snowy Mtn & Vanderwhacker. Took a route down a little south of our route up so ended up on dirt road maybe a half mile south of the bridge - no GPS was used, just map & compass. About 1,000' el gain. 3.8 hours.
Sep 29, 2021 - Paddling. Wheeled our boats from the Deer Pond gate - don't know what happened, perhaps just brain fade, but we missed the turn to go to Third Lake (we had walked it the day before!) & rolled for 45 minutes to the culvert between Fourth & Fifth - probably a bit more scenic with a pond & meadow along the way, smoother trail/dirt road too. Paddled thru to Seventh, good views of Vanderwhacker Mt., loon on Fifth. Back thru the lakes to Third (4 loons) & over to the new lean-to (occupied) at the old Gooley Club camps site - nice view. Back on the lake, passed osprey nest on a point & new campsite #2 (occupied). Into Second where a beaver hut guards the SW end. 0.1+mile carry to First. The 2 floatplane campsites looked cleaner, still boats stashed there. Went down the outlet, the "Chain Drain", about a mile - slid over 2 beaver dams & squeezed past a sweeper. Hit a big beaver dam & turned around since we had hit turn-around time anyway. Took out on Third & 30-minute roll to the gate - I don't like that last 0.3-mile uphill to the gate. Back at camp ~6pm.
Sep 28, 2021 - Camped at one of the primitive car camping sites on Deer Pond Rd - sites have fire ring & thunderbox. Took a walk on the DEER POND LOOP TRAIL, an old woods road. Some interesting wetlands, side-trips to Third Lake & Deer Pond along the way. Found a couple of raspberries. 4.5 miles. Coyote calls at night, temp dropped to high 30's.
September 2021 - ESSEX CHAIN COMPLEX - The Outer Gooley Club building is being removed & Chain Lakes Rd South will be closed until late September past the rafting put-in.
June 2021 - Materials for the new lean-to at the old Gooley Club camps site on Third Lake are there, it just needs putting together - Lean2Rescue is planning to erect it June 19 weekend.
Dec 10, 2020 - the APA has approved the campfires.
NYSDEC is taking comments until 8/14/2020 on allowing campfires at lakeside campsites.
The Gooley Club buildings on Third Lake have been removed:
You no longer need to reserve a campsite ahead of time - basically 1st come 1st served.
Aug 23 & 24, 2015 - ESSEX CHAIN LAKES canoe camping. Reserved (free) a campsite on Third Lake. No campfires allowed at lakeside campsites. From Goodnow Flow it is a 5.3 mile drive on dirt roads. 0.25 mile carry to Deer Pond, paddled around the long way, lovely pond; 0.5 mile carry (with some stops to pick wild raspberries) to Third Lake; the campsite half way looks like it has never been used & the thunderbox is sitting trailside?! Paddled Third Lake to Seventh Lake with view to Vanderwhacker Mtn & back. Channels between lakes are filled with lily pads. Dun Brook Mtn (rises almost 2,000' above the lakes) dominates the view to the W & Blue Mtn sometimes appears to its L. Swam from camp & enjoyed loony antics. Monday paddled past the Gooley Club cabins then carried 240 yards to First Lake & down its outlet for 0.7 miles going over 2 beaver dams. Lunch at a day use area with great view on W end of Third. Saw 7 other paddlers over 2 days (all day trippers), no other campers. Garter snake, osprey, harrier, merlin, kingfisher, gb heron; saw quite a few loons incl. 6 hanging out together, no juveniles tho; thought I saw a juvenile but when I got the binos out I could see it was just a cormorant hanging out with a pair of loons. Light to moderate (at dusk) mosquito activity; no-see-ums in the morning; no biting bugs on the water . The campsite on Fifth is being made handicap accessible - work is in progress, wheelbarrows, etc at the site.
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