LOWS LAKE paddling, camping, hiking.

Aug 14 & 15, 2016 - BOG RIVER & LOWS LAKE from Lows Lower Dam. More people leaving than going in on Sunday afternoon - all campsites on the river & Hitchins Pond were available, #10 & #12 were tempting but I continued on to the lake against a moderate headwind & got #13 which has a great view down the lake past Gooseneck, Pole & Frying Pan Islands..The thunderbox has a small lid so after rain the seat is wet (note: all the new ones going into the St Regis Canoe Area have full-sized lids). Paddled along the N shore & into a bay - the eagle nest was still above #25 but no eagles in sight, just some merlins. Parked next to a culvert & hiked up Grass Pond Mountain on an unmarked path (500' climb, 1.5 miles round-trip) - superb views incl. most of the lake, High Peaks to the E. Wandered to the W end of the ridge for view NW across Grass Pond. Paddled to S shore then returned back to camp then out. The shortest carry around the upper dam is on river R - ~100 yards. The bog-jam 0.9 miles above the upper dam requires a short lift-over on river R. Lots loons incl. juveniles. Bad bugs minimal - ~5 mosquitoes. 23 miles. "Paddlers and Hikers Map LOWS LAKE & BOG RIVER" available at Adirondack Paddle'n'Pole - the only map that we know of that shows an accurate shoreline & includes descriptions of the campsites.
Oct 10-13, 2011 - BOG RIVER & LOWS LAKE. Monday Columbus Day. Most folks leaving, easy carry around Lows Upper Dam then <1 mile upriver the bog has closed off the old opening on N side & now one must portage/drag 20' on S side. Pretty much had my pick of campsites (all had outhouse or box privy) - took #20 in hardwoods where a maple was trying its best to hold on to its red leaves. Evening brought sounds of loons, ducks, owls, migrating geese + full moon. Tuesday. Gorgeous red sunrise. Grass Pond Mtn hike to open rocky ridge with superlative view - swear I saw a blackfly, other tiny flies. Campsite #24 is open again - I guess eagles have not returned to the nest above it. Very little wind, temp in 70s. Paddled into Grass & Tomar Ponds. Grass has cliffs, Tomar has boggy shores; yellow-leaved tamaracks contrasted with deep green of spruce. Stopped at Virgin Tinber Landing. Around the bog in middle of the lake & did the short carry between the 2 northern bays. Wednesday. Broke camp heading downriver past Lows Ridge & Hitchins Pond to site #2 (sites 2 & 3 do not have privies) stopping to take a look at most campsites along the way. Watched 3 military planes "in combat" above, noisy for a while. Tried catching up on my reading. Rain at night. Thursday. Rain early, kept a fire going, some sun by noon, short paddle out. Only 4 cars left in parking area, 3 from VT, one person had signed in for 11 days, took quick nippy cleanup dip in the river. Set up camp on primitive car camping site (#7 with picnic table & good view, close to outhouse at #8) on Horseshoe Lake. More reading; dinner of pierogies, sausages, carrots fried in butter - quite a change from freeze-dried dinners. A loon call or 2 otherwise very quiet. Still some very good foliage color. Biting flies on the water, but mosquitoes not an issue. Used the new Paddlers & Hikers Map Lows Lake & Bog River - very good except for some errors: Virgin Timber Landing is shown on the wrong point, states campsite #11 is only a picnic site whereas #11 is actually a campsite a little bit E of the picnic site, campsite #24 is missing, Hitchins spelled ok on map but spelled Hitchens in the write-up, campsites on Horseshoe have since been renumbered #1 thru #8.
Sep 4, 2008 - LOWS LAKE to OSWEGATCHIE RIVER. 0.8 mile carry from Lows to Big Deer Pond fairly smooth, one short steep hill some beaver flooding near end - took 20 mins. Moose footprint. 3 loons. Blue ribbons marked the start of 2.2 mile Headwaters Carry to the O. Mostly smooth & flattish. Crossing on an old beaver dam, then mailbox with register, then moderate uphill, downhill, then mostly smooth & flat, last section a bit rougher thru area highly impacted by 1995 blowdown. Lots of piles of bear scat in trail. Lows to O in under 3 hours. We work our way downstream for 5 miles going over many beaver dams & log obstructions (on one we had to remove packs from canoes to get over the tree). Stopped to look at most campsites - most good for 1 or 2 tents. Ended up at Camp Johnny #11, room for our 4 tents, rock overlooking river, only campsite of trip with no privy.
Sep 3 - LOWS LAKE, GRASS POND MTN. Hike up to the open rock on GP Mtn very well marked with ribbons, steep but takes less than an hour to viewpoint (see Discover Northwestern Adirondacks). Walked W of main viewpoint to where I could see Grassy Pond, bald eagle, ravens & hear loon calls. Lay my head down on small rock cairn - everything was just right - Nirvana! Swam, relaxed in camp. Sunset paddle. After dark could see flashes of lightning to the SE; above our heads nothing but stars & milky way.
Sep 2 - CLEAR POND to LOWS LAKE. Carried directly from campsite N to dirt road, L for a short distance then R on an older dirt road (closed to vehicles) to landing on Bog Lake. The campsite nearby is nice. Paddled around W end of lake then down the outlet. Bald eagle flies overhead; lots of C geese in outlet (Bog River). Out onto Lows, we take the sneak route to E of the bog & look for a campsite on N of lake. Settle on #26 - squeeze in 4 tents near the water, box privy, view across bay to eagle's nest, Grassy Pond Mtn, view S across lake from lookout. Shallow sandy bottom good for swimming out to island. Sunset paddle. Lots of loons.
On a previous kayaking trip, we saw a bear swimming in the middle of the lake!

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