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Fall camping in the Flow
September 29, 2016 - Morgan Ryan
This has to be the best time of year to go camping. No bugs, open campsites and very few people (outside of the Eastern High Peaks anyway). Sure, it gets a little chilly at night and you have to wear at least a fleece during the day, but that just makes the hot coffee that much better in the morning and the campfire more inviting at night.
We got kind of a late start after work last Friday and headed south toward Long Lake. We decided to car camp at Lake Eaton Campground for the night, and we were lucky to find a nice site on the water (without a reservation).
Somehow we forgot to pack the eggs (and a few other choice items). No biggie. The ranger at the front gate said the Long Lake Diner would suit our needs.
From Long Lake we took state Route 30 about 20 miles to Cedar River Road, outside of Indian Lake. 12 miles later we were at the field above Wakely Dam and the entrance to the Moose River Plains.
We loaded up the boat at the launch just above the dam and took off on the Cedar River Flow.
We paddled the length of the Flow, looking for campsites along the eastern shore and kind of hoping to make our way to the river on the south end. After about 3 miles we reached this area of thick reeds.
Our first mate searched for a way through the labyrinth.
It was pretty thick, so we turned around to look for a place to set up camp.
We pretty much had our pick of sites, so we chose this beauty about a mile from our original launch spot.
Temperatures dipped into the upper 30s overnight, so we kept the fire big and huddled as close to it as possible. The stars were spectacular on a moonless night.
We woke up to a thick fog hovering over the flow. As the sun rose, the view from the site went from this ...
To this ...
To this ...
And finally this (notice the wind picking up) ...
After a hardy breakfast of potatoes, bacon, eggs and coffee, we packed up the boat for the paddle out.
We saw some nice color on the way ...
And this guy ...
Under the guidance of an old Barbara McMartin book, we decided to hike Wakely Mountain, which was very close to where we parked the car at Wakely Dam. Her trail description (from the late 80s) didn’t actually sound all that appealing as she walked through what sounded like an active logging operation. But things are different now since the state acquired the land.
The first couple miles of the trail were along an old logging road that is starting to grow over.
Our closest encounter with wildlife was meeting a guy on the trail who saw a bear at this spot. He said he heard a big thump when the bear hit the ground after crashing down from a tree. It ran away before he was able to get his camera out.
The trail turned to singletrack after this junction two miles into the hike.
It was all uphill from there. A very steep mile of climbing brought us to the tallest fire tower in the Adirondacks.
The views were incredible from the top of the tower. It felt like you could see the entire Park from this vantage point.
Here’s a good look at the Cedar River Flow with what I’m guessing is Blue Ridge in the background.
All in all we paddled about six miles and hiked about six more over the two days.
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