Saturday, July 7, 2012
Lake George island camping: 07/05/2012
I've been boating and paddling around Lake George for more than 30 years, but I never grow tired of visiting The Narrows, the island-studded middle section of the Lake. Steep mountains frame the Lake, and the forests on both shores are protected from development under the Forever Wild clause of the State Constitution. Many of the islands are available for camping, with a dock, picnic table and fireplace at each site.
On Thursday, six of us (Beth, Daniel and me, plus 3 other family members) loaded up my parents' pontoon boat with tents, sleeping bags, a pair of kayaks and enough food for a week, even though we were camping for just one night.
From the dock at my parents' home in Bolton Landing, it's a quick trip across Bolton Bay, past the Sagamore, the tip of Tongue Mountain and into The Narrows. We had a reservation for two sites on Big Burnt Island, one of the largest islands, located just north of Glen Island.
I'm sure many frequent island campers have their favorite site, but I doubt there's a bad one out of the nearly 400 island campsites lake-wide (200 sites in The Narrows). Our sites on Big Burnt were private, well treed and east facing. Bringing along the kayaks was a big plus, allowing us to paddle around Big Burnt and nearby islands. The kids swam for a bit.
We brought along firewood and cooked dinner (hamburgers, baked potatoes, salad) on the campfire. Simplicity was our goal, so we dispensed with bringing a stove and elaborate cooking gear. As the sun began to set, loons called and a near-full moon rose over the ridgeline of Black Mountain.
With our campsite's eastern exposure, the morning sun illuminated the lake early, and I took a 7am paddle around Gem, Phantom and Glen Islands. Sunrise and sunset are the prettiest times on the lake, with quiet water and beautiful lighting. The one drawback of not bringing a cookstove is no morning coffee, but a quick paddle over to the campground headquarters and general store on Glen Island fixed that.
free launch for car-top boats on Northwest Bay, approximately 4 miles north of Bolton Landing. Campsite reservations can be made through the DEC's Lake George Islands Campground website, but can only be made for stays of three nights or more. Reservations for shorter stays open up within 5 days of your anticipated stay. We had no trouble making our reservation for July 5 on June 30, even though it was a busy holiday period.