Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Rollins Pond: 07/15/2017

Our campsite on Rollins Pond, Saturday 7/15/2017.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.

We’ve made it something of an annual tradition to head up to Rollins Pond for a weekend of camping and paddling, using the state campground at Rollins as our base. You can’t beat the campsites – nearly every one has direct waterfront – or the access to excellent flatwater paddling.

As usual we brought far too much stuff, but we somehow managed to cram 4 people, a canoe, paddleboard, 3 tents (each kid likes to have their own), sleeping bags, air mattresses, cooler and all the other weekend car-camping necessities into my Chevy Equinox.

Saturday afternoon we paddled one of the best bang for the buck flatwater loops in the Adirondacks: the Floodwood – Rollins loop through Copperas and Whey ponds. Four of us weren’t going to fit into my trusty 15-foot woodstripper, so we rented a “lightweight” aluminum canoe at the campground boat launch to use as a second boat.

Two of our 3 tents

Paddling out to Floodwood Pond

A big snapper on the log

This guys's not moving for anyone

One of paddling’s advantages over hiking is the opportunity for up-close wildlife viewing. Within minutes of launching we saw five or six turtles, two families of wood ducks and countless loons. Half a dozen loons greeted us just 50 feet out from the Whey Pond put-in. A bald eagle perched at the top of a huge white pine and then soared over the pond.

Beth and Daniel navigating the Alumacraft through Fish Creek

The channel leading into Copperas Pond

There are two short portages on the loop: between Copperas and Whey and between Whey and Rollins. Two portages with two canoes means I get to make 4 trips through the woods with a canoe over my head, but at least the kids got a good laugh and learned some new bad words. Luckily my woodstripper weighs in around 45 pounds and the aluminum rental boat was maybe 55, not bad for a short carry.

A portager's view of Whey Pond

Loons just off shore at the Whey Pond put-in

The final stretch of the loop, the paddle from the Rollins put-in back to our campsite, can seem long, but luckily the water was calm and a variety of beverages – both adult and kid-friendly – awaited to reward our paddling efforts, one of the many benefits of car camping. The kids paddled our SUP and generally tore up the campsite (where was all that energy on the portages?) while I coaxed flame and coals for cooking from our damp firewood.

Beth out for a late day paddle

Sunset view from our campsite

Sunday morning we got out on the water before breakfast. Early morning seems to be the time when loons are most numerous on the water, and we paddled close (25 feet or so) to a pair that were diving and surfacing around an island just offshore from our campsite. I'm not sure why, but loons seem to be far more common in the Adirondacks now than 30 or 40 years ago when I was my kids' age (Ok, that would be 40 years ago).

Loon pics from Sunday morning:

Hopefully we'll get in a few more paddling adventures this summer. I'd like to get back to the Floodwood area and maybe do the Hoel - Turtle - Slang - Long Pond route or a circuit through Floodwood, Middle, Polliwog and Follensby Clear ponds. A canoe trailer would be handy for hauling our family flotilla plus gear. Hmmm...

1 comment:

  1. We've done that loop numerous times over the years. A somewhat more challenging trip is to put in at the Fish Creek boat launch, then paddle through Fish Creek Pond, up Spider creek and into Follensby Clear Pond. You can do a side trip into Horseshoe Pond or go directly to Polliwog then Middle Pond. Carry to Floodwood Pond and go down the lovely outlet, down Fish Creek, and back to the launch.