St Regis Lakes

Exploring the Upper St. Regis Lake, Spitfire Lake, and Lower St. Regis Lake Lakes provides views of historic Great Camps. These lakes are connected by wide channels. These are a large lakes vulnerable to weather, which can create choppy water. Three accessible boat launches and one carry that is only .6 miles long adds up to a classic loop.

Launching Points:

  • Keese Mills Road Latitude: 44.43212271 Longitude: -74.29987192
  • Paul Smith College Latitude: 44.4339341205 Longitude: -74.2532661930
  • Upper St Regis Lake Boat Launch Latitude: 44.3949091528 Longitude: -74.2698393948. Access to Upper St. Regis Lake is from a small town launch at Upper St. Regis Landing, just off Route 30, between Paul Smiths and Lake Clear, off St. Regis Carry Road.

Upper St. Regis Lake along with Lower St. Regis Lake and Spitfire Lake, became famous in the late 19th century as a summer playground of America’s power elite, drawn to the area by its scenic beauty and by the rustic charms of Paul Smith’s Hotel. It is the site of many grand old summer “cottages” and Great Camps. Upper Saint Regis Lake is part of the original Seven Carries canoe route from Paul Smith’s Hotel to Saranac Inn. Upper St Regis Lake consists of connected water bodies full of historic great camps and boathouses that make for a great tour. The lake is 742 acres in size. Average depth is 25 feet with a maximum depth of 90 feet.

Skip and I drove up in the morning and launched from the Upper Regis Landing about 11am.  We proceeded north along the western shore and stopped at a small waterfall coming out of Spectacle Ponds.  Walking along the stream we saw stone carvings and a tribute to George Francis Raymond. A search discovered his obituary but no described connection to the Adirondacks.

We continued north and began what we thought was a short portage leading to Black Pond. However, after a portage and hike of a mile we decided to return and approach Black Pond from  Lower St Regis Lake.  We continued our clockwise tour of Upper St Regis Lake, sticking close to the shoreline  as the wind was causing breaking white caps on the lake.  Somehow we missed the access to Spitfire Lake and made a complete loop back to the boat launch.  We decided to use the access to the St Regis Canoe area and portaged to Mud and Bear Ponds looking for a suitable campsite.  As shown by the picture below the water levels were unusually high due to the frequent rains this summer.  Our search for a dry and bug free campsite was not successful so we decided to return to the truck and camp in one of the Floodwood campsites for the night. We stayed at site #3, set up our tents, relaxed and read, and had a dinner of hot dogs, beans, bagel, fruit cup and Oreos.

The next day we found the boat launch at Paul Smith’s College.  The 350-acre Lower St. Regis Lake has as its northern edge Paul Smith’s College, There’s five miles of shoreline to explore around this lake. The narrows that access the lake offer scenic paddling in the region and are a destination themselves. There are several dirt floor lean-tos scattered along the shoreline.  There is a trail to St. Regis Mountain provides a view with only a moderate climb, however we did not choose to hike.

We paddled from Paul Smith’s to the outlet dam and examined several available lean-tos along the way; most had dirt floors.  On our return we visited Peter’s Rock which had a huge sloping rock to the water and a fine lean-to.

Upon our return we will paddle Spitfire Lake.


Land Improvements

On Friday drainage tile was installed in the field south of our house with an immediate stream of water,  The pictures below show the access cleared through the fence line connecting the two pastures at their southern extremity, a view of the location of the former dirt pile – now re-distributed and graded.  The middle view looks north towards our house. The final picture shows the remaining topsoil graded to make a mow-able slope on the west side of the lot approaching the road.

Below are the ditch through the woods near cook-out corner which should keep water from flooding the hay field.  In the top right is the swale dug to capture water coming off the hay field and re-direct it into the stream rather than the lane.

A new load of driveway rubble squared off our driveway. Finally, the drainage tile from the south lot continued to pour water for 24 hours.

Ponds, Canoe Camping, Garden, Tendonitis

To celebrate graduation from middle school Eric hosted a small party with 8 or nine of his buddies.  After much waffling about the possibility of rain and alternative rain dates we went ahead and had the party on Friday night with  a bonfire and pizza.  We had a lot of fire wood from cleaning out wood along the fence line.  We staged the bonfire in the pasture in front of the equipment lean-to.  The boys played basketball and ‘man hunt’ which was a team approach to hide and seek.  Kids left by 11:30 and there was a down pour fifteen minutes afterwards.

Eric’s graded fluctuated through out 8th grade.  He would perform poorly and then focus attention on that issue; get it corrected, only to have some other subject matter suffer.  A lot of the issues were a result of staying organized, turning in work and studying for tests and quizzes. We really tried to stress his need to take personal responsibility for his grades.  In the final marking period he seemed to pull it all together and managed to get on the High Honor Roll!  Hopefully, this all carries forward into high school.

Eric signed up onto the HP JV basketball team competing in the summer Accelerate League.  There are only a couple of 9th grade players and two HP players decided to play elsewhere when the decision of team composition and coaches was being made.  So far, three games in, the team has not yet had a practice or set plays.

Eric resumed his summer job unloading hay for the neighboring farm.  He enjoys the work and partnership with the Hughes and Nathan.  So far haying has been delayed by the weather as we have had rain, rain, rain.

In mid-April I took a mis-step walking down the driveway to the barn resulting in a twinge in my left calf.  After a weekend of sitting on bleachers watching Eric’s basketball games I was concerned about a possible blood clot as the pain moved up and down the back of my leg.  When that was ruled out I gave it more time until I finally visited the doctor who suspected tendonitis and prescribed PT.  After three weeks of regular stretching the Soleus ligament it has responded and feels normal.

The fish in the pond are huge.  Scout went nose to nose with one of the 34″ grass carp.

For the 4th of July weekend we went canoe camping near Stillwater Reservoir.  It was a short paddle to a unused campsite.  Kathryn out-fished everyone else catching 5 bass and 1 sunfish.

Finally, with three consecutive dry days Eric got to unload hay and Troy Cole started on our outdoor projects; grading the top soil from the south pond, installing drainage tile, grading around the minnow pond, making a gateway access between the two pastures, digging a ditch to prevent flooding near cookout corner.

Dad Joke

Kathryn and I gave Eric and Austin a ride to HCCC for a basketball tournament.  Eric was in the back seat with Austin playing Rap music and telling us his latest favorite artists.  I asked him how the rap artists came up with their nicknames and why they always seemed to have initials like Jay – Z or P – Diddy.  Eric said he didn’t know.  I followed up by saying I was friends with 25 letters of the alphabet.  Kathryn was driving and gave me a side-ways look and asked “Only 25?”.  Yes, I replied.  I don’t know Why.  It was a great setup – segue.


Early June Roundup

On Memorial Day Weekend Mark & Danielle hosted a Hay / Muller picnic.  We drove to the Hays and dropped off Eric and then picked up Barb and Joe in Albany getting back to the Hays at 12:30.  Barbara really enjoyed getting out among family and the weather was perfect for a picnic.

Eric went on the 8th grade camping trip (Thursday – Saturday) to Beaver River; sharing a tent with 6 of his buddies.  Initially he wasn’t interested in going, but relented under ‘encouragement’.  I think he had a good time as he said having his life guard certification would allow him to go again as an underclassman.

While he was on the camping trip we went to Rochester for Leo’s wedding.  We just made it to the ceremony as the bride was walking in.  It was a short ceremony and over in 10-12 minutes.  We hung around the reception, talked to most all the Skellys’ and then drove home.

On Sunday Eric played in a 4 team round robin tournament at HCCC.  Three teams consisted of 8th and 9th graders.  One team had three varsity players and they blew out every other team.  Eric had an mediocre showing; he had some rebounds in traffic,  he had a couple of good blocks and played good defense, but he missed all his shots, except for a fast break layup.

Modified lacrosse finished up with Eric playing as a 2nd line middie.  Eric got better at boxing out and digging out the balls on the ground.  He did a few face-offs and overall enjoyed the games.  He is planning to play summer lacrosse at TriCityLacrosse when the fields dry out enough to play.

This weekend Kathryn and I started cutting firewood from Cookout Corner.  There were lots of standing dead ash trees and we likely could get out entire winter’s supply just from Cookout Corner.

We put Eric’s computer desk and the large entertainment center out by the road with a free sign.  The computer desk was picked up within an hour.  The entertainment center was taken by an Amish family who loaded up on top of their carriage. Quite the sight to see.

Black Creek

Skip, Kathryn and I made a opening season paddle down Black Creek.  We heard and saw a lot of birds; white throated sparrows, heron, ducks, buteos, Phoebees, and some geese that tried to hide along the banks.  A beautiful 2 hour paddle.

Packing Up For Crown Point

Kathryn spent 3 days in Rochester attending a conference to gain continuing education credits.  Eric finished out his spring AAU season with Mohawk Valley Elite.  His tournament experience consisted of mostly losses with the recent exception of a sudden death win over Tri-Valley Players.  Eric started doing face offs during lacrosse games.

Kathryn packed the pop-up camper for a 4 day trip to band birds at Crown Point. She couldn’t find the registration for her car.  So we transitioned all her stuff to the truck, then she discovered she could get a temporary registration certificate, so we re-packed everything over to the Subaru and re-hooked up the pop-up.


HP Lacrosse @ VVS

It was windy and rainy; very windy as HP played VVS to 11-5 win.

Mohawk Valley Elite Shootout

MVE played in three games this past weekend; losing by 2 points to a 9th grade/JV team from Waterville with 8 seconds left; losing by 6 points to Rome Select in a game that had MVE trailing, but threatening the entire game and finally to Amsterdam when the team missed many, many easy shots.

Daniel Barden Mudfest

After a fun and successful 2016 Daniel Barden Mudfest Kathryn and Wendy pre-registered to get deeply discounted tickets.  Kathryn was counting on Eric and Stone to repeat the run with her.  However, Stone opted out and Eric opted to play basketball on his AAU team.  Kathryn was stuck with two tickets and fortunately Tanya and Stephanie were willing to give it a try.  Despite damp conditions and cool temperatures there was a record number of participants.  The ladies had a lot of fun and made Stephanie and Tanya converts to mud/obstacle courses.