Steve, Skip and I ventured out for a 3 day 2 night canoe camping trip on the Raquette River. The Raquette River, sometimes spelled Racquette, originates at Raquette Lake; and is the third longest river (146 miles) entirely in the state of New York. The river is a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking. It passes through many natural and man-made lakes to its final destination at Akwesasne on the Saint Lawrence River. Historically, the river was a part of the “Highway of the Adirondacks”, by which it was possible to travel hundreds of miles by canoe with short stretches of portage connecting various waterways. This route is still followed by the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a 740-mile canoe trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent in Maine. It is also the basis of the route of the Adirondack Canoe Classic, a three-day, 90-mile canoe race from Old Forge to Saranac Lake.
From the put-in at Axton Landing we proceeded north (left) upstream along the Raquette River. After about 0.5 mile Stony Creek came in on the left. This widening is easy to recognize, a bridge on Coreys Road can be seen just upstream over Stony Creek. The outlet of Stony Creek Ponds provides access to Upper Saranac Lake and routes north. To reach Raquette Falls, pass by Stony Creek and continue upstream. Axton Landing to Raquette Waterfalls is 6.5 miles. Going around the Raquette Falls involves a 1.3 mile portage around Raquette Falls. We dropped our gear off at leanto #7 and paddled our empty canoes to the falls. We hiked the trail along the falls, took the requisite photographs and returned back downstream to our campsite. Along the way we saw an immature eagle perched on a dead tree watching a mother duck and her little ones below and contemplating how to make them a meal. Steve fished his way back catching several nice pike and large mouth bass. Campsite 7 was well used and had habituated chipmunks, red squirrels and mice. The following morning we headed downstream returning to Axton Landing and to the Crusher. From Axton Landing, it is eleven miles to The Crusher launch site. From Axton Landing to The Crusher there are multiple spots where you can pull off for lunch or to take a break. We stayed the night at campsite 14. Leaving early the following morning we paddled two hours downstream past the outlet of Follensby Pond just before the Raquette curves north toward the Crusher. If you can find the outlet, you can work your way upstream to the causeway that marks the north end of Follensby Pond. We saved that adventure for another time.