Hoel Pond to Slang Pond for Lunch

A scenic lunch spot is just what the doctor ordered for such a beautiful day and the paddlers map offered us up a destination that we couldn’t turn down – a peninsula camp on Slang Pond. We started out our morning by picking up a few choice beverages and then swinging by the farmers market at the small park on Lake Flower in Saranac Lake, it’s quite convenient for us that they have it every Saturday, seeing as how we seem to be rolling through there every weekend. We picked up some local cheese for our lunch and hid it away so we wouldn’t touch it until we got to the campsite.

Once we pounded the car over the rough dirt road to the boat launch site we found that we would not be the only ones in the area that day, far from it in fact. Before I forget I want to mention, that this pond is an exception to the rule for no motorboats in the St. Regis Canoe Area. This is due to it having private shoreline, so be aware that some motorboats will be on this pond, but few. The only motorboats allowed are those whose owners that have camps on the lake, no outside boats are allowed, shore owners are grandfathered in.

We hit the water with a full charge and spared little time getting to the short carry to Turtle Pond. Corenne and I are much bigger fans of smaller bodies of water and exploring the shoreline of these little gems. It’s not that big water isn’t OK, from time to time, but we prefer to be where the motorboats are not. A couple winters ago we skied the railroad tracks back to Turtle Pond and I couldn’t remember a bridge under the tracks, because there isn’t one. We got to the railroad tracks and found a culvert wide enough to travel through. Maybe, if it were not at a steep angle and close to that of a class 3 rapid - I passed on the idea, but strongly considered it. Maybe, if my boat wasn’t 14.5 feet long and wouldn’t nose dive into the gravel on the opposite end like a “Lawn Jart,” I would.

The carry is all of about 60 feet up and over the tracks, not what I would call a ridiculous notion. We were back on the water in time and checking out the few camping areas on Turtle Pond. These were nice areas, with seclusion. It wasn’t too far down turtle pond when we came across a couple loons in the distance right near where we needed to pass. They were not at all scared of these two rather large orange fish. As we got closer the baby loon hopped up on the mothers back and tucked its nose into her feathers and started to make little noises and eventually looked to fall asleep. We paddle by very quietly as to not disturb or startle them, that just made the entire trip and we hadn’t even had any local cheese yet.

We passed down through the narrows between Turtle and Slang Ponds, and the moving water pushed us out onto the open waters. This is by far the most attractive of the three ponds, but we were yet to see more cool stuff. We had a nice how-do with a gentleman in a Hornbeck Canoe and then wish a fond adieu before located the campsite on the peninsula off in the distance. As we paddle lazily over the open waters a school of small fish, dozens, were surfacing the water in a boiling effect that I have never witnesses so close and personal. I paddled over hoping that lunch would jump into my boat, but they seemed to be taken back by my presence and quieted down.

We finally reached our destination and broke out the two micro-brews we brought, the creamy spreadable cheese and some gluten free crackers. We pulled up a log and sat down as if this was our backyard, which I suppose it is, in a way. But the commute to the front door is just a bit longer. Before we knew it, it was 4pm and we needed to get back out before it got too much later, we had a hot date with the Lone Ranger and Tonto and what great hosts they were.

If you are interested in paddling these destinations or anyplace in the St. Regis Canoe Area, pick up a copy of the Paddlers Map and Book at a local bookstore or outdoor gear shop. Want to have a guided trip, check out a local guide service in the area for more details.  


Author:Spencer Morrissey
Searching for Spruce Grouse
Top 5 Family Friendly Activities in the Saranac Lake Area

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