May 05, 2015
The area around Saranac Lake is known as the Lake Country of the Adirondacks. Since the whole Park is known for its lakes, what makes us so very special?
I'm happy to tell you. There are five good reasons we proudly bear that title.
We are a Paddler's Paradise because of our terrain. That must have been some giant glacier. Parts of the Adirondacks were shaped by deep gouges that create dramatically high mountains and chuckling, shallow, rocky, creeks and rivers. But the Lake Country isn't like corduroy. It's more like brocade.
The relatively gentle ups-and-downs of our region lends itself to networks of broad lakes, gem-like ponds, and navigable rivers. These can be found throughout the Adirondacks, of course. But only the Lake Region has so many, in such profusion and such proximity.
The ice melts off the lakes roughly mid-April. About three minutes after that, it's time to get out the canoes, kayaks, and Stand Up Paddleboards.
The season runs until there is actual ice forming again. That's a great stretch of time to experience the green-gold exhilaration of spring, the deep forest green rush of summer, and the color explosion of fall. All with a thin membrane holding us in the water, making us a part of nature.
Paddling enthusiasts love the quiet. The low profile and gentle wave action of a small watercraft lets us drift closer and closer to wildlife without frightening them away. I once let the current move me slowly towards a Great Blue Heron, until I was only about ten feet away. I didn't get a picture because I was afraid to frighten him. So pack those zoom lenses, and put the camera down as the boat gets closer.
If we like lots of fast moving variety in our wilderness experience, paddling is just the thing. We can explore more territory by moving ourselves over water than we can hiking, and with far less effort.
Sometimes, it's not about the journey. It really is about the destination.
While our smaller bodies of water are made for paddling, our bigger ones are built for boating. The Saranac Chain of Lakes lets you step out of downtown right into a boat, and explore from Lake Flower all the way to the top of Upper Saranac.
There are incredible sights along the way -- houses on islands, jumping rocks, sandy beaches, elaborate structures from the age of Great Camps, vistas and bays, and raptors soaring overhead. The variety of boats is also enjoyable, from classic Chris Crafts and pontoon boats to that one with the log cabin built on top.
One of the best days in the Adirondacks is to set off with a lunch and make a circuit, hitting places that look interesting and making notes about the ones we'll have to catch next time.
Because there are plenty of places. There should be a next time.
Explore our wide variety of boating destinations.
We have wonderful fishing. It's so fantastic that I can' t even tell you about it. Because you know how anglers are about their favorite places to find fish.
So many of our lakes are so big that each one could expand into a multitude of web pages -- the bay for trout, the spot for salmon, or that place where the sun first hits in spring. But then, part of fishing is figuring that out for ourselves.
As we might expect from a village that has a river running through it and two lakes bordering it, we have some places right in town that make for a lovely little outing. The docks off Riverside Park and the bridge over the River Walk are popular, but there's also the river bridge behind the downtown grocery store and the one at Triangle Park.
For more wilderness, there's the stunning 18,400-acre St. Regis Canoe Area with its fifty ponds. Some of them don't even have names! At least, not that I'm sure of. I ask about fishing on the ponds there and people start staring into the distance and whistling and pretending they see a bald eagle.
I mean, I've seen many bald eagles. Just not usually from inside a store.
Our Forever Wild area has a rich ecosystem that supports abundant care and feeding of all sorts of creatures. But to make sure there's plenty of fish, the Department of Conservation runs a variety of Fish Hatcheries. For instance, they will release 75,050 trout this spring.
One of them should have your name on it.
Explore our fishing choices.
What do lakes have to do with hiking? In the Lake Country, lots. They can be a delightful way to get to the trailhead.
The many carries that make up the portages between ponds make for an additional hiking experience, access to the mountains, or just a lovely addition to our trek. It's a wonderful thing to pull up to a spot with trails, or even climb a mountain, and glide back to base. We get both a lower and upper-body workout.
Spring is not only a fine canoe season, but a great time to hike many densely forested trails. The new buds put maximum sunshine on the forest floor, and we have wildflowers to find at that time.
Explore the pond possibilities of our hiking trails.
Does Saranac Lake's history as a curing village have anything to do with its abundant lakes? The book, Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, by marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, thinks so.
Being near natural bodies of water seems to signal our brains that "this is a good spot." Good hunting, good gathering, abundant flora and fauna, and water enough for our own needs, too. Whether this is spiritual, or practical, our lovely lakes will calm you down and lift you up.
Whether we are summiting a mountain, outwitting a trout, using the river as a highway, or simply using a lake as a lounge chair, our many bodies of water... do a body good.
That's why we are the Lake Country.