Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Moss Lake

Hello and welcome back to my blog!  I took a couple of weeks off from writing, hoping all the while that I'd have a trip to share with you.  Well, we tried-- but mother nature did not cooperate.  However, I have photos from our "try" at kayaking Moss Lake, as well as a very few photos from another trip on this pretty but small lake from a few years ago.

Here is what the trail to the put- in looks like in the damp and rain of a Sunday in October.  (By the way, it was partly cloudy, with blue skies and nice sunshine when we loaded up the kayaks and headed to Moss Lake, which is near Eagle Bay, north of Old Forge.)  It didn't stay that way for long.

Moss Lake used to be the site of a girl's camp, so there is a trail all the way around the lake.  It was used back then for horseback riding.  It makes a nice, fairly flat walk.  But I wouldn't advise a stroll here in late May or June.  The black flies can be bothersome.

At the parking lot there is a sign explaining the history of the camp with a map of the trail as well.

Camping is allowed but I believe you need a permit.
Here is the put-in at the lake, less than 100 yards from the parking lot.

I'm sure you're thinking the photo is pretty washed out... well, it was.  But the color was not the problem.  It's RAIN and FOG that were the problem.   The lake has a pretty island with an osprey nest at the top of a dead tree.  Here is the island as seen from the put-in:

And a close up:

Does it look cold to you?  Well, it was.  The rain was drizzly at the lake and the temperature had steadily declined the further we traveled on our way to Moss Lake.  I think it was 42 degrees when we got out of our car and (quite smartly) decided to NOT begin removing the straps on the kayaks.  We went to check out the lake and to see if the weather showed any signs of improvement.

Before you get the idea that Moss Lake is a dark and dreary place, let me show you what it looks like in June when the sun is out and it's warm and bright! 

There are hills surrounding the lake, so it feels a bit secluded and as you can see, is a very pretty little lake.

I only have a few photos from our earlier trip to Moss Lake because at the time we went, I didn't yet trust myself to hang onto my "good" camera, so we used a 35 mm point and shoot, and I only scanned some of the photos into my computer.

Here is another photo from that trip in June:

Did you notice that I said "trip in June" yet a few paragraphs before that, I advised not paddling here in May or June???  Well, we didn't know the black flies would be so bad that day.  Our trip was not long because we found ourselves unable to speak, breathe or even sometimes keep our eyes open on the lake when we ran into a cloud of the pesky things!  It ended up not being a very pleasant paddle, even though as you can see, it started out fairly nice.  I think the wind died down, or maybe it was when we got closer to shore... not really sure when or why the black flies got so thick.  I just know I had them in my eyes and nose and that is not good at all.

If you paddle around the lake counter clockwise from the put-in, you will come to a small sandy beach which also has a deck area and a trail up to a separate parking lot for handicapped persons.  This seems to be a very nice place to go if you are in a wheelchair or would like someone who is disabled to be able to enjoy a view of the lake.  It is just a trail- not paved- but it looked to us as if it would be passable in a wheelchair, at least with some assistance.

About half way around the lake; continuing in the clockwise direction; is a footbridge.  This outlet is supposedly paddle-able, but we have not had the opportunity to find out yet.  You do have to get out of your kayak and lift over the bridge or go around it-- it's not high enough to pass under.

There are places along the lakeshore where the trail is very near, and other spots where the trail is a bit further from the water.  Since the weather did not seem to be improving, we decided to take a walk on the trail.  Here is a photo taken near the put-in before we got on the trail:

And one of a marshy area not far from the put-in:

Once on the trail, we crossed several streams winding their way to the lake.  Here is one:

And here is another:


As we walked around the lake, the drizzle turned into mist... it wasn't looking promising, even for a walk in the woods.  Here is the deck area at the sand beach which I mentioned above:

And here is the lake and the island from that area:

And a close-up of the island.  Do you see the osprey nest in the top of the dead tree?

Here is a photo of that same nest, taken on our previous paddle here, from the opposite side of the island:

If you look closely you will see the white head of an osprey just left of the middle of the nest.  Both parents were in the nest when I took this photo.  We were near the island and they were not happy.  One swooped down (even though we were about 70 feet below them, they still didn't like our presence) and let us know that we needed to go.  We obliged them, not wanting to upset them and understanding then that they must have babies in the nest.  Also, at about the same time the osprey momma or daddy warned us, I floated right into a cloud of black flies so thick that I saw black-- when I had my eyes open, that is.  I threw the camera in my lap and paddled like a madwoman, trying to get away from them!  We decided at that moment that we'd done enough paddling on pretty Moss Lake for one day in June.

Here is one more photo from the beach area:

And here are a few more photos of the area around the lake from our short walk.  It was very short because about 20 mins. into it, the misty rain became rain drops.  Rain and a temperature of 42 degrees is not pleasant, believe me, even in the woods along a nice trail.

We turned around and headed back to the car as the rain became steady, the drops bigger.  One thing about the gloom and the rain though, colors in the woods stand out.  Here is a fern I photographed on the way back to the parking lot:

So, I'd say that we've had some bad luck with Moss Lake.  We have friends who paddle here most every year.  It's a great location and so pretty, with easy entry from the sandy area at the put-in.  Don't let our experience with the black flies or the rain keep you from checking Moss Lake out.  You won't be disappointed.  I'll leave you with one last photo of Moss Lake from our June trip a few years ago:

Hopefully we'll get a chance to do an enjoyable full paddle of Moss Lake next season.  For those of you in the south or those who wear your spray skirts and dry suits, happy kayaking!  For the rest of us, kayaking season is over now.  (Yes, we've had snow here, though it only stuck on the grass for a few hours.)  I plan to blog every week or two on a location that we've visited in the past.  I have tons of photos, and many great memories, tips and descriptions to share with you through the dark days of winter.  So join me again soon!


  1. I love the fall pictures of the lake, they have so much character to them, the green of the moss and ferns really stands out and the ground plants have so many different shades. But I have to admit, I find the tale of the black flies terrifying; I've never had an experience anything like that. I'm looking forward to having the pictures of your other trips to sustain me through the winter.

  2. Hi Ang! Maybe the black flies "remember" all those horses and girls from that past camp! And are out looking for them! Too bad about the "almost" paddle, but I believe you made the right choice. Mist, rain and low 40's do NOT make for an enjoyable paddling adventure. :-(

  3. Ang! Sure has been extra "quiet" on your "Quiet Kayaking in New York State" blog... guess your paddling is "officially" over for the season?

  4. Nice! Happy holidays to everyone!

  5. Hi Ang! Happy Holidays from Mike - the Durhamblogger! :-)

  6. Thanks Mike and Kim!
    Hope you holidays were great-- I know, I am WAY behind : )