Friday, February 11, 2011

Massawepie Lake, part one

This is the first photo I took of Massawepie Lake, facing west from the put-in on it's eastern shore.  We did not arrive until the late morning, so the ripples you see are due to the slight breeze.  (If you're a kayaker in NY state (maybe this is true everywhere?) or you've been reading this blog, you know that winds pick-up as noon time approaches and the atmosphere heats up, then die back down toward evening.)  This lake is owned by the Otetiana Council of the Boy Scouts of America, along with the adjoining ponds of Catamount, Round, Long, Horseshoe, Boottree and Pine.  The lake is also the source of the Grass River.  Because the Boy Scouts use this area, it is CLOSED to the PUBLIC from the LAST WEEK in JUNE to the LAST WEEK in AUGUST.  So, if interested in paddling here, go early in the season or late in the season. The lake can be reached via Route 3, about 12 miles west of Tupper Lake.

When we paddled here in September of 2009, there was a sailboat of some type out on the water near the northern part of the lake.  This is one of our favorite types of lakes-- the ones where no gasoline motors are allowed!

I hadn't yet realized that a photo of the put-in area for each place we paddled was a good idea, so I don't have one for Massawepie Lake, but it's a sandy area and I do not remember any problems at all with our entry.  By the way, is anyone as intrigued as I am about the lake's name?  It sounds perfect for a boy scout camp-- think of the camp songs using that name!  The Adirondacks does have some interesting names, a lot of them seem to be people's names or describe the lake or mountain (Nicks Lake, Whiteface Mountain) but this one could be a Native American name... if I find out anything I'll let you know (or if YOU know, then let ME know!)  Ahh.... Inquiring minds like mine just can't let a question like that go.  Thank you Wikipedia for the info:  massawepie is Iroquois for "the beaver's lake."  There-- don't you feel better?  I do!  (Except all of the 4th graders in NY state probably already knew this!)

The lake is practically surrounded by hemlocks.  I believe this photo is along the eastern shore.

Here is my husband as we head into one of the nooks and crannies at the south end of the lake.  Did I ever mention how the bright, late morning and early afternoon sun is not too conducive to good picture taking?  (At least with my point and shoot.)

Here is a photo of the western shore, just across from the camping area on the lake.  It looks like there is a clearing in the trees.  We could imagine the boy scouts canoeing across to this pretty spot for some kind of gathering.

One of the most interesting places for us was the southwestern part of the lake where there was tiny island, a couple of peninsulas, a footbridge, etc.  Here is the approach to that area:

And here is one of the peninsulas-- or maybe this was the island-- sorry, it's been too long for me to be positive.  But isn't it gorgeous?  And notice that the water is much more calm in this protected area.  The second photo is another of the peninsulas in this area near the Grass River.

This is a pretty shot taken looking north, I think, from the southern area of the lake:

Here is one of the "dead end" areas near the Grass River.  We were on our way to check out the river.

This is the footbridge over the Grass River.  You can carry over this bridge and float down the river as it leaves Massawepie Lake.

 Here is a close-up of the bridge which shows how shallow and plant-filled the river is as it flows out of the lake.  We decided not to paddle down the river.

One more shot of the Grass River flowing out of Massawepie Lake:

And a shot I took of the footbridge's boards.  I like the grain, the space between the boards, and how the nails are sticking up a bit.

Once we left the footbridge and the Grass River, we paddled up one of the fingers of water that I knew, by my paddling map, would lead us to a trail to Pine Pond.  Here is a photo of the "end" of that finger, before we got off the water at the trail:

As you can see, there was still a whole lot of plant life in the water in September.  We took out our kayaks at the Pine Pond trail and left them for a very short walk to the pond.  Here is the well marked trail:

There are a few places on Massawepie Lake that will get you to trails leading to some of the ponds surrounding it.  This is one, to Pine Pond is on a western "finger" of the lake and there are trails to Boottree Pond and Horseshoe Pond as well on the southern shores.  We like to stretch our legs, but putting in and taking out at multiple spots is not our idea of a great paddling day.  However, if you like that type of thing, this is a perfect spot for it.  (There are many others with lots more mileage, both on the water and the carries, further north--St. Regis Canoe Area and Fish Creek Loops to name two, where we haven't yet been paddling.)

The trail to Pine Pond is short, but uphill.  Since we weren't taking our kayaks, it was a pleasant way to stretch our legs.  It's a tiny but pretty pond and I'll end part one of Massawepie Lake with a photo of it:

Keep thinking "spring" and maybe we'll make it happen sooner.  I can't wait to be back on the water.  How about you?


  1. Hi - since you posted your blog about Massawepie Lake - the scout council that owns the property around the lake has since changed its name to Seneca Waterways Council, headquartered in Rochester NY. Love all the photos. I'm a member of the council, and have been camping/canoeing at Massawepie since the '60s. The lake and the surrounding areas look exactly now as then.