Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blake Falls Reservoir, part one

A couple of weeks ago we decided to try another new kayaking location!  Blake Falls Reservoir is part of a chain of reservoirs on Raquette River between Route 3 and Potsdam.  The Raquette flows north, and these reservoirs include Blake Falls, Rainbow Falls and Five Falls.  We choose Blake Falls because it is narrow compared to the other two, making it seem more like a river than a reservoir.

NEW  I am going to start putting GPS coordinates for each location I blog about.  I'll also be adding the coordinates to my website.  Right now, I'm using Google Maps to accomplish this so the info could be a tiny bit off.  But I found out that my TomTom will give me this information. So any locations we go to from this point forward should have pinpoint accurate GPS coordinates.
Blake Falls Reservoir (the south put-in) is:  44° 28' 5.3472" -74° 45' 48.009"

We used the alternate put-in which is south of the campground where the main put-in is.  We were hoping to find a little more quiet by choosing this one.  Although there is a cement ramp for trailer-ed boats, just to either side is a grassy/sandy/partially rocky area which works fine for those of us with smaller watercraft.  Here is the boat ramp:

It took us a bit longer  to reach the reservoir than I thought it would, so we got a late start.  As you can see in the photos, there were some ripples on the water from the wind.  But it was a warm and sunny day, so we headed out, planning, as always, to enjoy the day.

If you're familiar with some rivers in New York state, the scene above may remind you of them -- Pine- edged waterway with boulders and rocks along the banks.  I thought of the Beaver River first when I looked out at Blake Falls Reservoir.

Brody was intrigued right from the beginning of our paddle.  He's still on the look-out for squirrels and chipmunks or maybe a duck.

The sun was bright, so we strapped on his Doggles for part of the trip:

Unfortunately, less than a half hour into our paddle, we had power boats and fishing boats zooming past us... on their way to where, we didn't understand.  The reservoir ends less than a mile past the put-in and although there was one "arm" on the map, it didn't look like it went far either...  So, we had to share the day with the occasional loud motor and the resulting wake as they went by.  That part is kind of fun-- rocking over the waves.  But that is the only plus for us, personally.  If you want less motors and more quiet, I would try a week day and/or early morning.  We didn't have that choice for this paddle. But if you're looking for a quiet paddle, you'd be more apt to find it then.  In the photo below, the waves are partly from the wind, but also from a passing boat.

I thought this big rock had an interesting shape-- sort of a mushroom-like top. 

 Then I thought I saw a face in it-- albeit, someone with low brows or a flat cap down over his eyes-- not to mention a very small, pinched mouth!


These flowers were growing nearby.  I looked up the name of these and have already forgotten it... ahhh... Soapwort Genetian!  By the way, I found an interesting site for wildflowers that lets you search by state, and then by color!  So, you go to New York, then select "blue wildflowers in NY" and you'll see thumbnails of all the blue wildflowers-- great for identification!  I am very excited and have bookmarked the page for future reference.  As an aside, I found out that a white "plant" I took photos of years ago because it was so interesting is called an Indian Pipe or Ghost Flower.    Here is the link for the wildflowers in case you're interested:

We paddle up toward a peninsula to have a look around it.  The campground was further up on the left (west side of the reservoir.)  Due to the motor boats, we decided to turn around and head back down on the east side, staying close to the edge (more fun to look at things along the banks anyway.)  When we approached an area across from the put-in diagonally, we were pleased-- there is a wooded area with a place to pull out our kayaks.  It looked like a perfect picnic spot!

Here is where we landed our kayaks-- nice, gradual sandy area:

The woods were level above this area and it looked like a great tent spot, but signs warned that no overnight camping was allowed.  I believe this land is owned by the power company, and is much like the Beaver River Canoe area in that only a few spots are designated for camping.  You are not allowed to camp where ever you please.

From our picnic spot, there was a pretty scene with the woods and the water:

We spread a blanket to sit on while eating our lunch.  Brody was tied to a tree root and did very well, assessing the area and waiting for any treats that might come his way.

With the warmth of the day and the cooling breeze, and the fact that we hadn't heard any motors for a good 20 minutes, we relaxed in the shade after lunch.  Enjoying our surroundings (and, of course, Brody.)

I took this shot looking up from my place on the blanket.  The curve of the trees from this vantage point fascinated me.

I found an almost perfectly round hole in these tree branches/needles as I looked up:

And I thought Brody would look very nice with the sky and the trees behind him, so I took a shot of him from the same vantage point.  Who thinks it looks Photo-Shopped?  It's kind of un-real looking, isn't it?  I'm guessing it's the flatness of the photo-- not much depth perception.  Still, it's a pretty neat shot of Brody, I think.

We whiled away a few more minutes in the shade and took Brody for a short walk under the pines, with layers of pine needles cushioning our steps.  And then it was time to pack up our cooler, don our hats and pdfs and return to the water.  We still had more of Blake Falls Reservoir to explore!

Join me here in a few days for part two.  And Happy Kayaking!


  1. Nice photos as always! I was fascinated by your shot of the circle in the trees branches...I don't often see shots of negative space in paddling blogs :)

  2. Thank you! I think I should take more photos while I'm flat on my back looking up! It's a neat perspective that I usually only think of when either star gazing or finding shapes in clouds. Thanks again for the comment and compliment!