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Canoe-Camping In The St. Regis Canoe Area

Jun 11, 2021 05:18PM ● By Story and photos by Lisa Ballard
Imagine canoeing with your sweetheart to an island in the middle of a lovely remote lake. A light summer breeze teases up tiny waves that gently lap against the uneven shoreline. Loons warble somewhere across the water welcoming you to their uninhabited home, a world away from your own. You pitch a tent, then watch the sunset flush the mountains scarlet and gold as you dine on...instant ramen noodles. Well, they don’t weigh much, cook easily, and quench a ravenous appetite after paddling and portaging to St. Regis Pond.

St. Regis Pond is the largest body of water among the 50-ish lake-like ponds in the 18,600-acre St. Regis Canoe Area (SRCA). Only 3.5 hours from Hanover, the SRCA lies about 20 miles northwest of Lake Placid, New York, in the Adirondack Park. The largest wilderness canoe area in the Northeast and open only to non-motorized watercraft, it’s a pearl of a paddling destination.

Last summer during the pandemic, my husband Jack and I sought an outdoor adventure we could drive to, as an escape from endless days indoors on our laptops. We loaded our canoe on top of our car and headed to the SRCA. Ironically, I was born in the Adirondacks, but my only look at the SRCA had been from atop St. Regis Mountain (2,874 feet), one of my favorite hikes in the Adirondacks for its open, rocky top, fire tower, and expansive view. Each time I’ve peered at those many lakes and ponds below, I longed to explore them.

Whenever we go canoe-camping, we have two criteria: 1. Camp on an island, and 2. If we need to portage, it has to be under a mile. A map of the SRCA revealed many designated tent sites scattered along with a myriad of untouched shorelines, but there weren’t many islands. St. Regis Pond had two of them, the smaller one with one tent site and the larger one with two. What’s more, getting there required only a half-mile portage from Little Clear Pond. Perfect!

To continue reading this story and to see stunning photography please see page 42 in the Here In Hanover Summer 2021 digital edition

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