Adirondack Outdoors Spring 2014 Issue : Page 10

t Here are a r iver . a nd few brook trout to be found near tHe moutH of some of tHe feeder streams on tHe on occasion a really lucky fisHerman Hooks into a really big rainbow . r aquette Despite being prepared for the dangers of rapids, waterfalls, and similar ob-stacles of remote wilderness travel, there was nothing that could have prepared us for the steady headwinds we encountered on the wide flat-water sections of river. The river creates its own convection currents, and as the water flows down-stream, it moves the air up-river in the opposite direc-tion of the flow and steady winds are produced. These regular up-river winds can be very pleasant on a sunny day, but they can turn a light shower into a raging squall on a cold, miserable day. As we paddled dow n Dead Creek and lef t the highway behind us, we rec-ognized that there was no turning back. Although a few dirt roads provide access to some of the old camps along the river, the entire corridor is inaccessible to the public except for the lo-cations of the put-ins and take-outs. In between there are three major waterfalls and several dangerous sets of rapids. The stretch of riv-10 SPRING 2014 ISSUE er from Dead Creek Flow to Jamestown Falls is a 15 mile route, which can be ex-tended an additional two to three miles for a take out on Carry Falls Reservoir. Once we exited Dead Creek Flow, the volume of water increased, and our first hint of whitewater came from a distant roar down-st ream. We f loated w ith the slow current, casting to the shore until we round-ed a bend and encountered the Upper Sol’s Island Rap-ids. The slow current per-mitted us an easy takeout to scout the rapids, and after scouting, we decided to por-tage the gear and paddle the rapids with our empty ca-noes. While the rapids are rated a low Class III, during the mid-summer water lev-els they proved challenging, but we handled them eas-ily. The initial whitewater run proved uneventful, but it provided us with the op-portunit y to dust off our whitewater sk ills and to get in some much needed practice. The run also sup-plied us with our first rush of adrenaline. There would be more to come. After lining our canoes through the Upper Sol’s R apids, we reloaded the gear and set off to fish. My friend Eric continued to fish the backwater at the base of the falls as I drifted down-river, casting flies to rising fish. A s I approached the next set of rapids, I quickly maneuvered the canoe into the middle of the flow, and a fast current took me over a small drop and through the Lower Sol’s rapids. Below Lower Sol’s rapids, the fol-lowing six miles consisted of the Moosehead Stillwater, a wide, flat and seemingly wild stretch of flatwater. In short order, the day turned blustery with a steady head-wind that negated the river’s meager current. T he r iverba n ks were dotted with the occasional camps, but otherwise there was little sign of the hand of man. There was also lit-tle evidence of any type of management, as the entire corridor was devoid of sig-nage beyond being posted as NYS Forest Preserve. The area is considered part of the Raquette-Boreal Wild Forest. While the river offers an incredible recreational resource, the lack of estab-lished campsites, portage trails or even a few “Warning Dangerous Rapids Ahead” signs makes the journey feel wilder and more remote. A s w e pr og r e s s e d downriver, we came across an increasing number of aba ndoned ca mps a long the riverbank. The camps, many with small clusters of buildings, are all that re-main from leases that were discontinued when the state purchased a conservation easement on the corridor from the timber companies back in 2004. After a specified time for transition, the camps were supposed to have been removed completely or re-located. However, many of the old camps remain on the Forest Preserve lands within the river corridor. There is still a great deal of resent-ment over the issue as we discovered while speaking with some of the previous

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