Kayaking Lake Durant

Do you know how hard it is to find some solitudinal kayaking in the Adirondacks in the summer? I never even thought about how crowded it is up there in the summer until recently, hundreds of cars from downstate and NJ swarm the area to hike, and paddle the wilderness areas of the high peaks area of Lake Placid, Keene and Saranac Lake. I usually hike in other areas in the summer just because I live and play upstate to get away from the very people that flock there to do the same. I was up in the Ticonderoga-Lake Placid area for work and figured I could do some good kayaking on some peaceful, serene, island filled lakes. To my chagrin every single lake I passed in the Saranac Lakes paddling region was filled to the brim with jet skiers, canoes, and motor boats enjoying the 95 degrees out on the water. I so wanted to be out there too, but by myself without the noisy boaters and loud children.

So I did what any man would do, I kept driving further south on route 30 in search of the less touristy areas until I found it, a gem lake featuring no place to launch a boat. Actually there was no place for me even to launch my kayak, besides a semi road that required a high clearance vehicle to get on. My Subaru scraped its underbody as I drove down the rutted muddy road into the woods on the side of  Lake Durant. I drove about half mile and parked my car off to the side and prepared my boat for launch. Connecting my paddles, donning my life vest, getting a water bottle and grabbing some chow I eyed the beauty that stood before me. The lake was black and wavy watered void of any other boats, it featured several islands and rocks planted smack in the middle of the lake.

I eased my kayak into the water and let my paddles do the work. The only sounds I could hear was the strong wind obviously bringing in some sort of front, my paddles dipping methodically into the water, and the water lapping against my hull. Silence was imminent on this lake void of people. I paddled around the lake going up to the shoreline to gaze into the clear water to spot the fish that usually hand out by the shore, frogs were a flying and reeds were gasping for life as I carelessly paddled through them. I spotted a flat rock in the middle of the lake and hoisted myself onto it after I had been paddling for around an hour or so. It was refreshing lying in the breeze, gazing out at Blue Mountain which jutted out of the horizon only a few miles away. Its exposed cliffs and 3,500 foot summit made for a spectacular backdrop. I was cursing the yetzer harah for bugging me to swim during the nine days. The rock was situated so that right off the rock the water depth was at least ten feet a perfect swimming point, the air was also hot making it more inviting. I started screaming out loud that I was not going to succumb to his wishes and to my surprise held my ground.

I was in almost heaven, lying on this rock in the middle of the lake, a cool westerly wind, and the water gently lapping at the edges of my island. The pine trees surrounding the lake were giving off that thick northern scent that one usually gets while hiking in Maine or Northern Ontario. Though I wanted to swim this was just as good. Sitting there munching on fiddle faddle and drinking lukewarm water out of a bottle that had seen better days.