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Lake Kushaqua to North Branch of the Saranac River to Rainbow Narrows to Clear Pond up the Flow to Rainbow Lake back to Rainbow Narrows to Lake Kushaqua about 15 miles.
I started out on an exploring paddle with an easy pace knowing that I was in it for the whole day. My goal was to paddle as far as I could from Buck Pond Campground without getting of my SUP. I was only in the area for one full day and I wanted to see it all because chances are good that I’ll never go back. There are too many places to explore (paddle) that taking the same vacation twice seems ridiculous to me.
I started out into the wind, which would mean a free ride home. I cruised up Lake Kushaqua on my way to the Rainbow Narrows. At the end of the lake was a small tunnel to get under the RR tracks, followed by a very low bridge. At both I had to sit on my board and had to gain some momentum because paddling with a tall SUP paddle under a low bridge doesn’t work too well. To add to the challenge, the wind was funneling through the tunnel and under the bridge right into my face. As soon as I made it out of the 2nd obstacle I found myself at a Y in the waterway. I went right and paddled a couple miles up the North Branch of the Saranac River. It was marshy with endless lily pads. I kept waiting for a moose to be standing in the water around any one of the bends. In fact, a great blue heron almost made me fall off my board when it took off within 10 feet of me. I paddled as far as I could before I rain into a beaver dam that would have required some effort to portage. With two more lakes to cruise through I decided to call this river explored.
I turned around and cruised downstream where I took the other fork and headed up through the Rainbow Narrows. It was lined with all sorts of summer houses and endless pine trees. Once through the narrows I came to even smaller tunnel that would connect me to Rainbow Lake. I paddled hard and aimed my board to glide thought the 4 x 4′ opening. Upon reaching Rainbow Lake the wind really picked up. I paddled up the shoreline and cut through to Clear Pond via a small channel that looked man made. Clear Pond was smaller and slightly more protected from the wind. I easily cruised up the protected pond but came to another Y.
Once again I chose the right channel and paddled up what google maps calls The Flow. I paddled up a mile or so before getting stopped by another beaver dam. At this point the lily pads, milfoil and other plant species were clogging the waterway and deer flies were circling me and dive bombing my face. I swatted a few but that almost knocked me off my board. So instead I turned around and paddled full speed back to the open water where there was a strong wind. I’m sure I looked like a crazy person walking all over my board and shaking my legs to prevent the deer flies from biting me. With the last deer fly lost in the wind, I relaxed again. I made it back to the other fork and paddled hard into the wind to get to the end of Clear Pond where it connected up with Rainbow Lake again. Once I made the turn onto Rainbow Lake I had the wind at my back and I was able to leisurely paddle while still keeping a good pace all the back down the lake, through the narrows and back to the put in.
I had another 3 miles of paddling to fully explore the reachable waterways but I decided that I’d had enough for the day. I would finish my quest first thing in the morning before heading home.
This was a beautiful place to play for a few days and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a long weekend in the Adirondacks.
As much as we love paddling in Vermont, occasionally we leave the state and paddle other places as well. Buck Pond is located in Vermontsville, NY which almost counts as paddling in VT. It has a similar feel to several VT lakes as well. With a ban on motorized boats, it has a serene setting to enjoy your surroundings. A portion of the lake is covered with lily pads which the loons seem to use to setup sneak attacks on the numerous fish underneath.
There is a car top put in at one end of the pond just inside Buck Pond State Park complete with a dock and a swimming area at the other end with a few small paths leading to campsites in between. The pond itself is not very big. I leisurely paddled around the edge in under an hour on a BIC 12’6 Wing Ace-Tec. I also saw some fisherman out in the middle so this could be a great spot if you’re looking to catch some fish without any wake from our gasoline using friends. A great place to paddle if you’re in the area and looking for a quick afternoon paddle.