Pond hopping in the St. Regis canoe area

JOANNE KENNEDY/PHOTOOn a paddle to Ledge Pond, ​John Clark (left) walks on a beaver dam while Lori Clark pulls her boat over, and Bruce Kennedy wait his turn.  ​

The month of June brings to mind Father’s Day and the memory of a paddle celebrating the day.  

There are several versions as to how Father’s Day came about but the most common is that it was first celebrated on June 19, 1910, when a woman named Sonora Louise Smart Dodd wanted to honor her dad who had raised her and her five siblings following her mom’s death. 

Father’s Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1972 when then-President Nixon declared it to be celebrated the third Sunday in June.

A quick phone call to my friend Lori Clark and she and her husband, John, were on board to join my husband Bruce and me for a day of paddling. 

A plan was conceived to make a day trip to remote Ledge Pond. After a bumpy ride on the Floodwood Road, we reached the parking lot for Long Pond and the start of our adventure. 

 

INCREDIBLE VIEW

We quickly unloaded our canoes and supplies, and within minutes we were all at the shore of Long Pond, taking in the incredible view of Long Pond Mountain off in the distance. 

We stayed close to the west shoreline before entering a small inlet that was almost immediately blocked by a beaver dam. 

Familiar with these obstacles, we pulled up to the dam, popped out of the boat, hauled it to the other side and jumped back in. This is a maneuver that would be practiced many times during the day.

Meandering gently through the slow moving water, our boats made a narrow channel through the yellow pond lilies that floated on the surface. 

We entered Pink Pond, and the guys dismissed the idea of fishing there, saving their first cast for the unique water of Ledge Pond. 

We hugged the north shoreline and entered the second inlet to Little Pink Pond.

Following a narrow channel, we began winding our way around each turn and over each beaver dam while an audience of pitcher plants hung their heads as if in silent meditation. 

 

BOGGY PLAIN

Soon we reached the beginning of the carry. One by one, each of us climbed onto the shore and prepared for the trek to our pond deep in the wilderness. 

The path was vaguely visible along a route carved through a boggy plain. Lori, an avid hiker, is no stranger to Adirondack muck but she was not prepared for the wet mud that sucked her foot into the bog up to her knee, claiming one of her shoes. 

Upon recovering her footwear, we continued to follow the faint trail, ascending slightly to a stand of hardwood trees. Now in the forest, the path was easier to follow to the shoreline of Ledge Pond.

In no time at all, the guys were casting in hopes of snagging the "big one." 

Lori and I paddled quietly, checking out the aquatic vegetation and enjoying the serenity. 

Our boats, like a compass, pointed north to the shore lined with the ledges for which the pond is named.

 

THE BIG ONE

We returned to the boys, and Bruce announced that he had caught a "big one," a lake whitefish, but he decided to practice catch and release, and he watched it slide gracefully back into the clear water. 

Since visiting this pond, it has been reclaimed and it now only has brook trout. John was happy to have spotted a "big one," not a fish, but a deer moving above on the ledges. 

As it was apparent we were not having fish for lunch, we pulled up to a primitive campsite to hydrate and eat our sandwiches. 

The day was still young, and lots of light was left for more paddling so we decided it would be fun to add Mountain Pond to our Father’s Day outing. 

 

FADING LIGHT

Sad to be leaving this secluded pond but excited to be heading to another, we paddled across calm water, where the return carry awaited us, making us thankful for our lightweight vessels.

In a short time, we were back on Long Pond, paddling at a steady pace to the take-out to Mountain Pond. 

This is also the trail to Long Pond Mountain, which is accessible only by water. We once again tossed our canoes on our shoulders and carried them the .6 miles to the shore of Mountain Pond. 

The guys dropped a line and began trolling but after a few times around the pond, the fishermen admitted defeat — the fish were safe for another day.

The light was fading, and it was time to end our day on the ponds. 

The boys had tried their best at catching dinner, but luckily we had a Father’s Day supper planned that did not include fish.

HOW TO GET THERE

From Route 30, drive approximately 5 miles west on Floodwood Road. 

Boat access to Long Pond is on the right with ample parking.