The Beaver River in Lewis County is an important tributary of the Black. For many years it has served as a source of waterpower and there are several quaint hydroelectric plants and dams built in an architectural design reminiscent of an earlier century. The Brookfield Power Company currently operates these plants and in cooperation with the State of New York maintains a fourteen-mile canoe route open to the general public. The route includes six portages of varying length and difficulty. It is a favorite of the Tramp and Trail Club and every year we select a section of the route for a one-day paddle.
This year we decided on a trip that involved no portaging or shuttling of cars. We put in at the High Falls car-top boat launch off Old State Road a few miles east of the village of Croghan. We paddled east for about a mile on the High Falls Reservoir hugging the southern shore before entering the Beaver River and proceeding for another mile upstream until we reached the end of navigation at Belfort Dam and Powerhouse. From here we took a short walk up the portage trail to the other side of the dam where we enjoyed a pleasant lunch. Returning over the portage trail we rode a gentle current back to a primitive campsite on an island near the High Falls boat launch. Here we swam in the warm water and several members practiced climbing back into their swamped kayaks. Watching their efforts made us resolve to schedule an outing devoted to this potentially life-saving skill.
The Beaver River is a wonderful place to kayak. Even though there are privately owned camps and houses along its banks, most of the time you find yourself in pristine wilderness. Powerboats are allowed but we very seldom see them. On this beautiful September day towering white pines, many late summer flowers and flocks of mergansers and other ducks and geese enthralled us. Swamp maples on islands and on the banks are already showing signs of early autumn as their leaves take on a deep red hue. This spring we enjoyed the fragrant pink blossoms of early azaleas and today we marveled at their scarlet berries.
High Falls Dam in Distance
High Falls Power Station
Power Station Where We Turned Around
View Down River
Broad Leafed Arrowhead
Yellow Pond Lily