Hiking-Kayaking North Lake
With the current drought water is low everywhere, especially in the Moose River, so we had to change our planned Tramp and Trail kayak from Nelson Lake to North Lake. North Lake is one of three reservoirs, South Lake, North Lake and Kayuta Lake that were built back in the nineteenth century to impound the waters of the Black River, ensuring a steady water supply for both the Erie Canal and the water powered mills of the Black River Valley downstream. It still serves these functions but also provides a marvelous source of recreation.
To reach the lake you start at the Buffalo Head restaurant in Forestport Station and drive on North Lake road, a journey that twists and turns for what seems to be an eternity and becomes unpaved shortly before reaching the lake. You cross the dam and the state canoe and kayak-launching site is immediately on the left with plenty of room for cars.
Twenty-five Tramps launched twenty-one kayaks and two canoes and headed up the lake with a steady, refreshing wind at our backs. There are a number of camps at this end of the lake and our peaceful paddle was disturbed somewhat by the roaring of a Skidoo. Further up the lake the shores are much wilder and there are numerous State approved primitive campsites. In this quiet part of the lake we were rewarded by seeing a pair of loons with two downy chicks. We stayed well out of their way so as not to disturb them and continued on our way. After about two miles we stopped for lunch at a pleasant beach where many of us swam in the warm water, although the mucky bottom spoiled some of our swimming pleasure.
After this we paddled up to the inlet where the Black river usually provides an opportunity for further exploration. Today, however the water level was down a good four feet from normal and the Black was a mere trickle wending its way through giant boulders. We turned around here and fought a moderate head wind and pleasant waves back to the launching site.