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Thursday Evening Exploration Trip Reports - click on any picture to view a larger image

August 18, 2022 –  Paddlers in two pack boats, one kayak and a tandem canoe met at the South Colton Reservoir boat launch on Morgan Road. The group of five headed clockwise around the reservoir. We paddled for about 1.5 hours and covered 3.75 miles. Wildlife observed: American beaver (lodges only), muskrat and cedar waxwing. 

August 4, 2022 –  Four kayakers, two solo canoeists and a pack boat paddler met at the Taylor Park boat launch for the 6pm launch. We headed upstream to the 'rock garden' for about an hour before turning around to head back to the park. The trip totaled 5 miles. Water levels were considerably lower than they have been this summer, exposing many of the old rock cribs used during the logging days. Wildlife observed or heard included: green frog, American beaver, cedar waxwing, eastern kingbird and American goldfinch. 

July 28, 2022 –  Five kayakers paddled for two hours and covered about 6.75 miles on Rainbow Falls Reservoir. We headed east along the southern shore, paddling up river toward the Blake Reservoir dam. We turned around at the beginning of the swift current where the river narrowed, returning down the center of the reservoir into the setting sun. A highlight was seeing two adult loons with an approximately four week old chick. Wildlife observed or heard included: American crow, common raven, mallard, common merganser, blue jay and common loon. 

July 21, 2022 –  Three paddlers met at the Heuvelton boat launch on the Oswegatchie River for the 6pm launch. We headed downstream following along the shore. Shortly after we departed we began to encounter water chestnut plants, a floating invasive species which will eventually choke the entire river if not controlled. We decided to pull the plants we found as we paddled. After nearly an hour paddling downstream against a steady wind we turned back, returning along the opposite shore. Wildlife observed or heard included: Great blue heron, osprey, eastern phoebe, red-winged blackbird, common grackle, barn swallow, tree swallow, belted kingfisher, green frog, midland painted turtle, and gray squirrel. 

July 7, 2022 –  A small group of three kayakers met at the Rainbow Falls Reservoir for the 6pm launch. We headed across the reservoir from the launch and followed along the north shore in and out of many small bays. After paddling for about an hour we crossed the reservoir just before it narrows, returning to the launch along the south shore and into a blinding setting sun. Numerous beaver lodges were seen along both shores. We paddled 6.5 miles in just under two hours. Wildlife observed included: Swallowtail butterfly, great blue heron, ring-billed gull, double-crested cormorant, mallard, common merganser and bald eagle. 

June 30, 2022 –  Five paddlers joined the paddle tonight at Ives Park in Potsdam on the Raquette River. We were able to explore some new parts of the river because of higher than usual water levels. Two kayaks, two C-1 solo canoes and a pack boat paddled about 4.5 miles exploring the shoreline and several islands. Wildlife observed or heard included: American bullfrog, American beaver, great blue heron, ring-billed gull, solitary sandpiper, cedar waxwing and Canada goose. 

June 9, 2022 –  In typical fashion, after raining all night and day, the weather cleared in time for the evening paddle. Four paddlers launched from the Madrid Municipal Park and paddled upstream on the Grasse River to the beginning of a shallow water section of the river with increased current. We turned around here  to head back to the launch paddling for just under two hours and covering six miles. Wildlife observed or heard included: American bullfrog, great blue heron, common grackle, red-winged blackbird, mallard, double-crested cormorant, spotted sandpiper, eastern kingbird, bald eagle, common yellowthroat, yellow warbler, white-tailed deer, muskrat and several American beaver lodges.

June 2, 2022 – A family of chipmunks (one adult and three young) entertained us by playing on rocks and in the grass at the parking lot while we waited for other paddlers to arrive. Two C-1's and a K-1 launched on the Oswegatchie River near Beaver Creek on an overcast and cool evening. We paddled upstream about 2.75 miles to the Village of Rensselaer Falls before turning to head back downstream to the launch. Rain held off and the sun poked through the clouds on our return. Wildlife observed included: Eastern chipmunk, American beaver, mourning dove, great blue heron, osprey, bald eagle, mallard, common merganser, belted kingfisher and red-winged blackbird.

May 26, 2022 – Two kayaks and a tandem canoe launched from Higley Flow State Park boat launch at 6:00pm. We headed to the right from the launch bay into the main channel of the river and then upstream about two miles until we reached the rapids under the State Route 56 bridge in South Colton. Turning around there we then headed downstream with the current and back to the launch. It was partly cloudy with air temperature in the high 60’s°F and light winds with occasional strong gusts as we headed back. Round trip was 4.5 miles. Wildlife observed: white-tailed deer, American crow, osprey, mallard, a female common merganser with about six young, piliated woodpecker, blue jay and approximately 18 turkey vultures soaring on the thermals as we headed around the point to the boat launch.

October 7, 2021 – We departed from the Higley Flow State Park boat launch at 5:30 pm with the sun already low in the sky. Three tandem canoes and two kayaks headed southwest to paddle around the shoreline of Warm Brook Flow. We then paddled northwest before turning around to head back to the launch. It was partly sunny with high temperatures near 70°F when we launched. As we headed around the corner and into Warm Brook Flow the low angle of the setting sun was blinding. We persevered, however, and were rewarded with a spectacular display of color!  Wildlife observed: Canada goose, great blue heron, belted kingfisher, mallard, and unidentified diving ducks.

September 30, 2021 – Nine paddlers met at Ives Park in Potsdam to paddle the Raquette River. Three tandem canoes and three kayaks headed upstream along the eastern shoreline. We paddled along Sugar Island until we reached the warning buoys below the dam, and then turned around and headed downstream along the western shoreline and back to the launch. It was a warm, sunny evening with high temperatures near 60 degrees F. The low angle of the setting sun was blinding at times. In the narrows along Sugar Island there had been a recent moth hatch. They were everywhere over the water, and one had to be careful not to swallow them! Wildlife observed included hundreds of Canada geese in the shallow waters and taking flight, mallards, belted kingfisher, and American crow flying overhead and ring-billed gulls perched on rocks and logs.

September 2, 2021 – Seven paddlers met at the Rainbow Fall Reservoir boat launch on the Raquette River shortly before 6 pm. Two tandem canoes, one pack boat and two kayaks headed northeast from the launch and followed along the north shore until we could see the power house and dam from Blake Reservoir. We then headed southwest and generally followed along the south shore. The trip covered nearly 7 miles. We had fall like weather with overcast skies and temperatures in the high 50's F with a slight headwind as we returned to the launch. Wildlife observed: American kestrel, great blue heron, belted kingfisher, solitary sandpiper and common loon. One active beaver lodge was also spotted along the route.

August 19, 2021 – Only five paddlers joined us this evening to paddle the Oswegatchie River near DeKalb. We launched at Allen and Mary Kelly’s camp. They invited the Thursday Tour group to launch at the camp so that we could explore a section of the river with little public access. Three kayaks and one tandem canoe enjoyed a beautiful and dry evening paddle after on and off rain showers during the day. We paddled upstream three miles before returning to the camp shortly before 8 pm. Wildlife observed or heard included: barn swallow, tree swallow, cedar waxwing, common raven, bald eagle (2), beaver and a common garter snake (swimming across the river).

August 12, 2021 - Once again the weather forecast for the evening's paddle was for thunderstorms and gusty winds, and once again, by 6pm the skies had cleared and we had a beautiful evening paddle. Eleven paddlers met at the Taylor Park in Canton and paddled upstream on the Grasse River about 2.5 miles to the 'rock garden' before returning to the park just before 8pm. Two GRB tandem canoes, three Hornbeck pack canoes and four British style sea kayaks paddled just over five miles in just under two hours. Wildlife observed included: numerous cedar waxwings, an unidentified buteo hawk, and a belted kingfisher.

July 29, 2021 - The weather forecast for this evening's paddle was not favorable, however the clouds cleared and it warmed up to nearly 70°F just before launch. Seven paddlers met at the Madrid boat launch and enjoyed a beautiful evening paddle on the Grasse River downstream from the dam in Madrid. Two tandem canoes, one C-1 canoe and two kayaks paddled just over six miles in two hours. Wildlife observed included: great blue heron, Canada goose, mallard, barn swallow, tree swallow, eastern kingbird, white-tailed deer, beaver, and Pam reported seeing an American flamingo...yeah, right!

July 15, 2021 - Eight paddlers met at the South Colton Reservoir boat launch and were on the water by 6 p.m. Two tandem canoes and four kayaks followed along the mostly undeveloped southern shoreline for about an hour and a half before returning to the launch. Very few wildlife species were observed on this trip, but belted kingfisher seemed to be present in every cove we explored. Two beaver lodges were observed along the route, but we did not see the inhabitants!

July 1, 2021 - This evening we paddled the Oswegatchie River from the Beaver Creek tributary on Rt. 812 south of Heuvelton, upstream towards Rensselaer Falls until it became too shallow to continue. Fifteen paddlers including one solo canoe, four tandem canoes and six kayaks enjoyed a refreshingly warm, light rain and calm winds for the first half of the journey. We paddled for one and three-quarters hours covering five miles and returning to the launch at 7:45 p.m. Wildlife observed or heard included: great blue heron, mourning dove, belted kingfisher, great horned owl and muskrat.

June 24, 2021 - On a beautiful Thursday evening, twelve paddlers met at the  Rainbow Falls Reservoir boat launch on the Raquette River. Two tandem canoes, two pack boats and six kayaks paddled along the northern shoreline, heading east, and then returning along the southern shoreline. Most paddlers opted to head counterclockwise around the large island, carefully picking their way through a narrow boulder strewn path. Two kayakers headed clockwise around the island and verified that, indeed, it is an island, and that it is the best channel for passage. The group paddled for two hours and covered six to eight miles. Wildlife observed or heard: beaver, tree swallow, cedar waxwing, American crow, mallard, blue jay and common merganser.

June 17, 2021 - Eleven paddlers met at Ives Park in Potsdam for a four and one-half mile outing on the Raquette River. Four tandem canoers, two pack boaters and one kayaker explored the eastern shoreline while headed upstream to the dam. We turned around and headed downstream following the western shoreline. An otter was spotted and several birds were seen or heard including a great-blue heron, tree swallow, American robin, common grackle, red-winged blackbird, belted kingfisher, mallard and Canada goose.

June 10, 2021 - It was a beautiful evening without a cloud in the sky and no wind when we launched for our evening paddle this week. Six paddlers headed downstream from the Heuvelton boat launch on the Oswegatchie River. After an hour we turned around and headed back upstream to the launch. The trip was 6.6 miles in just under two hours time. Two of the paddlers went a bit farther upstream to the bridge in Heuvelton before returning to the boat launch. Birds observed or heard included tree swallow, barn swallow, purple martin, common grackle, American robin, Baltimore oriole, yellow warbler, belted kingfisher, great blue heron, cedar waxwing, pileated woodpecker and common crow. Mammals observed were white-tailed deer, beaver, muskrat and two river otters.

June 3, 2021 - The morning forecast for our Thursday evening paddle this week was for thunderstorms! By afternoon the forecast had improved to cloudy, with no storms expected. Five paddlers met at the boat launch on Colton Reservoir just before 6 pm. Two solo canoes, one tandem canoe and a sea kayak circumnavigated the reservoir, paddling just over 5 miles. Wildlife observed or heard included Canada goose, red-winged blackbird, tree swallow, barn swallow, mallard, osprey and beaver.

May 27, 2021 - It was a bit breezy this evening when seven paddlers departed from Madrid Municipal Park at 6 pm and headed upstream on the Grasse River. Once on the water we were fairly sheltered from the wind and paddled upstream for an hour (about 3 miles) before turning around to head downstream, and into a headwind, as we made our way back to the Park. The trip was slightly over six miles in total length. Wildlife observed or heard included deer, Canada goose, eastern kingbird, belted kingfisher, tree swallow, barn swallow, veery, mallard, wood duck, great blue heron, bullfrog and trilling American toad. As we loaded boats on cars, a bald eagle was sighted flying directly overhead at low altitude over the Park. It was headed upstream.

May 20, 2021 - It was a warm evening with no wind when six paddlers left the Little River boat launch, headed out to the Grasse River and paddled upstream for an hour before turning around to return to the launch. We covered nearly six miles during the paddle and hurriedly loaded our boats after our return to minimize exposure to mosquitoes! Wildlife observed or heard included trilling American toad, gray treefrog, green frog, rufous-sided towhee, common grackle, spotted sandpiper, belted kingfisher, American robin, tree swallow and veery.

May 13, 2021 - Four paddlers embarked on a 6 mile journey exploring Higley Flow Reservoir in South Colton for our first Thursday evening tour of the season. We had beautiful sunny skies, temperatures in the mid 60's°F, and light winds. Accidently, we entered Dead Man's Cove thinking it was a shortcut through to the main channel, but it was a dead end. We managed to escape unscathed without awakening the zombies. Wildlife observations included an osprey, black ducks, mallards, Canada geese, a raven, and we heard a barred owl calling.

September 17, 2020 - Thursday evening, with calm conditions, partly sunny skies and a temperature of 60°F, eight turned out to paddle the Little and Grasse Rivers from the Little River Boat Launch in Canton. We paddled upstream on the Grasse about 1.35 miles past Taylor Park before turning around and heading back to the launch. We covered approximately 6 miles in just under two hours as daylight was waning. Wildlife observations included numerous great blue herons (okay, I know it was only one, but we flushed it over and over again about every hundred yards!).

September 3, 2020 - On a beautiful September evening, 14 paddlers explored the Raquette River in Potsdam. We launched from Ives Park and headed upstream paddling along the east shoreline and around several islands. Continuing on our way, we followed the west shore of Sugar Island to the orange buoys below the aqueduct before turning around and heading downstream. Paddling for about 1.5 hours we covered 4-4.5 miles. Several Canada geese took flight as the group approached, and an osprey was spotted perched along the route.

August 27, 2020 - Eight paddlers braved cool temperatures, overcast skies and occasional rain showers to explore the Oswegatchie River downstream from the Heuvelton dam. We paddled approximately 6.25 miles in just under two hours returning to the launch at 7:30 p.m. Wildlife observations included a muskrat swimming across the river with a mouthful of green grass, and several birds including an osprey, great blue heron, green-backed heron, several belted kingfishers, one cormorant, and a line of geese that stretched across the river and took flight as we approached.

August 20, 2020 - Sixteen paddlers joined us for a circumnavigation of the South Colton Reservoir. We paddled about 4 miles clockwise around the reservoir from the boat launch. Several paddlers spotted beavers along the way, as well as common mergansers. A wide variety of wetland plants were in bloom along the marshy shoreline, including cardinal flowers. Not far from the boat launch we heard and then found small waterfalls flowing into the reservoir from the old Racquette River bed. Around the next point we encountered some moderate current where the hydropower release flows into the reservoir.

August 13, 2020 - Thirteen paddlers joined us for the second Thursday evening paddle on the Oswegatchie River between Rensselaer Falls and Beaver Creek. We paddled about 2.5 miles upstream until it became too shallow as we approached the Village of Rensselaer Falls, and then enjoyed a leisurely paddle downstream back to the launch.

August 6, 2020 - Ten paddlers joined us for the Thursday Tour to explore Rainbow Falls Reservoir. Three loons, several mallards and common mergansers, as well as a few ring-billed gulls and double-crested cormorants were observed. We paddled about 5.5 miles over two hours, exploring the reservoir and returning to the launch before sunset.  Another beautiful summer evening on the water!

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