I couldn't tell what I was seeing. Some weird kind of fish, maybe a bass.
I asked my buddy Fred the Gull.
He took a look and then rendered his opinion.
"Duck Butts. They're upside down eating weeds or whatever it is those birds eat."
I looked again.
Fred added, "We gulls have more class than those quackers. You won't catch us gulls baring our booties like that."
I had to agree with him.
That was at Caroga Lake a week or so earlier but I need to go back further to get caught up.
When I wrote the last blog I was camping at Northampton Beach two weeks ago so let's start from there.
This large campground with 222 sites is located on the shore of Great Sacandaga Lake in the southern part of ADK, less than an hour away from Albany.
In fact, let me give you a rough idea of my route through the park.
I crossed over from Vermont right at the top of the state. I followed Lake Champlain and Lake George down the eastern edge and then west to Northampton. From there I zigzagged up the middle to Lake Eaton, which is smack in the center. That's where I am writing this post. From here I continue north to the Lake Placid area before leaving ADK on September 12.
Anyway, about a third of the sites at Northampton Beach are on the water. I was in number 47, not quite on the water. Just a bit of mud, actually.
Several of the spots on the lake were huge, like 13 and 66A.
There were several on the beach such as 88 and 94.
If you want seclusion, try number 2.
There is a big beautiful beach and plenty of boats to rent to explore the lake.
While camping there I made a day trip to Sacandaga.
It is about 20 miles north along the Sacandaga River.
Like Sharp Bridge, this was one of the first two campgrounds built in the preserve.
It's 143 sites include several along the river. Numbers 1, 6, 61, and 63 are good examples.
From Northampton I continued west to the southernmost ADK campground, Caroga Lake.
The rain that has been dogging me was blown away by a high pressure ridge from Canada.
There are 160 spots here and among the ones I liked were 33, 132, and 134.
There is also one, just one, site directly on the lake. That would be 125.
It's a tiny little site but I was able to squeeze in and was afforded a nifty view.
Along with 40 mph winds and temps in the 50's. It was a lot warmer and less windy in the other campsites. I cannot win.
My awning was looking like a kite as I sat bundled up in my down parka. On August 17th.
There is a cool (pun intended) beach and picnic area.
I enjoyed a nice sunset from my lakefront site.
Next up was Moffitt Beach about 25 miles north near the town of Speculator on Sacandaga Lake. Not to be confused with Great Sacandaga Lake. Although this lake handles the snub admirably.
There are 257 campsites here and I camped in 242.
While not directly on the water, the site was very large and had a little trail down to a little beach.
Where there was a great view of the lake.
Sites 117, 239, and 240 were good waterfront spots.
Site 1A was directly across from the beach.
I left there a week ago Thursday and continued north to Lewey Lake.
I had to pass through the town of Speculator again so I picked up some new taco fixings.
All you need is one skillet, one pan with a lid, a splatter screen, tongs, chicken breasts, a package of taco seasoning, and some water. I like to keep it simple and make clean up as easy as possible.
Sear the chicken breasts for a few minutes on each side.
Add about 2 inches of water to the pot on low heat and pour in the taco seasoning.
Stir this up while the breasts sear and them add them to the pot.
Keeping the heat on low, cover the pan and let it simmer for half an hour. The splatter screen lets a little bit of steam escape.
At that point it will look like this.
Almost done but not quite. The breasts will still be a little firm to the touch.
Cover the pan with the splatter screen and raise the heat to medium.
Keep an eye on the water level as it drops. In about 10 minutes the breasts should fall apart when touched with the tongs.
Drop the heat back to low and keep shredding the chicken. You will reach a point where the water is gone and the chicken is moist and tender. Stop there. Turn of the heat, and let it cool for a few minutes.
Try not to eat too much of the chicken as you are shredding it or you will not be hungry for dinner. Trust me.
If you do it my way you will end up with several pounds of seasoned taco meat ready for the next day.
In addition to bringing chicken to Lewey Lake I also brought a big storm.
There are 192 campsites here in several loops, mostly on Lewey Lake but several on Indian Lake. There are also 15 sites dispersed around the lake that I did not visit. I don't mind walking the campground roads to take photos, but I will not hike into someone's spot and bother them. They have chosen those for a reason and I respect that.
I was in site 20, which is on Indian Lake, and had a front row seat as the rains came down last Thursday evening.
It was only sprinkling on Friday and some kayakers were already out as I grabbed my camera and umbrella to walk the campground. The little island in the right middle of the above photo is where they landed.
Lewey Lake is much smaller than Indian lake but has the vast majority of the campsites. I picked 87, 88, 103, and 111 as some of my favorites.
Below are the beach and a view of the lake.
On our little loop on Indian Lake I liked 19, 20, and 21, which fit into one picture.
I have a neat story about this spot that I will tell to you at the end of this post.
I left early Saturday morning but not before seeing something that I felt was out of place.
I have been hearing lots of loon calls and the ever-present quackers, but the screech from this big fella reminded me of Florida.
Yep, a Blue Heron.
I was told later that they sometimes show up here in southern ADK.
Who woulda' thunk it?
So I drove 20 miles north and 10 miles west to Golden Beach on Raquette Lake.
There are 181 sites here, as well as 20 or so dispersed ones.
I was in 156, which was just a short walk to a beach.
I joked with my neighbors back at Lewey Lake that as soon as I left the weather would get sunny again. I did for them and surprisingly it did for me as well.
Anyway, right behind my site was some kind of honeysuckle bush and I noticed several hummingbirds flitting about. Now ladybugs and hummingbirds seem to be my good luck charms so I tried to get some photos of the birds. Not easy to do, as I found out.
They move so darn fast! I could never get them in focus.
I gave up and made my first batch of tacos.
I like to heat up the meat in a pan and crisp it a bit.
Tender on the inside, crunchy on the outside. That is what polar bears say about igloos.
The sun was sinking as I rambled down to the beach, thinking the beach would really look golden.
And it did.
Sunday morning I checked out the campground.
Site 157A was probably the best along with mine, but I liked the sign at 97.
Last Monday I journeyed east to Limekiln Lake on route 28. There are five campgrounds along this stretch of road from the towns of Blue Mountain Lake heading west to Old Forge. Golden Beach was one and I visited the others while camping at Limekiln. Where I had a face to face encounter with a black bear. We are both ok, just a little shook up.
So after stopping to do laundry and setting up camp, I went to bed, figuring to read for bit before nodding off. I woke up at 1am for some reason, maybe because I thought I heard a raccoon snuffling around outside the trailer.
I put on my headlamp, flipped the switch, and went outside still half asleep.
Not very bright. Me, not the headlamp. Three feet away was a medium size black bear, around 250 pounds or so. We were both startled. He grunted and moved back a few feet. Then he walked right back towards me, standing on the carpet under my awning, sniffing me. I decided not to sniff back and finally coming to my senses, I slowly backed up and then went into the trailer, slamming the door.
Limekiln has bear boxes and all my coolers and trash were inside it, so I wasn't worried that he would hang around and eventually he did leave.
As I came fully awake back in the trailer, I realized things could have turned out differently. A 250 pound bear against a 220 pound me, well, I am just glad I didn't have to smack him around. I don't want to hurt the locals.
Tuesday morning I strolled the 270 campsites, after witnessing a gorgeous sunrise.
Limekiln has lots of good sites. 103 for a tent. The ground is to tree rooty for a trailer.
12, 17, and 109 are typical of the lakefront sites.
My setup looks different without my car in front. This campground is spread out over a few miles so I actually drove to different loops and parked and walked.
There are several sites in the low 200's that can handle big trailers, like number 205.
Beaches and boat rentals make Limekiln one of the top campgrounds in ADK.
On Wednesday I went on a roadtrip to visit two more campgrounds in the area.
Eighth Lake was first up.
127 sites. Of them, 21, 53, 113, and 114 were some of the best.
A sandy beach and still waters make this a popular paddling spot!
Brown Tract Pond was next.
This campground is a few miles off route 28 and attracts a mellower crowd than Limekiln Lake, which allows power boats.
Only 82 sites, but many along the shore.
34, 35, 36, 42, and 44 were some of the best.
I made it back to camp in time to see a reverse sunset, which are just as fun as facing the sun, except you're facing east and getting the reflections in the clouds.
Thursday I drove west for a visit to Nicks Lake near the town of Old Forge.
Old Forge reminds me of Lake George. Maybe that is why they rhyme.
Waterslides, mini-golf, lots of tourist stores. Two miles outside is this nifty campground, a world apart.
Only 111 sites here, lol. I swear, these campgrounds are big lately in ADK.
Sites 42, 97, 103, and 109 are some of the ones on the water.
Friday morning I took one last look at the morning mist on Limekiln Lake before driving north to Lake Eaton for Labor Day weekend.
That is blue sky and Friday had perfect weather. Finally, yet again.
I arrived just after checkout time at 11am knowing I needed to walk the sites before they filled up. Which is what I did.
135 campsites hug the shore of Lake Eaton. Well, some of them hug the shore. Like mine. Number 61.
Other winners include 36, 43, and 75.
But my favorite site here was 54.
One of the best sites I have seen so far in ADK. Huge, private sandy beach for boat launching. Get it.
I finished up Friday with more tacos.
Delish, as my pal Rachel Ray would say. When she used to do cooking shows. Not talk shows.
Saturday morning I went decadent. Pancakes and bacon.
The crowds had arrived later on Friday as I predicted and the beach and picnic area were filling up early.
The late afternoon winds didn't bother anyone and the windsurfers seemed quite excited. But I was back at my site working on processing photos and preparing for the storm that would hit later that night. But that is another story.
I want to finish this one first.
You meet lots of interesting critters while camping, and you also meet a few interesting people.
Clark has been camping at Caroga Lake for 62 years. He is presently 82. He shared some pictures with me from some earlier times.
That is his wife in my campsite 60 years ago.
I felt bad that I was in his site. How about this one? Same site.
That would be a 1940 DeSoto. And a wonderful homemade trailer.
His wife has passed away but Clark is still coming here.
And enjoying himself.
Paddle on, Clark my friend, paddle on.
Regards, Park Ranger