It's time to return to the first place I ever slept in a hammock, Lake Lila in the Adirondacks. In the William C. Whitney Wilderness, Lake Lila is a beautiful spot remote enough for a true wilderness experience, but accessible enough for car campers who don't mind portaging their supplies and canoe/kayaks 1/3 of a mile from parking lot to lake. There are no motorized boats allowed, so it's peaceful (well, except the loons that might wake you up in the morning). Cell phone service is non-existent to spotty.
I first went there two years ago, with KYBob and GMarc, two brothers who have been going there each August or September for several years. Last year, I took my two sons. This year, my daughter wants to go as well. Anyone who wants to join is welcome. There are 22 campsites around the lake, a couple reachable by hiking, but most requiring a kayak/canoe. August is a tough month to find a campsite - the lake is very popular that time of year. However, camping is allowed anywhere, but fires are restricted to the campsites. Campsites are first come, first served, and I believe you can stay at any campsite for two or three nights max (we just switch campsites if we're staying longer).
Kayaks and canoes are available for rent in Long Lake. Last year, when I brought my kayak back, the lady complemented me on how I strapped the kayak to my Caddy: "That's some might fine ropemanship there. I'm impressed. Nice knots." She knows how to make a feller feel good.
I usually bring my Old Town 16'9" Discovery canoe, 'cause it can hold 800 lbs. of cargo. Then we rent a kayak or two for recreation. The water is cold, the fishing is good, and there are even crayfish (I'm bringing a trap this year). Temps are usually low 70s in the daytime, sometimes going down into the 40s in August at night. I went in September once and we had 25 degree nighttime temps.
There are four islands on the lake, and they're the best places to camp. Competition is tough for those islands - we usually paddle up and ask folks when they're leaving, then we're there first thing in the morning to take their island campsite.
The road to the lake is a brutal 10-mile dirt road, especially brutal in inclement weather. However, the last two years I drove down that road in a 1994 Cadillac Sedan de Ville (180,000 miles). Sometimes we had to unload the passengers and some of the gear to give the Cadillac clearance over some of the boulders and rocks in the road. Some of the looks I've received driving that Caddy down there - are you insane? Yes, I am!
My 18-year-old daughter Jane and 13-year-old son Andrew plan to head up with me on Thursday, August 16. We're gonna hang by a shelter in Long Lake, then be up bright and early to pick up the kayaks in Long Lake, as well as any supplies. My son Rocco will either drive from Boston and join us Thursday night or meet us in Long Lake Friday morning.
We'll find a campsite on Lake Lila, and KYBob and GMarc will join us Saturday morning. Rocco will leave Sunday because he has work, but the rest of us will stay till Tuesday 8/21 or Wednesday, 8/22.
KYBob likes to pretend he's on an ultralight adventure (with his 60 lb. pack), eating MRE's and dehydrated food. However, GMarc and I are decidedly on the side of having good, fresh food and plenty of drink for the trip. This year I'm bringing one of those 5 or 6-day coolers so we can eat good in the neighborhood. And I'm bring a cast iron dutch oven - or two.
Days are spent fishing, swimming, canoeing/kayaking, as well as day hikes. Remarkably, there is no poison ivy at Lake Lila. I blew out my hiking shoes on the portage in last year, and spent the rest of the five days barefoot (as did my son Andrew, who doesn't like shoes either).
Looking forward to a grand adventure. Join if you want a great time!