A favorite paddle

Lynda McIntyre paddles the Osgood River. Photo by Phil Brown.

A friend and I paddled one of my favorite canoe routes the other day. Putting in at Jones Pond, we paddled across the pond, down the outlet to Osgood Pond, across the pond, and down the Osgood River to an old rock dam. We then returned to Osgood Pond, crossed it again, and finished by padding two small ponds connected by small canals dug by hand in the nineteenth century.

Water lilies abound.
Water lilies abound.

This trip is hard to beat for the variety and beauty of the scenery: grassy rivers; large ponds with mountain views; vast marshes and bog mats; charming canals bordered by pines and hemlocks, and the Japanese teahouse at White Pine Camp.

If you do the whole end-to-end trip, you’ll paddle about ten miles and take out at Church Pond near Paul Smiths. It took Lynda and I about five hours, but we took our time. Instead of shuttling cars, I left a bicycle at Church Pond and pedaled back to my car at Jones Pond. The bike shuttle took twenty minutes.

I plotted our route with a GPS watch. You can see our route here. However, note that I forgot to turn on the GPS function until we had nearly crossed Jones Pond.

Incidentally, Jones Pond Outlet and Osgood River teem with birdlife. The trip is included in Adirondack Birding by Gary Lee and John M.C. Peterson, which I published last year under the Lost Pond Press name. As Lynda and I paddled down Jones Pond Outlet, we encountered two birders from the Albany area, Tom and Erika Butler, who had come here after reading the book (which they had in their canoe). They were quite amused when I told them I was the publisher. While we chatted, Tom spotted a blue-headed vireo in a dead pine.

The Osgood River is one of the best places in the Adirondacks to find the American three-toed woodpecker, one of the rarest birds in the state. We didn’t spot any woodpeckers, but we did have fun following a great blue heron down the river. We also saw what appeared to be a large canid swimming across Osgood, perhaps a coyote.

The view from the Osgood River: Debar Mountain rises in the distance. Photo by Phil Brown.
The view from the Osgood River: Debar Mountain rises in the distance. Photo by Phil Brown.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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  1. george patte says

    A friend and I did a very similar paddle in the late 1980’s and I agree it is worth doing–got me to thinking that I should try it again. we paddled down the Osgood about as far as you could to where it got shallow in an alder thicket, but I can’t now remember the dam Linda paddled to. Can she clarify this, or can you do so Phil?

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