SWIMMING THROUGH TREES: Hoel Pond to Slang Pond for lunch

Paddling during a lunchtime adventure (Photo provided)

A scenic lunch spot is just what the doctor ordered for such a beautiful day, and the paddling map offered us up a destination that we couldn’t turn down — a peninsula camp on Slang Pond.

We started out our morning by picking up a few choice beverages and swinging by the farmers market at Riverside Park on Lake Flower in Saranac Lake. It’s quite convenient for us that they have it every Saturday seeing as how we seem to be rolling through there every weekend ourselves. We picked up some local cheese, bread, dessert and fruits for our lunch and hid it all away so we wouldn’t touch it until we got to the campsite.

Once we pounded the car over the rough dirt road to the boat launch site, we found that we would not be the only ones in the area that day. Far from it, in fact. This pond is not in the St. Regis Canoe Area. It may seem as it is, but it is actually in the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest. With that being said, don’t be surprised to see some motorboats.

We hit the water with a full charge and spared little time getting to the short carry to Turtle Pond. Corenne and I are much bigger fans of smaller bodies of water and exploring the shoreline of these little gems. It’s not that big water isn’t OK, from time to time, but we prefer to be where the motorboats are not. We got to the railroad tracks and found a culvert wide enough to travel through. Maybe, if it were not at a steep angle and close to that of a class 3 rapid. I passed on the idea, but strongly considered it. Maybe, if my boat wasn’t 14.5 feet long and wouldn’t nosedive into the gravel on the opposite end like a Lawn Dart, I would, maybe.

The carry is about 60 feet up and over the tracks, not what I would call a ridiculous notion. We were back on the water in no time and checking out the few camping areas on Turtle Pond. These were nice areas, with seclusion. It wasn’t too far down Turtle Pond when we came across a couple of loons in the distance right near where we needed to pass. They were not at all scared of these two rather large orange fish. As we got closer, the baby loon hopped up on the mother’s back and tucked its nose into her feathers and started to make little noises and eventually looked to fall asleep. We paddled by very quietly as to not disturb or startle them.

Lunch spot on the peninsula (Photo provided)

We passed down through the narrows between Turtle and Slang ponds, and the moving water pushed us out onto the open water. This is by far the most attractive of the three ponds, but we were yet to see more cool stuff. We had a nice how-do with a gentleman in a Hornbeck canoe and then wished a fond adieu before we located the campsite on the peninsula off in the distance.

As we paddled lazily over the open water, a school of small fish was surfacing the water in a boiling effect that I have never witnessed so close and personal. I paddled over, hoping that lunch would jump into my boat, but they seemed to be taken aback by my presence and quieted down.

We finally reached our destination and broke out the two microbrews we brought, the creamy spreadable cheese and a baguette. We pulled up a log and sat down as if this was our backyard, which I suppose it is, in a way. (But the commute to the front door is just a little longer.)

Before we knew it, it was 4 p.m. and we needed to get back out before it got too much later. We had a hot date with a movie and massive bag of popcorn.

The trip back was uneventful and didn’t sway from the route we took in. I’d recommend that others consider an outdoor lunch spot and just go. It’s worth the effort, and food never tastes better than it does outdoors.