New “Kayaker’s Guide to Lake George” Published
Albany author Russell Dunn, a New York State licensed guide, has written 10 books on the great outdoors of eastern New York and western New England. Dunn’s latest book, “A Kayaker’s Guide to Lake George, the Saratoga Region & Great Sacandaga Lake” has just been released by Black Dome Press.
This newly published guide to the best paddling trips in the region contains voyage ideas and environmental, geological, and historic points of interest. Dunn’s first book for kayakers focused on the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers in the Capital District area.
The 352 page soft-cover book starts off with 63 pages devoted to paddling on Lake George. Beginning with the Lake Avenue Beach in Lake George Village, the book describes some of the launch sites for kayakers and canoeists along Lake Shore Drive (Route 9N) all the way to Mossy Point in Ticonderoga.
Dunn then takes the reader down the eastern side of the lake featuring launch sites at Black Point Beach, Hulett’s Landing, Kattskill Bay and Dunhams Bay. Each launch site and Dunn’s recommended paddling route is precisely described.
Dunn begins the Lake George section with a well written advisory regarding the conditions a paddler will encounter on the lake. “Extra care must be taken when paddling on Lake George,” Dunn writes. “This is a very large lake and one that quickly fills with powerboats during the summer months, especially on weekends and holidays.”
Dunn’s advice should be heeded by operators of small watercraft like kayaks. Each section contains a paragraph entitled “Comments” and Dunn refers the reader back to the above mentioned advisory written on page 2.
In a phone interview Dunn, 65, said he has personally paddled all of the routes listed in the book. Dunn said it took him four years to compile the information. “I really wanted to focus on the perimeter of the lake. People can get themselves into trouble when they go out into the middle of the lake,” he said.
The book also provides driving directions to each launch site along with descriptions of destinations and mileages for each paddle. GPS coordinates are listed for each site as well.
Dunn does a nice job of telling the story of each paddle by pointing out historical sites as well as present-day landmarks around the lake.
Dunn said that he really wanted to talk about the history of the lake as well as providing information for the paddler. “Lake George is a very pristine lake and there are several areas around the lake where it creates the illusion of there not being a lot of people around. Of course, we know there are…especially in the southern end of the lake,” he said with a chuckle.
In total, the book lists 58 paddling adventures in the Lake George/Saratoga Region. By using Dunn’s guide paddlers can explore not only Lake George but also the Upper Hudson River, Great Sacandaga Lake, Kayderosseras Creek, Champlain Canal, Lake Luzerne, Sacandaga River, Round Lake, Saratoga Lake, Ballston Lake, Glens Falls Feeder Canal and Lake Desolation.
Dunn said he purposely left out certain areas around the lake. “I would really liked to have written up the Shelving Rock area and talk about accessing the lake from there. But, then I realized it would involve a fairly long portage. That was the other concept…I wanted to make it fairly easy for people to get out on the lake. I didn’t want them to have to trek over great lengths of land like he-men carrying their boats.”
Dunn said his favorite area to paddle on Lake George is Northwest Bay Brook. “I prefer paddling on more quiet waters. In that sense, there is a spiritual association with that paddle. You can’t get that out on the main lake where it is teeming with activity,” he said. “I like to explore the coves and the little nooks and crannies when I paddle.”
This is a “must have” book for both the beginner and expert paddler. Dunn offers insight which will make it easier to get out paddling. The book also includes directories of paddling outfitters, organizations and clubs.
The book is a solid resource, pulling together most of what there is to be known about kayaking in our region and doing it in a readable, occasionally even witty, style. It’s definitely worth the $19.95 cover price. The book is available from Trees and the Lake George Kayak Company, both in Bolton Landing.