It rained again, overnight. All the clothes we left out to dry were wetter than before, but otherwise we were dry and rested. I heard something rustling around outside during the night, but nothing was disturbed. (By the way, last evening our two cans of beer cooling in the lake got a rise out of the duck population. Apparently they were attracted by the shiny cans, and kept swimming over to investigate).
Unfortunately, the day began with a portage. First, since we were across the outlet of the lake from the carry, we had to pack and load the boats only to paddle 50 yards to the opposite shore, where we pulled our packs out again and loaded up for a 1.3 mile carry. The terrain was good, all on dirt road, but carries are getting old. Then, we re-entered the Racquette River for the mile to Buttermilk Falls, where we had a .1 mile carry around the falls. Since this was so short, be made two trips, first with the packs and then the boats. It was also rough and steep ground, so this made better sense. I picked off one geocache by the falls.We spent some time taking in the falls and getting some pictures, then got back on the water for another half mile in a quiet, but rock-studded section of river. Our last portage (.6 miles) was perhaps the most arduous, as the trail was uneven, with rocks, roots and mud and the occasional boardwalk, which sometimes proved slippery.
At the end of this last portage, all that remained between us and Long Lake village was a short section of quiet river and 4 miles on the southern end of Long Lake. As we entered the lake, I noticed that I seemed to be taking on more water than could be accounted for by 'paddle drip'. I pulled over at Moose Island, and sure enough, I'd finally done it! After years of bumps and scrapes, I'd finally worn a BB-sized hole in the canvas of my boat. I dried it off and applied a patch of Gorilla brand duct tape. Five minutes later I was on
my way again, good as new.
We pulled into the DEC boat ramp about 1:00 pm, just under 48 hours after we left Old Forge. Not bad for a couple of old guys. A young fellow from Paul Smith's College approached us to ask where we were from and where our boats had been; his survey was related to aquatic invasive species. We chatted for a bit, .then took our time loading up for the trip home. Lunch at the Long Lake diner was well-deserved