(Colleen) A secluded Adirondack lake, a small
island smack dab in the middle of it, and if you look really
close, one lone green tent at the very top of that rock.
lt doesn’t get any more remote than this. Forget about gassing up your SUV or RV to
get here– the only way you get to camp on one of these,
is to use one of these: [motor boat sounds]
This is definitely not your ordinary campground. Nestled within the nooks of the shoreline
and on islands dotting the Lower Saranac landscape are dozens
of boat-access-only campsites.They are visited
each year by people looking for a more serene camping experience.
(Jeff Gonyea) The Saranac Lake lslands is unlike your
drive-thru campgrounds,which are very nice, but more elbow-to-elbow. On the islands, you’ve
got your space. Your nearest site on most of those islands
out there or on the shore,is probably 100 yards away
from each other. And you have the opportunity to get an
island all to yourself. (Colleen) At the risk of disturbing that very
serenity, our crew politely arrived at the rocky shoreline
and landed at site number 37.
(Boat Crew) Do you mind a couple of visitors with a
video camera? (Campers) Come on in!
(Colleen) lt was just the welcome we needed to find out
what makes boat-access-only camping so special. (John) We started in 1982–and have been coming
every year since. (Bob) One big thing with me was right around
that time I got that promotion and got a new job, and it was
very stressful and these guys said you gotta go to this,
you’ll never, don’t worry about it, and I got up here and
just fell in love. No phones…no nothing…nobody
bothers you. (Colleen ) ln the off-season,the sites are
generally first come first serve. But during peak season–
from Memorial Day to Labor Day–you must make reservations either online or by phone.
This group waited all year for their shot at camping
on Lower Saranac. Even reports of rain didn’t keep them away.
(John ) We were joking around, I had sent out an email last week
about what everyone was doing, this and that. And the next thing you know, emails are flying
about, aaah, we’re going to have a lot of rain, blah
blah, and the guy over there in the corner says,
you know, it doesn’t matter because you toughen up and
you go anyways, this is Saranac! This is what you do!
You wait all year long to come here, for that four day adventure.
(Colleen ) No matter which time of year you decide to try it,
you must always come prepared for the elements. And in most spots, permits are required to
dock and camp. Experienced island campers also know you must
bring plenty of food. (John) This year we’re having a 16.5 pound
bird. And l brought stuffing and gravy and potatoes.
(Colleen) Believe it or not, all of this fit into a single boat.
ln the old days, when the experience was newer and
more pristine, these guys would canoe in to their site.
But they’ve since discovered the advantage of
a little horsepower. (Camper) Powerboats are much better. [laughing]
Powerboats bring food and chairs! [laughing] (Camper) We’re thinking about getting a barge.A
party barge! (Colleen ) lt’s easy to see the allure of
island camping when you get a view like this out your tent
door. And as our trip to the next site suggested,
you can never under estimate the appeal of a remote camping
experience. (Jerry) We solve all the problems of the world
while we’re out here for the week. l think boat-access-only is one of the keys
because all of us have been camping in other types of environments,
and you just have limited access, and it changes the
kind of people, different types of people, different interests
and so on, and everybody is extremely friendly and
everybody waves at everybody and it’s you’re sort of out
here doing something that most people don’t think about.
(Colleen ) There’s also something about nature’s campground that makes you want to keep it
the way it is. (Jeff) lt’s a carry in,carry out facility.
Okay? You bring it in, you take it back out with
you, and for the most part, they do that.
And it’s really well-kept. (Colleen) Well-kept, pristine,hey, some might
even call it a little piece of heaven.
(Jerry) You can get the sunrise on one end of the island,
and the sunset on the other end of the site, and moon, stars,the whole works.
lt’s a great experience.