3 Lakes Trip - Saranac Lake - Part 3

We woke up to our second morning at Saranac Lake to sunshine again! Our friends made a delicious breakfast of pancakes and sausages. We sat around the table for some time and talked before making sandwiches for lunch again. Today we would kayak across Middle Saranac Lake and hike (climb) Ampersand Mountain!

From Alltrails.com: "Ampersand Mountain Trail is a 4.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Saranac Lake, New York that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until March. Dogs are also able to use this trail."


4.9 miles                      1811 feet

"Only recommended for very experienced adventurers" never mind that we had a 4, 6 and 7 year old with us, but they had great practice playing adventurers at the campsite all day!

No photos from the paddle across the lake because of strong headwinds but I do have this short go pro video!

The hike started out very easy, nothing more than a walk through the woods, and a little buggy but turned into a serious hike soon after and all the way up the mountain. It was a tough hike for myself and the only reason I made it, was watching 4 year old Isaac climbing up the mountain!

Let me tell you about a huge misconception about my kids... someone recently asked me "can you give me a list of your kids favorite hiking trails in Cincinnati" the truth is, there are non! My kids don't have favorite hiking trails because they don't like hiking! They do love an adventure though and that usually gets them through the hike! The first mile on the hike, I had one kid actually in tears crying "I hate hiking". He soon came to me and apologized because he realized how cool of an hike this was AND he beat us up and down the mountain. If I would give my kids the option of staying comfortable in our living room, campsite etc or go on a hike... they would always choose to be comfortable at home BUT I give them an extra push and they are always (seriously ALWAYS) glad they came a long!   well an extra push and a big bag of Swedish Fish in my pocket got them through!

On top of the mountain we were greeted with amazing views of the Adirondacks and some astronaut ice cream from our friend Matt! We explored the summit for a little bit, took a lot of photographs, and made sure kids didn't tumble down the mountain.

The pictures below you can see how far we paddled/ hiked that day! The first picture is from the summit of Ampersand Mountain (3,353 ft) and you can see our campsite (arrow) below! The second picture is of Jake at our campsite pointing up to Ampersand Mountain.

The way back down was tough!!! Apparently not for the big boys and Finn, all 3 of them just ran down the mountain and met us at the trail head! Isaac had a tough time and eventually fell asleep being carried by his Dad... Fireman's Carry Style! The paddle across the lake was not to bad but we did fight some headwind again!

We spent the evening around the campfire. The big boys, Ian and Jake, made dinner for us. Kielbasa & Jambalaya, I posted the quick recipe HERE! This was probably our favorite dinner of the trip. And we finished our Family Olympic Day events! You ask what Family Olympic Day is?

Scroll up, the second picture of our post you can see our home made trophy! We played about 10 games throughout the trip. The Roberts Family against the McGill Gamily. The winner gets to keep the trophy BUT needs to display it on their mantle at home for the year! Some of the games were (and we had funny names for them), who sets up their tent the fastest, who gathers the most firewood, who tells the spookiest camp fire story, who has the most mosquito bites, who catches the first fish etc. The other rule was that next year we are battling for the trophy again and the winning family has to come up with the games. The Robert's won but the McGill's are going to fight hard next summer and win it back!!!

The big boys (and Dad's) also played who can pull out the biggest rock out of the lake. Jake won and since no one caught a fish we counted the rock as the "catch of the day". Jake won us that game! Finn had such a bad allergic reaction to mosquito bites and required Benedryl that we decided we don't even need to count bug bites that he would win that game as well!

The next morning was sadly our last... we cooked breakfast and started packing up the campsite. It was a little bittersweet. We all would have loved to stay longer but we (the Mom's more than anyone) were really looking forward to a hot shower and a real bed! We will be back though Saranac Lake! 

Next stop was Lake Placid (hotel) and introducing the Robert's to our favorite pizza and swimming hole before we went on separate ways again! It was hard to say good bye but all good things have to come to an end... and next stop for us was VERMONT!!!

You can click here to read about PART 1, PART 2, and PART 4 of our trip!



UPDATE! and about 7 months later I finally put together a small video from our go pro footage. Enjoy!

3 Lakes Trip - Dog Lake - Part 1

Our last summer road trip took us to Dog Lake in Ontario, Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks and Maidstone Lake in Vermont.

How come these three lakes you ask?

We visited Dog Lake and Saranac Lake last year. Saranac Lake was especially amazing as we kayak camped on an island (yes we kayaked all of our gear and ourselves to an island and spent a few nights there). Friends of ours asked us if we wanted to come this year with them to Saranac Lake as they loved our pictures so much. So we started planning our trip.

Dog Lake we went last year too but we were so upset because it was only one night and we loved it so much. During our stay at the cottage at Dog Lake last year I took some pictures and the owner asked me if she could use them for her website. In return she gave me a major discount for any future stays. With only a few hours away from Saranac Lake we knew we would have to take advantage of that.

And the third lake… Maidstone Lake. We have never been but heard about this amazing place from a dear friend who has had a cabin on the lake for decades. In fact, even her grandparents have had a cabin at Maidstone Lake. I have always wanted to visit Maidstone Lake and realized it was “only” five hours from Saranac Lake.

This is how our big road trip of the year came to life. Three Lakes, three totally different reasons on why to be there.

I am going to blog this trip in 3 blog posts, one post for each lake.

Dog Lake in Ontario.

Our boys spent two weeks with my mom in Ontario and when we picked them up we stayed another 2 days with my mom and then headed north to the cabin at Dog Lake near Battersea. I found this cabin via AirBnB last year you can read about our last stay HERE and HERE is the listing on AirBnB.

There are three different cabins, hence the name, Three Little Cottages, and we stayed in a different one than last year. Just like last year, the cabin is the perfect size for us and has everything we need. We love the screened in porch, the adjoining farm where we purchased fresh greens for a salad, and a dock to swim, fish and kayak from.

Just like last year, the boys made quickly friends with the kids in the cabin next door. This time three girls (two of them the same age as Finn & Jake) and the first time I ever saw the kids brush their hair and teeth without being asked! Haha

We did a whole lot of nothing at Dog Lake. A lot of fishing, a lot of kayaking, swimming, bird watching, playing soccer with the girls next door, bonfires and marshmallows, walks on the farm, coffee in the morning on the porch… it.was.perfect. Just what we needed!

A couple of fun memories include:

On an evening walk we noticed a few of the chickens got out and with the owners not being around we tried to catch them and put them back. While running around, Scot was making fun on how much these chickens are worth (he was making up a rare breed) and if we don’t catch them we would have to pay for them and our trip would be ruined… “So catch these chickens!” I couldn’t stop laughing, the whole thing was just to hilarious.

Taking out the kayak on my own and coming across some strong headwind and then also being stuck in a blanket of seaweed that would totally stop my kayak in its track. I fought hard to get back to the dock that day but it was so awesome to be all on my own out on the water.

Seeing a beaver swim by. (No Photo <cry>)

Seeing a full double rainbow! My camera battery died after I took a few pictures and before the second rainbow became visible BUT it was there and I will never forget it.

Having smores with the family next door and just being so happy for their friendship even though we have never met before!

Eating Buttertarts at a small grocery story and washing them down with a small carton of milk.

Dog Lake we will be back! Next time even longer! 

Scot's favorite part: Meeting family next door who were Chinese who immigrated to Ottawa.

Jake's favorite part: kayaking and fishing

Finn's favorite part: playing soccer with the girls next door.

My favorite part: sitting early morning on the porch with Scot. It was so cold and we were bundled up in a blanket, sipping our coffee and watching the sunrise.

You can click here to read about PART 2PART 3 and PART 4 of our trip!