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Points of Interest
Rocky cliffs, great bowed white pine, deep water swimming, and the island’s relatively remote location make Camelot a perfect destination for paddlers. Camelot is a rugged, well-forested island that is home to a wealth of our avian companions. Listen to the sparrows, orioles, wrens and warblers along the relaxing hiking trails that skirt the island perimeter. Six campsites make it a strategic place for paddlers to use at the end of the route. Establish a campsite early in the day, if possible, to ensure a spot. A dinghy dock in the southwest bay leads to several quiet campsites, a privy and a picnic shelter. If you spend the night don’t be spooked by the hoots of a great-horned owl rumoured to reside in the depths of the woods.
The warm southern aspect and thick moist wetlands of Endymion Island create as diverse an island habitat as any found in the Thousand Islands. Several rare species including pitch pine and deerberry are found here. Red oak, pine, and juniper shroud the island’s rocky western end, while willows and swamp maples compete for a foot hold on the eastern flank. A short walking trail connects two docks on the south face of Endymion. No camping is permitted on this fragile island, and other facilities have been minimized to reduce visitor impact. It is a good place to stretch your legs or rest, en route to Camelot or the Admiralty Group.
The rocky northern shore of Grindstone Island is only a stone’s throw from thisroute, at times as close as 300 m from the Canadian Islands. Paddlers should beaware of Canoe Point State Park, located on the northeastern tip of the island, agood spot to find shelter in case rough weather erupts. Information is availableat www.nysparks.com
Sugar Island is the summer home of the American Canoe Association. Camping facilities exist for members, and the club welcomes several dozen paddlers each year to its Encampment event. Join the ACA at www.americancanoe.org/ Stop in for a visit and greet your fellow paddler!
Prince Regent and Princess Charlotte Islands
As you paddle the southern shores of Prince Regent and Princess Charlotte Islands, the craggy form of pitch pine tree will undoubtedly catch your attention. Pitch pine is the rarest tree in Canada. It is at the extreme northern edge of its range here and its population size is generally decreasing in the region. On these islands, however, the species is regenerating. The stand is of uneven age, with several healthy young saplings, amongst the older trees.
The small islands and islets that surround the Jackstraw shoal are colonized by ring-billed and herring gulls for nesting. Recently, double-breasted cormorants have begun to use these colonies. Paddling past these loud and crowded rocky homes, one can expect to see all sorts of activity! Be sure not to disturb the birds by approaching too closely.
Paddlers will reach the Lake Fleet route from the westerly Admiralty Islands route (#3), or easterly Navy Islands route (#5). Please consult departure point information for these routes.
Trip Length / Distance
A full day of paddling could well be spent here and the best way to enjoy the Lake Fleet is by spending an overnight on Camelot Island. If the weather is fair, it is possible to power through this route and reach the Admiralty or Navy Islands for the evening.
The paddle from Thwartway Island to Camelot Island is 2 km. From Camelot Island to the Navy Group is 4 km. To reach Camelot from Gananoque is a 5 km paddle across an exposed stretch of the river.
This portion of the Thousand Islands is best appreciated as a destination from the nearby Navy or Admiralty groups. Thwartway (Leek) Island and the Admiralty group lie west of this route, while Stave Island and the Navy group form the easterly bounds.
Notes and Cautions
The Canadian Middle Channel lies just south of the Lake Fleet arm, and bisects the route in a narrow path near the end of the island chain. The channel
runs between Camelot and Dumfounder, and Bloodletter and Niagara. Be sure that no large vessels are approaching as you prepare to cross the shipping channel in a safe and expeditious manner.
The recreational boating channel bisects this route in many places. Be aware of other watercraft and exercise caution in channel crossings.
Between the Admiralty Islands and the Lake Fleet group, lies a large stretch of open water. The crossing from Thwartway to The Punts is long and can be
strenuous or impossible when the winds are up. A sheltered route might be found by skirting the northern shore of Grindstone Island, but be sure to have a contingency plan if you find that the waters are too rough to proceed. Novice paddlers should be wary of this section of the route.
The Lake Fleet Islands stretch from the international boundary and the northern shore of Grindstone Island (USA) in a long narrow arc, northeasternly to Stave Island. The Lake Fleet arm reaches nearly 5 km, offering leeside shelter for paddling the route for either direction. The rugged islands of wind-swept white pine and rich hemlock gullies are reminiscent of our northern forests. Island names like Dumfounder, Bloodletter, Axeman and Deathdealer evoke strong images of the history of the place, forcing one to wrestle the imagination to stay in the present day. The national park islands, Camelot and Endymion are premiere destinations for paddlers looking to explore the most secluded spots in the 1000 Islands.