Rollins Pond, New York

Monday, August 17: Got away at a fairly early hour from World’s End, headed on a very long drive up to Rollins Pond campground, in New York’s Adirondack State Forest. Had some more GPS issues, and once again, spotty cell service; and one directional challenge (we were sure we were headed north on a small state road, when we were actually headed south) which we rectified before we drove below the Mason-Dixon line again.

But it was a beautiful drive, and (mostly) construction free. Except when I was driving. Jack thinks there’s some sort of curse that dictates, when I’m behind the wheel, we will find road construction.

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One time along the way to Rollins Pond while on Interstate 81, we rounded a hill and there was a full-on stoppage of traffic. I had to stop quickly (not suddenly) but as the traffic piled up behind me, I was afraid someone might round that same hill with less time to stop than I had, and crunch. But all was well, and the hold-up was just a very long line of folks trying to form up into a single lane. The traffic was truly extraordinary on a mid-August Monday. College students going back to school, last gasp vacations for families before school starts, yadda.

We had filled with fuel and were looking for dinner groceries in a pretty little town called Tupper Lake when we hit some serious construction right in the town. All the roads were torn apart, and the bumpy surface factor was in the 10 range (1 being smooth/recently paved). We could not move Blue Roomba over that stuff faster than 10 MPH and the folks behind us must certainly have been cross.

With all the construction detours and our attention to Roomba-comfort we might have (possibly) missed a directional sign, and that’s when we ended up heading south when we thought we were going north.

Once we got back on the right path, we were quite GPS-challenged trying to find the proper entrance to Rollins Pond campground, but when we found it, it was completely abuzz with so many people and campers and enormous trailers and camper-busses that I thought we should just try a perfectly good parking lot instead of navigating the VERY LONG way up to our site. I was worried we were in trouble when we went through the first checkpoint and the guy said, “To get to Rollins Pond, you have to turn right here and head up to site # 134, where you’ll find a right turn. That takes you to Rollins Pond and you’ll see another check-in station.”

The trick is you have to pass through at least one other campground to even find Rollins Pond: we began at their site #8. Crept along avoiding bicyclists, pedestrians, huge campers, some folks (unsuccessfully) backing into their sites, boats and boat trailers, etc. etc. etc. for a very long while until we could turn off (at site # 134!) from the very busy campground and head to Rollins Pond.

Our second “check in” was delayed by someone trying to stay without a reservation, but we got through. Then realized our site was #185, whereas we began our second lengthy trek at site number 1. Joy.

Things got better still (NOT). When we got to our back-in site, we were headed the wrong direction for the angle of approach. And there was the Rock of Gibraltar in the direct tire-path our little Roomba (not to mention our Subaru) was going to have to traverse to get in there.

A tight turn-around with a good amount of backwards/forwards just managed to get us arranged in the correct direction, and Jack did an excellent job guiding me into the narrow, tree trunk- and rock-strewn site.

And it got better again, as we had zero hope of leveling our poor Roomba in the indicated place for camping. More boulders and horribly uneven terrain just made it impossible. I even backed the trailer straight off our leveling wedge one time.

So we pulled up into the narrow “access” corridor (close to the Rock of Gibraltar) and at long last managed to level and raise the roof, instead of giving up and heading to a WalMart parking lot. It was late, we were tired and hungry, but I gotta say, Rollins Pond is completely lovely.


We gave our nearest neighbors a tour and chatted with them over a glass of wine for a while, and then I went down to the pond-edge to watch the sunset.

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I’m so glad we did not abandon the effort, even if it was a great deal of effort for only a “one night stand.” Rollins Pond does not allow the big motor boats that are common off the lake that sports our first campsite tour — so Rollins is ideal for swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. It was quiet and serene and I hope we get to go back again.

Just not into site #185. Ever.

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4 thoughts on “Rollins Pond, New York”

  1. In case Jim Gavereau might happen across this particular episode, we need to thank him for his high praise of Rollins Pond for getting us there! The lumpy site notwithstanding, Rollins Pond is a lovely locale.

    1. Jim has happened upon this post, well not actually happen upon, I follow any Alto blogger out there. We love Rollins Pond. Nice park, great swimming and kayaking, and very quiet. Heading there early Sept. Ourselves. Thanks for the heads up on construction in Tupper Lake.


  2. Sounds like you have earned your commercial drivers license and can now intimidate folks roaring along the interstate! Quite a feat of driving.

  3. Charlie and I have been to Rollins Pond many times on our annual camping trip with our daughter and her family. We love listening to the loons at night! It is a great place to canoe and beautiful hiking trails are everywhere in the area. But I agree it is a bit of an effort to go for only one night!

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