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    Older Trip Report

    It's the winter duldrums and thought I'd post this part of a trip report we started in 2000 and finished years later due to life getting in the way. This was stage two of the trip.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Bangor to Portland Maine By Canoe

    The Adventures of Scooter and Hal, July 2009, Bangor to Portland, Maine

    June 26-09

    The Beginning:

    We arrived at the Veazie Salmon Club after 9 p.m. I had met Hal at Sandy Point on Cousin's Island where we off loaded his gear onto my car and left his vehicle at the camp. We set up the tent in the parking lot, had a few beers and it was off to sleep. I had stopped at LL Beans in hopes of finding flares and a tarp. The place is so big even the employees had trouble finding stuff for me. Finally gave up. I will say that the drive up after Freeport was beautiful as usual. I know some people who think this stretch of I-95 is hell but I love the views and the quiet of it after all the southern traffic.

    June 27-09

    In Which We Commune With the Fish

    Woke up to rain. How surprising! Slept in for an ungodly long time considering Hal is usually up at the crack of dawn. We we finally roused ourselves we found some of the good ol' boys who frequent the club already there. Apparently they rouse themselves much earlier than we do and find their way to the Club and play Cribbage and then head home.

    One gentleman came out and invited us in for a coffee even though we were brewing up a fresh pot. We took him up on his hospitality and took the chance to fill all our water containers. Next on the agenda was a visit with the gents who work for the Fish Commission collecting Atlantic Salmon that come up the fish ladder at the Veazie Dam. A Game Warden by the name of Jim Faye had set this up for us but couldn't attend as he was rocking to Jimmy Buffet, a Parrothead! Who'd of known? With some mild confusion we finally found the road to the head of the dam and were let in.

    We hopped onto a large barge like boat that was attached to a cable with pulleys that motored out just above the top of the dam, a creepy feeling crept into my gut as we made our way out to a piling with a cage built onto it. This is where the salmon are “bagged, tagged, and moved” to holding tanks on pickups for transport to the dam above Old Town. Not being a fisherman nor blessed with spending time with fish I was absolutely amazed at the size and tenaciousness of these fish. We spent a bit of time with these gents and the fish and after they released us through the gate we made our way back to the Club and after a nasty putin were finally on the river. The weather was overcast but the rain was holding off. Our trip had officially begun.
    The Trip Begins!
    We made our way down to just above Winterport and Hal was feeling the effects of the job, the drive up and was looking for a site. I had been watching the shoreline and the tide line the entire way down as Hal had a hammock and I had a tent. Well, we found a spot and I ended up pitching my tent just above the tide mark but only after climbing up the steep, crumbling bank that was much like a local dump site and said naw, taking my chances with that tide line. The tide was low at this point and according to Hal the tide would be high around 4 a.m. We got a fire going, cooked up dinner and as the night moved in Hal called it quits and retired to his hammock. I stayed up for a while eyeballing the tide moving in but finally got tired of that job and climbed into my tent. Sleep came quick.
    Campsite on the riverbank

    I am eagerly awaiting the tide to rise.

    I set up my tent once above what seemed the high tide line on a Everglades beach, and checked the tide chart; high tide at 3am.

    Round about 2am I awoke to the sound of waves lapping, seemingly awfully close. Unzipped the vestibule door and the water’s edge, fortunately with only minor Gulf wave action, was inches from the vestibule.

    Fark, it’s still an hour ‘’til high tide. I packed up my sleeping bag, spare clothes pillow and Therma-rest, moved them to higher (untentable) ground and sat in my chair eyeballing the water’s slow creep up the beach.

    Round about 5am I put everything back in the tent and slept (fitfully) for another hour.


      Looking forward to the next instillment, Doug.


        Round Two:

        June 28-09

        Mother Nature is Older Than I Am, I Should Listen:

        Sleep may have come quick but it was short lived. I woke at around two in the morning to find my bucket floating and knocking me in the head, my headlamp underwater. I'm surprised I didn't wet my pants as my sleeping bag and pad were almost underwater. The tide had come in! I started grabbing all of my gear and clambered out of my tent dragging my water logged bag and pad and waded almost knee deep in water to the canoes. These were tied off to a huge log with the bows still on dry land. I draped my bag and pad on the log and climbed into my canoe finding my choto boots and some dry socks to put on. I made my way back to the tent and opted to just open both doors and let the water flow out instead of trying to break it down.
        Back at the canoe I began the waiting game. Making a pot of coffee to warm myself I kept checking the tent with my headlamp to see if it was going to wash away about every ten minutes or so. In the meantime the water kept coming up until the boats were totally afloat held on only with our painters. As I sat there I had visions of a laundry mat somewhere downstream with my name written all over it. Somewhere around four-thirty the sky began to get light and the water soon began to drop. At five-thirty I walked down to the tent and started looking for my Crocs figuring they were probably miles downstream. As I waded down the bank I found one hung up in a branch, the other was no where to be found. Hal heard me sloshing around and ask what was up. “My tent is underwater!” I replied. Nice guy to start my morning laughing at me. The only bonus was that he found my other Croc but did refer to himself as the Croc Hunter after that. Nice wit!

        Even though the water had receded my tent had enough water in it to merit using my bailer to purge it. A beautiful layer of silt lined the floor and once again I those visions of a dryer flashed through my head. I must have been talking out loud without knowing it for Hal said he already heard me say that, he was to get used to this during the next few hours.

        We didn't dally around and were on the river by just after six. The tide was flying out and we had a good tail wind and we made good time. Buoy's in the river were bent over at obscene angles at at one point while being a bit inattentive I almost collided with one which would have sent me into the river in the blink of an eye. We made Bucksport and at the public dock Hal asked about a laundry mat and store. Like the Salmon Club the elderly gents of town where hanging out sharing what I'm sure were the same stories that they had all heard a hundred times. They gave us directions all within walking distance and within and hour or so we were back underway crossing by Fort Knox. We headed down to Sandy Point with sails up and following the tide and then the rain moved in. Just as we hit the beach at Sandy Point the rain came down in buckets. Using Matt's sail we set up a nice shelter and had a couple of beers while waiting it out. Did I mention that the weather was overcast, rainy, and foggy?
        Multiple use for sails!
        When the rain let enough to continue we sailed down into Fort Point Cove and the winds really kicked up. Hal was ripping and I could hear him hooting and hollering as he headed for the point. In the meantime I hadn't put my leeboard on and started side slipping like crazy. I was burnt, wet, and fading after my two in the morning wakeup call. I never made it near the point. Hal seeing my bad way turned and sailed like a bastard into the cove and beached while I struggled to make a landing. Hal sure made things look easy this day.

        We ended up doing a short portage over to Stockton Harbor. When we got to the new put in and started setting the sails up I found I had left a mast piece behind and had to walk a mile back, find it and then huff it back. From there we sailed and paddled out to Sears Island looking for a bootleg campsite as the day started to fade. One promising site after another avoided us until we got to the end of the island and found a hole in the wall. It was enough, we had done worse in the past. From our site we could almost see Turtle Head Island through the mist and fog. We pulled everything up the bank including the boats, set up our new sail tarp with my 10 x 10 tarp as the roof, a three walled shelter, and called it a night. I was so spent that I could barely eat and had trouble going to sleep. Not soon after I faded off the rains came and it poured with howling winds waking me. You could hear the waves just crashing onto the shore and debris from the trees above kept hitting my tent. This went on for hours but I somehow got back to sleep.
        The three walled shelter made out of sails and a tarp
        Last edited by dougd; 12-30-2019, 09:19 PM.


          It doesn’t sound like you’re having a lot of fun, Doug!


            It gets better Michael!


              Does better mean worse, Doug?

              Most (all?) extended canoe trips feature some adversity. On our 37-day trip on the Thelon River in 1993, Kathleen and I endured a lot of wind, and legions of bugs. One of my friends asked, “Exactly when on that trip were you having fun?”

              The answer, of course, was “All the time.”
              Last edited by PaddlingPitt; 12-30-2019, 04:07 PM.


                Tide come in much?

                Those photos of the submerged tent are too funny.


                  Just wondering, Doug, did you not have tide tables? When we did a lot of ocean paddling when we lived on Pender Island, the tide tables were very accurate in terms of timing and height of tides. Or perhaps on-shore winds added to your situation.


                    Michael, My buddy had a tide chart on his phone and according to that I should have been fine but ya shit happens sometimes! In hindsight it was pretty funny and all worked out in the end!


                      Round Three

                      June 29-09

                      The Fog, Is This a Movie?

                      We got a late start due to my sleeping in. Hal just hung out drinking coffee and giving me time to recoup. He faired ok in his hammock but did have to do some mucking around with his whole set up in the middle of the night. I finally felt hungry and wolfed down a bunch of food and then we packed up and dragged our gear and canoes over the rocks and set off for Turtle Head. Since this was a fairly big crossing, about 3 miles to round it off, we donned our wetsuits and of course we had a headwind. No sailing this day. The fog was thick and we stuck close together for the crossing and then headed down the coast to Ram's Island where we stopped for a bit. Hal had heard we could stay there if need be and there was a sign to that effect but ya know it was just too early in the day and the cabin was pretty much trashed meaning there was a lot of trash around for the mice to make themselves at home. Nah!
                      Cabin at Ram's Island
                      We headed out into the fog and mist, large sail boats were appearing out of the haze like ghosts and I felt like I was in a movie. I knew they probably couldn't see us as were hugging the shore, gunkholing so to speak, as we moved past Seal and Flat Island on our way to Warren Island.
                      During this stretch we had the sails up and made some good time but as we headed toward Grindle Point the winds either got to sketchy or were against us and I dropped my sail and started the long slough paddling. We headed for Warren Island and made it around dusk. We pulled up and found a water logged campsite but just above that was one that was fairly dry. Checking in with the Ranger we paid seventeen dollars for the campsite and an additional two for all the wood we could burn with free kindling in a fantastic firepit. In no time we had our three walled shelter up, a fire roaring, food cooking and took some sponge baths to wash the grime off. I don't know how long we enjoyed that fire but we sure didn't waste a penny of our two dollar wood!
                      The 3 sided shelter
                      June 30-09

                      Racing the Ferry, The Portage Through Rockland, Waiting to Get Famous or The Day From Hell:

                      We packed up and left Warren Island around eight-thirty under a fog and a light drizzle. The Ferry was running and we would be somewhere out there perhaps in its path. I was nervous as a cat in a dog pound as this would be a three mile crossing. We had to depend on Hal's GPS as we headed for Lincolnville. The tide was running and we had to head at a forty-five degree or so and changed our heading to Ducktrap Cove in order to make Lincolnville without getting washed down to Portland during the day! I got to hand it to Hal, and I'm not to shy about being a basket case with these crossings, he made us stick close for this and for most of the day. The fog never lifted. We missed the ferry but it made us both nervous until we could see it coming through the haze and mist. If it hadn't been for that Hal said we could have used the tide more to help us down the coast as there was no wind so we hugged the shore. My day consisted of paddling from one point to the next and they seemed endless so I gave up looking at the map. The mist from the fog and the passing clouds of drizzle made my glasses useless and I finally gave them up after spending more time cleaning them than paddling making for a tough vision day. We did see, I think, a bald eagle and had a couple of seals bark at us. The waters were as smooth as a baby's ass and we just kept a steady cadence of paddling going all day long. I certainly longed for some sun and a clearing sky but hell this is Scooter and Hal you're talking about and was about exactly what was to be expected.
                      Typical weather for Scooter and Hal, overcast, foggy and misty
                      Finally we hit Rockland and I was spent. Knowing there was a portage ahead and then a search for a campsite I offered to pay for a hotel room with an early start in the morning for the run down the St. George River. Kind of fell on deaf ears. Rounding yet another point Hal declared that there was a breakwater for about a mile out that we had to round, there was no way to find a way to carry over. We just did it as there wasn't a choice. We had quite an audience with onlookers on the breakwater, some taking pictures others asking about our sailing setups and where we were going. Didn't much matter to me, I was wiped at this point. We had to hunt down the boat ramp and got ready for the portage. I offered again for a hotel but Hal was hell bent on getting to the George River. I conceded and off we went towing and pushing our boats through the narrow streets of Rockland on our little portage carts. Hell, we had to stop at crosswalks and push the walk button. People beeped their horns at us and at least one guy stopped, got out of his car and took pictures of us.

                      We trudged up Route 1 for what was supposed to be a three mile portage ending up being around five miles. Along with the fog the humidity was trekking in and the march became a sweating mess. Finally we found the Fish River and just down the road was the boat ramp for the George River in Thomaston. We were supposed to head to a State Park but ended fighting the tide and settled for a muck hole campsite. I was pretty pissed off and there wasn't a whole lot of talk for the remainder of the evening. The privacy of my tent was welcomed.
                      Not So Happy Camper


                        Man, I couldn't do a trip like that, mentally. A gazillion ocean crossings in the cold Atlantic in Maine's fickle weather!!!

                        I used to be nervous in a sea kayak -- with my 33% roll -- further Downeast in the Bay of Fundy around Lubec and Campobello Island, and scared silly in the steep waves caused by opposing tides and strong winds in the fjord on Mt. Desert Island.


                          Glenn, I hear you as I am not a fan of long crossings, the tale gets a little better later down the line. I was in my Disco 158 and Hal was in his MR Explorer. The MRE being the better hull for waves with more freeboard.


                            Round Four

                            July 1-09

                            Shooting the Gut, Bookmarks, and the Rainbow Outhouse:

                            Woke up to a clammy damp tent with rain falling. In layman's terms another shitty day. We packed up and paddled back to the main river stopping at a store where we stocked up on many beers. I was still in a foul mood from the day before and talk was again lacking as we set up sails for the run up the George River. Of course the wind was against us but the tide was cranking out and we were making almost 8 mph according to the GPS. Even though it felt like I was fighting the current I wasn't but was tired of looking at nothing but fog and ghosts of islands shadows, it was depressing. Just too many days of this same sullen scenery.

                            Somewhere around Bird Point the winds shifted in our favor and we hoisted our sails and started sailing again. It was heavenly for me and a phenomenon occurred, the haze and overcast drifted off for a bit and I broke out my sunglasses. The breeze was enough to make speed without paddling but not strong enough to fight with while screaming along. I enjoyed a beer while motoring along watching Caldwell Island getting closer.

                            We found the opening to Pleasant Point Gut and sailed on in and through it at low water. It was fantastic, we were sailing and looping around moored boats, along the exposed rocks and shoals. It was refreshing and like in times past of some hard times on the trail I let those ugly thoughts go and found some solace in doing this new thing, dodging traffic in a canoe. We came out of the Gut and sailed into Friendship and Hatchet Cove on the way with our new tailwind tying off our canoes with our sails faces out from each canoe, I think this called Bookmarks, and just relaxed while taking turns steering.

                            Friendship didn't have much to offer to so we sailed our canoes out the crowded harbor again playing dogdeball with the moored vessels. It was so much fun to come so close and then just peel away and catch a breeze that caught your sail and yanked you forward at a respectable pace. We were now in Muncongus Bay and headed to an island that Hal had heard about. We found it and skirted around to the end of it where we found a path. I beached and walked the trail finding an outhouse and and the other end an octagonal structure, screened in with a working door and a nice bench that looked out over the mouth of Flood Cove. I reported back to Hal and we called it the spot to camp. Paddling back up we found a place to take out, tied off the boats, carried all gear up and Hal laid down in the gazebo and fell sound asleep. I spent time tying off cloths lines and hung gear until I was green in the face. Sitting on the bench I sipped a beverage and with wonder admired the view, I could actually see the opposite shoreline, a couple of island far off on the horizon and realized that my sunglasses were still on. I enjoyed the alone time even though my paddling buddy was not fifty feet away.

                            A good hour passed and I realized it was time to take advantage of the local commode! Enough of this digging, hell even my dog doesn't have to do that! I took to the trail and soon found the outhouse. As far as outhouses goes this was a rather nice one. Fresh wood, level, nice cleared path to it and in front of it. I had to admire it but my admiration would grow for as soon as I opened the door I found the first one third of it was painted with rainbow colors. It was quite unique to find such an outhouse for the colors almost caught my attention enough to forget about the true behaviors and special odors of such a structure, almost! Still it was a welcome relief. I do not think I will ever forget the colors of that outhouse!

                            The rest of the night was spent caring for the drying gear, cooking up a slew of meals, making a few cocktails, admiring the views and enjoying a day of no rain. With a good feeling I packed all of my drybags with dry gear and was rested for the first time in days. The lesson for the day is that crappy beginnings can make way for better opportunities.
                            Two Old Canoes docked at Ames Island
                            July 2-09

                            How I Came Back to Religion Again or I'm Out Of My Comfort Zone:

                            It was a lazy morning getting ready. Perhaps it was the rainbow outhouse calling, or the fact that is was once again fog and heavy mist, again. We started out to Turners Corner and a portage from there but as we came out of Flood Cove the wind was not in our favor so we changed headings again and headed out to Pemquid Point to the Damarisoctta River. We headed to the lower end of Bremen Long Island and then headed across to Hog Island and into Muncongus Sound where we followed the shore again. The wind once again favored us being mild at first but after we came to the end of Louds Island the wind picked up some. Until this point the waters were glassy and we were cruising at around 4 mph. We passed Round Pond and headed for New Harbor.
                            Making Our Way to New Harbor
                            Making about 4 knots with the wind
                            Finally in New Harbor, looking out to where we sailed in
                            Now, I'm usually up for some adventures but this one put me way beyond my comfort level and I wondered by the end of it if I would be looking for a priest or a church to find my mind again. As we got into the open waters unprotected by all those island the seas picked up. Now mind you, the lobster boats think nothing of these waves, nor do most other boats that exceed sixteen feet, have motors and aren't sailing with home made sails and just paddles to steer. The landscape on the shore was the classic cliffy type thing that you see in Maine pictures of the seacoast.

                            The swells coming in off the sea were colliding with the rock face and bouncing back out at us and the incoming swells. It became very confused and I could only concentrate on the sail, the water and where to point my bow. I was very concerned about the freeboard of my canoe as it is so low and took that into account with my every move of the paddle. It took a very short time to see that my canoe was very, very small. I was bracing, steering, paddling, using my body weight to keep in the direction I wanted. In order to keep things on a better keel I moved further out from the shoreline where things were more consistent, it wasn't my favorite choice but was the wisest thing to do considering. I kept looking back to see where Hal was and it wasn't far. At one point in the swells I could only see a section of his sail and just his shoulders and head. For an hour and a half we kept this up and I could only hope the priest had more than a glass of wine for me.

                            I was looking for signs of New Harbor and finally saw in the distance a large rock outcropping and a buoy, a bright beautiful orange buoy and to my left the opening to the harbor with boats moored there. I can't begin to say how grateful was was to see that. Turning into the harbor the waves built up some and my canoe began a nice surfing action, the whole bow out of the water with a loaded canoe. Blazing past a moored boat I looked for the nearest dock and let my sail go waiting for Hal. I could only say one thing to him, “That was outside my comfort zone!” With a shaky feeling we headed for the boat ramp and unloaded for the portage. It was then that Hal mentioned that we didn't have our wetsuits on nor was any of gear tied in to our boats. It certainly could have been a nasty event if one of us dumped.

                            We decided we deserved a nice lunch in a restaurant and headed for the nearest one by canoe. Avoiding a mile walk we were sipping a beer within ten minutes. Lobster and seafood casserole were the choice for food. It was good to be out of the weather for a while with a hot meal and cold beers nursing our throats and bellies. Now of course we were waiting with baited breath for a hot shower at the Pemaquid Beach town facility. We began our portage stopping to buy some grub and beverages and in route stopped to pick up a bag of dry wood for the fire later that night. Coming to the beach we found it closed and I can tell you we were both mighty disappointed. I was looking forward to washing some of the crustaceans off me. Instead we turned around and found the point and loaded up our boats.

                            The wind was picking up and as soon as I pushed off and out into it my sail was ripped out of my grip and I almost tumbled in to the water. I pulled in my boom line, reef?, and it was all I could do to get it a quarter of the way in. The boat took off like a bat out of hell but not where I wanted it to go. There was a lot of swearing going on! In the end I had to drop the sail and start the long paddle across the mouth of the John's River to the Gut to the mouth of the Damariscotta so we could make our way up it to Fort Island. Having to stop to lower our masts for the drawbridge that didn't acknowledge us took a few minutes and then we were sailing again making fantastic headway up the river. It was amazing how fast we were going. Just before the island the wind got confused and the current at the tip of the island made for some crazy boils. Somehow I was able to sail right into the beach.

                            As we were off loading the winds picked up coming from upstream right into our site and it chilled off enough that I ended in layers of fleece. Hal got a fire going with what was around and then we added the logs we bought. He had built a up the fire ring and with the 20+ mile an hour winds we had a blast furnace going eating through our logs like they were paper. My Crocs that had been rescued ended up being to close to the fire and next thing I knew they were on fire! I soon called it a night and headed for my tent as the winds started shifting from the south and the rain came. Then came the lighting and thunder and then the rain really started. My tent sounded like a drum! As I fell asleep I was wondering about those tall thin pines swaying in the winds next to my tent.

                            July 3-09

                            Crappy River Shoes, Thump, Thump, Thump, and The Middens:

                            Hal was up when I crawled out of my tent. He wasn't real happy. Apparently the heavy winds and rains had wreaked havoc with the tarp over his hammock and it flew off twice during the night forcing him to get out in that rain to secure it again. Of course he got wet as did his sleeping bag. I guess it was his turn for a long night. I went to check on the canoes and they were filled with at least two inches of water with our loose gear floating around. Man, that was a rainstorm!

                            We finally got on the water and paddled up the Damariscotta gunkholing again, just hugging the shoreline and fighting the tide. We finally crossed the river at a narrow section and then the wind made its appearance and we were able to hoist sails again and make some headway. Hal mentioned we were just doing about 2-3 mph but I didn't mind, it was better than paddling. Then an amazing thing happened! The sky cleared and the sun came out! It was magnificent, to feel the heat from it, to be able to see the views that were offered! I was happy. We pulled into the boat ramp with a restaurant overlooking it and within five minutes had located a laundromat, bank, and place to buy new shoes. There was no way in hell I was going to spend the rest of the trip in my knee high Chota's, been there, done that and my feet don't like it unless it's twenty degrees out. We back tracked to the boats and got some wet gear, mostly Hal's, some money and off we went shopping and scouting for a portage over the bridge that spans between Damariscotta and Newcastle. The tide was running out and damn if there weren't at least a heavy class II rapid in there.

                            While the cloths were drying we ventured into a store called Remy in search of shoes for me. I wanted another pair of Crocs but this was a tourist town and all I could find was overly priced ones with fur on them so I settled for a thin pair of river shoes that reminded more of a ballet slipper but hell ten bucks is a lot less than thirty bucks. We headed for the restaurant for a beer to kill time and checked the tide chart Hal had on his cell phone. If we waited for a while we could catch the tide coming in which would help us up the river and under the bridge. So we opted for a meal and it was one of the best I've ever had. Haddock that was so damn thick and juicy it was like a steak! By now the tide was rushing in and keeping an eyeball on the river we finally determined the time was right to make our attempt.

                            We paddled down below the bridge and hoisted our sails and of course mine jammed about half way up. The wind caught it and the current was pushing me hard so with some swearing going on I went for it. As I approached the bridge I was looking hard at the top of my mast, the bridge, my mast, the bridge, my mast...OH FUCK, OH FUCK, OH FUCK, I kept repeating loud enough that I'm sure the folks on the restaurant deck could hear. My mast was going to hit the bridge girders and all I could think of was the carnage and clean up of all my gear which of course was not tied in again! The top of my mast, a piece of PVC rigged for the lines hit the girder but just barely and slid as the pole/mast bent backwards, thank god for aluminum. THUMP, against the next girder, THUMP, the next and so on until I cleared the bridge. I think there were six or eight of the buggers, all I could do was pray!

                            I looked back and Hal was keeled over so his mast never hit once. As soon as I rounded into an eddie and pulled on my line to raise the sail it went up smooth as silk, go figure! I wonder what all the folks on that deck were saying watching us go through, I don't think it's everyday you see a couple of canoes sail up and under a bridge like that one.

                            We sailed a bit more but the wind petered out on us and we were once again paddling and made our way to the Middens. Middens are hugh mounds of oyster shells left over from the Indians over thousands of years. It was an amazing thing to see even though it was grown over . I could see where the waters had eaten away at the mound and it was nothing but crushed shells, white, brittle, a piece of history. We paddled up further to a point called Glidden Point and ended up there for the night. Upon later investigation we think it was also a Midden...Glidden Midden, has a nice ring to it don't you think? Not needing a fire and still stuffed from lunch I enjoyed the bench that was there, the view and a few cocktails and finally called it an evening as the rain started to move back in although I did find myself chuckling every once in a while and muttering, “THUNK, THUNK, THUNK!”

                            July 4-09

                            In Which We Meet a Fellow Tripper, Are Awed By A Ladder, Watch a Renegade Power Boat:

                            Happy 4th of July! We got on the water around 8 a.m. Just in time as it turns out we were camped on a trail that lead from the road to the point. A couple of people hiked out into view as we were paddling out. Our destination was Damariscotta Lake. Within a mile we had to pull over break down our sailing rigs and begin our portage to the first fresh water we would see the entire trip! While we were loading up the portage carts and boats a gentleman came strolling down and thought he was going to give us grief. Instead he said he had been watching us and knew we were paddlers as we both knew how to use a bent shaft paddle. He introduced himself as Mark Becker and said he and some friend had paddled from Ft. Collins, CO to Sheabag, ME back in 87', I think. They were out for 145 days! They used a MR Lamoille for the trip. Hal and I shook his hand and stood there in awe! Cripes, I think we stood there talking for over an hour, compared routes, got some info and advice and finally started our portage.

                            We headed up the road, a hill, and within five minutes ran into Diane and Russ. Diane asked what was up and where we were headed. It turns out we were there for another hour as their backyard is a fish ladder for alewives and is slowly being rebuilt. To date they have raised donations enough to do a about half of the ladder. The rebuild began last year and it is beautiful, rock work that is amazing to see as it jigs and jags across the drops. She said that last year over 100,000 fish made it and they are estimating that when it is done they will see over 400,000. The ladder is definitely one of those have to see to believe sights. I could only admire the craftsmanship!

                            We moved on and within no time were on the lake and the sun was out, the skies were blue, the wind was down and it was warm! Hal headed for a small island not even a mile away and pulled in, beached and by the time I got there was swimming, washing, and smiling from ear to ear. First bath in over a week. With this weather and considering the island that offered a sweet campsite we made camp. Hell, I think we covered a grand total of three miles but that was A-OK. We strung lines and soon had all of our damp cloths hanging in the sun, our tent/hammock drying and ourselves stretched out soaking up the day! I love fluff days!

                            A few hours of this must have made Mother Nature notice us, she hadn't picked on us since the tide flooded my tent. The clouds built and soon we could hear thunder and see some lightening and we packed up our now dry gear and headed to our shelters just in time for the rain and a heavy wind to move in. I was mighty happy to be huckered down instead of paddling in this. It seemed to be one small strong storm after another. In between I heard Hal on his phone, it sounded like he was reporting something. Now this seemed odd to me as here we are on an island. Crawling out of my tent I asked him what was going on and apparently he had called 911 as a power boat, dock, and swimming dock were drifting loose and by the island. Going to the other side of the island there it was, a very interesting sight. I guess Mother Nature doesn't like power boats anymore than she likes Scooter and Hal. The rest of the day was spent dodging storms, hanging out in the shelters and towards evening got a good fire going. It was a good day to show you that there are some real interesting folks out there in the world.

                            Last edited by dougd; 12-31-2019, 07:07 AM.


                              I definitely would not enjoy three-mile crossings in fog. This was a very challenging trip, Doug. Glad it was you and Hal, and not me.

                              i liked the restaurant stops, though.