2020 St. John River Trip

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Had the luxury of realizing the planned St.John River trip this year when Governor Mills lifted the ban in a timely manner for back country camping. Paddled from Baker Lake to Dickey Bridge with my father and a group of 4 that we met up with on day 2 of our trip. We did not know the people within this group but it made sense to finish the river together and we had a great time and developed new friendships. River flow was at about medium. Big Black Rapids was more intense than Big Rapids but both were very manageable with the existing river flows. We didn't go swimming! Here is a link to my latest Youtube video if you would like to see the trip in action.

https://youtu.be/K2t-WYRTkBM
 
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Thanks for taking me along. You will cherish this time with your father more and more as you grow older.
The old guy's that my father climbed power poles with were his pallbearers. At my dad's funeral they told me that the canoe trip I took my father on was one of the highlights of his life. We caught and ate square tails and ruffed grouse in beautiful fall weather on lakes and little rivers in a little traveled northern forest. I can close my eyes now fifty years later an see all those magic moments in vivid detail.
Hats off to Pistol Pete he raised a good son.
 
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Nice video! I did that exact trip in 2018 (and stayed at at least 3 of the same sites as you and your dad).

I agree that Big Black Rapids can be more more intense than the much longer Big Rapids. Did you scout Big Black first or just run it on the fly?

While we took out at the same bridge as you, I got a chance in 2019 to run that extra 10-12 miles down to St. Francis/Pelletiers by extending an Allagash trip. It's worth doing the next time.

Bet you were glad you were in a Tripper and not your Wabnaki when you went over that rock!
 
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Stayed at at least three of the campsites you chose. I agree those old huts are vermin filled and sad to hear that Ledges fell apart but that was expected. We stayed there in a snowstorm and a leg of the burning stove buckled sending a merry lit stove rolling across the unlevel floor.

Love seeing reminders of the ice.. Remarkable how break up can throw slabs far up the bank.
 
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Nice soundtrack. I like big wide open rivers with some current.
I never got to paddle with my Dad who is now 95. I did take him on a pack trip once with mules and donkeys and just the two of us. We used to hunt every year even though we lived in different states. There is nothing better than meeting new paddling companions that work out. There is nothing worse than meeting new companions that don't work out.
 
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Thanks for taking me along. You will cherish this time with your father more and more as you grow older.
The old guy's that my father climbed power poles with were his pallbearers. At my dad's funeral they told me that the canoe trip I took my father on was one of the highlights of his life. We caught and ate square tails and ruffed grouse in beautiful fall weather on lakes and little rivers in a little traveled northern forest. I can close my eyes now fifty years later an see all those magic moments in vivid detail.
Hats off to Pistol Pete he raised a good son.

I am delighted that our journey has rekindled the memory’s of the journey that you and your father shared. Other than the love of the outdoors there is that extra piece that we all desire to share with our fathers. In turn we must share with our own children. I am trying to do that as well, but admittedly kids are different these days. Managed to get my kids on the Allagash and the West Branch of the Penobscot so for now I am holding on to those memories. This was a trip that I will never forget with my Dad! Keep your memories of your special trip with your Dad ALIVE!
 
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Nice soundtrack. I like big wide open rivers with some current.
I never got to paddle with my Dad who is now 95. I did take him on a pack trip once with mules and donkeys and just the two of us. We used to hunt every year even though we lived in different states. There is nothing better than meeting new paddling companions that work out. There is nothing worse than meeting new companions that don't work out.

Music is an integral piece to canoe tripping In general and naturally fits in most cases. It can be overdone and to hear that you enjoyed the blend was nice to hear. I find that most paddlers within the paddling community have much to offer and are extremely welcoming and interesting! It worked out this time for sure! Keep that pack trip alive with your Dad! Seems like it was one to remember!
 
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Stayed at at least three of the campsites you chose. I agree those old huts are vermin filled and sad to hear that Ledges fell apart but that was expected. We stayed there in a snowstorm and a leg of the burning stove buckled sending a merry lit stove rolling across the unlevel floor.

Love seeing reminders of the ice.. Remarkable how break up can throw slabs far up the bank.

Ledge Rapids is in complete disrepair. There is a load of pressure treated wood standing by on site that will most likely be used to save the cabin from utter ruins. I remember reading about your dancing embers on the Ledges cabin floor somewhere within this forum! The ice on the banks was certainly plentiful especially on sharp river bends!
 
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Nice video! I did that exact trip in 2018 (and stayed at at least 3 of the same sites as you and your dad).

I agree that Big Black Rapids can be more more intense than the much longer Big Rapids. Did you scout Big Black first or just run it on the fly?

While we took out at the same bridge as you, I got a chance in 2019 to run that extra 10-12 miles down to St. Francis/Pelletiers by extending an Allagash trip. It's worth doing the next time.

Bet you were glad you were in a Tripper and not your Wabnaki when you went over that rock!

We had time so we scouted Big Black and ran it river left to center. Fun ride! In all actuality we never ran over the rock on that aggressive sluice. I pulled us into the hole just in time. We did not bump at all on that run and only took on a couple gallons of water. Next time I will have a different camera arrangement to capture both paddlers negotiating those rapids.
 
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I think there was a sentence or two at the end that made this special. You said at the end of the video: "Ultimately doing it with my father," a pause, "The ultimate!" I think that says it all! Thanks for sharing and I had some fond memories of my trip down the St. John a few years ago!
 
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I think there was a sentence or two at the end that made this special. You said at the end of the video: "Ultimately doing it with my father," a pause, "The ultimate!" I think that says it all! Thanks for sharing and I had some fond memories of my trip down the St. John a few years ago!

Thanks Doug, sometimes it is awkward to reveal true feelings on camera but this time it just came naturally. I am sure that you enjoyed the St.John as much as we did because as you know it is a special place.
 
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We had time so we scouted Big Black and ran it river left to center. Fun ride! In all actuality we never ran over the rock on that aggressive sluice. I pulled us into the hole just in time. We did not bump at all on that run and only took on a couple gallons of water. Next time I will have a different camera arrangement to capture both paddlers negotiating those rapids.

That must have been an UH OH moment.. I was sure it was going to get you and kept urging my chair right....
 
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That must have been an UH OH moment.. I was sure it was going to get you and kept urging my chair right....

That chute did pull us more left then we had hoped but I performed a hard draw to the right at the last moment and we slid right in there nicely. Our paddling companions were all excited about that hole we decided to run. Again my camera angle didn’t capture the full concept of that 5 ft hole. I was hoping to have a stern camera mounted to capture Pistol and myself in action but there wasn’t enough time before our trip to rig it up. Tumblehome (Jason Irwin) shared several photos with me regarding his setup. I will get it right next time!
 
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I enjoyed your video on my tv, looked like a fun trip. I too was kinda leaning right at the rock, you did well with the camera, and the narration too, it was clear you and your dad enjoyed each other’s company. I was watching the weather During your trip and was happy for you guys, it was a “last week” trip.
(you know, “you shoulda of been here last week”)
 
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I enjoyed your video on my tv, looked like a fun trip. I too was kinda leaning right at the rock, you did well with the camera, and the narration too, it was clear you and your dad enjoyed each other’s company. I was watching the weather During your trip and was happy for you guys, it was a “last week” trip.
(you know, “you shoulda of been here last week”)

Robin thank you for watching! The weather was fantastic so thanks for rooting for us! My Dad and I are very similar in that we enjoy the canoe tripping lifestyle. There are many other similarities but to keep it in a canoeing context we both enjoy the wilderness and what it has to offer. Unfortunately there was a big chunk of Big Rapids video that was somehow deleted and I was fumbling with the camera prior to the Big Black Rapids and missed that too. It is fun to capture the trip, but as you know based on your videos there is a lot of work and distraction associated with it. I am learning to enjoy more, film less, but capture the appropriate moments.....especially when I am not flubbing it up! Started work again today on the Wabnaki so hopefully it will be ready for my next date with Mother Nature during the middle of June! I will be filming the entire trip. Lots of memory cards and hopefully sun to recharge the equipment. Thanks again Robin. Your comments are always appreciated!
 
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Time spent with Dad Is Always Great !

On the Water ? Even better !!

i can see the simularities in both of you ! Cool !

Jim
 
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I am delighted that our journey has rekindled the memory’s of the journey that you and your father shared. Other than the love of the outdoors there is that extra piece that we all desire to share with our fathers. In turn we must share with our own children. I am trying to do that as well, but admittedly kids are different these days. Managed to get my kids on the Allagash and the West Branch of the Penobscot so for now I am holding on to those memories. This was a trip that I will never forget with my Dad! Keep your memories of your special trip with your Dad ALIVE!

Sadly, my Dad's idea of 'roughing it' was having to stay at Super 8 or Motel 6. But in 1965 as a HS graduation celebration he spent 10 days canoeing with me in Algonquin ( it snowed in late August and he never complained). He spoke fondly about the experience for the next 54 years.

I have been canoe tripping with my sons since they were big enough to hold a paddle, they are now 49 and 50 YO. In 2 weeks we will be taking a long weekend river trip +/-45 miles, my 1st trip since open heart surgery 15 mos. ago (4 bypasses & aortic valve replacement) I sure hope my sons have good memories of our trips when I'm gone..
 
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Sadly, my Dad's idea of 'roughing it' was having to stay at Super 8 or Motel 6. But in 1965 as a HS graduation celebration he spent 10 days canoeing with me in Algonquin ( it snowed in late August and he never complained). He spoke fondly about the experience for the next 54 years.

I have been canoe tripping with my sons since they were big enough to hold a paddle, they are now 49 and 50 YO. In 2 weeks we will be taking a long weekend river trip +/-45 miles, my 1st trip since open heart surgery 15 mos. ago (4 bypasses & aortic valve replacement) I sure hope my sons have good memories of our trips when I'm gone..

What an amazing opportunity for you and your sons. Wishing you the best of trips to log one more adventure with your boys. Have a blast and hopefully you can share a trip report on this forum. I would enjoy reading all about it. Good luck and glad you are in good health!
 
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Great video! Karen and I enjoyed watching last night! Thank you for making the effort to produce and post it. I love the working landscape of the commercial timberland in Northern Maine. Glad you had great weather and good water. Great to see Norm included! He makes our trips possible with class and a smile! Lifetime memories for both you and your Dad!
 
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