5 days in downeast Maine solo

Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,667
Location
Appleton, Maine
I just returned from 5 days in coastal eastern Maine (downeast), I spent 2 &1/2 days at 4th Machias Lake and 2 & 1/2 days at 3rd Machias Lake

The weather was good, although I had some storm clouds and thunderstorms come close,



My campsite at 4th Machias Lake


Out front of the campsite, an island and my 16 foot Chestnut Pal wood canvas canoe


A cow moose, one of 8 I saw at 4th Lake, along with many ducks, geese, eagles and loons. Also, I never saw another person or boat here. There are 8 cabins spread about the 4 mile long lake, all are very neat and set back as not to harm the wilderness feel of the area.


A couple of yearling moose grazing on a back meadow I hiked into, not the best photo, but I quickly snapped this shot and backed off not to stress them.


After 2 & 1/2 days at 4th Machias Lake, I moved down to 3rd Machias Lake for 2 & 1/2 days, here is my campsite there, with my old Campmore tarp, a Timberline 4 man tent and a bunch of stuff on the cedar table set up by some other camper a long time ago


Cookin' dinner over the fire


Out front of the 3rd Lake campsite

Again, 3rd Lake campsite beach with me and my outfit, a wood canvas Chestnut Pal, and 2 Duluth Packs, a Wanderer and a #4 Cruiser Pack, plus two Beavertail Paddles


This is a great area to canoe camp in. If you pick up the AMC's "Quiet Waters, Maine" guide book, you will learn all you need to know to camp here. If you can go midweek, you will probably have most lakes to yourself and it's free.

Finally, headin' out on 3rd Lake
 
W

Willis

Guest
Welcome to the forum Beavertail. Thanks for the TR and great pics.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Thanks ! This trip too is on my bucket list. It was supposed to be removed from the bucket this week as an accomplishment, but that would have ruined the solo experience for you!

Life got in the way! Packing for an extended trip, wrestling with a Excel spreadsheet for gear organization, buying three cases of Power Bars and assorted campie food items at Trader Joes(that is a good store for dehydrated fruit), a doctor appointment, a drivers license renewal trip, buying a replacement vehicle and registering it and assorted minutae of what we call "life" totally wiped out an Eastern Maine trip for me.

I remember BJ had a last years trip too. I swear I WILL do one in the fall. Pinky swear. But the moose won't be out.

June is the best month for moose in Maine. Ye who have not seen moose..come. They are common but still exciting to watch.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Next week I am shooting for these lakes.. One question though..Did you launch from the south end of Third and paddle to the Fourth through what looks to be a small stream? From what I gather from the AMC Quiet Water Guide this might not be possible in the fall.

I am either doing this or West Grand-Junior. Its getting windy though as fall progresses.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,667
Location
Appleton, Maine
I didn't use that stream (Machias River), I'm not sure if it could be paddled-poled-tracked-dragged-portaged from 3rd to 4th this time of year. It would be fun finding out.

I never really got up to the outlet of the river where it comes into 3rd, and I don't know if there are any campsites up there. So if you paddled from the put in on the south end of 3rd Machias Lake north to the north end where the river comes in, it's a long paddle back to the campsites that I know of around Prune Island.

I drove a small logging trail which ends at the river between 3rd and 4th lakes about mid way between the lakes-(it's at B2-page 35 in the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer), it had a nice little fast water there, what a peaceful little campsite to car camp at.
Having said all that, I know the river is canoeable in the spring, but being stuck with only wood canvas canoes anymore, I chose to stick to the flatwaters of 3rd and 4th and traveled by truck between the lakes.

If the wind is blowing, 3rd lake can be paddled to Prune Island area with some creative paddling routes
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
Hi Robin, I sure enjoy your trip reports and especially the photos. The only problem is that I get to looking at how simple and neat everything is in your canoe and compare it to my aquatic grapes of wrath load and I feel bad. Well it's not that bad but sure could stand improvement. How in the world have you been able to reduce the load down to such compact dimensions? Or, I suppose it could be that I'm just a wimpette addicted to creature comforts and you are stoic spartan woodsman. If you ever wanted to do a photo essay of how you pack and manage your load, I for one would be very interested.
You've spoken before about your Chestnut pal, what did you say the weight was? Is there anyone who makes a similar canoe now that approaches yours in quality?
Best Wishes, Rob
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Thanks Robin..My backup plan is to drive to the south end of Third lake..take a couple of days..then regroup and drive to the top of Fourth. With textbooks (I am taking courses each Monday at USM) I really do not want to portage. But I want to get out and enjoy some paddling with fall colors. Those are really popping out here. I hope I am not too late there.

I too will have a campsite and boat that looks like an outdoor slum. I will be taking a chair!

http://www.stewartriver.com/canoes/pal.html

Rob are you thinking of making a Pal? The Stewart River Pal has high sheer..so I know I would have trouble paddling it in wind.
Tom MacKenzie of Loon Works makes a Pal that is quite similar to the Chestnut. However it is a lighter grade boat and not suited to rivers..you need to keep it on lakes. It comes in about 40 lbs. Its a furniture grade boat, that not everyone is keen on bashing around on multiday trips.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
Hi Yellow Canoe, Actually I'm just wishful thinking. Every time Robin shows us his canoes it just makes me wish I wasn't so clumsy with my canoe and could risk using something that beautiful. As it is mine is a Swift Prospector in Guide-conFusion, as I understand it the material is supposed to be just about as strong as they make it. All to often I've proven the wisdom of picking that material.
Thanks for the Stewart River site, those canoes are sure beautiful.
Best Wishes, Rob
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,667
Location
Appleton, Maine
That's a good plan YC, a real nice area to spend some time in. My last two trips have been there, so maybe it's becoming my favorite. The price (free) is right for the fixed income crowd, just read over at Canadian Canoe Routes where someone spent $40 a night at a drive in site in Algonquin.

Hi Oldie Moldy, Thanks for noticing my downsizing as of late. I somewhat retired my old #3 Duluth Pack for that new #4 Cruiser Pack which is smaller than the #3. I gave up on the gas stove (peak1 if I remember correctly) and fuel, I carry a Cold Handle frying pan and a twig burning stove (forgot the name of it,but he used to advertise on that solo canoe website I refuse to mention that we all used to go to..haha), much lighter and I only boil meals or cook fish/pancakes over a campfire with frying pan so it has worked out lighter. I also quit carrying so much clothes, one shirt and one pair of pants, if they need to dry out, I'll wear my swimsuit or rain pants if company shows up.
I just started looking at what I used and what I didn't use and left the didn't use home, it has worked out well for me. I even downsized my fishing gear to a few lures I really like. No more tackle bag with stuff I never use. I carry two poles, one tied inside the canoe, the other ready to use. I found my real never breaks so I quit carrying two. I di break a pole this year on the door of my truck, so I was glad to have the second. I also leave my filter home on most trips nowadays. I just get my water out in the middle of the lake and so far so good...I know,taking a chance, but if I see lots of beaver, I'll boil it.
That Chestnut Pal weighs a good 65lbs, maybe more, surely more at the end of a rainy trip. But, I can't say enough about Chestnut Canoes. Lots of folks make great canoes, many are of better quality and much better workmanship,
but I'm a true Chestnut Canoe lover, the history and the names given to Chestnuts...Prospector, Pal, Bob's, Chum, many company's and builders have taken the names, but they aren't Chestnuts with the Canadian History I admire.
If you want a really good smaller wood canvas canoe, the Chestnut Chum is ideal for you and your dog and that downsized outfit I know you will be working on..haha, Chums are tough to find, but at 55lbs, a real good solo wood canvas canoe.
My 2 cents (cdn)
 
Top