Allagash Lake Four days of Noticing and a little paddling

Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,389
Location
Raymond, ME
Four days of noticing.. Allagash Lake(Maine)
Long been a goal of mine, to get to Allagash Lake, I just wanted to paddle around for several days and notice. A canoe friend of mine died Sept 17 and this was written in her obituary.
“You can honor Jean's memory by sitting in a quiet spot in nature, free of distractions and let it speak to you. “

The elusive Allagash Lake.. how to get there usually involves stories of battling up Allagash Stream from Chamberlain Lake or dodging potholes on the Johnson Pond “road” to launch at Johnson Pond and wade through head high mud at the outlet of the pond and several beaver dams, or drag your boat down Allagash Stream from another launch on the Johnson Pond Road upstream of Allagash Lake.

How bout walking in?? It’s never mentioned as a way to approach the lake. And it’s a fine and dandy way to approach.

We start our journey going through Greenville and hit the dirt at Kokadjo up the Ragged Lake Road, Left onto Golden Road. That is a freeway! Nicely graded.. Logging trucks do ungodly speed here.

A stop at Ragamuff Stream







Up the Ragamuff Road and over the Caucamogomoc Dam Road to Ledge Road where we find our nights lodging on Round Pond ( there must be hundreds of Round Ponds in Maine) at Loon Lodge. Our hosts are Ray and Leslie Cooley. Its taken four hours to get there from Greenville. Our cabin is wonderful. It’s a housekeeping cabin but if you don’t care to cook Leslie makes great meals. There is outdoor plumbing next t o the cabin but also a central showerhouse ; separate sides for men and women. Hot water and flush toilets. The camp is powered by propane and that powers the generator that supplies the hot water and electric. You get hot water and light in the bathroom even in the middle of the night. The cabins have one electric light and several gas lights. Its heated via a wood stove and the woodshed is close by.





Next morning we are breakfasted and ready to leave for the end of the portage trail to Allagash Lake. Its just two miles from Loon Lodge. The trail goes to the Carry Trail campsite with another branch going to the Ranger Station and the trail up Allagash Mt.
The road gets sort of narrow.. two mph is plenty with all the holes. Its for a high ground clearance vehicle.




After two miles here is the gate and the start of the 1.3 mile portage. No worries. It seems to be cartable..



We throw everything on the cart. We never checked the tires.. Not even at home.. DUH.. Yes everything means two canoes. One is 65 lbs or so the other 23.




After going a few hundred feet and through mud, we found both tires FLAT.. Nevertheless we pushed on.. Whats done is done. A few muddy spots no big rocks for about .75 mile. Then the sign points to the right at a fork.. Carry Trail. This trail has the campsite at the end. We chose this one as the day of getting out is going to be even longer.. we have to extract ourselves to the truck, drive to Millinocket (four hours) and another three home. What might be nicer sites on Allagash Lake are another two hour paddle.
Now this is the trail from heck.. Rocky rooty, slippery corduroy where all the bark has come off the cedar long ago. Husband takes two falls off the corduroy.one with the 65 lb Raven. This part of the trail is NOT cartable. Anyway we are all in camp at 11:30 AM some two and half hours after start. Here is the view. Frat party in progress








Its kind of a dark campsite in the shade of Allagash Mountain. We take an afternoon paddle and here is the view back with the ranger cabin at the end of the bay. It looks like no one is home right now. The weather is sort of not raining right now, but not quite warm (about 50 degrees)

Next morning is grey.. grey.. Here is Rapid Fire ready to go.



. We hope the grey leaves.We paddle up the east side of the lake past islands and then to Outlet Campsite. Note the blue!










We would like to go down Allagash Stream but at Outlet the stream is a trickle and it would be a drag.



. So after lunch ( this is Wed) we go back to camp and prepare for dinner.

Just about then a Ranger pops into camp. Like all Allagash Rangers Jay is talky! He learns of our cart woes and volunteers he has a bike pump and to come over to the cabin next morning before he sets off on line duties. He also says that when we leave camp its way easier to load boats and go over to his lawn and take the cart trail from there.. It’s allowed. Here is a view of the Ranger Cabin under Allagash Mountain



Turns out he also has an extra cart that he found at the bottom of Little Allagash Falls that is just like ours and if we cant fix ours we can borrow that and leave it at his truck (next to our truck) After 90 minutes of jawing hubby volunteers that maybe Jay would like to see our permit.. Jay says..well I better I reckon.. though if we couldn’t find it that probably would not have mattered.

Next am hubby is off to fix the cart. Turns out one wheel needs a patch. So we will borrow the “found “ cart. Today we are off to the West shore..about four hours round trip..maybe like yesterday 10 miles of noticing. We have been visited by loons and the white throated sparrow is making half hearted song but giving up after the first “Peabody”

Destination Ice Caves.. We get to the campsite and scramble the.25 miles up the branch trail off the toilet trail that leads to the main cave. No way am I going down in that! Even the dog balks! Jim goes a very little ways down. Its way dark in there. If you go bring a rope and headlamp. It helps if you are twelve years old.



Here is where the dog stays! At the top!






Return to camp.



We leave early next morning. It’s never gotten warm and we are grateful for our Trango 3.1 winter tent. We load the boats, paddle to the Ranger Station and prepare the cart to go down the trail.



The view down the trail reminds me that all in all 2014 has been a very good paddling year: From Florida to Utah to Montana to Lake Superior to back home in Maine. The Sinatra song resonates in my head, especially this verse

But now the days are short, I'm in the autumn of my years
And I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
It poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year

 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 26, 2013
Messages
2,435
Location
Colrain MA
I've attempted the route starting down on Umbazooksus Stream and was turned back by 3' white caps on Caucamogomoc. Thanks for showing me what I missed.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,667
Location
Appleton, Maine
Your trips of this year remind me more of this:
"I planned each charted course,

Each careful step along the byway,
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way."

I love that cabin, from the stove, the carvings on the chair, the dog at pa's feet, she's a lucky Golden. I wouldn't go into the ice cave either, Thanks for sharing your trip.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Messages
427
Location
Long Island, NY
Nice trip.

I know the Raven has a lot of volume but I didn't know the Raven was big enough to bring a spare canoe!
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
1,133
Location
Minden, NV
A nice time of year to be on the water in Maine.
I lost a friend a few years ago that was one of my horseback riding friends. He was an excellent hand and had spent a year once on a wagon train going across the US with young people. In his honor I went on an all day ride in winter with my best saddle mule and lead a horse for company. A good dog came along. I thought really hard about all of the things Dana brought to the world, the big hole he left when he passed. Sometimes being alone is best. Animals can be the perfect amount of company in difficult times. I felt much better. Being outdoors is the right place to grieve for outdoor people. sorry for your loss.
 
Joined
Sep 21, 2014
Messages
182
Location
Wisconsin
Wow! Your photos inspire me to bring our canoe to Maine. You are amazing with a camera. What beautiful country. I've only been to Maine for work. So busy, never realized how beautiful it is.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I gotta get back to Maine. I hope my friends and family will honor me in that way when I go.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2014
Messages
4,366
Location
Ontario Canada
You've had a very good year YC. You've travelled far, and I've really enjoyed your trips. Thanks for sharing them. Nice, closing out the season with a paddle in your backyard.
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2013
Messages
2,435
Location
Colrain MA
We had our own cart problems last week also. When we put the cart together at the trains we were missing one of the pins to lock the pads upright. Fortunately we found a piece to replace the pin.
Loading the car we found the pin on the ground. I'll find a better way to secure it to the frame or bring a spare.
 
Top