Allagash River

Joined
Sep 26, 2013
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Colrain MA
We started the drive up at 4 AM from western Mass and my son from NH to meet at the Gray Service Stop on I 95 for 0800. Lunch in Millenocket and made Indian Stream just after 3 PM. We found plenty of water there the Kayaks and the first two canoes paddled down the stream, I walked mine down. We met a bit of wind when we hit Eagle Lake and opted to spend the night at Thoreau Campsite.



The next morning we went over to see the EL&WB RR While the kids climbed on the engines



Nick and I checked out the operation of the cars







and the Tram



We spent the night a Jaws and walked up to Churchill Dam to look at the museum and talk to the Ranger about the open of the dam the next morning. Home made Mac and Cheese with biscuits on the reflector oven. After a great breakfast of Bacon and Eggs we paddle to the dam and had no problems running Chase Rapids.

Lunch at the Ledges



We spent night #3 at Jalbert on Long Lake.

Laurel cooked Venison Back Straps from an 80 lb yearly culled from Governors Island on Lake Winnipesaukee NH with baked venison sausage and veggies



Cinnamon Rolls on the reflector oven for breakfast



We lined Long Lake Dam (my step daughter Allison)





While the boys scout who had to carry the other side and watched Phil paddle out.



We had a fun paddle down to Round Pond and stayed at Squirrels Pocket ( Thanks for the suggestion yc) Back Channel looked good also but as it turned out we were hit with 2 1/2" of rain shortly after we had set up, I think we would have been more exposed at BC.

Another great night of food. It started with Baked stuffed Peppers



Then homemade lasagna also heated in the reflector oven and for dessert Baked Stuff Apples, which kept the kids busy.(Devil eyes is my grandson Derek)



The rain hit just in time Round Pond Rips were full. We stopped in at Cunliffe Depot to see the Lombards, Nick is a Forester by trade and Phil an environmental science teacher really enjoyed the history of logging in the area.

We spent the 4th night at Ramsey Ledge. Homemade Beef Stew and Corn Bread from the reflector oven



and visited Joe Mckiel's grave.



Hammock hanging area



After a great visit with the Ranger Trevor Oleary who a way distant relative by marriage we 3 carried the Falls


Katie and Derek


We spent the last night at Big Brook North and my night to cook, Meatballs and gravy with zucchini and carrots over wild rice.


with biscuits


The last nights entertainment was catching deer flies



The last day was a relaxing paddle down to Allagash Village





CFM for the week



Great trip, great group, super food, and prefect weather.
 

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Joined
Jun 9, 2013
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42
Location
Old Lyme, CT
Thanks for the trip report and photos. I'm planning on heading up there for a week in the beginning of September if there is enough water.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2013
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Wow, that some good eat'n! Very interesting report, and gave me some new ideas for the reflector oven.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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6,389
Location
Raymond, ME
Is there a reflector oven thread? I would really like a collapsible one and lost out on the auction of a Sproule oven.. I was pushing and shoving the best I could as the silent auction closed at half price of the $149 retail. I can't afford that.. or maybe better put I can't justify that.
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2013
Messages
2,435
Location
Colrain MA
We always eat go on the Allagash and where we spend the most time experimenting. There is only one short carry so you can add a lot of cooking gear. We used seven stoves, burning four different fuels this trip.

I got mine from Pole and Paddle, but I just checked their web site and he now wants $145 for the one I bought a few years back for $95-ish

One of the things I love most about camping anywhere is pulling out that Reflector Oven. The kids get to play with the fire and once you cook with it it's no problem getting them to find the pile of wood to cook with it.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
The fun thing about the Allagash is that while it now really IS wilderness, the resident rangers keep up facilities. There is a ranger at Chamberlain Bridge,Churchill Dam, Umsaskis Lake and Michaud Farm. I think I got them all. They maintain campsites in Old Town XL canoes with 9.9 outboards when needed. Its not unusual to see them toting around lumber and lawnmowers and chainsaws. The moose love to rub against the ridgepole supports to rid themselves of bugs and velvet.

Those rangers live there year round!

I have had a lot of fun encounters with them. Once on Farm Island on Eagle Lake we knew from the sky that the weather was iffy.. The Churchill Ranger came by to warn us of bad weather. While we are good at reading the sky and maybe we didn't need the visit, it was a nice touch and indicated the rangers were looking after paddlers.

At Long Lake Dam we had two pull in for lunch. They were not there to read us the riot act but to chat and they shared some great stores of life on the river and we talked moose habits. What a great educational resource.

The best was Ranger Tom Coon at Chamberlain Bridge. One lousy October 3 years ago we paddled from Chamberlain Bridge to Eagle Lake and back. It snowed rained and blew hard. It was generally miserable. We camped at Mud Brook ( mostly underwater) and at Lock Dam. Almost got winded at Pillsbury Island.. anyway when we arrived back at our start point of Chamberlain Bridge..here come da ranger. He invited us into his cabin for coffee. We accepted with the caveat that we had to load the canoe and gear onto the truck first. 15 minutes later we knocked on the door of his cabin for coffee.

We spent two hours chatting. He had made soup and there was fresh bread from the woodstove. And coffee.. And no he would not take a dime.. Thats the sort of northwoods fellow I love to meet.

Those picnic tables and ridgepoles and campfire rings may scream civilization but they are maintained by the few that live there.
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2013
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Location
Colrain MA
Your right yc they are a helpful group.

Tom helped me fix a flat. He gave me his last two tire plugs and told me where all the compressors were from there to Millinocket. The next year equipped to handle the 'Telos Arrowheads' I stopped in to see him on our way to Churchill and gave him 3 packages of Tire plugs and the newspaper. I've dropped the newspaper off every year since but haven't seen Tom.
Patrick up on Eagle Lake I've met a couple of times. We met at the Pumphandle and then later in the evening on Farm Island where we were camped. We talked a long time about the history and books of the area. He really knows and has read a lot about it. If you ever meet Patrick and have a question he'll be the one that has an answer. Patrick is the lucky one of the lot and the easiest to spot on the water. He'll be the one in the Boston Whaler with the 40hp motor on it.
Kevin and Josh at Churchill are two great people, Kevin's been there for a few years, this was Josh's second year. I forget the guy that was there before Josh, he's moved upstream to Chamberlain, but he helped us out of an otherwise bad situation the year my granddaughter came with us. A couple nights later camped at Jaws he brought the kids Popsicles. He said he had a propane refrigerator at his cabin down on east side of Churchill Lake.
Then there's Trevor and Kale O'Leary down at Michaud Farm. I met Trevor as he was cutting the road into Cunliffe. My cousin married into the O'Leary family and Trevor said he was a couple years younger then my cousins.

He told us that they're not mowing the campsites as often this year. Management has decided that will increase "The Wilderness Experience'.

They are all a great bunch of people and if you ever have the chance to paddle the Allagash, don't forget to bring the newspaper. They now have the internets up there so you don't have to find them the paper with the Moose Permit Lottery in it, but it does give them a chance to keep up.

And while I'm at it here's a shout out to Norman L'Italien at Pelletier's campground. My cousin grew up across the street from him. He has always gone out of his way for us especially in our bad situation year. I saw him last week just as happy as anyone could be after their "Long Winter."
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
Sweeper it kinda makes you think about canoeing in wilderness to avoid people doesn't it? Up in Maine and probably any other places you might find your life enriched by human encounter, ayuh?
 
Joined
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Colrain MA
It's the kind of people, they move at a smoother/in tune pace. We have too many distractions. Most of the paddlers up there also get it. Most of the people I take up there come out changed at least for a little while.

This year I took an old army buddy of mine who grew up in Unity, ME. He spends literally every minute he can in the woods hunting or fishing. He was totally blown away by the river to the detriment of the bottom of my canoe. His head was on a swivel the whole week.
 
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
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231
Location
Vermont
Great trip report and photos. I've paddled the Allagash from Chamberlain Bridge so many times I've lost count. I love that trip. I've paddled in many places more remote, but I think the Allagash is my favorite of all canoe trips. The Allagash was my first trip and I will be very happy and satisfied if it is my last.

I'm curious - was it busy? My sense, without knowing, is that it gets less travel now than it did years ago.
 
Joined
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Colrain MA
We always go the last week in June for the last 8 years. We've never had a problem getting campsites, usually there's 2 or 3 Boy Scout Troops on the water but not a lot of other groups. It's a great week to go.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
Great trip report and photos. I've paddled the Allagash from Chamberlain Bridge so many times I've lost count. I love that trip. I've paddled in many places more remote, but I think the Allagash is my favorite of all canoe trips. The Allagash was my first trip and I will be very happy and satisfied if it is my last.

I'm curious - was it busy? My sense, without knowing, is that it gets less travel now than it did years ago.

90 percent less travel.. And with a whole bunch of other users pressing for increased access via ATV and vehicle for fishing.. that lowered canoe use is quite significant. Not necessarily in a good way.

The 90 percent is summertime use. I came up with that figure cause that was what I was told by a Ranger. Winter use is actually more significant and visitation way up. Snowmobiling is huge in the area.
 
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Mar 3, 2014
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Vermont
It all changed when they banned the log drives and the roads came in.. The odd thing is that the advocates for roads, atv and snowmobile travel etc. pitch it as "traditional" use.

I'm told there is a fairly serious push for a National Park. There will be political compromises made.

I often camp at long lake dam. makes for a painless "carry." I like the site there. The pictures bring back a lot of memories. Great trip.
 
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Joined
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Raymond, ME
Not much has happened re the Maine Woods NP proposal since 2008. I doubt it will happen during my lifetime, as it requires money. Its prime hunting territory. Last time I knew most Mainers were against it. Snowmobiling is a legitimate traditional use .. a replacement for dogsleds. Norther Maine is fueled literally with snowmobile dollars.

Most of the Allagash would not be in proposed boundaries.

http://www.restore.org/maine/overview.html
 
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Colrain MA
We camped at LLD the first year but now line over the dam on the opposite side and make it really painless.

There's a push to make a lot of areas National Parks, we attended a meeting last winter. They're trying to make most of Western Mass in a Nationally 'Managed' Park, "Not in the traditional Sense", they claimed, it would bring more 'Resources' to the area for commercial and recreational use. Most of the crowd wasn't buying it especially the loggers and foresters.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
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Location
Minden, NV
Nice report. The Allagash is sacred ground. I like the reflector oven and teaching the next generation.
Plenty of history. I didn't like the trailing line on the yellow solo canoe.
 
Joined
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Colrain MA
That 'trailing line' pic is immediately after lining over Long Lake Dam. You line over the dam to a person standing on a rock who climbs in and as he paddles away, the painter gets tossed into the canoe to be secured when he makes the shore.
 
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Thanks to Sweeper for the explanation. It seemed out of character for people that know what they are doing.
 
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