• Happy Sea Serpent Day!

Poling on the NFCT

Joined
Mar 16, 2017
Messages
170
Reaction score
71
We all have our opinions as to how things ought to be done, so I hesitate to even post this. BUT... in my mind, a canoe trail should be undertaken in a canoe. Upstream work should follow the progression from paddling to poling to wading to portaging, and I suppose the new last resort would be shuttling.

Most of these things are common to the tales of the trail coming from trippers on the NFCT, but very little poling seems to be happening. I think a lot of it is boat selection; if you are kayaking you're not poling. Same with solo canoes, they're just not big enough to stand up in and pole.

I just got fairly well spanked poling up Spencer and Little Spencer Streams in Maine. But I never stepped out of the boat and I learned a whole lot about boat lean in my new (to me) kevlar MR Explorer. That thing has a pretty sharp V. A couple of days later we were paddling down the West Branch Penobscot counting with the fingers of both hands how many moose we had seen that morning, when a couple of guys in red sea kayaks lilly-dipped along at roughly twice our speed. We waved at each other and said hello like you do. Later I heard about those same two guys, they just did the entire route in 16 days. To do it they had a sag wagon who picked them up and shuttled them around the portages. I imagine they were picked up at the mouth of Spencer Stream, but I'm not sure there's any place between there and Attean Pond they could put back in.

I think they made quite an accomplishment but not one I would envy. I cherish that day of challenging the rapids of Little Spencer and that glass of rum that met my dog-tired lips by the campfire.
 
Joined
Aug 2, 2011
Messages
215
Reaction score
11
Location
Scituate, RI
I just got fairly well spanked poling up Spencer and Little Spencer Streams in Maine. But I never stepped out of the boat and I learned a whole lot about boat lean in my new (to me) kevlar MR Explorer.

You must have had higher flows than I experienced when I poled up that stretch a few years back. Near the top of Little Spencer, where there are a few wide pools, the water was so low there was no route through the rocks. So we had to step out and drag the canoes over a few to get into deeper water a couple times.

But boy, really nice stretch of river, huh? I feel real sorry for any NFCT paddlers who decide not to experience that special place.

-rs
 
Top