Sysladobsis/Pocumcus, Maine, in 4 Chestnuts-5/16-19/2013

Joined
Jun 12, 2012
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3,670
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Appleton, Maine
The plan was to paddle a 4 day circuit starting at the Sysladobisis Dam up thru Pocumcus Lake to Junior then into Bottle lake then over the 1/2 mile carry into the northern end of Sysladobisis and back down to the dam.
We started with 5 canoes, a 18' Chestnut Prospector with Dave and son, a 17' Chestnut Prospector with John (Fitz) and son Branden, 2 15' Chestnut Chums with Steve and Robin and a Hiawatha stripper built and paddled by Alan.

We launched from the dam early in the afternoon of Thursday, May 16th,and paddled down the Pocumcus Narrows out into Pocumcus Lake searching for a campsite along the eastern shore. We found it, but it was taken by a couple of motor boaters fishing and camping. Judging by the assorted coolers, we assumed the boys liked to eat and drink....we where correct. I was the last to paddle into the site and although the rest of my friends had set up tents back in the woods behind the site, I passed and elected to move on to a quieter area. There are very few sites on these lakes and I took a chance finding one, but the conditions we where stuck with there was not to my liking. It was now calm after a thunder and hail storm passed through and I longed to paddle some more. I headed north and told my friends I would see them in the morning.

I found a site a few miles up Pocumcus, although it was not a dedicated site, just a nice little clearing where I could fit my solo tent. That evening after a nice dinner over my stick stove I enjoyed a peaceful sunset far away from the fisherman.



During the night the wind picked up out of the north and blew a cold wind down the lake. My site took the brunt of that wind and I had to lean my canoe over for a wind break during breakfast.



I can't say enough good things about my Little Bug twig stove. I boiled water for "cowboy" coffee and it turned out great, Thanks to HOOP's directions over at MYCCR.com. It also took the chill off for a few minutes.


Thanks to only having the twig stove and no fuel, I was able to fit my 4 days worth of gear into one pack, a Duluth Pack Wanderer.


I watched the shoreline through my binocs and soon saw the boys heading up the lake fighting the wind. First to arrive was Dave and son in the 18' Prospector, out front here, followed by John (Fitz) and son in the 17' Prospector.
Each boat carried their well behaved dogs, Sadie and Abby.



Soon Steve arrived in his 15' Chum,



And then Allan in his Hiawatha stripper. Unfortunately, as the picture shows, Allan's canoe was not made for the big waves and cold water so he decided to opt out of the trip here. He was able to hug the shoreline the few miles back to the cars in safety.

We tried to head into the wind, but the wind pushed us back once we rounded the point where I had camped.
We soon decided to go ashore and wait out the wind, which never did let up. We talked and decided to backtrack towards the cars and find a site that might be out of the wind. The circuit trip was given up and we would make the best out of the trip from here in.



Going back downwind around the point and through the narrows was a chore. Here is Dave and Son Adam (Adam in the stern) in the 18' Prospector with Abby the well behaved dog



As they where making their way down through the narrows, a moose walked out of the woods and watched...I think she saw the "Chestnut" lettering on the side of Dave's canoe and wanted a better look. She should have waited for the other 3 canoes to follow,


Soon John and Brendan followed in the 17' Prospector, grabbing some air in the process


Another well behaved dog staying put in the wind and waves,


Steve hugged the shoreline in his Chum, showing that the little canoes can run with the big dogs, just not the same trail,


We stopped for a break and snack in a protected cove, glad to be out of the wind.


We set up camp at a site we found and to pick things up, John and Dave produced a cake via the reflector oven.



The wind stopped and the boys went out fishing in the big Prospector, they handled it like old pro's, both on the water and on shore. A great sight for this lover of Chestnut Canoes



Not long afterwards they returned with a land locked salmon, here's Brendan with his catch.



We wrapped the fish in Aluminum foil without any seasonings and placed it in the reflector oven, it was delicious, we all shared a small piece each.




Even the dogs where happy about the fish.




The carry over into Syslodobius Lake the next morning,



We spent a restful day enjoying the weather and canoes, the boys fished and I got to solo the 17' Prospector. I have one at home that I restored less the paint, I wasn't sure what to do with it, but the fun I had soloing John's makes me think I need to keep it.
It was a fun trip in spite of the weather and it's not often 4 Chestnut's get together anymore.

 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,392
Location
Raymond, ME
The picture of Steve looks like Mosquito Island on Junior Lake in the background. Did you guys get that far.. Its some 15 miles from Dennison Portage though.

On the topos I see a track that comes in from the south to Dennison Portage. I was not aware that you could go that far in a vehicle other than a snowmobile or ATV.

It's a beautiful area.. with wicked hard paddling sometimes. I had to abort at Flood Cove on the east side of Pocumcus while trying to get back to my car at Ellsmere landing from Junior lake.

Did you see the beautiful old Grand Laker canoes at the NE corner of the point entering the Thorofare from the south? Maybe they are not in yet. They were wood canvas beauties I saw on last falls trip.

Another question: is that reflector oven collapsible? Perfect size for a small party. Who made it?

Thanks for sharing. I have been to the area just once but it is very beautiful. Probably more so before and after summer season, when it probably gets busier. It is a kids camp area..and there is a wilderness canoe camp on Pocumcus.

I bet few motorboats go between Junior and Pocumcus Lakes..its a minefield in that passage.
 
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Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,670
Location
Appleton, Maine
Yes, the reflector oven is collapsible, I'll need to ask John who makes it. It was the "new and improved" version and they liked it. I liked the cakes and fish, on a trip like this where you spend too much time in camp waiting out the wind, it's a nice thing to have along.

I did see one Grand Laker, a guide and member of WCHA Dale Tobey passed us on the first day. We also saw one at a camp in the narrows on Pocumcus. We stopped at Dales shop in Grand Lake Stream on the way out and had a small tour. I'll add a report in the Wood Canoes section.

I couldn't make it around the point to the campsite in Flood Cove. Did I miss anything? Compared to the campsites on 3rd Machias and 4th mchias lakes, I was not impressed, although we didn't see many sites on these lakes what with the wind.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,392
Location
Raymond, ME
Still unsure how you guys got to the Dennison Portage at the put in Sysladobsis Dam.. drive with 4x4 or load Chestnuts onto ATV's?
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,670
Location
Appleton, Maine
We put in at the dam between Sysladobsis Lake and Pocumcus Lake, across from Big Island. I assume thats the Sysladobsis Dam, don't know about the Dennison Portage. We used a Chevy Impala with a canoe trailer and 3 canoes for one of the vehicles, low clearance but we just managed to get in. There is a road on the map page 35 in the Maine Atlas. The dam has a real nice free camping area for those arriving late or windbound, no motor boat launch since the bridge over the dam to the old boat launch is now closed to vehicles, but it has ATV access, not a weekend destination for someone seeking solitude I would suspect.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,670
Location
Appleton, Maine
Another question: is that reflector oven collapsible? Perfect size for a small party. Who made it?

The oven was made or distributed by EZ Camping San Antonio Texas. I bought it 15 years ago or more at Kittery Trading Post. I am sure a google search will find others. We modified it with threaded rod to keep it from folding while in use,
it folds flat and fits in a pack well.
 
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I just read this through for the 4th time, great write-up and pictures, the first is such a classic. I enjoy reading about these adventures on lakes close to home(mine, at least) I kept returning here ogling the Chestnuts whilst looking for our canoe, made it difficult for me to be practical and keep within my budget:) Thanks for posting.
 
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