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Published: June 29th 2010
Sorry this is a long one, lots has happened!!
After i last wrote we took a day off in Jackman. We woke up to rain and didn't feel like getting up and going. By noon though it cleared up and we still didn't feel like leaving. So we just bummed around all day, made some great hobo dinners over our neighbors fire!
The next day we took off onto the Moose river and down to Long Pond. It was quite windy but it was on our backs so i got out the tarp and made a sail! We took down the 7 or 8 miles in a few short hours! Back onto the Moose river and before some huge rapids we got out to portage to Little and Big Brassua lakes. Got a little confused by the map and directions as they seemed to be "saying" different things and got off on the wrong track for a bit. It was a little frustrating considering there were a lot of bugs trying to eat us, but we figured it out! Luckily our campsite was just around the corner from the put in!
The next day we finished the Brassua lakes and had a short section left of the Moose river that led us to Rockwood village and out to Moosehead lake. Stopped in Rockwood for a burger and fries...bad idea. For some reason that combo has not sat well with us this trip...hmm. Got out onto Moosehead to cross over to the Kineo mtn island! It was a bit windy on our backs again so we pitched a sail crossing the two miles in half an hour or so. It was a bit scary as the waves were getting pretty big as we neared the island. But made it to a nice little campsite on the other side that was blocked from the wind! We had a few more hours of daylight and decided to walk the trail up to the top of Mt Kineo and to the fire tower. Had some great views of Moosehead lake and stretched our legs out a bit.
Woke up to a bit of rain but no wind! Good thing because we had a huge crossing of Moosehead lake...could have been dangerous if it was windy! Had a nice portage called the Northeast Carry, straight and pretty much flat so we could just wheel the boat! Got onto the Penobscot river just as we got a nice little thunder storm. Had a bit of moving water so just chilled out and took our time to Thoreau Island campsite...i guess Henry David Thoreau stayed there on one of his journey's back in the 1800's or somethin. It was interesting to think of how people travelled back in those days and wondered how different it looked.
Finished the Penobscot river and then onto Chesuncook lake. Stopped at a little "store" that just sold fudge and homemade rootbeer. Got our sugar fix and finally got an answer on whether or not Allagash village had a general store so we could buy more food (since our last supply was Jackman) our answer: nope. But they did have a restaurant! Well that meant that our next real food supply would be the end, besides a small convenient store a few miles up from Allagash. Anyways got up past Chesuncook and onto Umbasookis lake and got ready for the next day of the Mud Pond carry!
Mud Pond carry...yep nice and muddy just like it sounds. It's about two miles and no wheeling so we had to do two trips one with the gear and one with the boat and the rest of the gear! At first i was thinking hm...this isn't so bad a few mud patches here and there that sometimes you could avoid, but then we got towards the end. The first big mud we encountered i almost lost my balance and went down. And the last bit was knee deep water covering mud. Trudged back and Brian carried the boat. The second time i think we just didn't care where we stepped, we were already muddy so why try to avoid anything. It was pretty intense, but we went into it hearing lots of stories so at least that prepared us. We put the boat in "the water" but there was mud right underneath so we had to trudge through that to get the boat out a bit so we could paddle. I thought a few times i was going to lose a shoe. Anyways it was pretty exhausting. Hmm...i wish i could describe it better, in fact i'm really interested to see what Thoreau has to say about it in his book "Maine Woods", so if you're interested maybe he can explain it better! And then we crossed Mud Pond to go down Mud Brook into Chamberlain lake. When we got to the mouth it was pretty low and blocked by some rocks and what not...we pretty much ended up portaging through that, it was too low to even walk the boat through...apparently there is a portage around it, but we didn't know that. Oh well. We stopped shortly after we got through that on Chamberlain and ate some lunch and rested a bit. After a rest and food we were able to paddle up Chamberlain to a nice campsite so at least we got some miles in! At the Mud Pond carry we officially entered the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. It's protected near the waters and there is no development anywhere near, it's pretty much used for recreation and logging. It was nice to not see too many people except people who were paddling as well!
Next day it was rainy again or drizzly and pretty foggy. We did a portage which said it was mucky...but compared to the Mud Pond carry it was nothin! We crossed Eagle lake and then into Churchill lake which was really foggy and hard to pick out the landmarks. Got a little turned around and started heading the wrong way, but figured it out and got through the lake. We had a bit of a tuning out moment when we both just stared at the water and paddled aimlessly and when we put our heads up we had completely turned the other way. It's happened a few times but usually it's just one of us and the other snaps us out of it. Anyways that's when we decided to get the compass out and figure out where we needed to be going. Figured it out and made our way to the campsite.
Again we woke to rain, but pouring rain. We were supposed to run rapids that day and didn't think it would be a good idea to do it in bad weather so we just hung out in the tent all day. When it was clear for a bit we headed to the ranger station down the way where we registered for the Allagash and found out when the dam release would be the next day so we could run the rapids.
It was pretty clear the next day but windy. We headed down to the dam and paid the ranger to portage our gear to the end of the rapids so we could run the rapids in an empty boat. I think we both almost wavered in doing this since we had to pay, but the ranger said something about Class III...yeah best 10 dollars we've spent. Pretty sure we would have taken a good swim with a full boat! We've mostly been doing Class II and i was under the impression these weren't too bad. But they were probably the hardest rapids we've done! We made it, almost tipped over once but recovered. I can't believe i did that actually, in the beginning i hated the mention of rapids even if it was class I! haha! As we were exiting the river there was a Moose, we got pretty close to him and he just looked up, made sure we were going the other way and put his head back down in the water to eat! Got a picture so it was pretty sweet! Got out onto Umsaskis lake it was a little windy, but not too bad. We got around a point and decided we would cross the lake to get to the inlet of the next lake quicker. Bad bad idea. I swear as soon as we got out there the wind picked up! It was probably the worst wind we've had on a lake and it was against us! We pushed pretty hard and a couple of times the wind pushed us to the side and was threatening to get us parallel to the waves and tip us! Ugh it was awful, i almost had a break down with pushing so hard to get us straight into the wind! Oh wait i did have a break down, but i knew i had to push so we wouldn't capsize and lose all our food. We made it to a cove and a little beach out of the wind. Took a break and ate some food. In hindsight we should have taken the shore and been protected, but hindsight is 20/20 right? We got out and had to fight about another mile and once we got into the inlet we were protected for awhile. We got into Long lake and up until the end it was fairly calm. So we decided to cross the last little bit in the middle of the lake. Again it picked up and we had to fight to the other side. But it wasn't quite as bad and the waves were a lot smaller. You would have thought we would have learned our lesson. Eh, it was our last big lake, at least it was adventerous! Got back onto the Allagash river, were going to stay at a campsite, but a family was already there...it was the last campsite for a good little bit. We decided to ask if we could cook dinner there quick and then take off for the next site. They were really nice and gave us a piece of chicken to go with our beans and rice. The protein was great. They offered to let us stay there too, but we didn't want to impose. So we took off for Round Pond. It was actually really nice. We saw another Moose, and wierd looking little duck with her ducklings and a beaver carrying a piece of wood over to his dam. The sun was starting to set as we pulled in and it was really beautiful!
Next day we almost finished the Allagash river. Had a few rapids with lots of shallow rocks that we didn't see till the last second. They were pretty tough and annoying. But we made it. Camped out, ate our last bit of oatmeal and headed a few miles into Allagash village, where we ate another breakfast at a diner there! It was probably the best we've had, and really really nice ladies who worked there! After a great filling meal we took off for a campsite a few miles up. Great little campground. There was a small convenient store we were able to get some food for dinner and breakfast in the morning. The weather said 100% chance of rain that night and the next day. Ugh, our last day and lots of rain. We set up the tent really nicely to keep us dry. And then it didn't even end up raining!
We got up early our last day and had wind against us on the river. We only had 16 miles left! It was a tough paddle at some points, but the wind started to die down a little. Made it in about 5 hours, got our picture taken at the end and found the hotel. Great little place and it even has a kitchenette so we can cook a little. Of course we'll have to camp the rest of the time we're here, but it's nice to get clean and rest up a little! We were prettty lazy all day yesterday, but have gotten a few things cleaned and straightened out today!
Gotta take care of selling the boat, and then we can figure out what we are going to do the next few weeks! Thank you all for your prayers and support! It was a great journey! Learned a lot and hope we take all the wonderful lessons with us for life. For those of you who helped us along the way, THANK YOU! We hope we can pass your kindness onto others!
We'll let you know what we're up to when we figure it out!
Ahab and Starbuck!
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