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PostPosted: March 15th, 2022, 9:30 pm 
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I'm planning a 4 to 6 day trip with my son-in-law in either late July or early August this year. I would like to do a trip in Maine or elsewhere in the northeast--perhaps the Adirondacks--to coordinate with timing of a family trip to Maine and Massachusetts.

We need something that is not technically challenging. I've been paddling for nearly 60 years including a number of week long canoe camping trips, but my white water skills are weak. He has a little canoe experience doing a river trip in Michigan with me and two other guys. He is athletic, strong, and learned very quickly.

Most of my experience with canoe tripping has been lake and portage in Algonquin and in the Missinabie area and I'd be happy to do that kind of trip if there is anything like that in this region. I'd also be happy with a non-technical river trip with or without portages.

The Moose River Bow trip sounds doable in a write up in the AMC "Quiet Water Canoe Guide to Maine" (1995 ed.) My major concern is that it might be too popular. I'd opt for September, but my son-in-law teaches and has to be back in the classroom in the middle of August.

I've written off the Allagash as it seems likely to be very busy with canoes that time of year.

Any advice would be welcome.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.


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PostPosted: March 16th, 2022, 7:47 am 
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There are quite a few options in the St. Regis Canoe area depending on how many miles you want to paddle. Could also consider doing a section of the North Forest Canoe Trail... it starts in Old Forge, NY... could plan to do as much of that as possible and continue on the next section at your next opportunity.


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PostPosted: March 16th, 2022, 8:42 am 
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I have found the Adirondacks very busy in your time frame. I stopped going as the paddling in Maine is so much more peaceful though the Daks in Sept after Labor Day are beautiful.

The Allagash is sometimes used by youth camps in their programs but I have never aside from one time in 1973 found campsites hard to secure and crowds anywhere. It takes some work to get to and expense. Check with Norm L'Italien at Pelletiers Campground. He handles shuttles.

We often paddle the West Branch of the Penobscot from Seboomook Lake to Ripogenus Dam . You can easily spend a week though we have done it after a flood in some 17 hours.. The West Branch is a good two days to Chesuncook Lake Paddle up to Caucomgomoc and back stay at Canvas Dam and then go over to Umbazooksus You can portage over Mud Pond to Chamberlain and down the Allagash.. It would be a good 10 day trip. You can shorten to four days by just paddling Seboomook to Chesuncook Lake and down the length of the lake. Gorgeous mountain views. You have to be mindful of wind as Chesuncook is a huge lake with a 27 mile fetch northwest to SE. Its only a mile and a half wide though.Add a couple of days for a side trip to Lobster Lake.. We stayed there last July. There are some 20 campsites. Two were occupied. Of course your experience may vary. Lobster has the best mountain scenery I have ever seen save Bowron Lakes in BC

Or see if Norm would pick up your vehicle at the gate of Allagash Lake.. Paddle the Lake.. gorgeous and down the stream to Chamberlain Lake and onward down the Allagash..

Sorry to say that the Moose River Bow Trip is often more used though . It is not a week long trip by itself. Solo I do it in three days. That said you won't fail to get a campsite. I have done it the first week of August. Its more popular because it requires no permits and fees. The Allagash/West Branch does.

We will be back on the West Branch at the end of July.


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PostPosted: March 16th, 2022, 7:55 pm 
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Thanks to LittleRedCanoe and gbbiv for their information. I'm going to do more research including on some version of the Allagash over the next couple of days and will probably come back with more questions.

Over the 20 plus years that I've been following this MYCCR and its predecessor, I've found advice from other members to be invaluable.


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PostPosted: March 16th, 2022, 8:21 pm 
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The West Branch trip to Rip Dam trip is almost a loop.. Not quite. We live close enough that we can self shuttle with two vehicles but have used Allagash Gateway Campground in the past for a shuttle to Lobster trip. That put in is at the intersection of Lobster Stream and West Branch of the Penobscot. They drop you and your gear off and drive your vehicle back to their campground and cottages. Its a pretty short shuttle less than 45 minutes including checking in at Caribou Checkpoint. However in 2021 they were not doing shuttles. Whether this was due to Covid or to Maddie the shuttle driver not being available I do not know.
The Allagash requires a much longer shuttle of over 100 miles of logging roads and takes 3-4 hours. You can bring your vehicle to the start point and have Norm and team drive it to St Francis to Pelletiers Campground on the St John River or start at the campground leave your car there and ride the van to Chamberlain Bridge of Indian Stream

Getting to Allagash Stream is a little more problematic. Loon Lodge is the best contact there.

You can get a feel for the land on Google Maps.. Round Pond ( egads there are tons of them. you want the Piscataquis county one) Allagash Lake, Chamberlain Lake, and the hamlet of St Francis are your benchmarks.

for the West Branch. Seboomook Lake West Branch Penobscot, Lobster Lake and Chesuncook Lake and Ripogenus Lake are your landmarks


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PostPosted: March 17th, 2022, 12:47 am 
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I would second the Adirondack lakes - look at the route from Old Forge to Tupper Lake for a 5-6 day trip. Or maybe from Blue Mtn Lake...? It's been a long time... As I recall Raquette Lake is quite busy, but the rest was quiet (20 years ago...) In Maine, the St Croix River starting as high up on Spednik Lake as you can get, down to the Kellyland Dam would also get you 4-5 days. There is some C1 & C2 water, but nothing particularly technical or worrisome - you would have to try really hard to wrap a boat if you spilled.

Fritz, you also asked me about the Saco - yes, I think you could start further upstream than Swan's Falls and go beyond Hiram, and turn that into a longer trip, but I think you would be plagued by other people. It's pretty, but otherwise incredibly dull going. See : https://youtu.be/i3i0U2fTStc Cute kid, boring paddling.

Good luck -
Christian

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PostPosted: March 17th, 2022, 8:56 am 
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The Adirondacks have become crazy busy in the last two years. I have given up. There are many truly wild lakes but it takes some bushwhacking. Long Lake is crazy busy and the campsites are taken by motorboats; at least that is something to consider. They don't go to Racquette Falls of course. They also come up river from Tupper. I learned to paddle in the Adirondacks and things are not like they used to be. Crowds and also theft on the rise. We go every July for a Wooden Canoe Assembly and symposium but have given up on peaceful camping. We will do some day trips,

The Saco is our local river. No way in the summer. You can start from N Conway and go down past Swans Falls.. from there to Walkers Bridge is private campground. Beyond to Hiram there are more posted signs but people do camp on sandbars..They also swim in the river. Because there are no bathroom facilities people shit in the woods.. The Saco has a floodplain and when it floods the shit goes downriver too.
Its pretty in the spring. We do it right after ice out and again at the end of Sept.
Can't tell you how many unattended smoldering campfires we have put out. It is gross in the summer with beer bottles. We do participate in cleanups but its like chasing monkeys.

The Jo Mary area is something to consider as well as the Debsconeag Lakes. Also the Grand Lake Stream area if you are used to big water.


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PostPosted: March 17th, 2022, 2:50 pm 
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The West Branch Penobscot from Roll Dam Campsite on Northwest Carry Rd below Seeboomook Lake to Riponegus Dam looks like a nice trip for us. If there was a way to bypass the the class III to IV run (based on the description in the AMC River Guide: Maine (2nd. ed., 1991) from Seeboomook Dam to the Roll Dam Campsite, we could start at Pittston Farm. Looks like a 4 to 5 mile walk (x3).

Is there any reasonable way to avoid this and still start at Pittston Farm (i.e. not walking 12 to 15 miles around the fast water)?

Rummaging around in my books, I found my AMC New England Canoeing Guide (1971) with a very nice map of Maine with rivers rated from Attractive to Not Recommended and from Smooth water to Mostly Rapid. Super helpful in researching options.


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PostPosted: March 17th, 2022, 11:49 pm 
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LRC,
Disappointing but not surprising to hear about the state of things in the ‘Daks. I also cut my teeth paddling there as a young’un in the late 80s. Never would have imagined Long Lake “busy”… that’s too bad.

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PostPosted: March 18th, 2022, 7:28 am 
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That is very true about Long Lake and it is sad. The recent two covid years have been the worst of course, no matter where you go outdoors. I grew up and still live on the western side of the adirondacks, and other than during the annual 90 mile canoe race, I don't paddle Long Lake. However, there are many miles of paddling and camping opportunities below LL on the Raquett River with campsites that motorboats cannot reach. But there certainly are other interior areas far less populated where I have no problem finding motorless and quiet secluded remote destinations. Some bushwhack portaging may be required. Legal primitive camping at non-designated sites will set you free (just be sure to follow LNT principles and similarly based DEC regulations when you primitive camp).


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PostPosted: March 18th, 2022, 9:05 am 
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Fritz wrote:
The West Branch Penobscot from Roll Dam Campsite on Northwest Carry Rd below Seeboomook Lake to Riponegus Dam looks like a nice trip for us. If there was a way to bypass the the class III to IV run (based on the description in the AMC River Guide: Maine (2nd. ed., 1991) from Seeboomook Dam to the Roll Dam Campsite, we could start at Pittston Farm. Looks like a 4 to 5 mile walk (x3).

Is there any reasonable way to avoid this and still start at Pittston Farm (i.e. not walking 12 to 15 miles around the fast water)?

Rummaging around in my books, I found my AMC New England Canoeing Guide (1971) with a very nice map of Maine with rivers rated from Attractive to Not Recommended and from Smooth water to Mostly Rapid. Super helpful in researching options.



Fritz some of what you have is old info though I agree rivers do not change that fast. However attractiveness circa 1971 is not what it is today.. A working forest and in 1971 not all pretty.. Still a working forest but you don't see evidence once on the river

Second there is a dam at the east end of Seboomook Lake. There is a portage around it and each of the rapids. There are about seven pool and drop rapids There are a couple of very nice campsites at the Dam. This area is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. You need Map 11. Waterproof. The map helps orient you to the details that the AMC guide does not have..And I do have a later edition of that guide.

no portage of five miles!!
https://eddy-line.com/seboomook-the-pad ... ugh-guide/

https://www.maine.gov/dacf/parks/docs/m ... oomprc.pdf

We will be up at Seboomook Wilderness Campground July 24-31 and if you are there we can shuttle you around the dam and portage series and help make your trip carry free.


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PostPosted: March 18th, 2022, 1:33 pm 
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LRC, thanks so much for the offer to help us with a shuttle.

I think the timing will work, but have to consult with my son-in-law about our timing.

Is it possible/reasonable to drive to Seeboomeek Dam or Pittston Farm in a Toyota Corolla. Or do we need a more robust vehicle?

What should we expect about black flies and mosquitoes? Will bug spray be enough or do we need head nets, etc.

Thanks

Fritz


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PostPosted: March 18th, 2022, 2:40 pm 
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Yes it is possible to use a small vehicle. Carefully. The Northern/ 20 mile road has a beautiful surface until mile 5,5. From 5.5-9 you wonder if you will break the car there are so many holes. But you can make it. Things get better then even on Seboomook Rd but there are always places you have to be careful. Plan on two hours to get to Pittston Farm from Greenville. I know its only 40 miles.

Blackfly season is about from the 2-4 weekend to Canada Day.. Blame the Canadians for the BF. Then they are done. Only in failure ie very dry years do the little boogers try to have sex until September. Skeeters yes there are a few.
But nets not required. Just spray. The moose are also beset by skeeters which pretty much guarantees you will see a few on the river. Never not seen them on the river.

If coming from Millinocket you use the Golden Road which has more traffic and is usually in good shape though we have hit areas of deep sand for a stretch. The chief danger there is if they have recently graded and stoned the road. Shale is sharp. I don't see them doing that much after mud season ends in late May.

The cut off to Pittston Farm from Golden Road is the Seboomook Road.. Its got some areas where there are rocks in the road to avoid. Immovable rocks. Sometimes painted red just as a help.

Pittston Farm also serves dinner.. at least it did last year and the ones before.

some pics to entice

https://canoethewild.com/penobscot-river-west-branch/


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PostPosted: March 18th, 2022, 8:25 pm 
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LRC, thanks, all of this has been super helpful. I probably will have more questions and will let you know if we can meet you at Seeboomeek campground.

Now to pull out my gear and make sure it's in trip ready shape. And take my son-in-law out on local waters for paddling lessons.


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PostPosted: May 18th, 2022, 8:55 pm 
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LRC: Allagash Gateway Campground, as you thought might happen, is not doing shuttles again this year and according to a text I got from them, "The only other place that was doing them last year isn't this year, so unfortunately I have no suggestions for you."

Any suggestions? I think I can work out a shuttle with my wife who will be coming up to Acadia with our daughter just before my son-in-law and I will be off the river around July 26. She could drive up and haul us back to our car at the put in, but it would be a lot easier if we could find a shuttle.

Looks like we will miss you at the Seboomook Dam -- our start date is July 20.

Thanks


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