St. John River (photo NRCM)
May 12-17, 2000
Greatest concern about the trip (other than food) is water levels. I would like to paddle from Fourth St. John Pond if there is enough water and if we can get there. Most folks fly in, I don’t know if we can drive in.
Allagash Guide Service, Sean Lizotte is going to bring our vehicles to Allagash for us this year. It will save time on the other end and get us home at a
I paddled the Royal River from Brown’s Crossing yesterday- 1.5 hours- just enough water to get through. It’s a great run with continuous class
May 12, Fifth St. John Pond
It was nice to feel the force of the river on my paddle again, and the warmth of the spring sun on my face. The marvelous song of the common loon – echoing off the forested hillsides – greeted us as we paddled into Fifth St. John Pond.
Interesting and unplanned challenges for me this year, this week. Recovering from an emergency appendectomy not 5 full days ago, I am paddling tandem and conservatively. The first question I had for my surgeon as I lay in the ER was, “Can
May 13, Turner Bogan
Very few obstructions in the river. A large white birch tree crosses the river about ¼ mile from the old dam on Fifth. We dragged over it on river right (last year we paddled under on river left). Cedar trees
A great day!
We made camp early today at Doucie Brook – a high embankment that catches most of the afternoon sun and is graced with some of the nicest white pines on the river. Historically, white pine was the crème de la crème of trees in the North Woods. According to Helen Hamlin, author of Nine Mile Bridge, red spruce took a back seat to the majestic pine in the early part of the20th century. I don’t know what percent of the harvest is currently white pine in the region, but judging by what one can see from the river, it is little to not existent. The forest surrounding this part of the St. John appears bedraggled. Cut hard right to the legal maximum. Few trees of any size. A swim for Blake, Matthew and Karin, kicking back for others.
Shooting for Seven Islands tomorrow. The sky is brilliantly clear and we are nearing the full moon.
|May 15, Seven Islands
Dusk, overcast with a scattered shower. No wind and a fabulous
Roughly 35 miles on river today. Passed Garrett and Alexandra Conover at Morrison Depot. Once again, strong current and gentle tail wind. A perfect combination.
]Dorcas prepared] a fabulous stew followed by a mince meat pudding for dessert. After supper, several of us took a walk to a beaver flowage behind camp. Couldn’t raise a trout, but fished a beautiful pond
]Healing from the surgery] seems to be going strong. It does not seem to effect my paddling much (only slightly on the draws and back strokes). But I still feel a twinge of pain getting in and out of my tent.
Tomorrow we hope to fish around here in the AM and camp below Big Black in order that we have a short river day on Wedneday.
Group is strong and spirits are high. Too dark to write any more and the woodcock are dancing.
May 16, Long Rapids
Clear and cold – the first ice of the week last night. Very dry air, with little, if any, dew. Matthew and I broke camp shortly after our granola pancake and coffee feed and spent a couple of hours in the bogan on the east shore below camp. We saw some trout move around as we slowly worked our way up the stream – over several small beaver dams and through the alders. Always enough water to paddle and many good holes for trout. We poled right past a deer as it stood gracefully on the shore and watched mallards and wood ducks surge from the backwaters as we moved through. We danced with the solitary and spotted sandpipers as we moved deeper and deeper into the heart of the woods – a place that most people do not get to. We eventually came to a large meadow that was obviously a beaver impoundment in the past. The trout, I can only imagine, were large and plentiful when the beaver were active. A mature bald eagle bid us farewell as we re-joined the main river. We can call this the Eagle Bogan.
30+ miles again today and again, they were virtually effortless. Matthew and I are both feeling strong today and our endurance seemed limitless. It was a relaxing day on the river. Tonight we camp at Long Rapids. Still maintaining a SW wind and scattered clouds with a few fair weather showers moving around, but none enough to cause us to
Tonight we sleep by the mighty St. John as if flows on toward the sea. Nothing sooth one’s soul better than the song of a living river.
May 17, Above Big Black Rapids
We all moved slowly our last day in camp, each hoping that our deliberate actions will somehow keep us from re-entering our other lives -lives with work, schedules, bills and meetings. We sat on the high bank overlooking the mist-covered river and took in the warm morning sun and drank coffee in silence. It was then that a spiral of mist- a miniature whirlwind – rose up from the river in front of us and danced. I have never seen such a site. Just as it came from the river silently, it also returned and was gone. We packed up camp and headed down river.
At the head of Big Black Rapids, our journey nears its end. The next journey begins.
The weather is again warm< and sunny. Water level is around 8,000 CFS. Fair skies, high water with good friends, old and new. How wealthy I am.