Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Northern Maine - Day 5

After another heart-stopping breakfast (Eggs Benedict) from Fred Young, we set out on the Golden Road, the logging road that runs from Millinocket all the way across the state to Quebec. It was reported to be passable by a Baxter ranger, and he was mostly right. The road deteriorated somewhat from paved to rough-paved to decent gravel before we turned off on the Greenville Road.

Before the Greenville Road there was a lovely stretch of the West Branch called Nesowadnehunk Falls, where the Nesowadnehunk River (the same one we had hiked along yesterday in Baxter) joins the Penobscot. The mountain is Katahdin.


A famous section of the West Branch is Ripogenus Gorge, which we hiked along for a short way. I can't imagine how the lumbermen did it, but they used to drive logs down this canyon from the big lakes of Chesuncook and Chamberlain to the north. The water is very fast, and this is low-water time in the autumn.

The Baxter ranger was mostly wrong about the Greenville Road. It was not in good shape and our little Civic found itself once again put to the test. Trucks stacked with logs roared by, not worried about their suspensions, I guess, and on at least one occasion a truck came at us around a corner, tilted enough, I swear, to spill a quarter million pounds of wood on top of us with just a degree more of lean. Another time a truck blasted out of a side road just in front of us without stopping. Perhaps he saw us, correctly judged the angles, and wanted to give us a thrill.
There weren't a lot of log piles along the road, but enough to make it clear that logging is a messy business, not to mention dangerous. The Pelletier family runs most of the trucks in this area (and also opened a restaurant in Millinocket on the basis of their fame in the TV series American Loggers, where we ate manly food amidst logging paraphrenalia the night before); I now want to see the series not only for the information on logging but also for what might be the last of a breed. What does a real logger think of bacon-wrapped scallops called Retreds, or Blown Tires (onion rings)?

In any case the ten miles of the Greenville Road consumed nearly an hour, presented no moose (are you sensing a theme yet?), and certainly was a slice of the North Woods without pretense or comfort.
In the late afternoon we arrived in Maynard's in Maine in Rockwood, ready for the monstrous meals any logger would be proud of.

2 comments:

Jeff Boatright said...

"The Baxter ranger was mostly wrong about the Greenville Road. It was not in good shape and our little Civic found itself once again put to the test. Trucks stacked with logs roared by, not worried about their suspensions, I guess,..."

The fastest, toughest, most go-anywhere cars are, as it turns out, made by many manufacturers, though all under the same name: "Rental".

Just some gentle advice for future boondocking trips...

pooki said...

Agreed. Thanks for the pics of MY FAVORITE PLACE in our fair state......