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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Allagash Wilderness Waterway: 8/31/15 - 9/4/15, Day 5

     Day 5 – McKeen Brook to Allagash Village to Millinocket to Owls Head/Deer Isle

     We got up at 6:00 to mist and fog and temperatures in the 40s, and were on the river by 8:00. Breakfast at last pled guilty, eschewing the last pound of bacon for simple pancakes, maple syrup, coffee, and juice.

                                  McKeen Brook campsite in the morning
     Visibility on the river was okay, perhaps 100 feet, and paddling through mist was a beautiful experience. The sun burned it off after about an hour and the day turned gorgeous again. Both 6-packs were still at their sites when we passed, but the NC crew quickly caught up and we beached at the river edge to let them pass – very professional they were in their uniforms of vests and hats, neat piles of gear, nice canoes, and clearly skilled. As for the Rochester 6-pack, we didn’t see them again.
     Spring Bank Rapids were the fastest yet, but also fairly short and we got through with only a couple of minor bumps.
     The Waterway ends shortly after the rapids, and the last few miles of river to Allagash Village are privately owned. Houses started to appear, then pick-up trucks on a road, and then we saw our take-out spot, and suddenly and anti-climactically the trip was done at 12:30.

                                                 The end of the trip
     Distance: about 12 miles
     E/M’s truck had just been delivered and all that was left was unloading the canoes, the three-hour drive to the outfitters in Millinocket to pick up my car, and then E/M’s three-hour drive to Deer Isle, and my three-hour drive to Owls Head, where I arrived at 8:00.
     Wildlife seen: Wanting to avoid the city of Bangor and the traffic of Route 1 as much as possible, I took some back roads off I-95 to Belfast. In Swanville, I saw some excellent examples of a species new to me, homo grillicus. On top of a one-story garage-like structure maybe 12 feet square, flat-roofed with no rails, set in splendid isolation from other structures and  other species, sat a smoking barbeque grill, and 5 examples of the species, young, male, perched on dining room-style chairs around a table, eating dinner. I was too far away to see many details of plumage or diet, but they were magnificent in their studied insouciance.

Grand total for the week: about 60 miles of paddling (plus 12 hours in cars!)

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