From cunliffe depot campsite, allegash river, maine, 45.5 miles from ft. Kent, maine, northern terminus of nfct.
Wow! Ideal, ideal, ideal conditions today. Very little wind. Any wind was always at my back. No rain, just sun and blue skies. Although, it was nearly 10am before the sun burned off the fog. There were dark clouds too but they went away. And all downstream, mostly quick water and some rapids.
33 miles paddled today, my biggest day. Also, I saw more wildlife today than any other, anytime or any other place! Today I saw 8 moose (1 bull, 6 cows and 1 calf), 2 bald eagles (one swooped down right in front of me for some fish), 2 snow shoe hares, 1 ermine swimming, many great blue heron, blue jays, grey jays, canadian goose, loons, tons of fish jumping or swimming, 1 osprey, other ducks and birds.
I wonder if moose, especially cows, like people? It seemed they have always been very near a campsite. Always in the water too, eating. They also don't seem to mind me. I give them plenty of room and talk to them in passing. They are fun to watch because they seem so chill, easy come easy go. Maybe its just the time of year?
I loved watching the bull this morning. He let me get close enough to get a spectacular viewing. He was in the water so that it came to his shoulders. Given the depth of the water of umsaskis lake just south of the bridge at the thoroughfare, I knew this guy was tall. His rack was large and all velvet gone. He would submerge his head and part of neck under water to forage. Once satisfied, he would pull his head back up and chew. The sound of the water trickling, running actually, off his head back to the river sounded like a waterfall, or like when you just step out of the pool and the water runs off your body and swimsuit and hits the water or ground. Over and over he would do this and I just hung out to watch for awhile.
Both eagles flew close enough that I could see their eyes and the detail of their feathers. The one that swooped down on his prey had large talons and to see the whole process from flight to swoop to catch to eat makes me feel blessed.
Gosh, what a great paddle! To cover as much ground felt great. It has been one of the few days I have not had to fight weather. Oh, glorious day. How bout another one, tomorrow?
The weather here is constantly changing, this time of year. One day it rains, the next day wind and gusts in your face, then maybe a thunderstorm with lightning or intense sun and hot, or cold. Each condition means something different for the canoeist.
Like say the wind in your face. You can paddle through some. It makes for long days, your mph goes down and your muscles get a workout. But what happens when its blowing so hard you can not paddle any further? Or what do you do on a big body of water when the wind is causing waves that now are dangerous? How about thunder and lightning? Often, the answer is to get off the water. Sometimes it may be temporary and at times the wind ends your day.
A day like today can not be beat for paddling. And a place like this would be hard to beat.
Mountains were in abundance today. The maples have started turning red. Fall is around the corner here in maine, usa. Many brooks and streams dumped into the river making for some riffles and mostly swift water.
I just knew a big day was possible. Hell, my arms are not sore at all and I never stopped paddling today when on the water. Only two breaks and both under 20 minutes.
I need a couple more big days to Ft. Kent. Hopefully, the St. John river will be running and not low and scratchy. The last 27 miles are on it. The St. John river is the international border between the Maine, United States of America and New Brunswick, Canada. It is illegal to land on the canadian side.
My camera has not worked since yesterday. Too bad as today brought some once in a lifetime photo opps. Maybe, if the camera is not working, I will get a disposable camera at allegash village. I hope to make it in tomorrow as I hear they have a store. Eighteen miles stands between here and there.
To save fuel, I cooked dinner on a fire tonight. Mountain home spaghetti and meat sauce. I could go for some italian cuisine big time.
I can't believe the paddle is almost over. Not sure what the official mileage will be but whatever it comes out to this has truly been a privilege, a challenge and a victory.
I know hiking maine and new hampshire will eat my lunch, but seriously after what I have endured over the last month and a half on this trail, this paddle, I feel like I can survive, I can survive.
The allegash wilderness waterway ought to be in your top 20 things to do and see in your lifetime.
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