Saturday, September 29, 2007

More New Photos

Just got these from TDS via Stan Bivin - thank you! -rg

September 25, 2007

9-25-07. From Safford Notch campsite (2240ft), 2 miles South of Avery Peak (4088ft) of Bigelow Mountain, SOBO mile:177.4.

Last night I stayed at West Carry Pond leanto...all by myself. Yep, nobody was there. Unbelievable and a first for me on the trail this

The loons made more noise than the mice. This is a great thing. It was quite a performance put on by the males trying to gain the attention of a suitor. Or vice versa, the female trying to attract a male. The acoustics were great on the pond and I could hear so many different calls and yodles. I managed to record several minutes and may use as my ringtone since it was recorded on a cell phone.

The Fall colors are like a timeless painting. You get lost looking deeper into the colors. Reds, Yellows, brown, light green are all over this Maine landscape. Leaves are falling and starting to have a static presense on the trail. This time of year makes me think of football, turkey, pumpkin pie and Christmas present idea tv commercials.

Today, I got started around 8:30am and had a nice walk. Up over Roundtop Mountain, another hump and voila I am looking at the beautiful Flagstaff lake. This lake is part of the Northern Forest Canoe trail. I chose to not paddle her as the water into and out of were mighty low. But I can not wait to paddle this section and this time of year would be ideal....with more water and cow bell.

While taking it all in on the rocky shore of Flagstaff lake I, for the first time on either the AT or NFCT, watched three otters swim by. They saw me and held there head above water and made noises almost like they were saying "hi". They were cute and played as they swam and dived.

I made it over Little Bigelow just4 before dinner. It was a 2000ft climb but not bad.

The streams, springs and brooks are pretty much dried up. The water sources are nothing like they were this time several years ago. So when I stop for water, I tank up.

Tomorrow, another 2000ft climb to Avery Peak and then back down the mountain to 1500ft from 4000ft to Statton, ME.

It was great seeing all the NOBO's in Caretunk. We had many good laughs and beers and dips in thwe jacuzzi at Northern Outdoors. It was also neat to watch a football game. NY Giants finally got a much needed win to avoid an 0-3 start. Atta-boy, Plaxico and Eli.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

September 20, 2007

Good morning readers! It is around 7:40am 9-20, Thursday, and I am about to have maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal courtesy of Quaker. The sun has just appeared over the tree line, over my left shoulder. I have been awake since 7:04.

A couple of notes while they are fresh...

Shoes: New The North Face trailrunners. My sixth pair of shoes worn while hiking the AT this year. The vote is not yet in but my money is on these new shoes not making "voted number one". I went down half size under the advisement of the shoe guy at outfitter in Greenville, ME. He said that The North Face shoes are sized bigger. While hiking downhill yesterday my toes were being jammed into the toe. This is neither comfortable nor healthy. So today I will hike without the shoes inserts. This will give me some room. If this does not solve the problem then I will use a thinner sock. Worst case scenario, I buy a new set of shoes.

My favorite shoes, still, are the ones made by Keen-Boulder and Targhee. The soles just do not last.

Last night a mouse chewed a hole through my pack cover. They gave up once through because no entry holes were evident on my pack. They also got into my food pot. Both scandals happened to be my first mice issues. So far I have been fortuante to have avoided the many mice scandals experienced by so many hikers. Last night they striked but no food was lost and gear still in tact and functioning.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

September 19, 2007

hey ya'll and how are you doing? 9-19, a site .5 miles South of Horseshoe Canyon leanto, SOBO mile approx 124. a short day today, just 9.5.

site is on flat rock just above waterline, just Left off trail going S. look left immediately after noticing campsite on your Right. down steep short path. pad big enough for 2man tent, 2 1man tents or 3-4 cowboy campin. well maintained low impact fire ring. view of falls.

a nobo named splendora passed by and then came down to take a picture or two. she liked how awesome the site was. she and her partner (I could not understand what his name was after asking twice over. I just pretended to know.) were hiking to the shelter.

a nice relaxing day was had. the yellow leaves of the birches and beeches against white and purple bark ruled my attention.

lots of red leaves too from the maples.

the sun was out, the temperature mild, some humidity when near water and the air so pure. another beautiful day, again a rocky mountain high...about 156 miles left here to hike in Maine. it will get harder. today, the trail, terrain and slope were nice and easily managed.

views of all sorts of water from the trail.

took zero yesterday in Monson at the Shaws Hiker Hostel. new owners, Dawn and Sue, are extremely hospitable and sincerely enjoy the hiker clientelle. their ayce breakfast is just what the Dr. ordered at a more affordable price than a visit to the Dr. you can enjoy dinner with them most nights. Sue and Dawn are wonderful hosts. the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the hikers and the huge AT community win by having these fine ladies running their show up in Monson, ME. thanks to the Shaw's for their many contributions to the AT community and especially the AT thruhiker! best of luck Keith Jr.

I checked email and news from Monson's Public Library. I resupplied at the General Store and I enjoyed food from the Mobile station. We drove to Greenville for supplies at the outfitter. While in Greenville I saw and read the NFCT kiosk located at the Southernmost point of Moosehead lake. We all drove to the Rockwood putin to see Mt Kinneo. This highway is frequented by moose.

it felt good to not hike yesterday. my body is thanking me. todays short hike helped also. starting this last phase slowly is helping my legs and lungs get back into the groove.

again its beautiful here. i can not fully describe the beauty but hope you all might have the chance to experience these woods for yourselves.

it has been great seeing all the NOBO's. again, Congratulations for your grand accomplishent.

Granite Gear, just email me and I'll give you an address to send the new 2008 Nimbus Ozone. I'm so excited and I just can't hide it, I'm about to lose control and I think I like it!

I miss the authentic Mexican cuisine of Enriques at the Ponca City (OK) International airport.

Charles Barkley should join the cast for Monday Night Football and replace Bob Costas for all sports broadcasts. Bob is just too short and not much of an athlete.
For dinner I had Liptons Beef Lo Mein with peanut butter. I added a spoonful to the boiling water. By the time it had cooked it was more like peanut butter soup with noodles. Kind of like the peanut butter soup Jackie Boyd made for us when we stayed with her and Father Boyd while my parents were attending Criseo (m/s) years ago.

Tommorow, Moxie Bald mtn and maybe Pleasant Pond mtn...that would be a 20 mile day. i have not done a 20 mile day in Maine thus far.

I should be running into Hungus any day now and maybe White Crow before long.
Happy Trails,

Totally Different Subject

Monday, September 17, 2007

More to come...

Ed note - TDS got into Monson, ME earlier today, and sent the updates below. I anticipate he'll be moving on shortly. As Jerry Reed once said, he's got a long way to go and a short time to get there.

In that spirit -- here is a tribute by a contemporary artiste:

September 15, 2007

From chairback gap lean-to, SOBO mile 88.5, 11.7 miles hiked.

Yesterday, 9-14, i rolled out late from a wonderful campspot on Crawford Pond. there was a fire ring but I made no fire. the wind was blowing but clear blue skies and two mountains to hike-Little Boardman mountain (2017') and White Cap mountain (3654').

The trail was nice and dry. The wind blew harder as the day wore on and as I climbed higher.
I started the 2400' climb, covering 5.3 miles, around 1pm and it was nearly dark by the time I camped at Sydney Tappen campsite.

The sign on top of White Cap entered my view. Someone was taking a picture of the sign and I knew him. Not Yet with Mr. Easy right behind and I were crossing paths at such a great place. We found a place free from the wind and visited. Cool Hand Luke and Lunchbox showed up and we had a pow wow. The last time I saw Cool Hand Luke was in Louisville visiting White Crow. We caught up and stayed until we could take the cold and windy no longer.

I left the guys and started down cold and ready for dinner and a sleeping bag. Just shy of Sydney Tappen Camsite I made home on some pine needles, had dinner and drifted to sleep.
It started raining today, early this morning, so I staked out the tent fly and went back to sleep. The next time I awoke it was still raining and 4am. Back to sleep after a brief exit from the warmth of my tent. 8:45am, up for good, not raining but wet.

Everyone was sure it would clear up today with promise of nice days to come. The rain stopped and then started. When it wasn't raining the wind helped the trees drop their available standing water on those hiking underneath. There was lots of fern overgrowth that also retained water.
Tomorrow, I am hoping for terrain and weather helpful as I'd love to knock off a big day, leaving a sub-ten mile day into Monson. There a box of food awaits along with great breakfast at The Shaw's.

Only squirells, chipmunks and mice today. No Sasquatch sightings yet.

Happy Trails,
Jason Bivin
Totally Different Subject

September 13, 2007

From campsite on Crawford Pond, Maine, stealth, SOBO mile 62, 16.1 miles hiked.

What a beautiful Fall day in Maine. The air was crisp, an always present breeze kept the sweat away, cooler temps squashed the humidity and the sky was painted clear and blue. It was one of those days where each breath taken was the best. the conditions were primo for a walk in Maine's woods.

This morning we all rode across the lake from Whitehouse Landing. Once on shore and then on the trail, we said our Goodbyes. Gandalf headed North towards Mt. Katahdin with Radar while I headed South towards Deleware Water Gap. Gandalf will complete the Triple Crown once atop Mt. Katahdin and Radar will finish his first long distance hike. A hiker holding The Triple Crown has hiked all three long distance trails in the United States of America. Gandalf did them in order from the West Coast to the East Coast- Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Congrats buddy!

I took a zero day at Whitehouse Landing yesterday (9-12). Tom B, Radar, Gandalf and I had a nice relaxing day playing cribbage, chess, napping, eating and visiting. The night before Bird Dog stayed over and then Dick Wizzard, Quaso and General Lee stopped by for lunch. It was great seeing everybody.

I ate one pound deluxe cheeseburgers both evenings with chips, pickles, salad, Coke and Ben and Jerry's with homemade brownies. It was delicious and very filling.

I have seen several different types of frogs lately and a snake today. The snake was brown and camoflaged very well. He moved quickly across the trail. Some Merganzers just swam by making some racket. No loon sounds from the pond yet.

The trail was nice today, some roots, rocks, pine needles. I walked over many bog planks today. Some were safe, steady and level others were rotten, angled and slick.

The trail has passed by many ponds and several lakes for the last few days. Looking at them now, I feel a total connection.

(obviously) Passing by the lakes triggers memories of my recent paddle of the NFCT.

Congratulations to all NOBO's about to or having already finished!

The new Canon camera is making some great photos. I cannot wait to share them.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

September 10th - part II

9-10-07. rainbow streams leanto. sobo mile 30.1. 11.5 miles hiked today.

Boy was I sore this morning! In fact, I did not leave the shelter until 10:22am. Jakeleg and I had the shelter and the shelter mice to ourselves. He is SOBO'ing all the way and is from Johnson City, TN. We shared some laughs and many good stories.

This morning Couch rolled up to the shelter and we visited for an hour before he headed North towards Abol bridge. We had not seen each other since the Sheny's, where we had a blast hiking and drinking.

The hike today was beautiful. Much of the hike was through the dense boreal forest, over many slick roots and rocks. The trees shed yesterdays rain, on me. But with my pack cover on- no problem.

Up on rainbow ledges, the days high point, I saw a male spruced grouse singing Barry White to the ladies. He was strutting himself around with his tailfeathers fanned. The females were flying in and one landed on a spruce limb. The females were beautifully colored brown with black specks and pretty eyes. I observed them for awhile.

Lots of breaks today. Taking it easy to give my body a chance to find the groove. I am hoping to find my trail legs soon, so some easing on down the road can be attained.

Tomorrow to White House landing for resupply and since arrival will be preceded by 16 miles I'll probably stay for a shower and the one pound cheeseburger and AYCE breakfast. Then to Monson, ME by the 16th for the final day of Whiteblaze Hiker Feed and night over. The Post Office closes at 11am on Saturday the 15th and reopens Monday. Will pick up package and boogie.

This is the last shelter I stayed at in 2005. I was here with Crosstitch, Hi Pockets, Bricklayer, Pace, No Worries and Good Ol Boy. The water in the stream was much higher then. Then it was a ford, today its a hop, skip and a jump.

Little Red and Wolf here tonight, tenting. It was nice seeing them.

For much of todays hike the trail was near Rainbow Lake and it reminded me of my recent paddle. Yesterday, I hiked along the Western branch of the Penobscott river.

Yesterday, while talking to the Ridgerunner, Bluebearee, I noticed a pileated woodpecker fly by and land in a tree. I pointed the bird out to Bluebearee. It was the first one she had ever seen up here.

I will need to get some new shoes soon and preferably before Mohoosic Notch and arm. Maybe some Merrell's or Keen's or Solomon's.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

September 10, 2007

7:10am from Hurd Brook shelter, mile 18.6 SOBO and its raining.

Yesterday, I awoke from the Birches Campsite, took my time and finally hit the trail around 9am. I was pretty sore from the big climb up Katahdin. Todays hike was nice and after a little time the soreness went away.

While hiking yesterday I met Bluebearee, NOBO '02. She is the ridgerunner for this section. Got to see Dances With Sloths, Sandwich, Sublime and Gorilla on there way to Abol Bridge campground. They all had the same empty but intense look. I know that look. I am hoping they all get a brilliant summit.

I hiked 8 miles from the entrance of Baxter. I spent the night at Roaring Brook campground and before 7am the following day I headed up the mountain.

The Helen Taylor trail was all uphill and it was steep, a lot like the Hunt Trail. But since you are climbing towards Baxter Peak it's pretty easy to forget the toughness.

The weather was windy and foggy. Very windy and the higher I got the fiercer the wind blew. At the end of Helon Taylor trail is Pamola Peak at like 4900 feet. From there you can take the 1.1 mile Knifes Edge to Baxter Peak. Once on top I put on additional clothes, ate lunch and began the wait, along with others, for the weather to clear. Occasionally, the fog would blow away so that I could see Knifes Edge. It was usually for just moments but enough to see the severity of this trail.

Finally, I could wait no longer and headed down the Chimney to begin what would take two hours. The Chimney is the first obstacle. This starts with a 20-30 foot shear drop that you must negotiate down to a narrow pass before doing the same. It was a climb not a hike.
Along the way, wind gusts in excess of 30 mph had me hugging rocks like we were old friends and clawing at any crack that would hold. Most people do this with a peak bag, I did this with a 40+ pound pack.

Oh yea, it was narrow, with shear drops and the rock was jagged, angled and akward. I took my time. And it was still very scary but eventually I was like there is no going back and one slip would be the end, my friend.

I made it through the fog and wind and once at Baxter Peak, well, the same weather. My second time on top and no blue skies but it did not matter. I made it across Knifes Edge, I summitted Katahdin, got to do several other peaks up there, a different trail and no double miles.

Once down, I ran into Rio, Hemlock, Cocoa, Monkey and others. Blue Skies and I spent an hour together on top. She stayed longer than I hoping for blue skies. She got them as patience paid out. I was sore, my legs jelly and it was like I had not hiked at all this year.

To the Birches for sleep.

Great to be on trails that were meant for hiking. I have enjoyed being able to share my Northern Forest Thru paddle with others. There are many more paddling enthusiasts out here than I knew. In fact, the ridgeunner Bluebearee, knows one of the Pennsylvania 4 who did a thru-paddle this year.

Its raining now and while we need it bad, well, its always hard to get out in it when you are warm and dry.

I will try to make it to Monson by the 15th or 16th because is hosting a hiker feed/gathering. Also, I have a food box waiting...the 15th is Saturday and the Post Office closes at 11am. So maybe I'll get there on the 16th. Only time will tell.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

From 9-7-2007

9-7-07 from picnic table in front of bunkhouse at roaring brook campground, east of Mount Katahdin.

This morning I had another wonderful breakfast at the new and improved Appalachian Trail diner, recently taken over by AT veterans Ole Man and NaviGator. They also bought the Appalachian Trail Lodge. The lodge is where hikers, bikers, snowmobilers and hunters can stay at an inexpensive, turn of the century, boarding house. Stay in the bunkhouse or a private room- they are all fine and Ole Man and Navigator are such nice and helpful folks. They are both true friends of the trail and are AT hikers themselves. While at the diner, sit up at the bar and you will be amazed at the past AT memorabilia. Even if you sit elsewhere you should spend a minute checking out the potpourri of AT regalia.

I took care of some post office business which consisted of packing and sending a food bounce box to Monson, ME and a box headed for my folks house- headquarters.

I was able to hitch to Baxter State Park entrance. From there I walked to the entrance booth. It was lovely to be greeted by such sour, rude, wise-assed park rangers and gate keepers.

Maybe they had a bad day, we all do? I was quickly advised that I needed reservations to stay in the park and they were not going to let me start up Katahdin. Instead of helping me resolve the problem, they kept giving me flak. Finally, I asked if I could hike down the Roaring Brook Road and camp there, summit Katahdin tomorrow via the Helen Taylor and Knifes Edge trails. There was one spot available in the bunkhouse, so I paid the ten bucks and headed down the eight mile road with thoughts of Katahdin, Maine, The Knifes Edge, the Whites and finishing this journey swimming through my mind.

Lots of traffic on this gravel and dirt road. I had a great view of Katahdin while passing a break in the trees. She is different when viewed from the East.

This is my third time to Baxter State Park and each time both the gate keepers and rangers have been rude, wiseassed, and unhelpful. They must hate their job or they hate hikers that don't always want to pay for a campsite or always stay in their few designated campsites.
So I will take the Helen Taylor trail to the Knifes Edge trail to Baxter Peak, Mount Katahdin. 4.3 miles and 3807 feet to the top. Then down Katahdin, atop the boulders making up what looks like a spine from the top, back to treeline and off on my SOBO AT finish.

I am carrying a pretty heavy pack. I have about seven days worth of food and have no plans to stop until Monson, except for sleep and breaks, of course.

Dinner time! And am hoping for a 4am or so start. I would love to watch the sunrise from Knifes Edge or Baxter Peak...

**Newsflash*** An overbooking occurred tonight at the bunkhouse. I volunteered to take a campsite. Jo, from Providence, RI, who is a ranger here at the campground, found me a great tent site and everyone is happy.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

Through the 100-mile wilderness

Ed note: it's been confirmed that TDS is now through the 100 mile wilderness! It's the wildest section of the AT -- you need to bring 7+ days of supplies because there's no where to get them along that section. It goes from Baxter State Park to Monson, Maine.

My apologies to our posters who left some very nice comments to TDS -- I'm sorry it took so long to get your stuff posted. They are now out there, and I hope you'll continue to visit this site and stay updated on TDS's grand adventure. -rg

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

September 5, 2007

Greetings friends, family, countrymen....

I am typing from Northern Door Inn, a wonderful hotel, in Fort Kent, Maine. I have finished the NFCT paddle!!!!

It felt good to take a long shower last night and an epson salt bath today. I am warmer than I was yesterday during the last 17 mile paddle. I turned my canoe over not 50 feet from the end of the paddle.

Last night I had sirloin tips, baked potato and salad for dinner at the Swamp Buck restaurant. And some beers at Bee Jays. Everyone that I talked to mentioned the two guys here a month ago carrying a canoe. It was Ben and Jessee of the Wisconsin 2.

For updates of the last 9 days, check out my blog, And if you do, and send this email to 25 of your friends, my tracking software will go straight to Bill Gates and the inventor of the internet, Al Gore, and they will send you a check in the amount of $10 for each person you send to and $5 to each person they send it to. Trust me, it works, I am not an attorney but I did stay at the Northern Door Inn last night. hahahaha.

I hope former Gov. Jesse "The Mind" Ventura decides to run for presidency for our sake because the current candidates are clowns. Sorry Hillary fans.

Looking for ride to Millinocket, Baxter State Park to begin SOBO of AT from Katahdin back to NJ/DWG. I wonder how long it will take to get trail legs and lungs....?

Happy Trails, Best of Luck and Love,
Jason Bivin aka TDS.

September 3, 2007

9-3-07, its 7pm'ish and I am pretty tired.

28 miles today. From pelletier campground on the st johns river, near saint francis, maine, 17.5 miles to fort kent, maine, the only friend the end.I just can't believe it. I really could live up here all year round.My hearing must be off or perhaps congested since all my songs I sang today sounded horrible, you know a little off. Or some might say way off. There was not only a store in allegash village but a diner.

Right before the bow back to the allegash bridge there is a big sign that read lunch. A pepsi symbol under the word lunch. Guess where I went? Double cheeseburger with bacon, large french fries and a pepsi. The real treat was visiting with bluegrass kelley a mandolin picker of many, many years. We had a nice talk and if I ever am in maine in june, I’ll definitely hit the bluegrass festival on the coast to hear him pick. The folks there were real nice!

Thank you keen for making some great durable, sticky and tough water sandles. These have lasted until a couple days ago and as rough as I am on shoes, i'd say you have one he11uva shoe/sandle. Now trash the glued together soles on your targhees and use a one piece molded vibram sole. You will have a customer forever and the best low cut hiking boot.

No moose today. I talked to two others on the water and they had not seen any either.The water on the allegash river was scratchy in many places so I was watching the water more than the scenery.Wind at my back today. It made the water pushy. But at times I could fly 3, maybe 4 mph without a paddle in the water. Not all day though.

Should I perm my beard or what? Let me know what you think. Should I not cut my hair and go with a mullet until there is world peace?I sure would have liked to see randy moss and bret favre play together on the same team. Maybe in 2008 both favre and moss will wind up playing for holmgren in seattle...

A big thank you and round of applause to my boy rob gore for managing the blog. With grad school, a fulltime job at wellsfargo, a wife and 2 boys I don't see how he finds the time. I think it looks great and the blog is something that i'm proud of. If I were to manage one, hopefully it would look as good.

Hey, has paris hilton left a comment yet? While in line at the grocery store, I noticed lyndsey lohan made the cover of maxim. I checked out the pages containing her hottie images. I didn't, however, read the story. Wonder if anybody else didn't read her story?

It rained last night, the sun was out early this morning and a wind was active. Life can't get any better.I do not think my mom, susie, would allow my gear in her house. He11, she might not let me in. I have a pur water filter pump, msr miox pen and polar pure at home. I have used none on my at hike or nfct paddle. Thank goodness I just love gear. Let me know if you would like to borrow one.

You ever notice the good guys never run for political office? I like actors, they are entertaining.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

September 2, 2007

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.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

September 1, 2007

From umsaksis lake, just 1.5 mile shy of map 13, the last map. Had to pull over due to high northwest winds. I am paddling northwest and this is the worst I have seen in the whole paddle. The lake is black with plenty of whitecap to boot. At least 3 ft waves rolling into me.

It has been a battle all day and since I can no longer make forward progress I will break. Break either momentarily or for the day. Its almost 4:30pm but I had hoped to have a big day. If stopping here, 15 miles. Hoping wind will die soon.

Broke camp and was paddling by 8:50am. Apparently, too late. But seriously, at 5am it was just as bad. I know because nature called. Rough paddle heading up churchill lakes west shore. Briefly through heron lake, which is more of a pond when compared to many of Maine's lakes, a short portage around churchill dam and I was ready to have some whitewater fun. I also figured here would be the place to make up some time.

The ranger took my gear down four miles to a place where bissonnette bridge used to stand so I could hit the class II rapids dry. In my canoe, having no weight means the canoe will skip right over the waves. They charge ten bucks and many do it. I joined the crowd.

Very nice to be heading downstream on the allegash river. Once I got knocked sideways and out by a unexpected and unseen rock. I actually almost rebounded center from the left with a third of canoe filled but just rocked back over right. So I got to go swimming a bit. Kept everything but a bottle of water. Had one sandal clinched between my teeth, one arm over the stern end and a hand grabbing my paddle. Here is how bad the wind was...I was through the rapids in some flatwater, swimming over to the shore when a gust came up and started moving us back upstream. Only me and my thwart bag got wet, and all its contents. Namely my camera. By the way, pelican 1030 series watertight boxes are NOT watertight, waterproof or water resistant. Maybe nothing is out here?

Got to gear, dried out, visited with some folks who just ran the rapids. They were doing several trips in the area for labor day weekend. Warmed up, ate the last of todays snack rations and headed back down the allegash.

The last several days, I have just been drinking water out of the lake or river. It is probably not going to kill me and I never took it from a source that was stagnate, standing or hosted beaver lodges. The water tastes pretty good. The first part of maine I was boiling water. Geez, this is a timely method of purifiction. Now, the 15 minutes with polar pure or iodine tabs, or 20+ minutes with aquamir seem quick.

There are tons of different types of mushrooms here in these woods. Yellow, orange, red, brown and various earthtone colors to one that almost seemed like a black light was shining on it. Will try to take some photos.

A ranger said there is a store in allegash village. The family informed me that the st john river is running low. Until a ranger says so I am inclined to not believe the family. St john river is the last stretch of the nfct, running the last 27.5 miles into ft. Kent, maine.

If a store is there and open I will supplement a shrinking food bag with fried apple pies, little debbies, beef jerkey, granola bars, etc. Heck, i'd even lug some beer.

More later.

Its nearly 7pm. The wind has died down some and while there will be another hour of sunlight, I just could not get warm eating dinner. Its been cool today, temps in 60's with that wind. My feet have been numb pretty much all day. In socks, longjohns, down jacket and stocking cap, tucked inside sleeping bag I am now. To finish sept 5, I have 4 paddling days, 3 dinners and 3 daily snack rations (about 1700 calories per day) and 78.5 miles.

Oh yea, those squirells with little thin flat tails, well, they are called ermine and I am not sure if they are related. A picture of the animal along with its name was on a bulletin board of churchill dam.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

August 30, 2007

From mud pond, less than a mile from chamberlain lake. Its 3:10pm and I'm in the tent.

The rain started about the time I was unpacking canoe for mud pond portage. A 1.8 mile jaunt covering slick rocks, tree blow down, moose muck, mud, mosquitoes and the spooky chance of a moose runin. The trail was marked with a white arrow on a red sign. The trail was more like a stream and very narrow. It was fun and with a canoe overhead I avoided the rain. I did get wet though. Sometimes I’d walk in water up to knees. The put in, following the portage, was moosemuck for 20, 25 feet out. The kind where you sink. Pulling out of one hole, the back strap of my keen water sandal broke.

While paddling up Lake Umbazooksus, I saw moose #4 and #5, a cow and calf. Mom was out 100 feet from shore, in this very shallow lake, and her calf was between her and the shore, much closer to the shore. I slowed and as I neared the calf ran towards mom. I turned back and paddled away. More as a gesture, just waving my white flag. Mom turned to look at me then with calf behind they headed for shore. This was very near the takeout for mud pond portage.

Once back in the canoe, I was paddling through mud with all my might and finally broke into some deeper water. The rain kept on coming down, thunder occurring and now fog. I could not see well and with the wind at me I pulled over and set up tent.

Only ten miles so far today. I had planned on 20.

The best place I found was a place that is the worst place to set a tent, let alone have to sleep... A giant root runs under where my hips would lay. At my ankles another along with a severe dropoff. With my pack under a tree I began pulling items out for setup. I did a pretty poor job at keeping tent dry. It was pouring.

Dried as much out as I could with silk bag liner. Got back into it and in sleeping bag. Ate lunch. Read. Getting warm and the rain stops, no sun and a wind. So no chance of drying gear out.

Stepped outside to look at the weather, to see if I might pack up and venture out in search of mud brook into chamberlain lake. Cold, windy, cloudy and looked like it might rain anytime and I was still cold so with all my gear wet, I decided to get back in tent, get in longjohns and down jacket, back in sleeping bag.

The day is pretty much bagged, so I will read some, have dinner, get to bed early and hopefully have a sunny morning tomorrow with successful passage to chamberlain lake.

2 portages today, 1 mile and 1.8 mile. The first was from longley stream bridge, at umbazookus stream, along longley stream road to marked sign for putin at umbazooksus lake, avoiding bog. The other, I spoke about earlier. I may have just completed the last of the long portages...if memory serves me accurately.

Happy trails,
Totally Different Subject

August 27, 2007 -- out of order

8-27-07, from moosehead lake, me. map 11.

an evening start. paddled an hour from the public boat access, near town of rockwood, me. water nice and smooth and no wind during evening paddle. got to camp-hardscrabble point around 7:00pm and established camp. tent up, temp now getting cool, a very nice coolness. not too far from water. should get nice sunrise over shaw mountain and little kineo mountain to the east and north.

lots of food. rations for 8-10 days. dinners, bagels, chips, ham, cheese, beef jerkey, granola bars, little debbies, a few energy bars and misc. will be my diet. no fishing. not going to eat berries because i dont want animals eating my food.

got a book, tobacco, the water, the woods, a canoe, paddles and pack.

very excited to have these miles, here, in front of me. the northwoods of maine. deep. the roads, towns, people and cars are fewer than woods, water and wildlife, here in maine.

Happy Trails,
Totally Different Subject

August 29, 2007

Oh what a beautiful morning...its 8:35am, still in camp. A ranger stopped by early, we visited, she wrote me a permit and I paid five dollars. For this, I do not mind paying. Muskrat dancing in the water last night under a full moon. A big bull moose is having breakfast not 200 feet away.

I heard what sounded like swimming. I walked down to the shore and could not see anything. With camera in hand I started walking to the noise. Sure enough, across the river was ol big bull eating. He heard me, and looked in my direction. I took some photos and let him be.

Two guys in a motor boat with buckets (probably loaded with food scraps to bait bear for upcoming hunt) scooted by and spooked him off back into the woods. I was then about to hit the water and hoped he and I might visit. No such luck.

They do an excellent job maintaining campsites up here!

A nice swift paddle down the Penobscot should be expected according to the ranger. Chesunook Lake is down, which could create some issue getting to mud carry, a 1.9 miles portage into Chamberlain Lake, the southern Allegash region. If Umbazooksus stream is low and not navigable, there is Longley Street road to Umbazooksus Lake and then mud carry portage.

6pm. Dinner time, camped at Longley stream campsite on Chesuncook Lake. Winds of south today. This made paddling down the Penobscot a breeze. It made paddling chesuncook wobbly.

Saw my 2nd bull moose today, just shy of long pine campsite today. He was big. He did not stay in the water long. After a good look at me he climbed out of the river and walked the bank until back in the woods. Great pics. It has been so awesome happening upon these moose. They truly are large and in charge.

The flies are horrible at this site. What a nuisance these bastids are! Have not seen them so thick since the pct.

Saw osprey, bald eagle, moose, Canadian geese and other birds.

Sunny today and few clouds.

Near the end of the Penobscot and beginning of Chesuncook Lake the winds picked up and created jerky water. Waves behind me and to the side. I decided to call it a day and get off the water.

Boiled water today, for lunch and dinner. Not sure how potable the Penobscot was and this lake is low and I would bet the quality, also not potable. To save what fuel I have left, I used a campfire to boil water and make dinner. If boiling proves to not be enough, well, I have a script of flagil.

Will have to ration food, especially snacks. About 120 miles left and five days, maybe five and a half rations. Never seem to get these long stretches right. Too much or too little.

Some clouds are moving in. I suppose some rain is due.

Excellent view of Mt. Katahdin today, upon hitting the lake. Can’t wait to be there looking down!

Getting back to katahdin and or my truck in Rockwood, ME has been on my mind. If I could get back without having to wait, I could summit katahdin by September 10. If this can be accomplished then I will be five days ahead of schedule.

Allegash tomorrow! Yee haw!

The sound of waves crashing against the beach will make soothing sleeps. What beautiful country this is and what fortune I must hold to be here breathing it all in.

Happy trails,
Totally different subject

August 28, 2007

From west branch Penobscot River, ME. Camping on Thoreau Island.

Moose in water just 100 yds from camp, Penobscot rvr, young cow, muskrat (swimming in Penobscot, small flat thin tale, larger head, neck area), bald eagles (overhead, near Thoreau island), pileated woodpecker, chipmunks, fish, gray jays.

13 miles lake paddle, Moosehead Lake. 2 mile portage. 4 mile river paddle, Penobscot River.

Only few boats on lake. None on river.

Logging roads, fast trucks.

Spring on portage trail- northeast carry. Good water.

Boreal forest. Penobscot River.

Noseeums bad.

Macaroni cheese with ham and macadamia cookies, water, wheat thins for dinner.

Craving taco bell and ben and jerrys ice cream. New fav-caramel sutra ben and jerry...caramel center...

Black herons???? With yellow beaks but fly flatter and more like ducks. Or is this a duck.

Love the smell of this type of forest.

Fish are jumping. Tenting close to water.

Sunny and clear today. Some clouds moving in but up high. Perfect weather. Nice campsite. Henry David Thoreau was to have camped on this very island.

It is so beautiful here, so natural and uninhabited. Many people are gone for the season. Lake homes are closed up and emptied until next year. Very remote.

Tomorrow, from Chamberlain Lake I will get good view of Mt Katahdin.
Loving the book, we took to the woods, by Louise Dickinson rich. Humorous and full of area Maine history.