Troop 29’s Visit to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway

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I spent July 11-18 in northern Maine with Troop 29; we paddled the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. We were a small group (only ten of us), but we had a great time! Some photos and stories follow!

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We drove up on Saturday, and explored some of the St Francis/Allagash area on Sunday. Since Don is from St. Francis he was able to convince his brother to let us stay on his property Saturday and Sunday nights, and to convince his mother to make us some food! On these two days I used my iPhone for some photos (check my Flickr account), though I broke that trend to take the group portrait at the right. (There are only seven of us here because Brian, Ethan and Graham would be joining us on Monday morning.)

Sean from Allagash Guide Service had canoes waiting for us Monday morning, and we quickly began the long, four-hour drive down logging roads to Churchill dam, where we were starting our trip. Brian, Ethan and Graham were at the dam when we arrived. Off we go!

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We were hoping for the opportunity to work through a lot of whitewater when we went down Chase Rapids, but it just didn’t happen — the water levels were too high. We had a number of solid class I rapids and some minor class II, but that’s it.

We had to fight quite a bit of wind to get across the lakes on Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday.

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We saw a lot of wildlife on the trip! Moose and Bald Eagles every day, along with wood ducks, Loons, geese, turtles, fish, and either a beaver or otter. I’m pretty sure we saw some osprey, too. Wednesday was definitely the magical day for photographing wildlife!

We definitely saw more moose than anything else: at lease 60 of them! They were easy to spot in the distance, or even nearby on the shore by our campsites. Some we needed binoculars to positively identify, while others let us drift within about fifteen feet of them! We saw mostly cows (females), and only one bull — but we also saw several calves!

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Thanks to a fresh food drop on Wednesday morning, Wednesday night we all ate fresh corn on the cob and 1+ pound ribeye steaks! That was definitely the best meal of the trip!

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Thursday was a leisurely day for us. We had fun joking around, taking photos, seeing the wildflowers and Michaud Farm, and finally ending up at the Allagash Falls campsite.

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Thursday evening and Friday morning were spent hanging around Allagash Falls. We also volunteered some time to help rebuild a trail to the outhouse. We hauled about 150 gallons of gravel roughly 1/8-mile, and spread it to hide a muddy path.

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At the base of the falls were some rapids — solid class I, pushing into class II rapids, I’d say. Ethan asked if that was something we could try doing solo — definitely! After some quick review the Scouts went off to give it a try. I was able to perch myself atop a rock in the middle of the river and take photos from a great perspective.

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Thursday night, at the Falls campsite, Don was was out walking around. He slipped on a rock, which sliced right through his shoe and cut his foot deeply. We bandaged him and he rested while the bleeding stopped, but we all knew he really should have had stitches put in — but out there, in the middle of nowhere, help is hours and hours away. When we returned Friday night, Don’s sister, a nurse, cleaned the wound and confirmed that he should have had stitches. But at this point, it’s too late for stitches. I’m sure he’s have a nice scar from that!

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We got off the river Friday evening, and Don’s family again showed us a lot of hospitality by providing dinner for us, and snapping a photo of the group with just about every camera we had (and there were several).

What an awesome trip! By the way, yes, I’ve paddled the same section of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway before: back in July 2000. I created a book about that trip, if you want to see more photos and read more!

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This is a great story and you've got some awesome photos here! I love the solo Class I (and a half?) rapids photos - depth of field and depth of fun! What a cool adventure.

Great pictures man. The one of me after the falls is great! It really did look like I was going to flip there even though I didn't feel it at the time.

Great pictures Dan. Aside from Don's injury, it was a totally awesome trip. The moose were bigger then I expected, especially when we got up close. The food was great. The weather forecast called for rain every day, but the only significant rain was one night, for half an hour when we were settling in our tents anyway. Thx again 4 capturing and recording the moments.

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