Summer Journal Day 1
My son and I spent a couple of weeks in the North Maine Woods. It wasn’t what we had expected this year, but it was great.
Saturday, August 1
We left my friend’s house in Portsmouth, NH at 10:20 am. Chris went for a ride on the wave runner before we left. The speed of the boat, hitting 40 mph impressed Chris.
Today is sunny and humid, with temperatures in the 80’s.
We drove through to Millinocket, got something to eat at McDonald’s and went across the street to the market and bought our groceries. We already had plenty of shelf-stable food; we needed our perishables and more ice for the trip into the woods.
We topped off the truck’s gas tank and filled both five gallon cans I had in the back. We stopped at the Trading Post across from Ambajejus Lake, but just looked. We then headed up the Golden Road stopping at Abol Bridge, from where we took pictures of Mt. Katahdin. This has to be one of the best angles for pictures of the mountain and the weather was perfect, with just some scattered clouds.
Katahdin in the Abenaki Indian language means “Great Mountain.” It is the greatest in Maine at 5,268 feet and is also the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
We drove on to Allagash Gateway Campground arriving at 5:10 pm and chose campsite 35. Jan Reeves, who along with her husband Billy owns the campground, told us to just drive out and take any site we liked.
Allagash Gateway is at the foot of Chesuncook Lake. Chesuncook is an Abenaki Indian word which means “at the place of the principle outlet.” The current lake was formed by the damming of the West Branch of the Penobscot River in 1903 and 1916. It is approximately 22 miles long and one to four miles wide, with a surface area of 25,183 acres and a maximum depth of 150 feet. It is the third-largest body of fresh water in Maine.
After we got the tent up and our cots put together, Chris grabbed his pole and went down to the water to toss in a line. No luck.
Billy stopped by with some firewood and asked where we were headed. We explained our plan and he pointed out that because of all the rain over the last three months we might run into some washouts. He added that Chesuncook Lake is six feet above its normal level because of all the rain. He also said that most lakes, rivers and streams are running high.
That’s something I hadn’t considered.
All the roads entering the North Maine Woods, an expanse of 3.5 million acres, have gated checkpoints. We’ll be entering through the Caribou Checkpoint on the Golden Road in the morning. We’ll check there about washouts. We’re told that the high water levels are supposed to make for good fishing.
I topped off the truck’s gas tank at Allagash Gateway and had Billy fill a 2.5 gallon gas can I had in the back. That gives us 32.5 gallons of gasoline; however, if we run into washouts or closed roads, we could still find ourselves short on gasoline.
We cooked up a couple of cheeseburgers for dinner. I had a beer and Chris drank some iced tea. We sat by the fire until 9 pm, and then went into the tent to play Yahtzee. I won and then read some before falling asleep.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.