Day 15: Missisquoi River from behind the Abbey Restaurant to stealth campsite just before Twin Bridges (16.2 miles)

After a shorter day yesterday, I was up and on the trail by 6:30 a.m., first continuing down the rail trail less than a mile to the North Sheldon bridge.  Visiting last night at the pub had armed me with local knowledge, which, combined with rereading Katina’s description, led me to put back onto the river there, rather than walking to Enosburg Falls as planned.  It was a great decision, although it took ingenuity to get the gear and boat in at that bridge, down a steep bank. The solution? Slide the canoe down through heavy weeds instead of the slippery path!

Muddy, monotonous, and marvelous…those sections of the river where you can just stay in the boat and paddle.  Most of today was like that.  (Muggy, too, later in the day).  Great blue herons and spotted sandpipers led me upstream, as I amused myself noting all of the animal tracks in the muddy banks.  My phone was on and working for a bit and Megan called.  “So are there more people on the trail there than in Maine?” she asked.  That made me realize that the only people I had seen in boats on this river in days were the group at the Highgate Falls Carry!

Finished with Map 4…signed the kiosk by the Bridge of Flowers and Light, but there was no one to take my photo. This beautifully landscaped old bridge, once used to carry milk to creameries, was saved by a group of local citizens.

After leaving the easy portage through Enosburg Falls, I was hoping to find a restaurant meal.  It was not to be, as I first missed a place recommended by Dennis at The Abbey and then tried to stop when I saw a true Vermont country store from the river.  Pulling over to the easiest access from the bridge, I secured my boat and started walking up a tiny muddy stream.  With every step, I sank deeper, until I was literally in mud to my knees, worried that if I lost a shoe I could never retrieve it.  Humbly, I struggled back, clinging to the meager vegetation and paddled away, eating trail mix!

PADDLER’S NOTE:  The most difficult challenge in this section is the Samsonville Dam ruins.  It took me a long time to go the half mile (longer than descriptions indicate).  Most of this was pulling and lining the boat, but the last bit was carrying gear and then canoe along the shore.


Caught by a thunderstorm and the lateness of the day, I stealth camped again, perched in a small clear spot right by a game trail. Before dark, I heard loud splashing and looked out my window. A doe was crossing the river right toward me. Suddenly, though, she whirled and ran back across the shallow water, pausing to look back, then snorting danger and disappearing.


Canada lilies always brighten up the miles of green river shore

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