Day 49: Jaws on Churchill Lake to Sams on Long Lake (17.3 miles)

Today…the story in photos…

Still thinking about that cornbread. Heidi promised to send me the recipe, which came from a famous chef in New Orleans. She came down this morning to watch me go and spotted a moose.
All poised to run Chase Rapids, with my gear, feeling butterflies. I decided not to use the gear shuttle service. Josh, the ranger, released 1,000 cfs from the dam this morning, to bring the river to 2,000 cfs.
Looking back at the first rapids. I bailed five gallons of water from my boat after the first two, due to the size of the standing waves. From my journal: “My boat is forgiving and tough and brought me through quite confidently.”

PADDLER’S NOTE: The Saranac River in flood stage was much more powerful and the rapids on the Moose River trickier with less water than Chase Rapids.  I was glad I decided to keep my gear, which gave my boat the same feel that it has had for hundreds of miles.  The first mile of Chase Rapids has all of the Class II rapids, with a chance to catch your breath between each.

Bank after bank of Joe Pye Weed lined the shores.
Look who I met! NFCT interns Jared and Paul on their last day of work, finishing a stone staircase at Meadows. Paul spotted a moose and, earlier, I had seen a mother and calf on Heron Lake. My count is now 9 and theirs 45!
Umsaskis Lake in a time of afternoon stillness. God’s presence seemed to abide here, surrounding me with peace. Uncannily, ten years ago this day was my first on the Allagash, as Chris brought me here for our honeymoon.
Almost forgot my end-of-map photo, but the American Realty Road bridge was still in sight behind me.
Finally, a great blue heron poses, abandoning their usual shyness.
Last moose of a moosey day…this cow didn’t even know I was there as I observed her feeding for a long time. I thought how content she must be – mostly underwater, away from the bugs, and indulging her enormous appetite for tasty aquatic plants. The tan sandy bank on the far shore is typical of the appearance of a campsite from afar.
This is that moose, shaking herself just like a dog!

What an awesome day, what an awesome place, the icing on the cake of this incredible journey!


Day 4: Lean-to at end of Deerland Carry to Hidden Cove on Long Lake (7.5 miles)

Only 7.5 miles, you say?  Well…let me tell you our story.  Violent thunderstorms with heavy rain had continued off and on for hours in the night, turning the difficult portage trail into a treacherous one.  Hardest was the rushing stream that now crossed the trail at a point with no boardwalk.  Ominous rumbling continued as I carried both boats (very carefully) and Dad the rest of the boat gear.  His stamina has been impressive.  Left camp about 10 a.m., already having done quite a bit!


Generous trail angels Tom and Judy reported more weather on the way as we stopped for a goodbye.
We flew down Long Lake with the wind at our backs, to the town of Long Lake, finishing Map 1 of the NFCT.
We flew right to The Adirondack Hotel, where I consumed a most delicious bagel with turkey, Swiss, red cabbage, and special mayo.

We called home and Mom reported that the escaped convicts were far away, riding the rails in PA, a huge relief.  (Also ultimately not true, but we had peace of mind for a day or two).

The wind had picked up more and on we sailed, torn between hugging the shore for safety or flying free down the middle.  Then there was that delicate point where fun becomes a bit scary.  Was it a blessing of prayer that there was a lean-to exactly there?  The waves carried us in and deposited us firmly on shore for an early camp.

An afternoon in camp is always a gift, for drying, washing, and relaxing.  Just remember to put a large rock on anything you set down or it will blow away!  And when you are done washing yourself and the laundry, you will need to pick little leaf bits out of all the crevices.  This was some serious wind and stirring up of an already- flooded shore.  Hot dogs and beans for supper on the campfire and Dad’s new twig stove.