Day 30: Peace of Heaven Bed and Breakfast in Millsfield (after Errol dam portage) to Spaulding Cove, The Narrows (15.8 miles) 

Sonja takes hospitality seriously, sharing her phone, scissors to make a fresh pot cozy, and fixing a generous breakfast of fruit, zucchini bread, eggs, bacon, and French toast. That should get me to the Richardson Lakes, my goal for today.

Here is a fascinating fact you surely do not know.  Our bed and breakfast (Peace of Heaven) is the official Town Hall for Millsfield, NH, where citizens vote in the bedrooms behind closed doors.  In 2014, the Secretary of State visited Sonja to see how it all worked.  Check out the ballot box below, which is waiting for the primaries.  Look for them on national news in September.

Heavy rain, that made me think of Lake Champlain, pounded the river as I finished the last three miles of the Androscoggin into Umbagog Lake.  Fittingly, though, the sun was emerging as I crossed the state line into Maine and continued to where the lake narrows as it approaches the Rapid River.

This section of the wildlife refuge has the feel of a wild, remote river.  Happily, I had retrieved my binoculars (missed them too much) and had them close at hand.  There, in a dark tangle of branches on a fallen log, something moved.  A brown body slid into the water.  An otter, I discovered, the first of the trip.  It moved around the boat, its glistening periscope head emerging several times to study me, chattering a complaint at my presence.

At the Cedar Stump campsites, any feeling of remoteness quickly vanished: kids in whitewater kayaks, rafters, fishermen…it was a full houseI

PADDLER’S NOTE: I carried the canoe and gear separately for the first half mile.  After that, the rest of the Carry Rd.was barely wheelable with much perseverance – rocks, deep soft puddles, and ruts.  I used Pond in the River, but think it added extra work.

A couple of miles into the portage, I came upon Sydney’s canoe resting there without gear, wheels, or friends. I soon found them, discouraged and justifiably tired.  The new wheels had failed to arrive and the rigors of the Carry Rd. were too much for the old ones.  I offered to try to send back a pickup truck to help.  Finding no one at Forest Lodge, I went on to the camp at Middle Dam, where they said they would send a truck.  I will be anxious to hear how it all worked out!

Forest Lodge, once the home of Louise Dickenson Rich, author of We Took to the Woods, lies along the Carry Rd. and in 2011 was owned by Aldro French, who invited me in for a bountiful breakfast. I had hoped to learn how he was, but no one was home.

“No worries” is an expression much loved by Megan’s generation and a blessing to hear from two generous young women offering to share their campsite.  I was quite tired, the first glimpses of lightning had arrived, and all the campsites in The Narrows between the two Richardson Lakes were full.  Gratefully, I squeezed my tent into a little area just made for it and ate my backcountry Thanksgiving dinner while they had their chili.  I will introduce you tomorrow!