The Vermont Paddlers Club

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Friday-Sunday Aug 13-15, 2004
Kayak: Brad Croteau, Chris Hull
C1: Alden Bird
Organizer: Alden Bird
Difficulty: advanced WW
Level: medium
Author: Alden Bird

This past weekend I followed the rain to Maine and ran some good rivers. On Friday I ran Walker Brook in Mass. -- a really cool class III-IV creek that some friends told me about. It was cool except for biking the shuttle at the end. I'm no Lance Armstrong. Five miles on a mtn bike with flat tires was terrible. But I was about to find out that shuttles in southern NE are nothing compared to shuttles in Maine.

I drove up on Friday to Maine and ran Sandy Stream, a class IV gem with more 5-foot ledge drops than I can remember. This is my friend's local river, so we flew down it -- but not before darkness set in and I ran the last mile "on verbal directions" . . .

My friend Chris is like The Godfather of Maine Paddling -- everyone knows him and pretty much does everything short of calling him "Godfather." He knows all the rivers like an expert, and with the water flowing on Saturday, we set off from his house towards the good stuff.

We met up with Brad and headed to the East Piscataquis. I didnt really know Brad "from Adam," but I had seen him clean the challenging "Tunnel Vision" a few weeks back, and so we all set off on the East Pis with confidence. The highlight was a huge drop appropriately called "Big Balls Falls." It was truly a leap of faith. Just below we ran one of the gnarliest drops I have ever seen. Later that day we rolled over to Cold Stream and put on for what we thought would be a quick 4 mile run.

Wrong. When we took off, we found that our shuttle driver was nowhere to be seen. To be brief: we had no shuttle and were in the middle of nowhere on logging roads. We ended up stumbling 5 miles through the dark, enlisting several locals for the rescue mission, and finally finding our shuttle driver late into the night. It was quite a night.

The next day Brad and I ran Nesowadnehunk Stream up near the Penobscot -- a beautiful river of granite -- at a surprisingly good level. The rivers were certainly with us on this trip. We camped out that night and met Chris the next day at the famous Gulf Hagas river and enjoyed a day on that fabulous creek. By the end of the trip I was very tired and not paddling very well and looking forward to heading home. The best part of the last day was seeing a moose right next to us on the riverbank.

We stumbled out of the woods tired, exhausted and already pointed towards home. I drove south for a few minutes and then pulled over and took a two-hour nap, but I certainly left Maine many rivers the wiser. A great trip.

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