My Book!!

One opportunity that the blog has brought me is the co-authoring of a guidebook, Paddling Southern Maine! It is something in which I take a lot of pride! My writing partner, Sandy Moore, and I have created a book with 54 amazing trips that are within about an hour of Portland! Our motto as we wrote the book was wanting to 'get people to spend the day on the water and not in their cars!'

If you want more information on our book please visit www.paddlingsouthernmaine.com. Sandy and I are available to attend/present various functions/events. Please email me at mainekayakgirl@gmail.com for more information!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

A Summer Adventure!

I have not blogged in a while, but I have been paddling!!!  

I will blog about these places soon, but here is a preview of my last couple of weeks! 

First Up... Katahdin... the West Branch of the Penobscot River.  My heart! 




Back to Back River!  Fun with the seals!  


Gladys at Height of Land! 


Rangeley Lake! 



Quills Hill

Upper Cupsuptic Lake

Sandy River Ponds

 


Webb Lake, in Weld! 



It was a great adventure!  
I am excited to tell you more, but this thing called 'work' is getting in the way!!!! 

I hope you are out paddling!  

Friday, July 19, 2019

Urban Kayaking... BEANTOWN!

Important Note: I rented a  kayak in Boston through www.paddleboston.com   They have multiple places along the river with rentals. I had reached out to them in the past to ask what kayaks they rented and which launch site would be best based on what part of Boston I was in.  They were very responsive!  I encourage you to reach out to them!  (They have a HUGE fleet of boats.. Most are Old Towns.  I got to use an Old Town Loon 126... just like mine!) 

Body of Water: Charles River, Beantown!

Directions: I am awful with directions in Boston... fortunately my friend lives in Boston and he got us to the launch!

Parking: Not applicable in this case, for me.  I took public transportation to the area!  I would LOVE to find a place where I could park and bring my own kayaks down... but parking my truck in Boston is hard enough... parking in Boston WITH a kayak... probably highly unlikely!!  So renting was an awesome option! 

Launch: I was nervous about this... we got in... and out off a dock!  eek!  My experience with this has been limited... But they helped and I didn't see anyone fall in...more importantly I did not fall in... so I guess it worked!  (I did ask for a second person to hold the back of the kayak in addition to the person holding the front in hopes of reducing the chance that one end of the kayak would swing away from the dock and I would fall in!  They agreed and I think that helped!  Gonna be honest.. my getting in was more graceful than getting out... but not falling into the Charles... #winning!) 

Fees: The rate was $16 per hour per kayak.  (Pay when you return)  They also rented paddleboards, tandem kayaks, and canoes.  There were other people on the water using wind surfing things.. but I think that was from a different company.

Bathroom: I didn't notice any bathroom facilities associated with this business.  I would say find a place nearby, on your way to the launch!

Wildlife: BOSTON TOURISTS... are pretty wild!  There were a lot of them!! Ha!  And BOSTON NATIVES!  We met a guy who has a season's pass from this paddling company and from what I gathered it is unlimited access... he said it is great!  That is a pretty sweet deal I suppose!  I wonder if the membership means you can launch from any of their launches... hmmm... but apparently the membership rate doubles after the first year... get you hooked then make you pay!  ha!  Oh.. and I saw a Cormorant and a duck! 

Notes:  Kayaking in Boston is something I have wanted to do for a long time!  I am so glad I got the chance to do it.  Boston is a city I haven't spent much time in... I was here YEARS ago for some bachelorette party... truthfully I cannot even remember whose party... that's terrible! I remember getting a free drink at a bar because the bartender told me I looked Irish!  I have chaperoned a trip or two here... which meant constantly counting heads, not super enjoyable... then Boston has been, for me, a destination for medical things... I had a rare condition in my knee and the expert was here in Boston.  So I came here for surgery, was here in the hospital for a week, and returned regularly for follow ups... then.. my doctor also operated on my dad's back... (long story!)  But that meant multiple trips here and an extended stay when Dad was in the hospital. 

So... my association with Boston has not been positive.  Boston is a city that is pretty close to where I live and I enjoy cities... but have not had time to enjoy Boston.  (Well.. except that DMB concert I saw at Fenway.. THAT was pretty fun!)  This week I have been here for a conference.  I have a friend who lives here and fortunately had time to show me around a bit.  Kayaking was my priority!!  I am grateful to my friend for coming with me and getting me to the launch!! 

Ok... here we are just after we got in the kayaks!  (Oh I should say I used their equipment, including life jacket... it was fine.. but I kept looking for the pocket that is in MY pfd, where I keep my phone, and it wasn't there!! lol) 



We got out onto the river and looking to the left looked towards the Museum of Science. 


Looking to the right, we went under Longfellow Brigde and got to see the skyline of Boston.  

 Before we got on the water we had to pass a safety quiz.  
(They gave us a cheat sheet!)  Basically it was about being smart and being VERY aware of other watercraft on the water.  Sailboats have a hard time steering and reacting quickly so the info is to get out of their way!  Then the sculling, crew, rowers?? Not sure of the proper term.. they go fast and don't steer easily.  Those were IMPORTANT things to note...

 

This was a great way to see the city! 

That's Andy!  It may be his forst shout out in the blog!  Hi Andy! 

This part of the Charles is not underused... that is for sure!  There were people sailing, windsurfing,  paddling kayaks, SUPs, and Canoes!  I loved the colors of these small sailboats. 

There's one of the crew teams... I had to move fast to get out of their way!  I want to try this!! 



Sailboats.. coming at me!  


Cool artistry at Longfellow Bridge!  










 THE CITGO sign!!


BIRD!

MIT!




 DRAGON BOATS?!!  Yes!  THIS was cool to see.  I am curious and may need to learn more!



 This is taken from the trailer where we paid.. looking back at the put in spot...


If you are in Beantown AND you love kayaking.. I would say it is worth it to paddle here!  The river is long and we only paddled a short distance, but it was very cool! 
Urban kayaking... it's a bit different paddling while sirens and vehicles are rushing around...but... it was a great way to see the city!  I wonder what other cities I should go to, just to kayak?!! 
Happy Paddling!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Back River, Boothbay


Body of Water: Back River, Sheepscot River

Directions: I have posted specific directions in previous posts about this destination... you can find that info here.  But I would say the easiest way is to plug in the address for the Maine Botanical Gardens.  Follow directions to the gardens and instead of turning into the gardens go straight.  And you will see the boat launches, kayaks to the left, boats to the right. 

Parking: There are about a dozen parking spots here, shared by paddlers and people enjoying Knickerkane Island.  There is also an area close to the ramp for vehicles using the kayak launch.  It is great for trailers.  We parked multiple vehicles in this area.  We blocked each other in, leaving room to unload, which was fine because we were all together. 

Launch: 
Look for this sign.  
 The launch is cement, gradual, and great! As the tide lowers it can get slippery with mud - be careful!



Fees: None!

Bathroom:  Out house!  (We were glad someone in our party had brought toilet paper - always prepared! because the supply in the outhouse had expired! Mental note - bring TP wherever you go!)


Wildlife: Cormorants, blue heron, terns, seagulls, SEALS!

Notes: 

For a previous post with more detailed pics/info about the launch area  Click Here


(This Pic courtesy of Diana!) 

I started this adventure by hiking Porter Preserve which is a great property overseen by the Boothbay Regional Land Trust.  I have enjoyed looking at the preserve from the water and on this day, I got to enjoy looking at the water from the preserve!  


 For more info on Porter Preserve Check out my other blog, the Non Paddling Adventures of MKG here! 




I got to the launch area/Knickerkane Island early to enjoy a late lunch/early dinner before getting on the water.  I let people know I would be there and we had a nice visit before getting on the water.  

I had stopped at the Trevett Country Store after hiking to get a sandwich and a piece of blueberry pie.  The pie was amazing and ONLY $2 for a huge slice! (My total lunch bill was $6!) 

SO GOOD!! 


Ok.. Our paddling adventure! 

This is our fearless leader (also a Maine Sea kayak guide) Shannon Bryan from FitMaine.com.  


 As always we make sure to have some fun with our adventures! I had sent an email to people coming to share info about the area and important rules of safety.  This included PFDs and Headlamps!  We were paddling at sunset and it is crucial to be visible to other boaters and it is the law in Maine to be lit up at night when on the water.  

)I may have been a bit eccentric... I brought solar lights I usually use as part of my Christmas display... blinking stars!)  


This was our crew (Photo from Fitmaine) : 


As always when I do this paddle, we launched at high tide.  (I like to do this in the mornings or evenings when the tides are right.)  Starting at high tide allows time to explore before the water levels lower and the ledges become exposed for the seals to haul out on. 


The conditions were pretty perfect!  Remember this is a tidal ocean with tides and current, you don't always get glass like conditions! 

Wendy has a smaller kayak that is great for lakes and slow moving rivers.  I offered her my kayak for this trip due to varying conditions.  She looks great in a loon 126! 


The group paddled out Back River passing Porter Preserve.  




We paused at Lydia Ann's Island.  A small island... great for a stretch break and it's always fun to say you kayaked to an island!  (It was also a way to pass some time as we waited for the water to go down a little.  Just remember if you pull out on an island, keep an eye on the water levels.  The tide was receding and we could have easily gotten our kayaks stuck on the rocks.  Where we pulled in, as you can see in the pic, was a little beach type area, but there the people are, still in the kayaks, were rocks and seaweed and would be hard to walk on... Always pay attention to your surroundings, while having fun! 

There was a BIG board on the island.  It may have been used for a round of tee ball, as an air guitar, and as a see saw!  What a versatile board! 

I found a buoy which I used as a bat of sorts to hit the tennis ball off this 'tee'... (we found all of these items on the island  and took them all with us, doing our part to keep the environment pristine!) 

The sun was setting and was beautiful! 



 For the most part we stayed together as a group.  With working boats and fast boats in the area it is smart to stay together so that we are more visible. 


It didn't take long before the seals started finding us!  



 With this group there is always laughter... sometimes loud laughter!  Ha!  But we took respecting the seals very seriously.  (I MAY have given a bit of a speech at the beginning about leaving the seals alone and to stay far from them.  I MAY have warned people I would not hesitate to let people know if they were too close.) 


One of my FAVORITE parts of this paddle.. and it has happened EVERY time I do it with a group.. 
As we paddle out people chat a lot...share stories, get to know each other.  There is a very present chatter... until there isn't.  

There is always a moment ... when it goes silent... except the seals... where people seem to all exhale and settle into this experience... where people recognize how lucky hey are to be here... on the water... in Maine... with seals... and I love it... 
A collective moment where our souls are being filled up... we all need it... for different reasons... and THIS trip... this trip does it for people! 

This photo captures that moment well...

After that moment people do start talking again, but usually in a whisper... telling each other there is a seal close to them... 







After watching the sunset, watching the seals, and listening to them gurgle and groan we headed back towards the launch.  This is usually the most challenging part of the paddle.  Returning through the Back River that goes around the southern tip of Hodgdon Island up towards the botanical gardens involves going under a bridge.  The current here is strong.  THIS part of the trip is exactly why I do not recommend this for beginners.  That part is challenging and people need to have the strength and skills to navigate it. 

Again.. it was getting dark.. so we had headlamps!  Very important!





Mom's Red Kayak looks good on the ocean!!


 This was a pretty perfect day!