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!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Earth Day 2018, Presumpscot River, Gorham




Late last summer or maybe it was early fall a new boat launch (carry in only) opened providing another access point to the Presumpscot River.  This launch is for the Gorham/Windham section of the Presumpscot and is directly across from Shaw Park, the other great launch for this river.  (During the late spring and summer you can rent canoes and kayaks from Shaw Park.)  

The new launch is closer to where I live and, in my opinion, is an easier launch for those with our own equipment.  It has a more direct way to access the water from the parking area. 


 Body of Water: Presumpscot River, Gorham/South Windham, ME  [Maine Gazetteer  Map 5, E2] *Also can access Pleasan River from here!

Directions: From Westbrook take River Road towards Windham.  At the intersection of River Road and Rt. 202 go straight.  Not far after the intersection turn left onto Gambo Road.  Follow the signs for the Mountain Division Trail/Soccer fields.  Drive by the soccer fields and head down towards the river. 

Boat Launch:  A nicely paved road that leads to a cement ramp that is for carry in craft only!  They did a nice job with this launch.  Off to the right in this pic is a place to unload/load your boats with a parking area above. 
 
 

Parking: Free. There is room for 10-12 vehicles in this parking area.  If it is full, you could unload the kayak and park in the parking lot further up. 

Wildlife: Turtles, turtles, and more turtles!   Beaver, Canada geese, ducks, eagle, osprey, loon (early in the season) and songbirds galore! 

Notes: This is one of those places you can go to paddle for an hour or make a full day of it, exploring all the way to the dam below Dundee Pond and scoot over into the Pleasant River.  (But be careful with downed trees!)  

*This is very close to the Mountain Division Trail.  Bring a picnic and make a day of it, a great walk and a great paddle!  (And there are picnic tables across the river at Shaw Park!)   

**The wind can get pretty intense here... better to go early in the morning to avoid wind! 

As I have shared in other posts, this is a great place to paddle.  I would say it is in my top 5 for family friendly places.  Kids would love to spot turtles and other wildlife!  Plus, you get to paddle under a railroad trestle AND under a covered bridge!  

Until this weekend I had never seen loons on this part of the Presumpscot (Said the same last week about the other branch!)  But I talked to a couple who have a house here and they said they have seen them, usually early in the season and the other day they saw 5 loons!  I saw 2!



The turtles were out sunning themselves.  I was happy to see them.  The ones I saw were all painted turtles, no signs of snapping turtles yet, but I have heard they are waking up, watch out for them in roadways!




This red squirrel made quick work of this pinecone! 


I heard this guy before I saw him.  I was picking up trash from the river (I try to collect trash when I can, but on Earth day I made more of an effort.)  and then heard something above me.  He flew above my head and into another tree where I got a couple of nice shots.  I saw him on the way back down river too, and got another great shot. 


The beavers seem to be active here this year as well.  I saw one in this area.  

There was still some ice in the tiny nooks and crannies! 

Just thought this was cool.  



I can't post this spot without a pic of Babbs Bridge!  So nice to paddle under this historic bridge.  

I went further up the river than I have before.  I didn't think you could go far beyond the bridge, but you can.  I didn't make it all the way to the dam as the current was moving a bit faster and it was windy... so I decided it was smarter to do that another day. 







 The beaver!

You can see some blood on his face from whatever meal he had just consumed!  



Another great day on the Presumpscot!  
Happy Paddling!

Friday, April 13, 2018

The 2018 Season has Begun!!!



April 13th!!! This is the first time I have been out on the water this year and it felt pretty darn good!  


I must start this post with reminders... the water temperature is still FREEZING!  If you tip over and are not wearing a dry suit you will be in danger.  I tend to stick to places I am super familiar with at this point in the season, as I believe it is a bit safer.  Of course I also let someone know when I was on the water, where I was paddling, and when I was off safely.  

If you are paddling this early PLEASE BE SAFE!  
If you are new to paddling please do not get on the water this early, especially by yourself.  


This is a place I have posted multiple times.  It is the Presumpscot River in Westbrook.  Click here for directions and other posts about this spot!  

There is some construction going on near the launch site which meant there were some obstacles in the parking area.  I actually walked through the outdoor skating rink to avoid some of the equipment and mud that has been caused form the vehicles! 

I have paddled this river many many times!  I have never seen a loon there, until today!  I was so surprised to hear this beautiful creature and to see it.  I wonder if it will stick around throughout the season or if this was just a pit stop on its way home.  









My split tree is still standing!  And there are buds on her branches!


There was some vibrant moss along the shores today.  The color was more vibrant in person!

I totally did not expect to find turtles today!!!  But I saw two getting some vitamin D!  
 

 The tunnel!!  

There was some branches on the far end making it a bit challenging to get through, but so worth it!  I saw another turtle and heard turkeys!




After coming out of the tunnel, this was my view looking across at the farm's fields.  

Had to take a selfie on the first paddle of the season!  



Happy Paddling!  
Remember, Be safe!!!