Saturday, March 25, 2017

PaddlingSouthernMaine.com

My writing partner, Sandy, decided we need a webpage devoted to the book... and it's up and running!  
Check it out here: 

And for a short time... by accessing our publisher's sale site via our website  you can get a discount on the book!  (See details on our site!)  


I don't know about all of you, but I am in need of paddling!  I want mother nature to definitively decide Spring is here and melt all the snow so I can access the water!!  





Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Book is out and the blogging will continue!

It has been VERY cold here in Maine this weekend.  It makes me want to fast forward to spring when we can all be on the water instead of standing on it!  

As you can see from my previous post, the book is officially published!  
It was a very surreal moment to come home and have a box waiting for me.  I got so excited. 
Opening the box and seeing the cover for the first time... seeing the book in book form was an amazing feeling.  There have been so many hours put into this project.  Writing a book was much more challenging than I anticipated.  I naively had the thought of: if I can do a blog, I can write a book!  
Turns out that is true, but... there is a lot more work involved than one may expect.  
The book includes 54 trips that are most within an hour's drive of Portland, Maine.  There are a few trips that extend just beyond an hour, but those are trips we feel are well worth it.  

I had a post here in November that shared some of the history of how we got to this point.  

This weekend my stepsister went up to visit our parents and I was so excited to have her take a copy of the book up to them.  I was able to give them the first signed copy!  

My stepsister sent me a message and said that she had gotten there not long before dinner and had shown them the book.  Dad said he would look at it after dinner... my stepsister sent me this picture and said she had never seen Dad eat so quickly so he could get to his recliner to read!  

How cute is my dad? He is a part of this book...he and Mom helped me learn to appreciate nature and time being on the water.  I am so excited to have been able to give him the first copy.  

We were able to  include a dedication in the book... and Sandy, my writing partner, was very generous in saying that it should be dedicated to my mom. 


There are so many things in this book that go beyond just the paddling adventures.  There are photos of friends and family... it means a lot to have them included.  One photo in particular has great meaning to me.  

This one...
This is a picture of one of my amazing friends, her son and her husband.  My friend, in that photo, was fairly newly diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was taken in 2011... and she recently died.  Our publisher was wonderful in understanding why this photo was a priority for me. I am so glad that this photo is in the book. 

Each of my nephews are also in the book...I love that all of the pictures were taken when the boys were so much littler than they are now: 

My oldest nephew...now a senior in high school!  

My middle nephew: 


And the youngest: 

It's so cool to have them included.  Over the years I have taken the boys for several days each summer and they have paddled with me and, I think, have a good appreciation of being on the water and being able to see things from the perspective of a kayak.  

I am happy I will have the opportunity to give them each a copy of the book as well and hope that as they get older, when they are adults, they will bring their own families to Maine and do some of the trips.  

The book looks so good!  It is so hard to believe that we went from something like this:



To this: 

I have started reading the book... I kind of wondered if authors read their own books... and it is so nice to look through it and remember where we made changes, where we word-smithed for hours, and... to see it in book form... seeing the culmination of everything... makes me very proud. 


I also want to let you know I am going to continue posting new places to paddle as well as photos of some of my favorite spots.  I also hope to share some journeys that I share with Gladys.  
She has no idea what she is in for, so many fun adventures!  

(Just look at that face!) 


Please keep reaching out to me.  I love hearing from you!  
If you have bought the book, please share your feedback with me about it!  

 



Friday, March 10, 2017

It's REAL!!

It's really real!!!  

Having worked on this book for the last couple of years has been a true labor of love!  
To have a copy in my hands was a feeling hard to describe.  
I was excited, honored, proud, and...to be honest a bit overcome with emotions!  

I will be writing a post very soon to give more information, but it has been a long week and I am heading out to dinner with a friend!  

Here I am... a GOOFY selfie with my book... can't wait to start meeting some of my blog buddies at events! 


(Caption: This is not a dream, this is not a dream...
this is not a dream...this IS a dream come true!) 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

ALmost time to start the promotional part of things!!


Things are getting EXCITING!  

We got information from our publisher about the publicity that has been started for the book!  
As a reminder, the book is available for pre-sales and will be on shelves in late March/early April.  
I cannot wait to have a copy in my hands!!  

To pre-order check out the links below: 

Mountaineers (Publisher's website) - Click here

Amazon - Click Here

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A new addition! (or two)

I hope everyone is enjoying winter and counting down the days until  we can once again paddle our favorite ponds/lakes/rivers/streams!  

Spring arrives in 60 days from today!!! I, for one, am ready!!  

As we head into another paddling season I am going to be starting an entirely new chapter for me.  (Chapter... a book reference, wink wink!)  I have decided to adopt a dog! 

This is us, last weekend.  She comes home for good on Friday and I am very excited! 


I have never had a dog, so this is going to be an entirely new experience.  I am sure there will be challenging moments, but I am hoping for wonderful moments as well.  This girl does not yet have her forever name... but that will come.  She is 9 months old and I was told she is an australian shepherd mix, but she is very fluffy and looks like she has some golden retriever in her... at least to me.  I don't know a ton about her, she is a rescue pup, but one of the things the rescue organization knows about her is that she loves water and were hoping to find someone for her who also loves the water... that's me!  

So... as winter finishes up I will be working with this lovely lady, training her to respond well to me and my commands...hoping to get her to come paddling with me without tipping us over.  

Because I am not a small person... I am 6'6"... so my legs need a lot of room!  I am looking for a new kayak that will accommodate both of us.(my second addition)  I have some options in mind... the new Old Town Loon 126... the cockpit is listed as being a bit longer than my loon 138... so that is my top choice... but will need to see how we both fit... my back up plan is to look into some tandem kayaks that are proven to track well when paddled by one person.  (If you have any suggestions I would appreciate hearing from you! Please comment or send me an email!)  
 (Also taking name suggestions for my new furry friend... I have a couple of names I am considering, but would love something related to kayaking/paddling/water!)  

So... I am hoping this lovely lady gets used to being in a kayak with me... so that I can have enough confidence to take my camera with me!  (That reminds me... I need to look into some waterproof bacs for my camera!)  

In book news, yesterday we received a packet from our publisher.  (I love saying that we have a publisher!!)  It included their (Mountaineers Books) spring/summer catalog which goes out to bookstores.  Our book is available for pre-order on Mountaineers Website as well as  on Amazon... it will be out in time for paddling season!!  

Click here to access Paddling Southern Maine on Amazon

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Drumroll Please.......

Here it is...my big news!!!! 

I am very excited to share with my blog readers that I have I have co-authored a book about kayaking! Here it is, Paddling Southern Maine by Sandy Moore and Kimberlee Bennett:


If you are wondering where you can order the book, it is currently available here at our publisher's website, you can follow this link to Amazon or click here to connect with Barnes and Noble.  It may be listed elsewhere as well.  (It will also be available as an ebook!)  I know that the book is not yet available to wrap up under the tree, but if you are looking for a gift for someone who loves to paddle, you could pre-order it and it will arrive in time for spring paddling! 

My writing partner, Sand,y and I have been working on this for a while now.  We began communicating with our publisher, Mountaineers Books in April 2015.  We have spent hours and hours writing and editing and are very excited to see the final product!  We only recently sent our final edits to our publisher and will have to wait until early spring to actually get hard copies, but the book is available online!  (Orders can be placed now, but books won't be shipped until spring, sites say March 1, 2017.) 

You have known me here as MaineKayakGirl.  With the book coming out this is a good time to introduce myself to you as Kimberlee Bennett.  (I am and will always be MaineKayakGirl at heart!)

It is a pretty cool feeling to go to Amazon and put my name in the search bar and have the book come up!


The book is a GREAT kayaking guide.  It includes 50+ trips fore recreational paddlers.   What does that mean, recreational paddlers? Well, it means that the trips are for paddlers who enjoy waterways that are free from rapids, are usually calm,  and while we do include some tidal rivers and protected ocean coves these trips do not require sea kayaks.  The trips include directions, maps, and photos.

There are some trips in the book that are also here on the blog, but many of the trips in the book will be new! I bet you could identify some of my favorite spots form the blog that will be in the book!   (The book has different information about the locations.)  I am hoping people will want to keep a copy in their vehicles to help choose new adventures or return to favorite spots!

I have so much affection for my loyal blog readers.  Thank you all for your ongoing support.  I love hearing from you and now, perhaps I will have the opportunity to meet some of you at various book signings!  (I can't wait for that part!)

I am going to continue to blog about my paddling adventures and bring you new places to explore.  It has been a challenge in the last two years to find places to paddle that are not going to be in the book, places that I could share on the blog.  I will continue to paddle and share my experiences.  I may need to drive a bit further to get to new places, and I welcome those experiences.

I wanted to share with you how this all came about...

 I started kayaking in the mid 1990s with my mom, Laurie.  She and my dad took my sister and I camping every summer when we were growing up.  One of our favorite camping destinations was at a place along the west branch of the Penobscot River in the shadow of Mount Katahdin, in northern Maine.  It was there that my sister and I learned to canoe.  A man who also camped at the campground had a small canoe and offered it to us to use.  My parents let my sister and I use the canoe in a shallow very slow moving stream.  As we got older we were allowed to paddle up the river.  My sister enjoyed rocking the canoe and I did not!  I liked the calm peaceful ride!  As my sister and I  got older we spent less time camping as an entire family.  Eventually my parents became 'seasonal' campers, parking the camper at the campground for the entire summer.  When I was home from college in the summers I spent as much time as I could visiting my parents at the campground.  I remember my mom calling me when I was in college and telling me she had tried kayaking and had loved it.  She told me she thought I would love it too and that she and dad were going to buy a couple of kayaks to have to use.  I told Mom she was nuts, I had no desire to be in a kayak... in my mind kayaking meant being strapped into a very tippy version of a canoe.  Mom told me that the kayak she had used and planned to buy wasn't like that.  She said it was long, wide, and stable.  She said the cockpit was large and that I would not feel trapped. (A recreational kayak!)  I was skeptical, but was excited to try something new.  I remember Mom feeling really confident as she showed me the ropes, her in her red kayak and me in dad's green one.  I was amazed at how smoothly the kayaks glided int he water, at how we could paddle in very shallow areas that were inaccessible to other boaters, and at how quietly we were able to move.  We spent hours together...paddling, watching wildlife, and talking.  Some of our best talks were on the river.  Mom began photographing her trips.  She was an artist, a painter, so we should have known she had an eye for capturing beautiful photographs.  When mom paddled, she loved to stay close to the shore.  She loved seeing the intricate root systems of the trees, the beautiful ferns, and was in awe of the beauty that could be found.  She wasn't into kayaking to see how quickly she could go, but for the peace it brought her and the beauty she found, things other people missed, like a heart shaped opening in a tree branch in which a bird had nested.

Mom was diagnosed with kidney cancer in February 2008.  The cancer took her life in April 2009.  She was not only my mom, she was one of my best friends.  The relationship we had was truly something upon which Hallmark makes its money!!  I am very lucky to have had that bond with her.  (I have a close bond with my dad too, but since this is about kayaking... it focuses more on Mom!)

After Mom died Dad gave me her kayak, her red kayak.  It was such an amazing gift, one that still makes me emotional.  I remember driving from Dad's house with it strapped to my truck and really unsure of where I would use it.  I was a bit nervous to paddle alone... I had done it often in the river where Mom and I spent so much time together, but I knew that river as well as probably anyone who explored that area.  So going to new places, not knowing what to expect, made me a bit nervous.  I don't really remember where I first started paddling in this area (greater Portland), as the first couple of years after Mom died are a bit of a blur... I think I found places where people I knew had camps or found a couple of people who had done a bit of paddling and joined them.  But then I found myself wanting to go more and wanting to find new place to explore, so I dug out my Maine Gazetteer and started looking for spots. There were a lot of places to choose from! 

As many of you have probably experienced the little boat symbols in the Gazetteer gave a general idea of where the launch sites were located, but there were times it was a bit challenging to actually find the spot.  I also began looking online for places to go, recommendations I suppose. And while I found some helpful sites, I decided I would start blogging to document where I had paddled.  I wanted to include directions so that I could get back to the spots I really liked, and in case other people found my blog and wanted to go to the same places I was going, they would have an idea of how to get there.  I also included photos... as I have spent more time in my kayak with a camera, I have found I am more like my mom than I even knew... I love finding the details, the things that other people might miss... 

I started blogging here in 2011. My very first trip was Tenny Stream in Raymond/Casco.  (Yup, it's in the book!)  I kept paddling and kept blogging.  Every once in a while someone who had read the blog reached out to me which kept me motivated!  In the end of June, 2013, I received an email from Sandy.  She introduced herself as another 'Maine kayak girl.'  She was in the midst of trying to put together a guide book and invited me to be involved with her project.  She told me that as she was researching places to kayak my blog kept coming up in her search results.  We ended up meeting for lunch one day and stayed in touch and eventually paddled together.  We learned that we had similar interests in where we liked to paddle.  We both preferred quiet places with easy launches.  We started listing out the places each of us had paddled and when we were over 40 we really thought we were onto something.

Sandy spent some time researching publishers and in April of 2015 we were asked to submit a book proposal.  We had to send a few sample 'chapters' as well as a map and some photographs.  From there we were offered a contract and that's when the work really began!  I quickly learned that there is a big difference between blogging and writing a book!  I naively thought it would be very much like blogging, but I was wrong.  The information for the book is much more extensive than I have used in the blog.  I think readers will find that there is a similar voice in the blog and in the book, but the book also includes some history of the areas and other details.  I have learned a lot through the process!  Sandy and I have worked together tirelessly to bring this to life! 

Throughout the past couple of years I have alluded to the book as an ongoing project.  Some may remember the day last fall where I went to five destinations in one day...that was a day that I needed to visit some of the locations to get some photographs. 

By the time the book is on the shelves it will have been about a two year process for us.  I can't wait to be able to share these trips with people!  To share opportunities to explore more of Maine's beauty from a paddling perspective.

If you have made it through this post, thank you!  I hope that people who buy the book reach out and say hello! 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A new Camera

My kayak is put away for the season... however, if we have a mild December like we did last year I made sure to put it in a place where I can easily access it.  I do promise to post a bit throughout the winter!  I hope that people enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with people you care about.  I was fortunate to be able to spend another Thanksgiving with my family, spent the day with a nice crowd, 42 of us in total!  

I am typically not a person who shops on Black Friday.  I much prefer to be the only person paddling in a quiet stream to being in a brightly lit store with hundreds of people who seem to be on a mission.  This year, however, I have been looking for a new camera.  Sadly after one of my last paddling trips, I dropped my old one.  I have used a Cannon Powershot camera since I started writing the blog.  The first one I bought I chose because it seemed easy to use, was digital, and seemed to be small enough to easily take while paddling.  After a while I wanted to have a camera that I could use to zoom in a bit more, so I upgraded to a newer Powershot.  Now... as of last night, I am the owner of another Powershot, this time it is the SX150IS  (This is my third powershot!)  

Many of you have reached out and asked what I use to take my photos, and I am hoping that my new camera will allow me to continue to take photos worth posting!  

Today I decided to walk around Portland a bit to experiment with my new camera a bit.  I started out taking a short walk in the Fore River Sanctuary and later headed to East End Beach.  
While they are not paddling photos, I hope you enjoy... I tried to capture a bit of the season.  (while playing with the focus!)  

Stay tuned for a BIG announcement in the next couple of weeks... if you follow me on facebook you already know the news... (I am just waiting for an update!) 

















Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fall Paddling in Maine!

This is not my tpical post, where I share directions for a specific place.. this is a post to share photos of the beautiful fall!  
Please enjoy! 

Fall in Maine is a beautiful time...but I greet it with mixed emotions.  I love the cooler temperatures and the beautiful colors, but... I don't like the early hours of darkness, the cold wind when I am paddling, or knowing that fall means that snow will be flying soon and my paddling season is coming to an end... but... I capitalize on the days I can get on the water.  My plan this weekend was to get up early and hit the water.  I decided, however.. to sleep in... both days... so I missed the morning fog I love this time of year.. but it was a busy weekend with work stuff, so I let myself get a couple of extra hours of sleep.  

Saturday I went to one of my favorite places, the Presumpscot in Westbrook.  She did not disappoint!  

(I should mention I was wearing my two articles of blaze orange both days... and on Saturday... I was so glad I did... more on that later!)  

I posted these photos on my Mainekayakgirl facebook page, so for those following me in both places, I apologize for the repetition! 







Just after I took this picture there were a few gunshots...gunshots that were so close I felt the vibration in my chest.   It startled me.  Then I realized how glad I was to be wearing orange... and hoped that my paddling didn't scare the ducks at which the hunter was shooting.   I will admit I was a bit unnerved... I am not against hunting... but it was a close shot..well close shots... and it was a reality check.  I debated whether or not to turn back at that point or continue on...

I looked across the river looking for the hunter to see if maybe spotting him/her would make me feel a bit better... 

I did see him... stupidly he is not wearing any orange... which I think is illegal!  he waved to me, so I knew he saw me...which was comforting-ish... he changed direction as I paddled by, going up river with me... and I debated if he was hoping I would scare some ducks his way...  I was close to the tunnel so decided I would explore beyond the tunnel for a bit and then head back down the river... while I am not opposed to hunting... I also don't want to be the person who causes an animal to get shot... 




Going through the tunnel is always something I enjoy... it never gets old. 

On the other side of the tunnel.. the water levels were higher than I expected and I was able to paddle back a ways... 

 These seed pods were in among the reeds... they were very cool...

Some photos with great reflections... which perhaps could make great puzzles?








My favorite Tree... hoping she survives the winter... not sure if I will see you again before the snow flies my friend... 

A very funky mushroom...




Fascinated by the shape, texture and color... so weird, yet beautiful... 





A heron made an appearance... but took flight quickly...

I got this shot... and didn't realize that the canoe was in the background!  
 (the guys in the canoe had no orange on... I warned them of the hunter...please... wear orange! )  



Then.. today, I decided to go to Moose Pond.  The drive was beautiful.  I didn't paddle here but couldn't resist stopping to take a picture!  This was along Rt. 5 somewhere... 

This is the dam at lower Moose Pond


 I love this photo... because I love the texture, love the wood grain.  Stunning...(It was a barn door)


























As I was paddling I heard geese... this flock was pausing to take a break.. 









Pleasant Mountain was beautiful! 











With the fall foliage I had debated about going to the Brownfield bog to paddle, but worried about the water level being too low... and it was/is wicked low... I drove here after getting off the water to check it out.  And secretly hoping to catch a glimpse of a moose... (which did not happen!) 

This guy startled me while I was walking!  



Today I was reminded that it is not only the paddling that is beautiful... driving to get to these places was also beautiful.  I really do love living in Maine.  Fall is gorgeous... (And I am hoping for a MILD winter... please oh please let it be mild!)  

Happy (and safety Orange!) Paddling!