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 Sandy and I are available to attend/present various functions/events. Please email me at for more information!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yarmouth, Maine: The Royal River

Body of Water: Royal River, Yarmouth, Maine [Maine Gazetteer Map 5, D5] *There are various places from which you can launch your kayak.  I put in at the Yarmouth Water District  located at 115 East Elm St. in Yarmouth, but there are other places. 

Directions (from Portland, ME): North on I-295, take Exit 15 to Rt. 1 North. Turn onto Rt. 115, which becomes Main St. Turn Right onto East Elm St. The water district building will be on your left and the parking area/park is on the right.

Boat Launch:  Asphalt driveway then drops off into the river.  The edge is somewhat steep when putting in, but manageable. 

Parking: You can not park at the water district, however you can unload/load your kayaks at the water district then park across the street at the Royal River Park.

Wildlife: Turtles, ducks, blue heron

Notes: Looking at the river, you want to paddle upstream (to your left).You will go under a couple of railroad trestles and can paddle for hours! There is little to no current on this part of the river.  The river twists and turns a lot and is a lot of fun.  The water is cloudy, and there are lots of logs in the water making many places for turtles to sun themselves.  If you do this paddle during the day it is nice to go inside the office at the water district to ask if it is okay to launch from there.  I am sure they have a lot of people launching from their building and appreciate people being courteous about using their launch site.  I paddled up the river, lazily, for over two hours and could have gone much longer before turning around.  This would also be a great place for beginners, little current and enough turns in the river to practice steering, yet lots to see to satisfy more seasoned paddlers. 

 Looking up the river.  You can't see too far ahead at one time because of all the turns. 
 Some Canada Geese welcomed me to the river.
 A duck family...

 Pind weeds!  (I am sure there is a more technical term, but that's what I call these purple flowers.)
 Cat tails!
 I am not sure what these are, but they were cool!
  A blue heron.  I was excited to see this guy. He was the first blue heron I saw in the summer of 2011. 
 There are a lot of logs in the water. Many are really a light gray color. 
 Another bend in the river !

Scarborough, Maine: The Scarborough Marsh

Body of Water: Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, Maine [Maine Gazetteer Map 3, B3]

Boat Launch: At the end of Seavey Landing Road, Rocky, gradual slope. Semi-private launch.

Directions (From Portland, ME):  Go South on the Maine Turnpike (I-95) take the Scarborough exit, #42.  At the light go straight. This will connect you to Rt. 1.  Turn right onto Rt. 1, crossing over the marsh.  At the second light turn left onto Rt. 9/Pine Point Rd.  After about a mile and a half, you will pass Ken’s seafood restaurant on your right.  Not much beyond that you will turn left onto Seavey Landing Road (Right before the Blue Point Congregational Church).  Drive to the end of the road.

Parking: Limited.  There are only 2-3 spaces at the end of the road, but you could probably park on the side of the road. 

Wildlife: There are many kinds of birds along the marsh.  Visit the Maine Audubon Society page here to see the varieties.  I have heard that some people have seen seals down towards the Pine Point Boat Landing, but I, unfortunately have not. 

Notes: This is a salt water marsh that goes out into the ocean.  You could park at the Maine Audubon Society, right on Rt. 9, but I am not sure if there are fees there.  You should be careful of the tide.  Paddling against the tide can be tough, especially down near the Pine Point Boat landing. You may want to consider taking two vehicles, parking the second one at the boat landing to avoid having to paddle against the current on the way back.  (If the tide is going out.) There are bugs at the launch site that will bite you.  They are like horseflies with green heads and their bites hurt.  Bug spray does help.  I did not find there to be many of them once I was out on the water, but loading and unloading can involve a few bites.   I have limited experience in salt water and have not kayaked in the open ocean.  I urge you to stay in the protected part without going into the ocean unless you have experience and knowledge of currents and tides. 

This is the launch site close to low tide.  (picture taken on a different day than I actually paddled the marsh.)
 There are hermit crabs in the water!
 Looking left form the launch site.
 A cormorant.
 There are many narrow channels you can explore, but if you don't want to hit dead ends, stay in the wide, more open paths!
 I am not sure what kind of bird this is.  I was hoping to get  abetter picture, but they did not cooperate.
 We first paddled up the marsh (away from the ocean) and went under this foot bridge that is part of the Audubon's nature walk. 

 After we went under the bridge above, we turned around adn let the outgoing tide pull us towards the ocean.  This was taken close to the launch site as we floated past it !
 Below the launch site (towards the ocean) we went under this railroad trestle.  There is a wider opening on the right side which is the safest place to paddle through. 
 As the tide was going out sandbars were exposed.  The birds seemed to love it.  There are sandpipers I think.  Keep your eyes on the sand and you may see water spurts from the giant clams!
 We made it down to the boat landing in Pine Point.  This is one of the lobster boats.  It was cool to paddle between the boats, to see them from the water. 
 Not sure what kind of bird this is, but it was fun to watch them divebomb into the water.  It sounded like people were throwing rocks into the water. 
 As the tide lowered more of the marsh is exposed.  It seems to be eroding a bit. 

Casco, Maine: Coffee Pond

Body of Water: Coffee Pond (Maine’s cleanest body of water)  Casco, Maine [Maine Gazetteer, Map 5 B1.5]

Directions (from Portland, ME): Take Rt. 302 through North Windham, into Raymond. Take Rt. 121 (along Panther Pond) until it intersects with Rt. 11. Turn Right onto Rt. 11. Drive for just over a mile, turn right onto Coffee Pond Rd. (You may miss the road sign coming from this direction, if you get to Rt. 85, turn around and look for it on your left.) Follow Coffee Pond Rd. down a hill and the launch site does not look like an official boat landing, it looks like a clearing on the right (pond-side) with a short parking spot directly across from it. 

Boat Launch:  Very small, just put in at the edge of the pond. 

Parking: Free. Very limited, 2-3 vehicles.  On the side of a dirt road.

Wildlife: Loons, ducks

Notes: If you get there and there is no parking, you are very close to the boat landing for Tenny Stream/Crescent Lake, on Rt. 85.  (From Coffee Pond Road, turn right onto Rt. 11, then turn right onto 85, boat launch will be on your left.)  There is a small island in the pond, where you can stop and go for a swim.  You may want to take a short rope or bungee cord to secure the kayak to the island while you swim.  This is a very quick paddle, a great pond to do after work or if you wanted to do multiple bodies of water in the same day.  Boat size restrictions are in place on this pond.  This would be a great place to take beginner paddlers!

This is the boat launch.  Again, very small, but worth it to get on this cute pond! 

The view when you first start paddling:
A view from the other end of the pond as some clouds rolled in:
 This is a small island in the pond, a great place to stop for a swim!
 The pond... I believe that is loonking towards Rattlesnake Mountain, but I am not sure.
 A Maine Loon.  Please remember to be respectful of all wildlife. 
 This is a loon family.  Typically loons have two offspring, but this family had one. 

 Loons are very interesting birds, their environment is very important for their survival.  Treat them well, treat the waterways well. 

Gorham/South Windham, Maine: Shaw Park, the Presumpscot River

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

Directions (from Portland, Maine): Take Brighton Ave. (Rt. 25) through Westbrook and into Gorham. Turn Right onto Rt. 237. You will come to a small rotary/traffic circle/ intersection of Rts. 237 & 202. Stay on Rt. 237 for about a mile. You will pass Shaw Brothers gravel pit then on the right you will see a sign for Shaw Park. Drive down a short road and you will see a parking area on the right, do not park there, go through the gate and into the second parking area near the swingset.

Sign along Rt. 237
 This is the first gate, go straight through. 
 This is the arking area:

Boat Launch:  Shaw Park, drive into Shaw Park, through the gate by baseball fields and park near the swingset.  You have to carry your kayak down to the water about 10 yards down a small hill.  Put in next to grassy shore, rocks/gravel.  (You gotta maneuver around the rocks, but it is pretty easy!)

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.  Also Canada geese and ducks. 

Notes: During the summer, starting around June 1st, there is a caretaker of the park area who stays in a camper if you have any questions.  There can also be canoes and kayaks for rent here, but sometimes are being used by the Gorham Rec. Dept.  If you paddle far enough up the Presumpscot River you will go under a covered bridge.  I have paddled up as far as I could paddle without portaging, the current is pretty mild for most of the river.  It picks up a bit after the covered bridge, but subsides.  On a windy day this is a tough place to paddle.  The wind usually goes against the current and can cause the water to be quite choppy.  When paddling up the river, going under the railroad trestle where kids are often jumping off, there are two places on the right that go off from the river. The second turn off is the Pleasant River and goes for a long time.

 This was taken coming back down the river, above the covered bridge. 
 The covered bridge!
 I caught this guy with my own hands.  He was not thrilled, but I was!

 Canada goose family. 

North Windham, Maine: Little Sebago Lake

Body of Water: Little Sebago Lake, North Windham, ME [Maine Gazetteer Map 5, C2.5]
Directions (From Portland, ME): Take Rt. 302 North into North Windham. Pass through the shopping area of Windham, with two lanes going in each direction. At the last light before 302 narrows into one lane, turn right onto Anglers Rd. (Adirt road across from Whites Bridge Rd.) Follow the signs to the boat landing. 

Boat Launch: Public Boat Launch, concrete.  Room for bigger boats to launch. 

Parking: Free. Decent sized parking lot with spaces designed for vehicles hauling trailers.  They ask trailer-less vehicles park along the side of the parking area to leave room for the vehicles with trailers. 

Wildlife: Ducks, loons,  and maybe a bald eagle

Notes: This is a great spot for people who like the wider, more open areas.  Lots of area to explore.  If it is windy, it can get pretty choppy. 

These pictures were taken in early May on an overcast day.  I need to get back and take some pictures that better show this Lake. 

North Pownal, Maine: Runaround Pond

Body of Water: Runaround Pond, North Pownal, Maine.  [Maine Gazetteer Map 5, B5, close to the edge of the page]

Directions (From Portland, ME): I have yet to find the most efficient way to get to this pond, but it is worth the drive! Take the Maine Turnpike (I-95) to Gray, exit 63.
Turn Right to a funky intersection, you want to get on Rt. 115 towards Yarmouth. (You will kind of be going straight through the intersection.) After about 1.5 miles you will turn left onto Depot Rd. Stay on Depot Rd. until it intersects with Rt. 231 take a left onto 231 and take an immediate right onto Allen Rd. (There is no sign that says Allen Rd.) You will be across from Pineland, passing one of their gardens on your left.) Stay on Allen Road until it ends, passing an electrical station, turn right onto Fickett Rd. At next intersection there will be North Pownal General Store. Go straight putting you on Runaround Pond Rd. Runaround Recreational area will be on your left in about two miles.

Boat Launch: Called Runaround Pond Recreational Area, just off Runaround Pond Road.  Launch site is dirt/gravel. 

Parking: Free. There is no formal parking lot, people park along the ‘driveway’ that leads to the boat launch.  There is a good amount of space for parking. 

Wildlife: Turtles, dragonflies, blue herons, and ducks.  Also many lily pads! 

Notes: There is a port-a-potty at this site. This pond feels more like a lazy river, meandering through the forest. You feel like it will never end. As the summer progresses, the lily pads and other water plant-life gets pretty thick, making the pond seem more narrow. When you enter the pond, you can go under Runaround Pond Road into a pretty cool gorge area, just be aware that there is a dam at the far end of that passageway. Depending on the amount of rain/water levels, there may or may not be a current there. Use caution near the dam. There are some blueberry plants along the rocks in the launch area.

A blue heron in flight!

 A snapping turtle taking in the sights, look at those claws!
 The blue heron was hiding in the flowers, but I spotted him anyway! Good camouflage. 
 After putting in turn left to go under this bridge. 
This will take you into the 'gorge' area mentioned above. 
Remember to watch the current as you get close to the dam. 
Beautiful nature!
This is what the pond looks like, what you cannot see is that the pond twists and turns:

Baby Painted Turtle!
This picture was taken in 2009 when a group of my friends visited Runaround Pond for the first time. 
You can paddle through the weeds, but it is easier to go through the more open water!
Reward yourself after a paddle with some fresh blueberries.  (Late July)