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!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Westbrook, ME, Presumpscot River

Body of Water: Presumpscot River [ Maine Gazetteer Map 5, 3E. Also look for the Westbrook map in the back of the gazetteer, which shows Lincoln St.]

Directions (From Portland, ME):  Head West on Rt. 25 (Brighton Avenue) towards Westbrook/Gorham.  Pass Kohl's plaza on Rt. 25 coming into Westbrook.  You will pass Amato's on your left and McDonald's on your right.  Stay straight.  Pass Dairy Queen on your left, go straight at the light.  You will come into a rotary type traffic pattern.  You will take the third off option to stay on Rt. 25, Almost going around Rite Aid.   (passing up the option to turn onto Warren Ave. and River Road by the mill).  Stay on Rt 25 coming into Main St. Westbrook. (Subway and Riverfront park on your right, then Cumberland Farms & Dunkin Donuts on left)  At light by post office & Big Apple, go straight.  Come down into Main St.  Turn Right at the light onto Bridge St.  (Across from CVS, next to Fajita Grill/Frog & Turtle restaurants)

Once on Bridge St. You will pass mill on left.  Once Bridge St. begins to curve to the right, you will turn Left onto Lincoln St.  You will pass some condos on your left and will see an outdoor hockey rink.  You will park here, at the hockey rink. 

Boat Launch: This is a carry in boat launch.  There is a wide path that leads to the river, passing by the side of the hockey rink.  You will walk to the river and the boat launch itself is dirt.  You can not see the river from the parking area, but once you walk towards the river you will easily find your way.  It is a bit of a walk to the river from the parking area.  You may want someone to help you carry your kayak to the river or use a dolly like this:

I find this set of wheels makes my kayaking life much easier and allows me to be very independent.  (Got this set from craigslist for $25 or $30!  Regularly priced at LLBean's for $65 I think!)
This is the path you take to get to the water.  (Passing the hockey rink.)


Parking: Free.  There is a lot of parking available next to the hockey rink. 

Wildlife: Turtles, Ducks, many birds, dragonflies, I suspect blue heron's may visit this river, & beavers (I did not see any beavers, but saw the dam!)  Great plantlife, including pink lilies, late August/Early September. 

Notes: This is a BEAUTIFUL location to kayak.  This place is so close to my home and so easily accessible that I cannot believe today was my first paddle here!  I like this trip a lot because the scenery changes along the way.  There are lots of trees, lily pads, and lilies like other places, but there are also some places that are open, looking across fields, which was a nice contrast.  I paddles up the river for a couple of hours and could have gone longer if I didn't have to go to work later in the day.  I am definitely going to plan an entire day this fall, once the leaves are peaking,  and take a lunch with me and spend the day on this part of the Presumpscot.  There is a very cool stone bridge along the way.  You cannot paddle through this bridge to get to the other side because the beavers have blocked it off, but you can get in under the bridge and appreciate the artistry and architecture of the bridge.  I also like that there were few houses along the river, at least as far as I went today.  The lack of houses made me feel like I really was 'away' from things and allowed me to really relax.  There were lots of turtles sunning themselves along the way.  It is important to note that leaving from the boat launch you need to turn right to head up the river.  Turning left would leaf you to Sacarrapa Falls, not a good idea.  The current in the river was pretty mild.  On my paddle back down the river the wind was blowing against me.  If the wind was strong it would make for a harder paddle, but overall a very easy paddle. I  HIGHLY recommend this trip! . 

Very cool that this boat launch area was a Boy Scout Project. 

This is a very peaceful river.  

I am not sure what kind of blossoms these are, but they reminded me of daisies. 

The green leaves are fading as fall approaches... some leaves are changing already.  


Maple leaves changing...

This was a very cool thing to see.  This is a tunnel/bridge that is off the river.  

Beavers have dammed up the other end of this tunnel, but still worth paddling in to explore.  

The stonework is beautiful! 

The river was very calm. 

I like these plants.  I think they are often mostly under water.  Their leaves were still very green, a nice contrast to the other greens.   

I got on the river around 9 a.m. and it was still very calm allowing for some amazing reflections. 

I saw more pink lilies.  Very pretty. 

I can't wait to return once the leaves are changing even more!

The dragonflies were numerous and very fond of hitching a ride on me or on the kayak!

I love looking at trees along the way and these mushrooms were pretty cool. 

There were not many overhanging trees, but I always like paddling under those branches.  

Another turtle... and its reflection!

Another bend in the river...

This was one of the few signs of civilization... power lines. 
I could hear them buzzing as I paddled under them. 

A wasps' nest!

I almost didn't see this nest.  I missed it on the paddle up the river, but saw it after I had turned around.  It was neat to watch the wasps fly in and out.  

More Turtles...

There were a couple of places that I think could be explored in early spring, before the plants are flourishing... there were a few places that looked like possible off-shoots where you could leave the main part of the river and then quickly rejoin it. 

At one point I was looking at trees and their roots and noticed this rock wall
along the riverbank.  A piece of someone's history. 

I see you!

Turtle!  A bit of a different angle!

This was a cool mushroom/fungi. 

The lilies were so pretty!

Returning to the boat launch.  (The launch is right before the house on the left.) 

The launch is right before this house.