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!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Saco River, Biddeford, Maine

Body of Water: Saco River, Biddeford, ME [Maine Gazetteer Map 3, C3 ]

Directions (from Portland, ME): Head south on 95 and take the Saco Exit, Exit 36.  Take the Rt. 1 South Exit into Saco.  At the light at Beach Street stay straight, which is Rt. 9, through Saco's downtown area.  Follow the signs, staying on Rt. 9, which eventually becomes Pool St. Stay on Pool Street and keep your eyes out for a public boat landing sign on the left and turn left onto Marblehead Lane which brings you to the boat launch. 

Boat Launch: The boat launch is designed for boats of all sizes. 

Parking: There is ample parking here and there are bathroom facilities. 

Wildlife: Many birds, cormorants, heron, sea gulls, ducks, etc.

Notes:  This part of the Saco River is tidal.  The water level changes often and the current can be very strong.  I would not recommend this adventure for  beginners, especially solo paddlers.  Because the tide changes and the current strong in some places it is important to be a strong paddler.  Given the time of day and the tide chart, we arrived as the tide was close to being high.  The smarter choice would have been to paddle up the river, towards Saco, paddling with the current and then we could have waited for the tide to shift and could have ridden the tide back to the boat launch.  But the friend I was with really loves the ocean and wanted to paddle out to the Atlantic.  I warned her that I have paddled against a strong current before, that it was hard work, but if she wanted to I would go out to the ocean.  She wanted to so we headed down river.  There were several places to explore on the way down the river.  There were a few areas where we could get in behind some of the grass and get close to the shore.

There were many tall reeds along the way.

There was an abandoned wharf which appeared to be the place the cormorants wanted to hand out. 

As we paddled we caught a glimpse of this heron who was fishing in some of the more shallow pools of water.  It caught this snake and the snake put up quite a fight. 

Eventually the heron won! 

A flock of Canada geese were resting in the grass. 

When we paddled into some of the offshoots it was very peaceful. 

This is my friend with her newly purchased kayak.  She has really enjoyed kayaking and we hope to have many more adventures together!

Along the way we passed the University of New England. 

As we got close to the end of the river it definitely looked more and more like the ocean. 

This is one of my favorite pictures. 

As we got closer to the ocean we pulled over to the edge to stretch our legs and it was so sandy we went for a little swim to cool off. It was beautiful. 

The boats coming into the channel from the ocean were going at a pretty good clip.  We decided we should paddle back to the boat launch and get away from the bigger boats. 

The tide was definitely going out... the current in the water was getting stronger and I knew we would be in for a good workout. 

On the way back to the boat launch there were not many opportunities for taking pictures because if I stopped paddling I lost ground.  My friend struggled more than I did so as we were paddling I looked for places that were protected from the current for us to take breaks.  
We made it back safely and next time, will use the current to our advantage.  I look forward to exploring the other end of the river. 

Pleasant Lake, Casco, Maine

Body of Water: Pleasant Lake, Casco, ME [Maine Gazetteer Map 5, A1]

Directions (from Portland, ME): Take Rt. 302 north.  Go through North Windham and into Raymond.  In Raymond turn Right onto Rt.121.  Stay on Rt. 121, when 121 intersects with Rt. 11 stay straight into the town of Casco.  Turn Right onto Mayberry St., pass the beach area on the left and the boat launch will be on the left.  Parking is across from the beach area.

Boat Launch: Cement, very close to the road, but saw a few people with boats on trailers maneuvering without any trouble.

Parking: Free.  Park across from the public beach area.  

Wildlife: The day I was here the wind was pretty strong the only wildlife I saw was an eagle, but I am sure there are lots of waterfowl.  There are signs warning of millfoil here.  Please make sure to wash off your boat between bodies of water.

Notes: I only explored a small part of this lake because it was windy and the water was very choppy.  What I did see entices me to go back.  Take a look at some pictures:

That last picture... looks to me like an angel...never know what you are gonna see when you are in a kayak! 

Moose Pond, Bridgton, ME

After looking at my blog this weekend I realized I had not posted pictures from a couple of my final trips of the season.  Here are some pictures of Moose Pond in Bridgton.  I have posted this spot before.  Click here for specific directions/details: Previous Moose Pond Post.

Body of Water: Moose Pond, Bridgton, ME [Maine Gazetteer Map 4, A3]

Directions (from Portland, ME): From Portland, Take Rt. 302 north.  Go through North Windham, Raymond, Casco, and Naples into Bridgton.  Once in Bridgton you will stay on Rt. 302 (which means turning left onto Main the light.)  You will drive through the down town part of Bridgton and will continue on Rt. 302 towards Fryeburg.  After passing Highland Lake on your right, continue for three or four miles.  You will come to the causeway/bridge at the base of Shawnee Peak/Pleasant Mountain that separates the two sides of Moose Pond. It's about 42 miles from The Great Lost Bear, depending on traffic it took me about 70 minutes to get there.

Boat Launch: The boat launch is on your left when you first come upon the causeway.  The boat launch is quite wide, big enough for good sized boats.  There is a person there who monitors the use of the pond and checks watercrafts for millfoil.

Parking: Free.  Park along Rt. 302 on the right side (when facing the mountain.)  Be careful crossing Rt. 302.

Wildlife: eagles, loons, waterfowl, frogs, turtles, and in late summer there are water lilies galore.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Tenny July

While it is only February, my thoughts are moving towards getting my kayak back on the water.  Truth be told this morning I looked at my snow covered yard and thought about taking one of my paddles from the basement and going out and sitting in the snow with it.  Crazy, right? Absolutely, but maybe it shows you how much I am missing my kayak.  So to get my kayaking fix I decided to look through some of my pictures and realized that some of the pictures I had taken in July were ones I had not posted on here... so here they are!  

I have posted the directions to Tenny Stream before, but in case you are curious click the link here: 

I hope my fellow kayakers can think about being in their boat in the midst of a hot July day as you look through the pictures below... 

As I entered the stream there was a loon there to greet me... 

After passing by the loon I came upon another paddler and he asked if I had gotten any good shots of it.  I told him I hoped so and we began comparing notes on the stream.  He has yet to see the otters there, though someone told him they saw them yesterday.  (He lives on one of the lakes that the stream connects.)  We talked about the loons and he told me that he found one of the loons a couple years ago, dead, and I wondered if the loon I had just seen was the widow/widower... I think our loon talk made him realize I was a regular in the area and he also told me about a rare plant that he had spotted and told me to find it... and I did... (But took this picture before, love the ferns here!) 

Here is the plant he told me about... called a pitcher plant... it is carnivorous... at the bottom of the plant are these tube things that collect water and the water traps insects and the plant eats them.

On this particular day there were many dragonflies surrounding me, there must have been thousands of them. 

And lots of lilies... 

This guy seemed to enjoy resting on my leg... love the colors! 

Notice the teal eyes...

This was one of two duck families..

The water was clear and  I could see many fish... this guy was pretty big.  

One of only two turtles today...

The dragonflies  didn't seem to mind me being around... I had to convince them to leave! 

This duck family had many babies.. they were cute to watch.. splashing around...

Bottoms up... they were searching for lunch... 

And were successful with their hunt... snails!!  I did not know they would eat snails! 

 It was a wonderful paddle....

I cannot wait to get back on the water!
38 days until spring!