Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lake Arrowhead Limerick/Waterboro, ME

Body of Water: Lake Arrowhead Waterboro/Limerick town line, Maine [Maine Gazetteer, Maps 2 & 4]

Directions (from Portland, ME): From Portland take Congress St (ME 22) into Gorham.  Once in Gorham, at the intersection of 22 and 114, turn right onto Rt. 114.  At the traffic circle take the second exit to Rt. 112 South to the next traffic circle and exit onto Rt. 202 West.  Keep an eye out for Rt. 117.  Turn right onto Rt. 117 North for about 7.5 miles, then turn left onto Doles Ridge Road.  Drive for about 2 miles then turn left onto New Dam Road and the boat launch will be on your right.  (It's about 45 minutes from Portland.) 

Boat Launch:  Cement ramp, gradual slope into the water.  

Parking: Free. Dirt parking lot, with a decent amount of parking spaces.



Wildlife: Turtles & birds including ducks, eagles, heron, kingfishers, and more

Notes: Perhaps more than any other place I have paddled, it is important to know where you are in comparison to the launch site.  This lake is big and has several fingers to explore. I would advise having a map of the lake to help keep your bearings if you plan on exploring for a while.  (Or use a map app on your phone.)  When looking at the Maine Gazetteer it seems like there are a couple of places from which you can launch your kayak.  This site, close to the Ledgemere Hydroelectric Plant/dam is the best parking.  I had paddled here before and had put in on the side of this same road, more on the Waterboro side, but now there are no parking signs there.  This launch site is the safest place, as far as parking.  A very cool aspect to this lake, especially in the fall, is its proximity to Dole's Orchards.  I came very close to kayaking in the morning and stopping there to pick apples in the afternoon!  That would be a great day, celebrating two awesome parts of Maine! This lake does have Milfoil.  Please remember to wash your kayaks/canoes/paddleboards before going to another body of water!

Lake Arrowhead is a place I have wanted to return since going a couple of summers ago.  The last time I went I was with a couple of friends and didn't focus much on how we got there or on taking pictures while we were paddling.  That day we explored a different 'finger' of this lake and saw some things I did not see on this trip including fish under the surface of the water protecting what seemed to be nests.  (I am not sure what fish nests are called!)  This part of the lake had a variety of scenery as well.  There are some wide areas which feel like a classic Maine lake, but there are other areas, more intimate, where it feels like you are in a small pond.  To be honest, when I paddled here over the weekend I had intended to paddle in another pond, but where I tried to put in was a bit more remote than I expected and decided it would not be a good place to go solo.  Lake Arrowhead was close by and it was a great opportunity to revisit this beautiful place.  

It was a cloudy day on Saturday, and I was happy it did not rain.  This lake has an interesting balance of uninhabited shorelines and camps/houses/cottages.  The caps along the lake seemed to get a lot of use, which makes me happy.  There were a lot of people on the water, power boats, jet skis, and several pontoon boats.  I saw a couple of other kayakers as well.  The motorboats were respectful of my presence, the jet skis, operated by younger people (trying not to judge), were a bit less respectful and came a bit closer than they should have.  But the time spent dealing with motorcraft was minimal compared to the time I spent exploring.  My favorite part of this lake is that there are stumps in many places which makes for interesting views and sunning spots for turtles. 


There are several islands of various sizes to paddle around. 

There are parts of the lake that are more pond-like and less inhabited. 

There were a lot of water lilies on the surface of the water, which is beautiful. 



There were painted and snapping turtles. 






This 'flower' was part of some of the lily pads.  I am not sure of their name, but I think Mom called them cow lilies.  This cow lily was vibrant and I was enamored with the details. 

The light, because of the clouds, made for awesome reflections!




As I was paddling and taking pictures I heard an eagle calling.  It took me a few minutes to locate him, but I eventually laid eyes on him. 


One unique feature of this lake is the stumps that are in the water. 


Just as I was thinking I had seen what this lake had to offer, I paddled around a big island and found cattails.









I enjoy seeing the life that sprouts from the dead tree stumps. 

This interesting bird, seemingly a part of the heron family was quite shy.  Just as I was getting some photo opportunities the jet ski kids began circling and scared this bird away.  If you recognize this bird I would love to know what it is; send me an email!  (Mainekayakgirl@gmail.com)


Lake Arrowhead does have milfoil.  Residents are making a concerted effort to fight this invasive plant.  Click Here for a link to their site. 

Milfoil, while it may be hard to see in this picture, grows quickly and is very thick.  Please be responsible and make efforts to not spread this plant to other waterways. 

When I got off the water I spoke with the woman stationed there checking boats for milfoil.  She told me that many people canoe/kayak on the other side of the dam.  I did not/have not done that, but it looks beautiful.  Here are some pictures of the dam and the other side of the dam. 







Monday, August 11, 2014

Supermoon, Sebago Lake, Raymond, ME

Body Of Water: Sebago Lake
Directions: From Portland, take Rt. 302 through Windham and into Raymond.  Stay on Rt. 302 through Raymond.  After the intersection for Rt. 302 and 121 the launch site/public beach will be on the left.  
Parking: There is ample parking here, however, we were there in the evening and most people were already off the water.  I have driven by here during the summer, and the parking area is sometimes full.  
Bathroom: There are portapotties available.  
Fees: No fees 
Notes: Maine law requires any boat to have lights when on the water at night. 

Paddling at night can be dangerous. Even with the experience I have being on the water, being on the water at night is a whole new ballgame.  I would not paddle at night unless I was with other people and unless those people had a strong familiarity with the area on which we were going to paddle.  

This summer we have had two supermoons.  Being on the water is a very cool way to experience the supermoon.  Last night I had the opportunity to be in the water with about 40 other kayaks and one stand up paddle board.  There is a group in the Sebago Lake region, called "Windham/Raymond Paddling Club."  This group is organized through the social networking site called "Meetup.com" and is run by a man named Bill Allen.  Bill owns Sebago Trails Paddling Company, located in Windham.  I think my favorite part of this group is that Bill is able to offer kayaking adventures for people who do not own their own boats.  The events he organizes range from 2-3 hours and people can rent a kayak, paddle, and life jacket for $20 per excursion.  That is a steal!  I also love that people who have their own equipment are able to join in the events and share the love of the water with others who love kayaking and some who are just learning.  Last night I ran into a man and his mom who I had met on a previos meetup event.  This time they brought kayaks they had bought instead of renting.  It is cool to see people learning about and enjoying kayaking.  He asked me, if by chance, I was MaineKayakGirl... Guilty as charged!!  (This is the second day in a row I have been 'recognized'... I don't have my picture here on the blog, but there must be something recognizable about me as it pertains to kayaking!  I'll take it... there are far worse things for which I could be identified!)  

By the way, Click Here to go to Bill's site.   (Bill has this blog linked to his site, so I hope he doesn't mind that I am sharing his site here!) 

Sebago Lake is a place I have spent very little time.  Truth be told, it is intimidating.  It is a huge lake and if the wind comes up the waves on the lake can be large.  In addition there is a lot of boat traffic here, A LOT... and many of the boats are here because they have a need for speed.  I have launched form this site only once before, during the day last time.  I remember being a little nervous because there are so many rocks in Sebago, many which are just under the surface.  I often get looking at the scenery and forget to keep my eye on the water so the rocks can sneak up on me.  Having had that experience did make me wonder about going out here at night... but I figured there would be safety in numbers and trusted that the people who were leading this adventure were familiar with this part of the lake.  Everyone who embarked on the journey made it off the water with nobody getting wet!  

My camera does not take great pictures at night, but I wanted to include a few pictures.  
Again, paddling at night can be very dangerous.  I would never go by myself at night.  Please keep safety in the forefront of your mind when paddling, day or night!  





Despite being blurry, I love this picture! 


 I like this picture even though it was taken as a wave moved my kayak a bit...


I like that the blades of the paddle are visible under the moon! 

Had to put a toe shot in the post! 

The moon was BEAUTIFUL!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Presumpscot, Westbrook... again...

I got out on the water today!  After intentions of going someplace new, I didn't find the launch site I was hoping for, so returned to a familiar place, the Presumpscot River, launching from Westbrook.  My goal was to finally paddle as far as I could possible paddle before needing to portage... but mother nature had other plans.  She sent some pretty heavy rain showers my way, and given the recent thunderstorms we have had, I thought it wise to turn around.

As usual, this spot did not disappoint.  It was a great paddle, despite getting soaked, and I got to meet a family who use my blog!  It is fun to meet people who have found me!  I love hearing from people, so if you have used any of my directions I would love to get your feedback!  I am hoping to do a few new trips over the next couple of weeks so check back soon!

In the meantime... here are some pictures of today's journey!