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! Out 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 www.paddlingsouthernmaine.com. Sandy and I are available to attend/present various functions/events. Please email me at mainekayakgirl@gmail.com for more information!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

November on the Presumpscot

Regular visitors to my blog know that paddling the Presumpscot in Westbrook is one of my favorite places to paddle.  (Click link above for directions.)

We have had a pretty mild November so far and while I had put my kayak in my garage, I had not yet hung it up for the winter, hoping for a couple of more opportunities to get back on the water.  With temperatures in the upper 50's I thought it would be a good day to go.  

Because it is November and because water temperatures are lowering it is smart to paddle in places with which there is a lot of familiarity.  Also, because November in Maine means hunting season, I wore a florescent yellow safety vest.  

The day was a bit dreary, and I admit this time of year, after the beautiful foliage and before the snow flies, is difficult for me.  I do not like the shortness of daylight and the lack of vibrant colors...but I also believe there is always beauty to be found... and any day in my kayak is a wonderful day.  

There were so many leafs in the water... their color has faded since they have fallen from their branches...



There were plenty of ducks on the water...




These bright red berries were a welcome flash of color!  Had I thought to bring some gardening shears, I may have collected some of these for holiday decorating...

Ahhhh... my favorite part of this trip, the tunnel... 
I had been here in August and was able to paddle through the tunnel and explore a bit on the other side, but the beavers have been busy and have rebuilt a dam at the far end. 




The river currents pushed the leafs into cool shapes on the water.

My favorite tree...  she has survived for a long time, despite her center crack.. I hope she survives another Maine winter and I get to see her, upright and living, in the spring...



Herons... I love seeing herons.. this one was upriver ahead of me...and this was the only shot I got... one day I will get a beautiful photo of a heron taking/in flight...


Along part of the shore is a beautiful rock wall.  I am amazed at how these walls, part of New England history, have survived so long...


I heard them before I saw them...the cows were running around in the field and mooing loudly. 

The sun was very unique today... moonlike at times...



Cattails were shedding their seeds...


I was pleasantly surprised to see another dedicated paddler on the water... (Glad he was wearing hunter orange)


As I got closer to the end of my adventure I saw a large bird in the sky... and was so surprised and excited to see that it was an eagle.  It landed high in a pine tree...beautiful bird!




Not long after the eagle had landed my batteries needed to be changed and as I was changing them another eagle approached... there were a lot of vocalizations as the eagles fought for the branch on this tree... the more mature/dominant eagle won the battle and kept screaming at the other eagle for a few seconds after its victory...




After winning the battle for the branch, the eagle preened itself...



I paddled slowly back to the launch site, so grateful for my kayak and the opportunity it affords me to see such amazing things...


This may be the final flip flop/toe photo of the year!  It is gonna get cold out there!!  
Happy Paddling!  (Be Safe!)


Monday, October 12, 2015

Salmon Falls River, South Berwick, Maine/Rollinsford, New Hampshire

Body of Water: Salmon Falls River, Border of Maine/New Hampshire, between South Berwick, ME and Rollinsford, NH, [Maine Gazetteer, Map 1,  A3]

Directions: From Portland take 95 south to Exit 19 (Wells/Sanford), Turn RIGHT off the exit ramp ont Rt. 9 W for 0.6 miles.  Turn LEFT to stay on Rt. 9 West, for 6.5-7.0 miles, then turn LEFT onto Rt. 4 for about 6.5 miles, turn RIGHT onto Rt. 236 for 0.2 miles, then turn LEFT onto Main St.  (At the traffic island.)  Stay on Main St. for about 0.4 miles, as you cross the bridge, crossing the ME/NH border, you will take a slight right onto Scoutland Rd. and Bicentennial Park is on the Right.  (There is no sign for the park until you get towards the launch.) 

As you enter NH...just after the bridge...

As you cross the ME/NH bridge you will see this on the right.  You will be launching above the dam. 



Right after the bridge, turn right into this park.


Go under the bridge to the launch/parking area

Boat Launch: Gradual slope gravel/grass/ some pavement



Parking:  There are several places to park along the road into the launch as well as a bigger parking area on the left. 

Bathroom: No
Wildlife: Turtles and birds

Notes: A couple of years ago, one of my blog readers suggested I explore the Salmon Falls River.  He said it was a slow moving river, unique because of its status as a river that defines the border between Maine and New Hampshire.  The paddle was worth the trip and as silly as it is, I admit that as I paddled from shore to shore, I would think, 'I'm in Maine'... 'Now I'm in NH!"  It was fun...

This is the view to the right just after putting in, towards the dam.  Obviously you need to paddle to the left, AWAY from the dam. 


Before coming to this river I had googled it to see what I could find... I found a post (maybe from the blog reader who suggested this river) that said there was a territorial swan in the area and to bring bread to feed it... I brought the bread, but didn't find the swan.  I was a bit sad about that, but there were a lot of other endearing elements of this trip.  When I first put in, the river was pretty wide but narrowed soon and there are several places, smaller offshoots to explore... loyal blog readers know I prefer the offshoots to the wide open areas, so that's where I spent most of my time.

I did this trip on Labor Day, so there was still plenty of greenery and several white lilies. 


One part of this trip that bothered me was the amount of milfoil in the river.   In this photo you can see the milfoil in the water. 

The milfoil was thick and in every offshoot of the river.  a reminder to clean your boat between trips!

This is a good picture to show the wider part of the river. 




I like the variety of vegetation along the river.  I think that may be one reason I prefer rivers to lakes/ponds. 

If you look closely, you can see turtles on that log...




more milfoil...

I really liked the secluded areas off the river.  They were very peaceful. 






The offshoots also provided some appreciated shade to escape the heat!







This turtle is shedding it's shell.  From what I have read this is normal.  The shells are like bone and grow from the inside out, and the outer layers peel off.  (The New Hampshire turtles seemed quicker to abandon their logs as I paddled by... the Maine turtles seemed a bit more brave... but then again, I could be biased!) 

I paddled beneath a bridge (which I thought would mark the end of the trip as it looked, at first, like a dam...but I was able to keep going)  and saw this view.  I had to choose to go left or right, I chose the right...




In this upper part of the trip, there were several tires in the water... cleaning this river would be a great project for an environmental group. 

I paddled as far as I could up this offshoot.  It was a beautiful spot. 

At one point there had been a bridge here.  I thought I could keep going beyond this spot and reconnect with the other part of the river, but it was too shallow.  So I returned to the area where I had to choose which way to go... and went up the other branch...


It is hard to see, but this is a very large snapping turtle...I was trying to get some other pics, but some other paddlers came through and I had to move to get out of their way and when I moved back he was gone. 


After going up the other branch of the river it ended with this... it was very pretty...

Pretty except for this giant piece of metal in the water... it looks like an old culvert... and I am surprised it is still in the water, looks like it has been there for a long time. 


Love the sparkles in the water!  And a decent plug for Old Town Canoe/Kayak! 

I paddled slowly back to the launch site...



There were a lot of people using the river this day... I saw a tandem kayak team, a canoe with a family of three, another kayaker and his young child who was giggling about being on the water... and there were several people at the park who were swimming and spending time on the shore.  It seems to be a well used park.

The draw, I think, of this river, would be that it is a border between Maine and New Hampshire.  I would imagine that in the fall, once the colors start coming, it would be a wonderful place to explore.

I cannot say that this is one of my favorite spots...only because of the large amounts of milfoil and the tires and metal in the water... but I really enjoyed the many off shoots to explore!