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, May 25, 2015

Hancock Pond, West Sebago, Maine

Body of Water: Hancock Pond [Maine Gazetteer Map 4, B 3.5]

Directions:  From Portland Maine: Take Brighton Avenue (Rt. 25 through Westbrook into Gorham.  In the center of Gorham, turn right on Rt. 114.  Stay on Rt. 114 and at the intersection of rt. 114 and Rt. 35 stay straight for about 9.2 miles then turn left onto Long Hill Rd.  At the end of Long Hill Road, bear slightly right onto Rt. 107 North.  Go a little less than 5 miles and then turn left onto Hancock Pond Road for about 4 miles.  Then turn left onto Fire lane 29.  The parking area is to the right of the fire lane and the boat launch is the first left. 

Boat Launch: Cement, grooved

Parking: Dirt Parking area off the side of Hancock Pond Road

Bathroom: Nope

Wildlife: Loons, Eagles, ducks, various fish, turtles, frogs

Reminder:  As we begin another season it is important to remember to respect wildlife, like loons and their nesting areas, and keep our waterways safe by washing our boats between adventures.  We don't want to spread  milfoil or other invasive plants. 

Notes: It was great to get on a new body of water today!  I am not sure how this pond has not been on my radar until today.  When I looked at my Maine Gazetteer to start my day, there it was, pretty big and not too far from Sebago Lake.  The Gazetteer had two boat launch sites shown, so I figured I had a good shot of actually finding the boat launch.  I was optimistic because I had also found a description of the pond on a site here, which gave a bit of direction to the launch.  The drive to the pond was very pretty.  I passed some farms and some beautiful New England rock walls.  As I was leaving my house (around 10:30) I knew I would be going through Gorham and realized I would likely hit the Memorial Day parade. (I looked it up online and it was supposed to begin at 11.)  As a result I took a bit of a detour from what was probably a more direct route, but it was nice.  The air was filled with pollen as I drove and the skies were very overcast.  I had not seen any chance of thunder showers on the forecast so I decided that even if I got rained on it would be okay.

The boat launch was across a road (fire lane) from the parking area.  I unloaded my kayak at the boat launch but could have easily parked in the parking area and used my cart to pull the kayak all the way to the launch area.  [as a total aside, I broke my usual rule of using the bathroom before leaving my house and failed to take the opportunity to stop at potential places along the way... and had to venture into the woods behind/above the parking area.  Much to my pleasant surprise I found some beautiful Lady Slippers up there... I hadn't seen any of those in a long time.  They are so pretty I had to take my camera back to get some shots!]

Once I put my kayak in the water I had to venture to a very narrow stream that was to the left of the launch when facing the water.  It took me through a narrow culvert (a bit creepy!)  and after a bit a small beaver dam obstructed my way.  (In looking at google it seems that stream goes on for a while but I don't portage.)  The area beyond the culvert was kind of marshy, truthfully I anticipated on seeing a loon's nest, but didn't.  It was very peaceful.

After returning through the culvert I tried to decide in which direction I wanted to go... since I had driven past the part of the pond which was to my left, and it looked like there were places to explore, that's the direction I went.  I am a paddler who loves to hug the shoreline, This means I am not the most efficient at getting from point A to point B, but it does mean I get to see a lot.  The water in the pond is quite clear.  I saw a couple of good sized fish, probably about a foot long.  I am not sure what kind they were, but overheard some fishermen talking about the bass they caught there... so maybe they were bass.

One of the things I really loved about this pond was the shore.  The shoreline felt very "Maine..." which for me means there were areas where there were many rocks and areas that were sandy.   There were a few areas that had that marshy feel to them, and I kept my eyes wide open as I looked for loons nests, but did not see any.  (That does not mean they were not there of course!)  I did see a few loons, but they were very camera shy!

This is a loon... or was before it dove!  

There were other people out on the water, but this pond did not feel crowded at all.  I saw a few fishing boats, a person on a jet ski, and one power boat hauling happy kids behind it... but those people were mostly in the more open part of the pond.  (I tend to prefer the more quiet areas.)
As I moved out into the more open part of the pond the wind picked up.  I was grateful because it was a day of hatching for many small flies who were quite annoying.  they did not bite, but they swarmed around me.  (They served as a good reminder to buy some bug spray to add to my kayaking supplies!)

After exploring for a long time the sky darkened and the wind picked up and I decided to head back to the boat launch.  As always, but especially when exploring a new place, I had been keeping track of where I had been and where the boat launch was compared to where I was.  Before getting out of the water I saw another woman kayaker.  She was about to take her kayak out of the water, but noticed the narrow stream and the temptation to do more exploring won out and she got back on the water to see what she could see.  As I was pulling up to the boat launch a mother mallard duck came swimming along with a brood of ducklings.  They were so tiny, maybe some of the smallest I have seen.  They must be very newly hatched!

This was a great place to paddle.  It was also a great reminder to explore new places.  I have my favorite spots, but definitely need to take time to locate new places! 

While I did not see any eagles... this nest was in a very tall tree and I assume there are eagles on this pond. 

The only above water picture I got of a loon today!

Turtles, of course!

This was a tunnel on one of the shores...not sure of its purpose, but very cool. 

A frog!

It was very overcast with a few clouds. 

One of my favorite views of the day...

Tiny baby ducks!

A mother with 10 ducklings!

So fuzzy!

Happy Paddling! 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The 2015 Season has begun!

I am so excited to be back on the water!  I have only been out twice so far this year, once on the Presumpscot in Westbrook and today on Tenny Stream in Raymond

These are places I have posted directions and descriptions to before.  Follow the links above to find the directions.

Here are some pictures of the season so far!  Enjoy!  I will be trying to get on the water a lot this spring/summer and am hoping to add some new destinations.  Please reach out with any questions and comments!

Here are just a few pics from the Presumpscot:

I had never seen a snapping turtle in this river and have wondered if they were in the river.  My question was more than answered.  I saw one about two feet long.  Later we got pretty close and he stuck his head out of the water and his head was as big if not bigger than my fist.  They look so prehistoric!  

The tunnel I love... I have heard that they are going to remove the dam at Sacarrapa Falls and that will lower the level of the water in the river.  I am worried that this tunnel will no longer be accessible.  I know the intentions are to help the fish, but I have been on this river a lot and would say that it is a pretty healthy river as is... 

What do you call a group of turtles? A herd? 

This is on the other side of the tunnel from the river... it is a habitat for turtles, frogs, and herons... I hope it doesn't dry up with the anticipated changes.. 

And from today's paddle on Tenny Stream, which was so full of turtles it may be worth renaming Turtle Stream...

Look closely... there is a nesting goose in the center of this photo... her right side is towards us and her black neck/head is peering at us from behind her body... 

Here is the same angle, zoomed  in...  I knew to look here as I have seen this goose or this pair of geese several years, nesting in the same spot.  It is well hidden, but I know where to look.  Today I watched as other paddlers and boats went by her and never noticed her.  Good job Momma!


I know I post lots of turtle pictures, but I love them! 

I wonder if this is the same bent shelled turtle I have seen before... same stream??

Turtle palooza! 

The winter was unkind to many trees in the forest.  Many trees had fallen into the water.  This small oak tree had lots of acrons still clinging on... 

I think he is thinking... You can't see me!

On my way out I passed her again and she had changed positions... she was looking right at me... and sat so so still... amazing.  

I was using the furthest zoom on my camera to get this shot.  I was far enough away from her to give her plenty of space.  Remember, RESPECT the wildlife!  This is their home... we are visiting! 

I have never had the chance to get pics of a pair of wood ducks.  They sat on this log for a while preening themselves.  Very pretty. 

Remember all your safety measures as you get back on the water including wearing your life jacket and bringing plenty of water... let people know where you are going and keep an eye to the sky!