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, May 22, 2016

North Gorham/North Windham: North Gorham Pond

Body Of Water: North Gorham Pond [Maine Gazetteer, Map 5, D2]

Directions:  From Westbrook, Take River Road towards Windham.  Cross over Rt. 202, staying on River Road.  Come to the 'rotary' at the intersection of Windham Center Road,  and take third exit to go onto Windham Center Road, passing St. Anne's Church.  Stay on Windham Center Rd. for about 0.5 miles then turn right onto Middle Jam Road.  About 0.1 miles on the right is the launch I used. 

Boat Launch: This was a narrow  open spot along the shore.  Grassy knoll down to the water.  The bottom of the pond was sandy but covered with some decaying leafs, so a bit mucky, but not bad!
(*Note: I did not see signs for this being a public launch, but also didn't see any 'no parking' signs... ) 



Parking: Very little. It looks more like a pull off spot or turn around spot than a parking area.  I think this area is designed for access to the power line tower you can see behind my truck.  Again, I didn't see any no parking signs here, so I parked... it appeared others had done the same.  MAYBE two or three vehicles could park here strategically, but if more than one vehicle people won't be able to leave because a second or third vehicle would block the spot. 


Bathroom: None

Wildlife: Loons, ducks, turtles, active fish jumping today near the falls...

Notes:
I was SO incredibly excited to get on the water today.   AND so excited to have a NEW place to share with you!  (I apologize if there are too many photos...what can I say? I was excited! The weather forecast had predicted today as a rainy day.  As a result I had planned on staying close to home, to do chores.  As the day wore on I started getting a little antsy and thought about paddling.  I looked at the sky and there were some white clouds in the gray sky, but it wasn't raining, so... I decided to go for it.  I reached out to a friend of mine and was very happy she was up for a spontaneous trip.  I heard about North Gorham Pond from a co-worker whose family, at some point, had a camp here.  I thought today would be a great day to check it out.  I had driven by here a couple weeks ago, trying to see where to park.  I had read on some fishing website that there was access to the lake up by the power house.  We drove up there and I gotta tell ya, I would NOT launch from up there.  Walking down to the waters edge involves a steep bank.  I would not recommend it.

At the southern end of the pond, along Windham Center Road, there is another power house/small, and a dam. . There is a tiny parking area and I have read that people launch from there, but it looked like it would involve needing to carry my boat a ways, so... even though I was ready to do that, as we drove back towards that area, we spotted this little pull off area and decided that would be best!  It worked great. 

 Once on the water this was the view looking up the pond...


 One house had this adorable little table for two along the shore.  It made me smile. 

There are a few tiny islands here, fun to paddle around them.  


One of the islands was just big enough for a small cabin.  A true island getaway! 


The shore opposite from where we launched had several homes/camps.  

After paddling up a bit I noticed this little off shoot and HAD to explore.  

This was cool... 

This..not so cool... milfoil!  a GREAT reminder to WASH your boat between destinations!  

I got to these logs and couldn't pass, but seeing the turtles was worth it!  So glad to see these guys again! 




Back on the more open water I kept looking to the top of the trees, expecting an eagle, but no luck.  

I am happy to say that the houses/camps along this pond seem well used and well taken care of... this house was FUN.  This water pump... next to the steps to get out of the water... to be able to wash off your feet, how cool is that?


I had heard that there were 'falls' here.  (I had read it on a fishing website.)  But wasn't sure what they would look like.  They were very prettty and the sound of the rushing water was SOO relaxing! 

Before going closer to the falls I wanted to explore near the power house.  I didn't get too close because there were a couple of fishermen and I didn't want to interrupt them.  But this was cool...and the greens that are coming out now, are beautiful! 



Then ... the falls!  




This fly fisherman was trying his luck... as we were there, suddenly tiny moths were flitting about..and fish started jumping... hope that helped this guy out!  

Looking back down the lake, this loon had its first photo opp.  It had followed us up the pond, but was camera shy.  

I'm not too sure what the story is with this stump... but... if anyone knows, I would love to learn!  

Terrible photo, but the babies were so cute I had to share.  They were TINY, new babies! 

As I was looking at the ducks, the loon visited my friend.  She had never had a loon get so close to her before and was mesmerized.  So fun to see her enjoying it! 





Love when they do this! 



This tree reminded me of Harry Potter...the Whomping Willow!  


This is a GREAT little pond.  It is small, so a great after work destination for folks who live nearby.  Please be careful of the fishermen, you don't want to get 'caught' while you are paddling! 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Scouting New Locations is Important! (Presumpscot Portland)

Attempted... didn't paddle, and don't recommend... 
Presumpscot River near Rt. 302/Riverside Street.  

Hello!  I was excited to get out of work today because I wanted to get on the water.  My debate was where to go.  I have been thinking about the blog a lot lately and want to add some new destinations.  One of the places I wanted to try was a part of the Presumpscot River I have not yet paddled on... the part that flows under Rt. 302.  From what I had researched the launch site was along Rt. 302 across from the Trolley Park.  Here is a screenshot of the area using google earth. (Sorry for the poor quality) 


I went there, parked in the lot and was pleased to see a very nice path leading down towards the water.  I almost unloaded my kayak right away, but thought better of it, and walked the path first.  (I forgot to take pictures... me..forgetting to take pictures... sorry!)  The path is maintained by Portland Trails (a great organization.)  After walking a bit there was a sign that indicated there was a canoe/kayak launch.  It was a longer walk than most of the launch sites.  I was excited as the path looked fairly wide and I think it would have been easy to get my kayak, with cart, own the path.  As I got closer to the water the path branched off into a couple of directions.  (In addition to being access to the water ,there are trails here that are part of Portland Trails.  (Mentally noted as a place that I am sure would be fun to explore.)  I walked down what looked to me to be the most obvious 'launch' site.  The path led to a set of stairs that went directly down to the water.  I wish I had photos of the stairs... as I was going down them there was a very narrow (maybe 8 inches wide) ramp that looked like perhaps that was how people could lower canoes to the water.  At the bottom of the stairs I looked around and into the water.  The water closer to the stairs looked deeper than places from which I usually launch and the ground looked very uneven.  I am not sure that is a place I would feel good about using to launch.  I think trying to lower a kayak/canoe down the stairs while going down the stairs and trying to balance a boat while trying to figure out footing to be able to get into my kayak would be hard, especially solo.  (The steps were fairly steep as well.)

I also looked at the water flow.  The water looked to be moving fairly fast.  When I looked to the right, looking under the bridge, there seemed to be some rocks under the surface of the water and I wondered if people tried to paddle downstream if they would make it over the rocks easily and if paddling back would be difficult... I would assume people would paddle upstream... (But my assumptions have been wrong before!)

So... first impression of this launch, for me, is that I would probably prefer other destinations, especially if I was going solo.  If I had someone who really wanted to paddle here, I would go, but I do not foresee myself returning any time soon.

That being said... I could be passing up on a beautiful spot.

If you have paddled this part of the Presumpscot and have different views I would love to hear from you.  Please send me an email at MaineKayakGirl@gmail.com.  I have made bad judgments before, especially when visiting someplace only once and later changed my tune. (I also am still in the post surgery recovery mode where I am less likely to take even small risks which may sway my view.) 

So... I didn't get on the water today after work as planned, but will get on the water again soon!   But, it was a good reminder to scout out locations before getting your gear unloaded! 

I will post some new places soon, I promise!  (I would have posted pics tonight had this destination worked out!)

Also if you have places that you think I should visit and write about I would love to know about it! 

**UPDATE: Thank you to a blog viewer, Cindy, for reaching out and sharing her experience with this launch.  She said she did not like the launch itself, said even with 2 people it was difficult.  She also said the conditions when she did it a couple of years ago were not great for paddling and not clean.
 Thanks for sharing your info!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

I was able to get out on the water this weekend and it felt Soooooooooo good!


Abdominal surgery is about four and a half weeks behind me.  I am feeling great other than some normal fatigue, but am still not supposed to be lifting on my kayak.  My doctor had told me I could probably get in and out of my kayak okay and probably paddle okay, but told me not to lift my kayak.  As a more than somewhat stubbornly independent person, that is very hard for me.  Last week I talked to one of my friends about it and she offered to load and unload my kayak for me as long as she could come with me.  What a GREAT offer!  I love having her come along; we have had some fun paddling adventures.  She came to my house after work on Friday, loaded the kayaks...while constantly warning me not to touch them or to help her or she would recant her offer.  She meant business!  It was incredibly hard watching her do it... I have such a routine when I load them and it was hard to have to explain it to her on how to do what I do... but we got through it and the yaks were loaded!  We met on Saturday morning and were able to get out on the water!  It felt so good!  I know that people sometimes think I am dramatic when I say I NEED to kayak, but it truly is something I need, with every part of my being.

This is me... MaineKayakGirl!  (That's my amazing friend in the background who was the muscle behind the operation!) 


This spring I will be pretty busy with a few ongoing projects, but will be paddling when I can.  I apologize for not posting as many details as I usually do, but will be back to 'normal' Mainekayakgirl style as soon as I can.  I am hoping I will soon be able to share some of the exciting details of one of my projects, but for now I will share some photos with you.












This weekend marked Mother's day... as well as my mother's birthday... so these forget me nots were a great nod to my mom on this paddle...