Thursday, June 30, 2016

Back to Back Back River! (And a new Kayaking Accessory!)

 Ok, before the post... I must share this...
 I got a cool new tool for my truck... the bed of my truck is short... and when I need to haul more kayaks my track rac wasn't cutting it. I mean I am TALL, but... getting more kayaks on the rack above the two I normally already carry was tough...

I needed something else... so I ordered THIS and it is AWESOME! 
 This is an Erickson Pick Up Bed Extender called Big Bed Junior...and has a capacity of 350 lbs.  


It makes my truck look like this: 


I used it again today, taking two friends with me...since Boothbay was over an hour away it was more fun to ride together and share some laughs... I love this accessory!   Ok... Onto the trip!

Boothbay, Knickerkane Island/Hodgdon Island, Back River/Sheepscot River

Body Of Water:  Back River & Sheepscot River [Maine Gazetteer, Map 7,  C 1.5] This is a tidal location. 

Directions: From Portland, take 295 North to Exit 28 Bath/Brunswick.  Stay on Rt. 1 through Brunswick, Bath, and Wiscasset. As Rt. 1 takes you out of Wiscasset you will turn/bear right onto Rt. 27.  Stay on Rt. 27 through Edgecomb and into Boothbay.  Just after a convenience store and a baptist church you will want to depart from Rt. 27 by staying kind of straight onto Corey Lane, which then turns into Barter's island Road.  You will pass Camp Knickerbocker and Knickerbocker Lake Recreational area on the right, then the Coastal Botanical Gardens on your left.  You are close!  You will come up a slight hill and as the road starts to descend you won't be able to see very far in front of you for a bit, then at the bottom of the hill and across the bridge the launch is right there! 
(I strongly suggest using a GPS for this trip, head to the Boothbay Botanical Gardens and instead of turning into the gardens stay straight, then you will go down a hill and the boat landing will be right there!) 

For previous posts from this location click HERE or HERE

I have been lucky enough to be on the Back River in Boothbay in back to back trips!  I was there Sunday with my sister and nephews and went again today!  Since I have posted this destination a couple of times already, I won't write much...will just include some photos from the trips.  I will say, today's trip  was timed differently.  We timed the tide well, getting on the water after high tide, but we didn't get on the water until about 8:30... by 9:30 when we were out in the Sheepscot the wind had picked up and it made some decent swells.  We enjoyed seeing the seals, but I definitely prefer being off the water by that time in this location... it was hard to take photos today because of bobbing up and down in the waves. 

Here are some pics... Enjoy! 

This was when the wind began to pick up a bit... you can see some small waves... they got bigger.. remember, SAFETY first, if you are nervous, go back to the protected coves! 

Just starting to be able to get out of the water on the rocks... 


Osprey nest with 2 babies


This shows how close the seals came to us... and again the choppy water... 

Baby osprey


As we were leaving the Sheepscot and heading back into Back River this guy wanted to send us on our way... 

THESE photos are from Sunday morning... EARLY.  We were on the water by 6:30... such a difference in the water conditions... I prefer early!  Today as the waves picked up I headed back into Back River while my friends stayed out a bit longer.  Their boats are more designed for ocean where mine is strictly recreational (very wide and a very open cockpit).  

Had to share this... my family was amazing on Sunday.. we got up at 4 a.m. and were on the road by 4:49!  So glad they support my paddling habit!  

This is one of my nephews being checked out by one of the seals.  Look at the difference in the water...so much calmer!  

 


 This is an amazing spot.. but I don't suggest going here solo...just because of the factors at play with tides, currents, and wind.  Also novice paddlers should do some other 'salt water' rivers before coming here.  The Sheepscot is a strong and wide river... 
If you come here... please go VERY early your first time.  Plan to unload about 2 hours after high tide and you will increase your chances of seeing seals. 

(Route: Make sure you look at a map to plan your trip and I do not recommend going out far into the Sheepscot River.) 


Friday, June 24, 2016

Horne Pond, Limington

***Update: Someone I know went here after this post and said the boat traffic this weekend was significant and would not have  been great for paddleboarding, but another person said it is great for paddleboarding on days that are not busy. 


Body Of Water: Horne Pond, Limington, ME [Maine Gazzetteer Map 4,  D4]

Directions: From Portland take Brighton Ave./Rt 25 through Westbrook and Gorham.  From the center of Gorham (Intersetion of 114 and 25, where Gorham House of Pizza and Amatos is located) stay on Rt 25 for 1.2 miles to the rotary.  Stay on Rt 25 for 13.8 miles (through Standish and into Limington, passing by 'Limington Falls Rest Area on the left."  After the rest area you will pass the intersection of Rt. 25 and Rt. 11, slow down.  Turn Right onto North Road and take the first dirt road on the right.  Look for this sign:

This is a very narrow dirt road.  I think it is also called 1st road.  You will drive on this road for a while, over 0.5 miles then you will see signs that say Friendly Lane, keep on the dirt road and follow signs that say gate ahead.  You will come to the Moy Mo Da Yo Recreational Area.  (I didn't get a photo of that part, sorry!)  The public FREE boat launch is to the left. 

Boat Launch:  Free... to the left of the recreation area that charges $5 per vehicle for use of their beach area.  This is one of the better public launches I have seen/used.  The men who I spoke with said it has been recently redone.  It is a cement ramp and has a dock. 





Parking: If this launch site is not busy, park in the large boat trailer/vehicle parking area.  I was told that some days it get really busy and on those days they ask paddlers to unload at the launch then park in the parking lot that is used for the rec area or in the upper lot. 

Wildlife: Loon, Ducks, turtles, fish (The water is so clear you can see fish in the water!) 

Bathroom: There is a porta potty next to the boat launch

Notes:
There ARE kayaks and canoes here to rent from the recreational area.  I believe you would need to pay for entry and for the rental fee.  There were two gentlemen at the gate to the park who were very helpful.

So... before I share too much about the pond I have to share a funny story.  Well, funny to me.  I had found this pond using google maps online.  When I saw it I thought it said HOME Pond.  Can you see that too, or is it just me? So... I was thinking that I would start the blog post with something clever like, 'There's no place like Home...Pond...'... But.. as I drove to it, the navigation system in my truck labeled it as Horne Pond... which is accurate...  But I can say.... There's no place like HORNE Pond! 



To be honest this was my second destination of the day.  My first stop was a place that I love and have not posted it on the blog.  I am reserving it for an upcoming project and also like having some secrets!  So, after my first spot I decided to check out Horne Pond.  I had looked it up online and found some info on Moy Mo Da Yo Recreational Area, including that there was a fee.  So, I decided that I would drive there, check it out, and see if it was worth paying a fee to launch.  Soooo...when I arrived and learned the boat launch is open to the public AND free... I decided I had nothing to lose by putting my kayak in the water.  
(I washed off my boat, paddle, cart, etc. between destinations.  Remember, do your part to prevent invasive plants!) 

This is the beach area belonging to the Rec. area that is beside the boat launch.  When I first put in there were a coupe of families there, but when I returned, many more had arrived.  The water here is shallow and the bottom is sandy.  This would be a great place for families with young kids who want to spend a day at the beach.  

I would also highly recommend this place for people learning to paddleboard.  It was very calm, despite the other pond I was on earlier having gotten choppy.  I also think because of it's shallow and sandy nature, that people learning to paddleboard would feel comfortable here.  (I may be projecting...but if I were trying to learn to paddleboard, this would be my learning spot!) 




The shores of this pond are lined with camps/houses.  There are some places that do not have houses, but those shorelines are short.  Some of the empty shorelines seem to belong to the recreational area.  I think they offer some trails that go to different parts of the pond and there are a couple benches at the edge of the pond. 

I liked this camp... made me think and wonder about the storytelling that has gone on here.   

This mother duck has her webbed feet full!   These babies were itty bitty, so cute! 

I wanted to show the calmness of the water as well as how clear it is here.  I was very surprised at the clarity of the water.  I could see fish under the surface.  

There were a lot of dragonflies flying around...this guy stopped to say hello.  

While there were a few lilies in the water, I was surprised that the vegetation in the water wasn't thicker.  

I was also surprised that this pond is big enough to support a pair of playful loons.  These two approached me as I floated and seemed to try to swim stealthily above the water with their bodies lower in the water than what I am used to seeing.  I did not see any signs of a nest, but they are so well camouflaged I may have missed it.  


This pretty plane flew overhead... and later a helicopter went by as well.  

I believe this is a bass bed.  There was a fish circling the sandy area but left as I approached.  There were several of these with a fish standing guard.  (Or swimming guard?)  

This is a broader view of part of the pond, again, it was very calm!  

Because I love paddling places that have a lot of nooks and crannies to explore, I am not sure this destination rises to the top of my list of places to paddle, but... If I wanted to introduce people to paddling sports (and needed a place to rent equipment) this would be at the top of the list.  Again, if I were trying to learn to paddleboard, this would be a place I would go.  

While it isn't necessarily wise to encourage people to paddle alone... there are many people who do so.  (I am one of them)  If you are trying to increase your experience and confidence in paddling alone, this would be a good spot.  There are lots of houses along the shore, lots of people (at least today) in case you needed help, and again, it is shallow so if you do tip over, you won't panic (I hope!)  May also be a cool place to practice wet exits, etc.  

Definitely worth checking out, specially for new paddlers and families! 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Coald Stream Pond, Enfield Maine

Body of Water: Cold Stream Pond, Enfield, ME [Maine Gazetteer Map 33, A5

Directions:  (From Bangor) Head north on 95 and take exit 217 (Howland).  Turn right off the ramp onto Rt. 155.  Stay on Rt. 155 to the traffic circle and take the first exit off the circle to stay on 155, From there stay on Rt 155 for about 4.8 miles.  (You will cross over Rt. 2.) At the intersection of 155 and 188 turn right onto 188 for 0.1 miles, then turn left onto Old Hatchery Rd.  Follow Old Hatchery Road to the end to get to the boat launch. 

Boat Launch:There is a ramp for bigger boats as well as an area where you could launch from the shore that is accessible for hand carry launches but not bigger boats. 

Parking: There is a good amount of parking here but can be very crowded on weekends for fishing tournaments.  

There is a Bass Tournament on June 25th!  Here are the details via facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1601056670207677/


Wildlife: Loons, eagles, snapping turtles, bass, bass, and more bass! 

Notes: This is a location that is close to my heart. I spent time on this lake in high school and college with some friends... good memories of some lake shenanigans!  It has gotten closer to my heart in recent years as it is the lake on which my dad now resides.  This means that I get to enjoy it.  I am including the directions to the public boat launch, though I have never used it.  (I have gone by it!)  

Cold Stream is one of the bodies of water in Maine that does not have invasive plant species.  (Remember to wash your boats to keep it that way!)  The water is so incredibly clear!   There are a lot of large rocks in this lake and you can usually see them.  This day the fish seemed curious about me paddling by and came out and seemed to chase my shadow. 


Confession: This photo was taken while I was a passenger on the boat... we had a great breakfast cruise out there!  (Took waffles, fresh whipped cream and  fresh strawberries from my garden out onto the lake... divine!) As you can tell, I was pretty stressed! 

Not far from the boat launch is this island.  I think it is cool that there is an American flag here... Dad thinks the island is owned by the town of Enfield, but I am not certain. 

I do not know this paddler, but she was out enjoying the day!  

This is a well used lake.  There are many houses and camps along the shores.  I loved seeing so many canoes, kayaks, and SUPs tucked close to the shore, and we saw a lot of people using the lake while I was there.  

Dad says this guy rows this boat every day.  That looks like a workout!  

 When we were out on the boat we watched a pair of loons and at one point they disappeared.  Of course loons can stay under water for a long time, but they did not resurface.  I thought they may have a nest on the shore and we had missed seeing them go to it.  Later I took my kayak and explored a bit.  I would have missed this nest had the loon not made a couple of sounds as I got close.  After I saw her I took a few pics and then backed far away.  (I was keeping a respectable distance at first too, making sure to not stress her or him out.) 


It was so well camouflaged! 

Not long after I found the nest the mate was taking note of my presence.  I was pretty far from the nest at that point but this guy (or gal) kept a close eye on me.  It kept looking at me then towards the nest and back at me.  My rule is... if the behavior of the animal changes, I am too close... so I backed off even more.  (It wasn't fishing it was swimming around circling the area and wondering what the heck I was doing.)  When I backed off even more and the loon still seemed uncomfortable, I decided to leave the area completely.  Loons are fragile and I don't want to be responsible for an unsuccessful nest. 



Cold Stream is a beautiful place.  I know it is further away than most of the places I have included, but well worth checking out if you are in the area.  It is a BIG lake, so be forewarned when the wind comes up, it gets choppy, especially in the 'big lake', which is the area near the launch.  


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Presumpscpt, Westbrook

Here is the link to the first post about this beautiful River, complete with directions.  

Loyal blog readers know this is one of my favorite places.  Today I was in need of an early morning paddle, where the sounds I would hear would be those made by my paddle, the birds, and any other wildlife that was around.  It has been that kind of month!  (Work is crazy and I am working on a project that has felt all consuming, so I needed a break!)  What better way to shake it all off than paddling? 

The river has changed since I was last here.  There is a nice bench at the launch site...the white house is gone, that was the landmark to look for to get out of the water before the dam, the water levels were low, and there were lots of wooden stakes with bright pink ribbon on them along the shore... making me wonder/worry about the properties and especially worried the farmland may be developed (Please say it ain't so!)... Also, the big ball floaty thing that marked the irrigation pipe for the golf course is gone.  I have heard through the grapevine that the golf course has been sold and will be developed.  Westbrook is building A LOT of houses right now.  I think the high costs in Portland are driving people this way.  I just hope that people preserve the land along the river.  

As I was paddling, not far from where I put in I was looking around and welcoming my self back to this river... something caught my eye along the opposite shore and it took me several seconds to believe what I was seeing.  I have never seen raccoons along this river and tried to think of a time when I have paddled where I have seen them.  Maybe once up near Katahdin.  But there she was!  A mask faced raccoon!


 And not far behind was this guy, trying to follow in mom's footprints and climb around easily.

He or she was not as grafecul.  

But eventually the two disappeared.  I was so excited! 


The reflections were beautiful! 


Another first on this river, for me, was seeing yellow irises.  I am not sure if they are native species or not... there is a house further up the river that had a gorgeous growth of them, and I wonder if somehow they seeded down the river somehow...(no idea how irises grow, whether bulbs or seeds..no idea!)  they were very pretty.  

The plants right now are so green!  And the morning dew created beautiful droplets on some. 



There she is... the split apart tree... still standing, still alive!  

When I got on the river and knew the water levels were low I looked forard to this part of the river.  It reminds me of a quarry, with the rock exposed and the reflection, I was mesmerized! 



There were several purple irises too, so pretty! 

My beloved tunnel! 


I got to explore further than usual behind the tunnel today...after playing kayak limbo to get under a branch that likely had spiders on it! eek!






When my alarm went off this morning after having a late work commitment last night, I was tempted to roll over and go back to sleep.  True confession: I hit snooze a few times... 
But, I am so glad I got out on the water today on one of my favorite places.  

I will be heading to new places soon.  This month has just been crazy, but stay tuned!  

(I have recently heard from a few of my blog readers, and I have loved it!  Reach out and say hello!)