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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!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Moussam River, Kennebunk

Body of Water: Moussam River, Kennebunk, ME [Maine Gazzetteer Map 3, D1]

Directions: From Portland go South on 95 and take the Kennebunk Exit (Exit 25). This is the same exit as the rest area, but you will bear right and go behind the rest area and stay on Rt. 35.  At the intersection of 35 and Alfred Rd. (Cummings Market on the right) Turn Right onto Alfred Rd. for 0.8 miles.  At the four way stop, turn left onto Mill St.  Drive for about a half mile and you will see the bridge that crosses the river.  The area where I parked was immediately before the bridge.  (It looked like it could be a driveway, and there is a driveway that goes off and up to the right, but there is a narrow road down to the water with parking. 

Image from google earth

Boat Launch: Gravel/rocky launch area.  the bank that goes into the water is a little steep.  The water level was low when I was here, and getting into my kayak was a bit tricky because the water level gets deep quickly, a bit of a drop off.
Looking at the water from the launch site, it is a bit rocky and  a little steeper than it looks here.  

This is looking back at the bank from the water.  I tried to show the drop off in the water, but it was hard to show.  (It gets deep faster than my usual launch sites.) 

Parking: The launch is down a short, narrow road with a few parking spots for vehicles.  There are a couple of parking spots that are off the road, but just deep enough for vehicles.  There is another launch across the bridge that appeared to have a few parking spots as well. 

 There was a second spot beyond my truck then room at the launch for another vehicle, MAYBE two.  If all spots are taken turning around will be very tricky if not impossible, but I have heard there is usually space here or on the other side of the river. 

 Looking back up to Mill St. from the parking/launch area

Fees:  None


Wildlife: Heron, frogs, turtles, signs of beaver and raccoon, probably deer and otters

Notes:  Thanks to a family friend, Elaine, for posting some of her photos from paddling here and sharing her directions with me so I could enjoy this river.  Thank you!!  She told me that she rarely sees people on this, non-tidal, part of the Moussam.  When I got here, there were two kayakers and a boat leaving.  While on the water I saw two canoes and three kayakers, but it felt like I was alone on the river because there is a lot of area to paddle. 

Thank you to Kennebunk Light & Power for allowing public use!

Rain has been a rare occurrence in Maine this summer.  As a result the river was really low.  I could tell from the roots of the trees and the vegetation that the water here is usually quite a bit higher.  There were a lot of off shoots that were almost dried up, but I bet in the spring or in years with more rain there would be more options to get into even quieter areas.  The river was very slow moving and winded through the area.  I liked getting to a corner and wondering what would be around it! 

This is looking back at the bridge on Mill St. after I put in.  The dam is beyond that warning cable.  I have heard people really like to paddle the tidal part of this river, which I also hope to do sometime, but didn't feel like trying to figure out the tides today, I just needed to paddle! 

Ohh... I got a new piece of gear for my kayak.  I have found that I have been annoyed with having dry bags on the floor of my kayak and wanted something else. So I ordered this 'deck bag' from Amazon.  This was my first time using it and I really liked it.  I liked having the places on the side for a bottle of water and for the bilge pump.  I liked it much better than having things in the cockpit with me.  
Again, it was just my first time out with it, so I have no idea of its durability, but if you want to learn more, clidk here for the link to the product at Amazon. 

The shores of this river are mostly uninhabited.  There are a few homes as you paddle further up the river, but other than that, there are few signs of human presence.  
I spotted this canoe in the woods, so I know people are accessing this beautiful river! 

The river is fairly narrow and slow moving.  
To be honest, when I first put in I wasn't too sure if I was going to like it here...the shores are lined with a lot of stumps and for some reason it made me unsure if I would enjoy it, but... I really did!  I like the details of the roots you can see in the stumps and also liked watching the frogs hide under the roots as they hopped away form me!  

The stumps have such character!  I am curious because they have obviously been cut with a chainsaw... so I wonder who did the cutting and why... 


These birds intrigue me.  They are so quick and dainty... 

This heron was pretending to be a stump!  

There were so many bends in this river! 

This was a small area off the main part of the river that actually had water in it.  Many places that usually would have some water were empty! 

I think...these are raccoon tracks, but not sure.  


Ribbit Ribbit! Double Frogs! 

There were a lot of turtles out further up the river.  They were enjoying the sun! 

This was a big log... I did not paddle closely enough to check out the edge of the water near it, but looks like a good place to take a snack/stretch break!

This heron... was not a fan of being photographed... I couldn't get closer than probably 200 feet and it would fly away.   (Except for a brief will see below!)

The shores are covered with clam shells!  This made me think that this would be a great place for racoon and otters, but who knows!  There were so many clam shells!!! 

These rope swings didn't look like they get much use, but the tree was beautiful... 

I had ambitions of trying to photoshop this stick/root and making it look like a snake and say 'Wessie' has traveled south for the fall, but didn't get to it!  (For those who have not heard, rumor has it there is a 10-12 foot snake on the loose in Westbrook which has been named Wessie.  Supposedly Wessie has taken up camp along the Presumpscot River near Riverfront Park. I think people should just get some kayaks and go find it!  I have no desire to kayak in that part of the river, but... maybe we should get a snake posse together and find Wessie??!!)  

I thought this was pretty cool... a birdhouse in the middle of the river... After I got closer I saw the house behind it, but it is adorable! 

I came around a corner and couldn't believe this guy was on a log so close to me... but my batteries were dying and he flew away shortly after this! 

This was a different heron... seems to be a young heron... no less camera shy! 

I turned around at the power lines... I hope to return here in the fall and get here early and spend more time on the water, but I wanted to get home and get ready for my work week.... 

This turtle made me smile... 

Another one of these cute birds!! 

I have been really wanting to get a good picture of a heron taking flight... this isn't bad, but still want to get one that is more crisp!  

The Moussam is a fun river to paddle!  I will return here this fall to see the colors change.  There are maple and oak trees along the banks and I think it will be beautiful.  I am also curious about paddling here when water levels are higher.  

What a great location!!  And it isn't that far from Portland, bonus!!  

This was a great spot!  
Thanks, Elaine!!