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

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Tenny River... with OWLs! (And some new equipment info)

I got back to Tenny!!! 
Loyal Blog followers know I come to this place often.  Today was the first of the season and as always, I was not disappointed!   I was hoping to see otters, but I did not .... however... OWLS came to the river today! 

Body of Water:  Tenny River/Tenny Stream, connects Crescent Lake to Panther Pond, Raymond/Casco [Maine Gazetteer, Map 5 B2]

Directions (From Portland, Maine): Take Rt. 302 North through North Windham into Raymond. At the intersection of Rt. 302 and Rt. 85, turn right onto Rt. 85. (You will notice a rest area on your left.) Stay on Rt. 85 for about 6+ miles. After going over a small bridge (which is Tenny Stream) the boat landing will be on your right.

Boat launch: Located on Rt. 85, close to the intersection of 85 and Plains Road. This is a small, concrete boat landing, plenty big for kayaks!  People do launch bigger boats from this boat landing.  The boat landing is right next to the road. NOTE: The boat launch is pretty rough right now!  Needs a little TLC.  The tar has heaved, probably due to frost... doesn't really make a difference for those of us who carry in, but... just a heads up!

Parking: Free.  There is no parking lot.  Vehicles park on the sides of the road along Rt. 85.  There is a small beach area that is fenced off, private for residents I believe, and there is some parking there, not muckhwider than the length of your vehicle.  As with most areas in the Sebago Lake Region, this spot is busier on weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 

Wildlife: Turtles, ducks, maybe a loon or a Canada goose, and you may see some fish and snails if you look in the water.  There are a lot of plants, and depending on when you go, water lilies.  Today I can add a snake and owls to the list!! 
 
 
Notes:  What a beautiful spring day!  It started out a bit cloudy but by noon the sun was shining!  Gladys and I walked 2.5 miles this morning and then it was time for me to get outside again, this time... in my kayak!  (I will start taking her when the water is a bit warmer!)  

I have written about this place many times, so this will mostly be about the pictures!  I did see a few boats today and one other kayaker!  

The current through the culvert was pretty strong today.  Be ready to 'dig in' as you paddle back through to return to the launch!


The pitcher plants are waking up! 

Yup, that is a snake!  There was a turtle in front of it, but when the turtle jumped in the water I noticed this... I thought maybe it was dead and tried to move the leaf with my paddle and the snake disappeared... thankfully NOT in my kayak!  


High five? As you will see..there were SO many turtles today!  

Some were not too shy! 


Turtle Love! 




The turtles were swimming around a lot too, peeking up to say hello.  


Can you say turtle palooza??



I really like this pic!  So many turtles!  

As I was taking pics of the 'bale' of turtles... (I just learned a group of turtles is called a bale!) I heard what I thought was an owl.  I looked and didn't see anything.  But then I kept hearing it as well as another bird which sounded a bit distressed.  Then I saw them... TWO owls... flying around!  

I was far away and my camera was unsteady, but I zoomed way in and got a few shots that are good enough to at least identify this owl... I think it is a great horned owl.. but I am not certain.  Would love someone to comment and confirm!  Thanks! 






I tried to paddle to another little inlet area that was behind where the owls were, hoping to get better shots, but no luck.  I am so excited I got to see them!  

The last time I saw owls while kayaking was with my mom... near Katahdin.  We watched a family of owls one whole summer, including seeing the babies grow rapidly.  Perhaps these owls were setting up a home? And maybe there will be babies??  Fingers crossed!  but WHO knows!  


Some NEW equipment... 
My new Loon 126 kayak has a different shape than my Loon 138s, and the kayak cart i have used for a long time doesn't fit as well... so I ordered a new one... from The Kayak Cart (Catchy name!)  

I ordered the bigger wheels... thinking it would be better on some of the terrain... and I think it will be better.  My ONLY complaint on day one was that I had to disassemble the cart in order to fit it behind my seat.  There were to pins, and 4 small ish plastic tubes that come off the cart when you remove the wheels.  I think I need to start carrying a separate dry bag just for those, or a ziploc.. would hate to lose the pieces!  Be careful! 




My new paddle!!  I have worked for this one!  I had set some personal goals and had chosen this as one of my rewards.  This paddle is super light, so much so that a breeze could easily blow it away!   I really am happy with the paddle, it seemed to have a good amount of power despite it being so light... and I love the colors!  I want to use it more before giving a full review, but so far so good!


Happy Paddling!!  From Yours Truly! 




Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Earth Day 2018, Presumpscot River, Gorham




Late last summer or maybe it was early fall a new boat launch (carry in only) opened providing another access point to the Presumpscot River.  This launch is for the Gorham/Windham section of the Presumpscot and is directly across from Shaw Park, the other great launch for this river.  (During the late spring and summer you can rent canoes and kayaks from Shaw Park.)  

The new launch is closer to where I live and, in my opinion, is an easier launch for those with our own equipment.  It has a more direct way to access the water from the parking area. 


 Body of Water: Presumpscot River, Gorham/South Windham, ME  [Maine Gazetteer  Map 5, E2] *Also can access Pleasan River from here!

Directions: From Westbrook take River Road towards Windham.  At the intersection of River Road and Rt. 202 go straight.  Not far after the intersection turn left onto Gambo Road.  Follow the signs for the Mountain Division Trail/Soccer fields.  Drive by the soccer fields and head down towards the river. 

Boat Launch:  A nicely paved road that leads to a cement ramp that is for carry in craft only!  They did a nice job with this launch.  Off to the right in this pic is a place to unload/load your boats with a parking area above. 
 
 

Parking: Free. There is room for 10-12 vehicles in this parking area.  If it is full, you could unload the kayak and park in the parking lot further up. 

Wildlife: Turtles, turtles, and more turtles!   Beaver, Canada geese, ducks, eagle, osprey, loon (early in the season) and songbirds galore! 

Notes: This is one of those places you can go to paddle for an hour or make a full day of it, exploring all the way to the dam below Dundee Pond and scoot over into the Pleasant River.  (But be careful with downed trees!)  

*This is very close to the Mountain Division Trail.  Bring a picnic and make a day of it, a great walk and a great paddle!  (And there are picnic tables across the river at Shaw Park!)   

**The wind can get pretty intense here... better to go early in the morning to avoid wind! 

As I have shared in other posts, this is a great place to paddle.  I would say it is in my top 5 for family friendly places.  Kids would love to spot turtles and other wildlife!  Plus, you get to paddle under a railroad trestle AND under a covered bridge!  

Until this weekend I had never seen loons on this part of the Presumpscot (Said the same last week about the other branch!)  But I talked to a couple who have a house here and they said they have seen them, usually early in the season and the other day they saw 5 loons!  I saw 2!



The turtles were out sunning themselves.  I was happy to see them.  The ones I saw were all painted turtles, no signs of snapping turtles yet, but I have heard they are waking up, watch out for them in roadways!




This red squirrel made quick work of this pinecone! 


I heard this guy before I saw him.  I was picking up trash from the river (I try to collect trash when I can, but on Earth day I made more of an effort.)  and then heard something above me.  He flew above my head and into another tree where I got a couple of nice shots.  I saw him on the way back down river too, and got another great shot. 


The beavers seem to be active here this year as well.  I saw one in this area.  

There was still some ice in the tiny nooks and crannies! 

Just thought this was cool.  



I can't post this spot without a pic of Babbs Bridge!  So nice to paddle under this historic bridge.  

I went further up the river than I have before.  I didn't think you could go far beyond the bridge, but you can.  I didn't make it all the way to the dam as the current was moving a bit faster and it was windy... so I decided it was smarter to do that another day. 







 The beaver!

You can see some blood on his face from whatever meal he had just consumed!  



Another great day on the Presumpscot!  
Happy Paddling!