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!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Saponac Pond, Burlington, Maine [Maine Gazetteer Map 33 *upper left]

Body Of Water: Saponac Pond Burlington Maine (Burlington, Lowell, Grand Falls Township)
 Map screenshot from Google.

Photo of Maine Gazeteer  (Boat Launch is not where I launched. I launched from the roadside just west of the bridge.)

Directions: From Bangor, Maine... Take 95 North to the Howland Exit (Exit 217) Bear right off the exit  onto route 155.  After turning onto Rt 155 stay on it for about 3/4 of a mile.  At the traffic circle take the first right to stay on Rt. 155.  Cross over the Penobscot River and at the intersection of rt. 155 and Rt. 2, stay straight.  Go about 3.8 miles.  At the intersection of 155 and 188 (Enfield Road) turn Right. Stay on Rt. 188 for about 9 miles passing Gristmill Pond.  You will come to an intersection where you see an old building called 'Old Tavern' Turn right to stay on Rt. 188, for about 2.5 miles passing the Burlington General store, and parking will be on your right.   This is Ye Old Tavern... turn right here to stay on Rt. 188. 

Boat Launch: In the image above the boat launch is on the route 188 label to the left of the north part of the pond.  Right now the launch is just the shoreline, though it appears a boat launch is in the works.  The water seemed to be lower than maybe it usually is, but there was still a gradual beach like area here.  I am not sure how well used it is, there were a lot of rotting leaves on the bottom.  but very easy to launch.  (I was glad I had my cart though!)

Parking: There is parking in a small pull out area along the road.  There is room for a few vehicles at a time. (Up to 6 or 7 I would say) I didn't get a pic of the parking area but this is a nice picnic table/charcoal grill just in front of it.  There were a few other picnic tables/grills as well.  Trailers would not be good here.  When I parked and unloaded/loaded my kayak the end of the kayak was close to the road, very close.  There was nobody else parked here so I could have parked parallel to the road, but that is not good etiquette!  If they are putting in a boat launch I wonder if they will add some parking for trailers.   

Fees: None

Wildlife: deer, loon, eagle, turtle, various birds

Notes:  I am excited to share a body of water that is outside of southern Maine.  I am trying to share more places! Now that I have some time off I am hoping to get to some places outside of the Portland area and hope you enjoy! 

I got up this morning pretty early and drove from my dad's to Saponac Pond in Burlington.  It was not a far drive from his place.  I had driven there yesterday to scope it out.  I was on the water by about 7 a.m. and only paddled the western half of the pond before it started to get super hot and I decided to return to shore.  I hope to explore the rest of the pond at a later date.  (I put in and explored the stream under the bridge on Rt. 188 then paddled back under 188 and and stayed to the right hand shore...  I went to the outlet of the Passadumkeag River and back.)

When we arrived the morning clouds were below the windmills.  

From the shore I went to the left so that I could go under the bridge on Rt. 188, hoping to see some wildlife there. 

It was a beautiful area, my favorite kind of area, narrow, peaceful, pristine!  And usually full of wildlife!
 Just as we got a little ways into this stream, sure enough a deer was there hiding in the brush.  She saw us before we saw here and she bolted!  Gladys was super excited and wanted to follow... this was her first time seeing a deer from the kayak.  She did not bark or growl, just whined and then became super alert!  
Many people in the paddling world think it is unsafe to leash your dog to your kayak.  I would agree if I was in places with rapids or a lot of current or if I was in a tippy boat where it was likely I would tip over if she jumped out.  I paddle on calm waters and the risk of her tipping me is super low... (A lesson I have learned a lot this weekend. We are at the lake with my dad and we have been on the water a lot and I have given her more 'freedom' while in the kayak.... letting her move around more and even perch on the front of the kayak.  This has resulted in her falling in as well as intentionally going in the water... and she doesn't tip us over.  This has helped my confidence in having her with me more.  (though the tandem kayak which is heavier than my single, plus her weight, plus the weight of the water she shakes off when she gets back in the kayak adds a lot to the load I am paddling! Michelle Obama arms here I come!) 

The stream was very peaceful... makes me very excited to head towards Katahdin soon! 

As the stream narrowed I decided to turn back.  If I had my shorter kayak  I would have tried to keep going, but wasn't sure about trying to turn this baby around in a more narrow area.  This is coming back towards 188.  There is a small start of a beaver dam under the bridge, but I was able to easily go over it.  The clearance of going under the bridge may be a bit tight earlier in the season when water levels are higher.  I had a few inches of clearance at this point. 

The pond is pretty shallow.  I looked up some info on and learned that the max depth of this pond is 14 feet.  and that it is too warm for trout and salmon.  I did notice that the water felt warm when I waded in to get into the kayak.  There are a lot of reeds/tall grass like this all around the edges of the pond. 

There is some private property and is well marked. I am glad the land owners let people know to keep out, but ... saddens me that they feel the need to do that... likely have had some issues!  

The lilies were tiny ad beautiful! 
 I really enjoyed the hills in the background. 

The windmills are kind of cool to see too. 

After a while Gladys laid down like this and napped for about 20 minutes.  

The shore has a lot of big boulders.  Very "Maine..." 

Gladys chased and caught most of the horseflies that were annoying us... this guy hitched a ride during her nap!  

Back up and alert!

The light was funky throughout the trip.  Overcast then bright... it ended up getting quite hot!

There are a few homes on this part of the pond, but not many.  

I think this turtle has learned to put its left foot in, and its left foot out... and has become quite proficient at the hokey pokey! 

Wild Maine Roses! 

She relaxed again and I love this photo! 

 I am not sure what kind of bird this is...maybe an eastern King?

There was a lot of signs of beavers, but I did not see any! 

This is down close to the outlet side of the Passadumkeag River looking back towards the pond. 

This is the approach to the outlet...

This was the corner that took me into the Passadumkeag River.  I didn't go too far down there because I could hear the water rushing and that was enough for me!

It was really pretty in here though... I fully expected to come around the corner and have a moose there, but not so lucky!

 Looking  down towards the moving water...

After turning around Gladys decided she wanted to go for a swim (Her first of three of the trip!)  ... this is her after getting her back in the kayak... and a few shakes to get the water off! (Mental note...get a sponge for the kayak for this reason! It will help soak up the water!) 

I think I tired her all out!

The last 15 minutes or so she tried to be a lap dog... it was hard to paddle like this!

After we paddled Gladys struck a pose on the beach!

Saponac Pond is a beautiful place to paddle.  I found the pond itself (at least the part I got to see) to look very similar to other ponds, but I really liked the stream and the river areas (more marshy).  I would definitely return here and explore the other shore!

As I drove to and from Saponac I passed Gristmill Pond.  It looked very inviting.  (Though I am not sure if the depth is deep enough in most places... but looks like it would be fun to find out!)

This is Gristmill Pond, taken from the road on my way back from Saponac.  It looks shallow but also looks like a wildlife viewing area... may be a fun place to paddle another time.  Always thinking of the next adventure...

 Happy Paddling!

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