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!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Saco River : Hollis Center Arm, from Pleasant Point Park, Buxton, Maine

Body of Water: Saco River, [Maine Gazetteer, Map 3, Halfway between A1 & B1] 

Directions: Take Outer Congress Street (Rt. 22) past UNUM and Smiling Hill Farm into Gorham. Stay on Rt. 22 until  you get to the stop sign in Buxton.  At the stop sign go straight.  (Rt. 22 continues to the right, do not take Rt. 22)  After driving about two and a half miles you will come to Narragansett Rd/Rt. 202.  Turn left.  Stay on 202 for a couple of miles and watch for Rt. 117.   (If you cross the bridge that goes over the river you missed the turn!)  Drive for just under a half mile and turn onto Simpson Road (a right turn) Pleasant Point Park will be on the right, take the next right turn onto David Wiggins Drive (Labeled on maps as Pleasant Point Road)  It looks like someone’s driveway including stone pillars on either side.

This is the view as you approach the drive just after the park's parking lot. 

Drive through the opening between the pillars. 

The stones on top of the pillars... I am sure there is a lot of history here...

Driving down to the access point...

Boat Launch:  Carry In only, there is a bit of a hill to go down to access the river.  The best place to put in has a couple of deep steps closest to the river.  The water is sandy in some places and has stones in others.  This is a place where people access the water to swim and fish.  Remember to clearly communicate with people as you approach (to avoid getting caught by a fish hook!) Without a cart, it would be best to have two people to carry your kayak to the water.

Parking: There are a few small parking areas just off the dirt road.  If those spots are full, it would be best to unload your boat and park in the parking area you drove by before turning down David Wiggins Drive.  

Bathroom: Yes There are two porta potties here. 

Wildlife: Birds including heron, cormorant, songbirds, and I would suspect eagles would also be around this spot. Turtles, fish, and frogs.  

Notes:  Last summer I wanted to explore this part of the Saco River.  By the time I found the launch site it was later in the afternoon and when I walked down to the launch site and the wind came up.  The river at this point is very wide and at the time the waves were pretty big and the sky got very dark.  I decided, wisely so, to save this trip for another day.  Today was that day!  

IMPORTANT: There is a large area to explore here.  Keep track of where you put in and what areas you are exploring.  This could be a place to go if you want to make a day of paddling.  We spent about three hours on the water and paddled about 5.5 miles.  We could have spent much more time on the water.  Next time I think I will go even earlier and bring a lunch! 

One of my paddling partners had wanted to explore this part of the Saco as well and we met up here around 9:00 a.m. When we first put in the water was very calm, but within an hour the breeze came up and the water surface went from being like glass to having some small ripples.  While the water was calm, there were some amazing reflections.  

With the launch site at our backs we paddled to the right, going up the river.  We took the first right and paddled for a good distance through a narrow part of the river. 
It felt like we were in a gorge at times, absolutely beautiful. 

We paddled under this bridge, and then, knowing we had some time constraints, turned around to explore more of the wider part of the river form which we had come.  This bridge is on Rt. 202. (As a side note, if you go over this bridge when trying to find the boat launch, you just missed the left turn for 117!)  It was LOUD under the bridge when big trucks went over it.  Someday I will return and paddle well beyond this bridge to see where it takes me. 

The other day when I was paddling in the Presumpscot (pics to come) I thought about herons and the fact that I had not seen many this year, maybe haven't seen any.  Today was quite different.  We saw three heron.  This one, I believe, is an adult.  It posed beautifully on this stump for a while. 

We then continued paddling and as we went by this beautiful island I saw another heron, which blended in so well!  (We did not realize this was an island until we went around it, thinking we would hit a dead end!  It pays to explore!)

This heron looked a lot whiter around its face than I have seen in other heron.  I think maybe this was a younger heron. 

So pretty!

This was us sneaking out from behind the island!  we decided to head back to the launch site after this, but could have paddled much further, given the way it looks on the map!

This was the third and final heron of the day.  This one was small, the smallest great blue heron I have seen.  I think it is a youngster.  So fun to see! He was camera shy and didn't stay around for long!

 This is a beautiful spot to paddle.  It is relatively close to Portland, probably 30 minutes or so, and well worth the trip.  As always, watch the weather conditions to make sure you stay safe.  This is a place that, if it got windy, could be a difficult paddle. 

There were few homes along this part of the Saco and even fewer power boats.  We noticed there were no jet skis bombing back and forth, it was very peaceful, even for a Friday!

NOTE: According to the map and other things I have read online, there is a dam at the lower end of this portion  of the Saco.  I did not paddle down that far, but as always, BE CAREFUL when paddling near a dam. 

Another BEAUTIFUL adventure!  I am so lucky to get to explore Maine via my kayak!  

(I should give another shout out to the cart I use to pull my kayak.  Going solo is something that I love doing, but can be challenging.  Today I had a paddling partner who would have been more than happy to help me carry my kayak to the water, but with the cart we were able to get both boats to the water in one trip.  The cart is something I use a lot and would recommend it for solo paddlers. 


  1. My wife and I completed this trip today. What a wonderful paddle! We accessed the reservoir at Pleasant Point Park. At times, we felt like we were the only ones on the water during the morning. In the afternoon, there were several other paddlers and a few motor boats but not enough to spoil the trip. It's worth the trip to paddle the full 2 miles to the waterfall in Hollis Center. We tied off our canoe and walked up to the top of the falls for a view of the brook.

  2. I am so glad you shared your enjoyment of this trip!! Keep paddling and share your adventures!!

  3. In the summer the park is relatively peaceful during the morning hours. However, later in the day it is a draw to underage drinkers and drug users. Just be aware of that. The river is generally a decent place to paddle.