Thursday, December 5, 2013
It was an arduous task, but I have officially persuaded my fiancé that a 9-day canoe trip up the Allagash Waterway would be the perfect honeymoon. The only real argument needed is that it would "save money for another honeymoon next year", gentlemen take note - you enjoy two vacations under this school of thought. As I begin planning our journey I'm reminded of my 2011 trip down the West Branch of Maine's historic Penobscot River:
My fondest memory on the water is a trip that, in most books, ranks as one of the most desirable canoe trips in the East, the West Branch of the Penobscot River. Today it is renowned for its salmon run and plentiful rainbow trout; a fly-fisherman's dream. Rich in history, long-log drives on the Penobscot River supplied timber that built the cities that would be early Boston and New York City. Men gave their all as they ventured into the Maine Woods to provide for their family.
Setting out on a 4 day voyage from Lobster Lake to lower Chesuncook Lake, I removed the slightest idea of work from my mind and replaced it with my Double LL fly rod. For this week, I would concentrate around the art of sparking fire, practicing my fly casting technique, and cooking hearty meals on cast iron. Dutch oven pizza, fresh-fish chowder, and chili filled our bellies after long afternoons exploring every inch of the river.
The mornings began early, the sun dominated afternoon skies, and the evenings were story-filled. Four of us sat beneath the star-filled skies and told the best tales our minds could imagine. Three mornings we watched bald eagles fly above us. They, too, made their way down river. The second morning we awoke to the footsteps and splashes of a moose, as he crossed our campsite and then the river. Truly sights to behold.
On what was to be our final day, we were unable to find our pick-up vehicle before darkness set in. We were forced to pull our canoes up onto a beautiful beach. As the frustration subsided and the realization set in that we would be unable to contact our loved ones, we made camp. We did not bring a trustworthy map and what the gatehouse provides was insufficient. All is well that ends well, however, we made it out the next morning with the black fly bites to prove it.
Rhon Bell, an outdoor enthusiast, spends his time exploring the Maine Woods and documenting his journeys.
Growing up in Aroostook County, he embraced the outdoor lifestyle at a young age. Living today near Portland, he spends weekends and week-long adventures hiking New England summits, canoeing the historic Maine waterways, and ice fishing for lake trout.
Follow the journey as Window to the Woods discovers new destinations, and check out his other blog, Backwoods Plaid.