August 7, 2011

Canoeing: Paddling Mount Desert Island's Northeast Creek


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The view looking south from the Route 3 bridge at the put-in site.

Michael Perry photo

We refilled our water bottles at our vehicle, carefully portaged the canoe up and over busy Route 3 and paddled the half-mile out to the ocean. On an 87-degree day, we were desperate for a swim in the invigorating waters of Thomas Bay. There were many ledges to land on at the mouth of the estuary. Two nearly identical islands rise out of the waters to the east of elongated Thomas Island. They have the perfect name: The Twinnies.

The Maine Coast Heritage Trust, in partnership with Acadia National Park and generous local land owners, have put in much work over the last few years to ensure that this precious area is protected from development. To get the latest on their progress both at Northeast Creek and on other vital projects along the coast of Maine check out the MCHT website:

Yes, you can get away from the crowds at Acadia in August and have a portion of the island all to yourself. One last thought about Ellsworth: Driving to the park on Route 1 through Ellsworth before 9 a.m. presents no problems. But on your return home, try to avoid the 3 p.m.-5 p.m. park exodus. For overnight camping options, Lamoine State Park is off the beaten path and provides awesome sunrise and sunset vistas plus classic views of the alpine splendor of Acadia.

Consult the DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (map 16) for help in getting to Northeast Creek. Look for a large sprawling yellow farmhouse with red shingle roof and matching barn on the right side of Route 3, approximately two miles east of the causeway onto Mount Desert Island. A gravel pull-out is located just beyond the farmhouse. Park here. The put in is a few yards down the slope from your vehicle.

Michael Perry is the former director of the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools, and founder of Dreams Unlimited, specializing in inspiring outdoor slide programs for civic groups, businesses and schools. He can be contacted at:


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