Woke up and was happy to see calmish water sporting a neat looking halo of mist in the distance. Broke camp and was off by 7am. The water was still a bit choppy and I was paddling into the wind but made it to Upper Dam by 9am. It was a beautiful day with cool temperatures and a nip in the air. An easy portage. Along the path I met Norman and Lynne. Norman had something to do with the re-building of the dam and was there taking care of some property they owned. I told them about my journey, they were interested and aware of The NFCT. Norm owned a Nikon D-70 and took my picture just as I was heading off on Lake Mooselookmeguntic. The nicest thing they did for me however was take my garbage, how cool was that. When I started out on the trip I did not realize that I would have to “pack out” all my trash. No cans, I understand why, some of the areas I am traveling through are remote and only accessible by water making regular collection impractical. Add bears and other critters into the mix and it just makes sense. Since I had to carry all the garbage I produced with me for up to 4 days I became acutely aware of just how much trash I generated. Some days I was able to fit it all into the tiny single coffee envelope that I used most mornings.
On my way to the lake I passed by some interesting history. “Carrie Stevens’s” preserved home. Stevens was a talented fly fisherman, (woman), who lived in this location in the early 20th century. Not many women out fishing in her day, and I have observed there are still not many women out here fishing. Apparently Carrie was much more interested in the outdoors then housework. Go figure. She became somewhat famous when she invented The Gray Ghost Streamer used for fly fishing.
Mooselookmeguntic was wide, windy and choppy. I crossed over a little sooner then I planned in a wide part of the Lake instead of the narrow area across from my intended take-out. Why? I saw a Campsite named “Echo”, Echo Cove, according to the map, was directly across from the Boat Landing and I figured, incorrectly, that I must have reached Echo Cove. Landed safely on the opposite shore and stopped at a big beautiful home to try and ascertain exactly where I was. The homeowner told me I was about 1 mile from the Boat Landing near Oquossoc and cautioned me to be careful it really was windy and the waves were getting bigger, or were bigger here close to the shore. Back in the boat I figured I could do the last mile to Haines Landing via water but changed my mind when I had trouble controlling the boat and saw a nice public dock just ahead. Some men that were working on the dock told me that I was just a mile or two away from Carry Rd. into town and gave me directions. The Road was narrow, uphill and bumpy with an almost non-existent shoulder. Once I hit Carry Rd it got better. It was just a short pull from there into town.
The little town was hopping, it is a summer Friday afternoon and there is human traffic and merriment going on here. The General Store was great but I didn’t buy anything. I do not need any additional provisions since I should reach Rangeley in a day or so. I did, however, want a glass of wine and a restaurant experience so I headed to The Gingerbread House Restaurant just down the street. The place looked nice and I was a little concerned that I wasn’t properly dressed for fine dining. As I wheeled Sparky into the lot I noticed someone notice me from inside. As I picked up my camera bag/wallet and went inside out came the chef, wiping his hands on his apron and then extending one towards me for a handshake. He had recognized me as a through paddler and wanted to congratulate me for making it this far. He told me that he used to kayak to and from work and had done a few sections of the trail himself. That really warmed my heart. It is so nice when somebody knows the trail and understands my mission. Now I wasn’t so worried about my appearance, he knew why I was dressed the way I was. (I wish that I could remember his name) The food was really delicious. I highly recommend this place. http://www.gingerbreadhouserestaurant.net/
When I finished eating it was about 5pm. Next stop Rangeley Lake State Park now that I was well fed I was looking forward to a hot shower at the Park. As I was putting in to Rangeley Lake I met up with a Ranger. He was worried that I would not find an open site at the Park. Reservations at the parks in Maine are always recommended because Mainers really use their outdoors and it is Friday night. (I never knew for sure where I will end up at night, often did not have phone access, therefore never made reservations.) He called the campground for me which was about 3 miles away as the crow flies or as the kayak paddles in my case. No answer, at this point he wrote down his cell number and told me to feel free to call him if I was unable to procure a site and he would see what he could do to help.
Reached the Park in about an hour pulled onto shore just beyond the roped off swimming area and found a small site right near the water, which I hoped would be available, I just needed one night and would probably be gone before 9am. Walked to the Camp office, almost 1 mile away and met yet another helpful Ranger. The Park was technically all booked but the site I had selected was part of a group site and he said it was ok to “hang my hat” there for the night. Good! I set up camp and took another long walk to the showers in the fading light. Very much looking forward to Rangeley and meeting up with Beth and Ed.