A great day of paddling. Started out at Big Duck Cove, passed Little Duck and then crossed the lake to the North East Carry. I was on the water by 8am. It was pretty chilly when I woke up this morning. I was still wearing my fleece hat and jacket when I paddled passed a group of kids swimming around 9am. I don’t think it was much more than 50 degrees outside. Those kids were tough, when I said so they looked at me like I was crazy. Just about then a lady came out of the house, I asked if she knew where the carry was and she pointed to a big white house on the opposite shore, “Head straight for that house, it is 2.5 miles.” She asked if I would like to stay for breakfast. I declined since I already had a decent breakfast and was worried about the wind which seemed to be picking up a little. After yesterdays weather I was prepared to follow the shoreline towards the carry but was happy to note that the gusts and white caps were not too bad today. I was able to go straight across, save some time and distance. It took almost an hour. By the time I reached my destination the wind and the waves had indeed increased and I was glad to be safely on solid ground.
As I came ashore I meet a couple from N.H. just putting in their bright red canoe. I asked which way they were headed concerned that trying to paddle against or sideways to the current wind would put them at risk. The guy told me he was an experienced canoeist, used to paddling big lakes and had he had even done several sections of the trail. They both had on really cool knee-high water boots; they were red and matched the boat. I coveted them, my feet were cold. Rich, I think, gave me the scoop on portage options and I headed down the path towards The North East General Store, leaving Sparky and my gear resting on the shore. Shirley and Ed, the store owners, were very nice. While Shirley cooked me two cheeseburgers, one for now one for dinner, I had pleasant conversation with Ed. What a fascinating crossroad, out here in the middle of nowhere. I had two cups of coffee a cheeseburger and ice cream. Then we loaded Sparky in Shirley’s truck and headed to The Lobster Bridge put-in, it was a $20 fee, money well spent. There were lots of boaters at the put in but most headed off in the opposite direction.
Off I went I went down the West Branch of the Penobscot River. So lovely, plenty of water, a swift current going my way and the wind to my back. I passed a campsite on Thoreau Island, it looked nice but it was only 2pm. I took a picture and moved on. Figured that I should hit another campsite around 5pm and that was accurate. Yet another good-looking site but I still had energy and daylight I so kept going. The next site had a whole group of people, surprise! We exchanged waves and I took a campsite about a mile further on the opposite shore. Another beautiful spot with two picnic tables and dry firewood. I spotted and got some pictures of a moose today. They are big! Good night.
When I beached for the North East Carry I put in a call to Mike, looking for reassurance, I was worried about the remoteness of the Allagash, concerned I would get lost and have no one to ask directions. I didn’t get through and left a message. Mike texted me later not to worry I would probably see more people on the Allagash Waterway then on other parts of the trail. Low and behold when we pulled up to the put in at Lobster Bridge there were like 30 people milling around gathering gear and preparing to put-in as well. Even though most went off in the opposite direction I felt better.