Started off the day by portaging Sparky down to the base of the Falls. I climbed over some big rocks to get a better look and a few pictures. This morning the river was a little shallow and I had to walk in a few spots but otherwise things went smoothly. A couple of Class two rapids later I made it to The Two River’s Lunch spot right behind a huge group of bikers. I think the cook, waitress and cashier were all one person. She had her hands full for sure and it took me almost 2 and half hours to get and eat lunch.
While waiting and waiting and waiting I met Allagash Waterway Ranger Chase Joe Jackson and his uncle Louis. Chase started up the conversation by asking if I was the solo through paddler. Seems there had been a small article in the paper that morning about my coming through in a non-regulation size boat. Chase, whose dad is a local legislator, told me that the size restrictions on the AWW had been relaxed just last year. We had a great conversation; I think Chase could be an awesome politician himself, so personable and friendly. Louis, also personable and friendly, resides right on the river and told me to paddle the left channel of the Saint John, which proved to be good advice as the water level was noticeably higher there.
After lunch I was hoping to reach “The American Dream” campsite, 12 miles to Ft. Kent with showers and laundry facilities …. but if I couldn’t get there the Pelletier campsite was 17 miles from the finish, no showers or laundry facilities. That is where I ended up. The two and a half hour lunch put me behind schedule and as darkness began to fall around 6:30, I still had not come across the first campsite.
The phone rang … I’d been out of service for days so that was a thrill….I was so close to the end, feeling very excited and wanting to share my enthusiasm. It was Geoff! Yeah! We had not spoken since I left. Had to get off sooner than I wanted to. I was losing the light and nervous, not knowing where I would be sleeping for the night. Then, Scott called; he was close by and had secured lodging for the night in Ft. Kent, a 15 min. drive from Pelletier. This means I can have a hot shower and clean clothes for my arrival at the end of the Trail in Fort Kent tomorrow. Just then I spotted red garbage cans on river right, according to the guidebook, an easy way to identify the Pelletier Campground. I gave Scott the address. Paddled up to a wide rocky beach, unpacked my clothes and camera bag but left everything else in the boat. Won’t need the tent tonight. An hour later Scott pulled up. It was great to see him, I was so excited, so close to the end and feeling celebratory for sure!