Day 1 – Saturday – 9/17/11 – 7:30pm:
The first day is coming to a close, now. The sun has set at 7pm. Very tired after sleeping very little in the car last night. Left work & drove up toward Millinocket. I tried to catch a few hours sleep at a rest area just before the Millinocket exit, but some crazy guy in a beat up old Plymouth Neon & his dog Turner kept stopping there. He would pull into the rest area with no lights on & get out of his car, then started yelling for his dog. He kept getting closer to my car, but not quite coming all the way over to it & it seemed like he was trying to look inside my car. I’m not sure if he was looking to break in or was looking for some “action” (after all, it was a rest area, so I realized this was a possibility). I was slouched way down in my seat with my camping pillow, & kept an eye on him the whole time, but I don’t think he knew that I could see him. He was pretty creepy looking too, kinda like a dirty old-man Santa with a baseball cap underneath a winter cap with the bill sticking out from under the front of the cap & he had a long, dirty, unkempt, scraggly grayish, white beard. My large camp knife & a big can of bear mace were both at my side in the door, so had he crept up to my driver’s side he would have gotten an eyeful of one them. He made me feel very apprehensive with his approaches toward my car. I finally fired up the car on his third appearance at the rest area & started slowly driving toward Millinocket, leaving Turner & Dirty-Claus behind. I found 1 gas station still open, everything else was all closed up already for the night. This all happened around 1am. I mentioned what happened at the rest area to the gas station attendant & he was nice enough to tell me I could crash for a few hours out behind the shop there because it was a safe spot. He told me if the police asked, he’d tell them it was alright for me to to be back there. Wouldn’t you know it though, there was a campground directly behind the gas station with a trail leading to the parking lot where 3 twenty-something year old guys were howling loudly because they were so stinking drunk decided to stop about 100 yds away from my car with me trying to sleep in it. They kept stopping every few inches along arguing about who bought what booze just 2 minutes before that. They argued loudly like that for about 20 minutes, then threw some bottles across the parking lot, entered the woods & continued to argue for another 20 minutes & it sounded like they were right next to the car, they were so loud. I finally slept a bit, woke up about 4am, started driving a short distance down the road, then stopped in another parking lot and slept for about another hour.
It started to become light out, so I started making my way taking my time very slowly heading toward the Golden Road and Telos Road.
The posted speed limit was 45mph, but I didn’t even come close to approaching that speed in fear of blowing a tire on a sharp piece of gravel. (I’m glad I did this, because later in the trip, I would find that in talking to someone, they were driving a Ford pickup truck with new tires and they blew out 2 tires on these same roads.)
My little-old, red, VW Jetta handled the logging roads just fine, but I drove them at a painstakingly slow turtle’s pace to prevent a blowout.
Got to the Chamberlain Bridge put-in at around 9:30-10am, talked to the ranger there for just a moment or two about the water conditions, then loaded the canoe & started paddling South toward Telos Dam to get to the actual starting point to make it a 100 mile trip Northward to Allagash Village. I was welcoming the idea that I would not see another town or village for the next 100 miles & for the ensuing days. I had hired an outfitter well in advance of my trip, so I would be leaving my car behind which would be driven to my destination 100 miles North to meet me at the take-out in 7-10 days. I gave myself 10 days just in case of bad weather. I would have about a 12 hour drive back home once I get to the end.
While I was putting in my canoe, a grandfather, grandmother & granddaughter were also putting in a fishing boat & they were headed toward the Arm Of Chamberlain for an afternoon of fishing. I had paddled halfway across Round Pond toward Telos Lake when I noticed them motoring toward my canoe.
My first thought was that I had left something behind at the boat launch, because I knew this was the opposite direction of where they were headed, but as they got closer the guy said to me “I don’t mean to intrude, but you mentioned that you were headed for Allagash Village & you’re heading toward Bangor right now.” I chuckled and politely told him that I was paddling back toward the starting point of the trip and thanked them for looking out for me.
I thanked them again for coming out of their way & they turned around & were soon out of sight. I can just imagine what they thought when they saw me paddling in what they would have thought to be the wrong direction, they must have thought I was in for a long trip if I didn’t know where I was going after telling them I was headed up toward the Canadian Border, but I intended to to the waterway from the Telos Dam so I had to back paddle to the beginning because there was no roadway access to put-in a boat at the dam.
I continued paddling across Round Pond & decided to set up camp early on at High Bank. It’s got a fantastic view of Katahdin & it’s a really nice spot. It is a 2 cell site & not long after I started setting up, another older couple showed up at the 2nd cell. They were incredibly quiet though, I couldn’t even hear them talking or setting up their camp, it’s like they weren’t even there, had I not seen them, they were so quiet. They must have paddled from one of the sites closer to Telos Dam as I didn’t see them on Round Pond at all. After setting up camp, I took a short nap in the sun-warmed tent after the chilly 34 degree night spent trying to sleep in the car last night. I decided to finish paddling Telos, then I would come back & stay here for the night. I’m hoping for a calm morning to get a good ways along Chamberlain tomorrow.
The wind gave me some trouble coming back to camp. The wind kept pushing me back several times but I leaned into it & kept going. I stopped along the rocky shore on the way back after fighting the wind & the waves for a while & had supper looking out at the mountains. Loving the JetBoil already! Having Mountain House MacN’Cheese, yum. It didn’t even matter that it was still a little crunchy, it tasted great at the time. Got back to High Bank (home for the night) & took some photos of the sun setting.
The clouds looked amazing with lots of pinks & purples, I hope the photos I took come out okay.
It’s starting to cool off a LOT, it’s supposed to drop to 34 degrees tonight, brrr! Good thing I found those thermals before I left home. It’s 7:30pm, dark, cold & so quiet. Heard some loons calling out about half an hour ago, but even they are quiet right now, too. Didn’t see a ton of wildlife today, but I saw some typical forest critters like squirrels & such, also saw a hawk, some ravens, 2 osprey nests, a great blue heron & lots of mergansers.
– Good Night from High Bank, Telos Lake, The Allagash, ME
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