Day 2 – Sunday – 9/18/11 –9:30pm:
Broke camp pretty early, by 6am, I think it may have even been before 6am. Walked along the shoreline under the moonlight & stars as it just started to become light out looking for any signs of early morning wildlife but didn’t get a glimpse of any.
Finished loading the canoe & slowly started paddling Northward back downstream toward the Chamberlain Bridge put-in, crossing back over Round Pond, retracing yesterday’s paddle. (The Allagash is one of only a few rivers that flows North) Took my time crossing Round Pond, it was early enough that I figured I didn’t need to push too hard yet toward Chamberlain even though I was worried about how slow my progress would be today if the wind were to hold me back on Chamberlain since it is notorious for very strong winds & high, impassible waves. That was also a key reason in camping at High Bank the night before. I expected decent weather today, so I expected good travel. I found out while paddling back to High Bank from the Telos Dam last night that fighting wind on the a lake can be difficult at best. At least once last night, my canoe got tossed into a rock while trying to get around an exposed outcrop of rocks that had been protecting the area of water I was paddling from. This morning the water was really calm, however & there was no wind to speak of.
I took my time taking lots of photos of the sun rising with the fog over the water. I’m sure my photos will in no way capture the tranquility of the morning compared to actually being there on the lake with the moon still shining down, stars still out & the sun coming up, revealing a heavy mist & fog.
I’m happy to have camped at High Bank on my first night & glad I chose to start the trip by going upstream, South to Telos first. It turned out to be rewarding with the night’s sunset & this morning’s sunrise display over the spectacular view of Katahdin.
Once I finally got back to Chamberlain Bridge the water was still calm so I decided to push on as far as I could to take advantage of the fact that the weather was so calm. I’ve heard that the waves on Chamberlain Lake can get to several feet high making it impossible to travel on by canoe for days on end at the drop of a dime due to the large size of the lake.
I paddled along the Western shore of Chamberlain, stopping at Edge Point to stretch out a bit, then continued on to Gravel Beach.
I stopped at Gravel Beach for a bit to fuel up on some food & also to assess my map. I proceeded to paddle across Chamberlain to Donnelly Point & stopped there to stretch out again. I thought about setting up camp there for the day as it looked like a nice site. It was a 2 cell site with a pretty good view facing South over the lake toward the mountains but since I still had time left in the day & the water was still calm, I made haste & got back in the boat.
My original plan after stopping at Donnelly Point was to just paddle up to Ellis Brook & make camp there for the night, but not realizing it, I overshot Ellis Brook, most likely due to not paddling close enough to shore, otherwise I should have seen it since the sites are clearly marked & typically very visible. Sometimes they are not all that close together.
You have to take time into account when paddling since it can take well more than an hour of paddling between sites sometimes. Some are closer than others because they may be clustered together more. Having not realized that I had paddled right on by Ellis Brook, I started to get pretty frustrated with myself for not having stayed at Donnelly Point earlier. It was starting to get a bit later than I would have wanted to be pulling into a site & there was still no site in my view in the distance. At this point, I wasn’t turning back because it would take too long & it would be pushing dark for certain. All I could do was to keep paddling forward telling myself that Ellis Brook had to be just ahead, but it never appeared. Finally!!! I saw a site sign & not too soon for me with darkness coming down fast now. I paddled into the site to find out that I had actually paddled well past Ellis Brook & on to Lost Spring.
I quickly unloaded the canoe, got a fire going & started cooking some food while I put up my tent. (Rule # 1 – When solo canoe camping, bring 2 small tents) It’s a good thing I thought of Rule #1 before leaving home because after breaking camp early my tent & rain-fly were soaking wet still from the dew. Now, being late in the afternoon, there wouldn’t be enough time to air out & dry the tent. I put up the 2nd tent & hung up the other tent to at least start to dry out while I ate & put everything else away & it became dark just like that.
Some campfire naan & Katmandu Curry would be for supper tonight. Hopefully I’ll have time tomorrow to air out both tents since this one will be wet now too. I’m not planning on setting the same pace tomorrow, however, as my my body is starting to feel it from all that lake paddling today. I figure I must have paddled about 15 miles today. My arms & shoulders are feeling every bit of the miles paddled so far. Right now, my tentative plan is to try to make it to Little Eagle tomorrow, but it’s not set in stone, so as long as I can make it to where I’ll be with proximity of a one day’s paddle out of Churchill Dam, I’ll be happy with the progress. I’m really looking forward to paddling the river portion of this trip. Didn’t see too much for wildlife again today. Lots of mergansers, though! Last night I could hear the call of Loons for sometime after I started to go to sleep I was awoken in the middle of the night to the sound of a coyote howling in the distance, but that only lasted for a short bit. The sound of the loons started up again early in the morning. It is a very peaceful sound once used to it.
An eagle flew overhead this afternoon while out on Chamberlain. I got a photo but didn’t have the telephoto lens on so I’m sure it didn’t come out that well. I’m beginning to think I won’t see a moose at all, but it’s still early on in the trip. I’ve had a lot of dragonfly companions while out on the lake. They’re huge and look like miniature radio controlled bi-planes being flown around the lake and landed on my canoe to keep me company. There was a large wolf spider in the outhouse, but I’m sure it won’t look that big in the picture.
-Good Night from Lost Spring, Chamberlain Lake, The Allagash, ME
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