A tragedy was narrowly avoided on our recent paddling trip down Webster Stream during the Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester. Near the end of the stream there is a half-mile carry around an unrunnable falls known as Grand Pitch. The take out is about 25 yards upstream of the horizon line for the falls, which means [...]
Trip & Expedition Journals
Stories from the field; trip and expedition journals.
The 2014 Wilderness Canoe Expedition Semester was an amazing month on the river. Everyone spent the month in a solo boat, but they were our 18 and 16 foot Prospecters, not small boats designed for solo use. Everyone also used a paddle that they had carved and a pole that they had made. These were [...]
I just returned from our 14-day Boreal Snowshoe Expedition. It was a fantastic trip with the best weather I've ever had when out for more than a week in the winter. Constant cold, clear skies, and one big snowstorm. Most importantly, there was no thaw, that bit of winter weather I dislike the most when [...]
On the last day of our Aroostook River trip during our recent Wilderness Canoe Expedition Course, we stopped to have lunch at the boat ramp near the North Maine Woods gate at Oxbow. From here, the river makes a sharp right turn, and there's a short class 2 rapid we call Oxbow Gate Rips. Often [...]
Trip Journal 1/31/13 - Squapan Lake, Maine This morning it was warm and raining, with a strong wind out of the south. At about one pm, the wind began to shift, moving to the southwest and eventually to the west. As this was happening, it began to get cold again. A cold front was blowing [...]
Trip Journal 1/30/13 Tentbound. Squapan Lake, Aroostook County, Maine. After the cold of our first 8 days in the woods, we enjoyed a beautiful walk hauling laden toboggans down the western arm of Squapan Lake. The sleds chattered behind us with minimal effort, a huge difference from hauling them up the hill from the field [...]
January 23, 2013; Day five of our Winter Bushcraft And Snowshoe Expedition Intensive. The weather has been cold; we haven't seen positive temperatures in four days. The last two nights, the temperatures have been colder than 35 degrees below zero, and colder than -55 with the wind chill. We've got two 8-sided, 12' diameter Ungava [...]
This is my favorite photo from our May canoe trip on the Allagash. I got up at 3:57 am in order to wake someone on the trip at 4, and the light was just coming over the ridge to the northeast of the pond. It was cold, but I grabbed my camera and took a [...]
We had the pleasure of Nick Gallop's company on our river trip last month. Nick has a school and blog in England called Skills For Wild Lives. He's also a skilled artist, craftsman, woodsman, riverman, photographer and potential infomercial pitchman (more on this later). He's writing up his trip journal on his blog complete with [...]
We made it back from the Allagash trip, finishing the spring Bushcraft Canoe Expedition Semester. Overall the trip was fantastic, but it didn't look that way at the beginning. The first two days the black flies were terrible, but then it cooled off and they weren't bad for this time of year. The fishing was [...]
Phase 1 of the Bushcraft Canoe Expedition Semester is completed. It was a fantastic 9-day trip on the headwaters of the Aroostook, where we put in on Chase Pond and descended Munsungan Brook, crossed Munsungan Lake, carried around Munsungan Falls, descended Munsungan Stream, and paddled the Aroostook River back to the field school. We had [...]
I wrote up the following journal during a weeklong bushcraft course I taught during the summer of 1999. Although it's been on our site, it's never been published here. Going through it has been a lot of fun for me. Hopefully you'll feel the same after reading it. -------------------------------------------------------------------- The purpose of the Basic Wilderness [...]
Here are a few of my favorite canoe photos from the last few years. [slickr-flickr type="galleria" tag="2010 canoe favorites" delay="5"] You can see these and others on our Flickr page.
It was a funny spring weather-wise. At the end of the first week in May there was already very low water in all the rivers of northern Maine. We had just enough water to paddle the St. John River. By the time we had covered the 113 miles from Baker Lake to Dickey, the water [...]
The smooth waters of the Allagash reflecting the sky at dusk.
Sunday, February 4th, 2001 Woke up on my bed of fir boughs surrounded by other sleeping bodies. There are seven of us lying in a circle inside the round white tent. The only part of the tent floor not covered with prone bodies is the area next to the door and the small rectangular woodstove. [...]
Allagash falls after several days of heavy rains. A shirtless figure stands alone, shaking his fists. Shot during the fall, 2004 fall semester course on day 9 of an 11-day trip with a disposable film camera. Great shot, great trip, great guy.
Paddling into the mist on Long Lake, part of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in northern Maine. Shot on a cool September morning under a clear blue sky.
This is one of my favorite photos, taken during the fall, 2003 Wilderness Bushcraft Semester. It's the St. Croix River, which is the border between Maine and New Brunswick. In the photo are two women poling solo in 18 foot canoes. It was a beautiful fall morning; cold and crisp, with warmer water generating the [...]
I love to explore new places. I've covered a lot of northern Maine in my canoe over the last decade, and I've still only scratched the surface. Sometimes I find those special spots where no one goes, the fishing is good and there's a beautiful place to camp. Other times I'm hauling over beaver dams [...]
Early spring is the season of travel on remote northern rivers. Swelled with snowmelt, a canoe is able to travel where the water is too low during the summer. This is one of my favorite spots in Maine, seldom visited, far from any logging road and a long way from town or a paved road. [...]
We're taking a resupply break at the field school today and made the trek to Presque Isle. We just finished week 4 (of 6) of the spring semester with a trip on Mooseleuk Stream and the Aroostook River. We did some fly fishing on the stream and I caught a beautiful 11" wild brook trout. [...]
Our recent trip to northern Quebec was fantastic. We had amazing weather, good company, great food, and more than enough laughter for our 8-days in the bush. I had the good fortune to have Ben McNutt, Lisa Fenton, Matt Upson and Steven Hanton from Woodsmoke, a bushcraft and wilderness survival school in the UK, on [...]
In the morning I'm heading north with a small group to Oujé-Bougoumou, Quebec, for 8 days of snowshoeing and winter living with my friend David Bosum. I'm bringing a group with me to experience the Cree way of life and hospitality. I've taken several trips with David over the past decade, and all have been [...]
Friend and Maine Guide Shawn McNutt has been posting his journal and photos of a fall, 2006 canoe guide training course we ran on the Allagash on his blog Guide Spot. It's great to read his perspectives on the trip, and his photos really bring out the natural beauty of the waterway. You can read [...]
I came across a great trip journal of two guys who paddled-poled-sailed solo canoes 400 miles along an old route from the St. Lawrence River, across Quebec, New Brunswick and Maine to the Atlantic Ocean in Penobscot Bay. It's a great story of an amazing journey. Read it here. From their description: Welcome to my [...]
Tying a fly on an island campsite Last week I went on a great paddling trip through some lakes in Washington County, Maine. I've done numerous river trips on the nearby St. Croix river, but the lakes above Grand Lake Stream are an area I've been meaning to explore and fish for a while, and [...]
We arrived at the trail head in middle of the White Mountain National Forest in the middle of the day and walked in on a trail for several miles before turning off into the bush. We waded through thick brush before it opened into a wetland, where our feet sank into the boggy mix of [...]
We had a great trip on the Allagash marked by warm weather and low water levels. Picking up two people on our drive north, we arrived at the bridge at the south end of Chamberlain Lake in the late afternoon, then loaded up the boats for the short paddle to Boy Scout campsite. Our party [...]
Last week I went on a solo canoe/fishing trip to Allagash Lake and Allagash stream. I put in on Allagash Stream above the lake, where it's narrow and winding. There wasn't a lot of water so I poled the entire way to the deadwater above the lake. As I was coming around a corner I [...]
I had a great trip yesterday poling on the crystal-clear upper Saco river, running downstream from the bridge on River Street in Bartlett to the bridge at River Road in Conway. The 12 mile trip took me just under 4 hours. Except for the extreme lower portion of the trip where the bottom gets sandy, [...]