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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Mighty Machias

With hunting season over and skiing season still on hold, I decided it was time for another blast from the past. In the early to mid 1990s I used to travel every spring to Maine to run rivers with my brother Dicky. Generally we'd aim to run rivers when the snow melt had increased flow but before the black flies hatched. Some years we simply did day trips on rivers close to his house, but for a couple years there we had a tradition going of taking a week to run the Machias River from its head waters all the way to the sea. I always liked the trip because it reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books about a carved model indian in his canoe paddling to the sea - titled, appropriately enough, 'Paddle to the Sea'. Here I was living out my childhood dream of paddling from the north woods all the way to the sea.

The trip started out on a tiny creek, led to large lakes, and then the last half was big river and lots of whitewater. One year a pod of atlantic salmon flashed past under our canoes on their way up river to spawn. It was very remote and we never saw any other paddlers or other people till we got to the lower stretch of the river near the sea. We'd float by moose feeding in the river, listen to loons on the lakes, and drink too much every night in camp (a good way to deal with the intense mosquitos). We'd go out in the dark in the canoes and play hide and seek on backwater sloughs. Hard to believe all this happenned 15 years ago!

In this photo my two brothers Andrew and Dicky enjoy the sun on a granite rock while our friends Philip Kemp and David Chapin ('Doozer') paddle down the river to join us. Philip Kemp came all the way from South Africa for the trip. I went to high school with David and we actually did canoing for a spring sport our senoir year. Patrick

1 comment:

Ella Saltonstall said...

COOL picture!! Neat story. I'm glad you posted it.