Saturday, 11 August 2012 09:30
I am happy to report that we are done with the portage. Although it was nice to use our legs for a while, the portage was a challenge. We met some very nice people along the way. It was quite a relief to launch our kayaks on lake Pohenegamook. We paddled across the lake and into the St. Francis River, which forms the border between Quebec and Maine.
Our first day of paddling on the St. Francis reminded me of our training paddles on Salt Creek in Illinois because the river was very shallow and meandered around. Any time we got to a drop in elevation, the water was too shallow to paddle so we would wade down the mini rapids.
The one marked rapids on the river, Kelly Rapids, was a challenge. With the water too low to paddle, Dave and I had a mile long stretch of wading and working our kayaks past large, slippery rocks. Eventually we came out into a series of lakes. They were gorgeous. Right away, we witnessed a bald eagle terrorizing a flock of mergansers. As we paddled out onto the main body of each lake, we would look up an the surrounding steep, forested hills. It reminded me of being in the Boundary Waters, but with more dramatic topography. We have seen many loons, mergansers, beaver, and even a black bear.
Yesterday, we packed our soggy tent and left a wonderful campsite on Glacier Lake and paddled downstream to the confluence with the St. John River. Gray skies and rain persisted all day. We were surprised to see were motorboats and people everywhere. We learned that people were out fishing in force, hoping to win a Ford Focus in the annual Fort Kent International Muskie Derby.
I don't usually like paddling in the rain, but the all day showers yesterday were a welcome change in the weather. Several people have reported that they hadn't seen rain in over a month. As we have seen from the rivers and lakes, the area could really use some rain.
The weather didn't put a damper on the festivities in Fort Kent. We paddled in to town in time to check the scoreboard for the Muskie Derby and witness the annual making of the world's largest ploye at their annual Ploye Festival. Wondering what ploye is? Someone described it to me as a cross between a crepe and a pancake. It is made out of buckwheat flour. We sampled a couple of butter-covered pieces of the giant ploye yesterday. Very tasty!
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