10 September 2010

Into the water

No, we did not end up in the water with an overturned canoe. But, yes, I have wet feet all day every day, the "Chewonki way" of loading and getting in an out of a canoe requiring wading in ankle-to-knee deep water. And, yes, the rain continued through the day. In addition to all that wetness, it also seems as though fall has come to the Maine North Woods -- couple of weeks before the equinox. This has been out coolest day yet; I wore my wool knit sleeping hat all day.

Paddling ten miles in the dreary chill, however, was not without its beauty. In fact, the entire distance was in the river (no lakes or ponds to traverse), a narrow, meandering ribbon with stretches of serene flat water breaking up the more challenging shallow water with its rips, rocks and rapids. Tal commented more than once through the day that "this" is what he came here for.

Our lunch stop was at the new and controversial Henderson Brook Bridge on the Blanchet-Maibec Road. Seems it replaced a 39-year-old temporary bridge and many objected to a permanent structure. It's beautiful in its simplicity and I must say, since leaving I-95 on Sunday, I have been surprised by every bridge (not very many, I hasten to add) we've crossed over or paddled under. They may have a steel superstructure, especially the newer ones, but the rails and decks are of wood -- very large wood -- held together with huge bolts.

As we neared the inlet to Round Pond, the river braided and slowed. At that point we were treated to the sight of large, elegant elms on either side of the river (the first of which is shown here), having survived Dutch Elm disease because of their isolated location.

It is mid-to-late afternoon as I write this and our camp on Round Pond is set up, again the rain abating during that process. Several of us have been in the water. Including me! And, how was it? Cold? Bracing, breathtaking, brutal. But, refreshing. I am grateful for having brought both the bathing suit and the felt-like microfiber camp towel. Though we cannot actually bathe, I did with biodegradable camp soap manage to wash my slicked-to-the-head dirty hair. The rinse had to be done on the shore in a water-filled bucket, the rinse water then poured out several feet up inland so it would filter through shrubs, grass and rocks before returning to the Allagash.

And, now, at the moment we're all gathered around the table -- warm drink in hand and warm fire nearby. Supper (of mac'n cheese) is underway with the chocolate cake having been put on the fire first. Colin and Tal definitely have the best seat in the house.

No comments: