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trailbiscuit
05-07-2006, 03:38 PM
Since it only hurts when I walk, I'm thinking about trying paddling as a new way to explore the wilds of New England. This will hopefully satisfy our need to get out and play while I am on the mend. Anyone have any suggestions for two "semi-professional" backpackers, who looking to make the transition. We have very little paddling experience, so small, quiet non-white rivers would be best. What about lakes? And, we don't plan on purchasing any boats, so any thoughts on rental locations and logistics would be great.
THANKS

dug
05-07-2006, 03:56 PM
Not canoe camping, but look at sea kayaking. A good, fiberglass boat might run you over $2000 apiece, which is the biggest drawback. However, we've spent many a night on our own private island. Can be used in lakes, as well. The Cascade Designs boat I've used (I've borrowed from Kaibar) carry about 400 lbs each. I run about half that. That leaves a lot of room for gear. Since you aren't carrying it, camping out consists of some really good food and lots of beer. When I get to the point where I can't hike, ski, and climb as much, instead of picking up golf I plan to be in a boat more. "Kayak is my golf" has been mentioned.

TDawg
05-07-2006, 03:59 PM
One word, Saco. It may not be the best if you're looking for solitude, but it's fun! Plenty of rental places in the Conway area.

sleeping bear
05-07-2006, 04:16 PM
The saco river isn't bad. It's nice because you can camp just about anywhere along the bank, unless all the spots are taken :eek: . We went mid-week last year and saw many larger groups.

There are tons of places to rent boats (very nice boats), and lots of nice routes in the Adirondacks, the Raquette River is classic.

Moosehead Lake in Maine is supposed to be cool, I think several places rent canoes. Same with Umbagog.

I don't think most of these offer real "solitude", but it may be hard to find a combination of outfitter nearby and solitude. You might do better renting from EMS and then going somewhere further away.

cushetunk
05-07-2006, 05:22 PM
Oh man, compared to backpacking, boat camping is the life of luxury. Especially if you don't have any substantial portages. You can bring good food and books and big birding binoculars... anyway.

I think if you are serious about taking up canoeing, you should consider buying a canoe. Rental fees add up really fast, and planning trips around rental locations will limit you to more popular areas. Plus, almost any used canoe will do for beginner flatwater paddling, as long as you stay away from banana-shaped whitewater styles. Look in Uncle Henry's and I bet you can find any number of 16 or 17 foot tripping canoes for around $500, or maybe even less.

Of course, you have to have a place to store it, and have roof racks to transport it. But, once you have your own boat, you can paddle where and when you want.

arghman
05-07-2006, 08:01 PM
Moosehead Lake in Maine is supposed to be cool, I think several places rent canoes. Same with Umbagog.Umbagog is nice. I've only been canoeing up there twice, but it's definitely one of the best spots of the North Country. I seem to recall that you could rent campsites on Big Island (SPNHF owns the island, maybe they lease it to one of the outfitters or to the state or feds, not sure), but can't find the info online.

(warning: Umbagog can get wicked choppy on a windy day...)

Amicus
05-07-2006, 08:18 PM
A core group of ten of us, then mostly from SE Mass. but now somewhat dispersed, started doing 3 or 4 day Memorial Day weekend canoe campers 20 years ago and haven't missed one yet. We long since used up the useable rivers of southern NE and have had great experiences on rivers in VA and West VA, in one direction, and Maine in the other.

Yes, it is cushy compared to backpacking. Outdoor gourmands will be in their element. It is also remarkable how many unscripted campsites are available even on rivers like the Charles. Islands are a good bet. (Beware the Housatonic in Conn., however - that was our worst trip - a dozen years ago - chivvied mercilessly by authorities, which hasn't appened to us anywhere else. We haven't heard good things about the Saco, however, and have avoided that. It's nice for day-trips, though.)

You should buy a canoe if your interest is serious - an Old Town or the like made of Royalex (an indestructible and flexible compound). They're not expensive and a few trips will repay your investment. We avoid lakes - the wind picks up and all of sudden you're dodging whitecaps and/or bailing. Most rivers will have at least a few portages if your trip extends to a couple of days, and for those "wheels" - widely available -are useful. They fold up and don't take much room in your canoe.

Check out the Northern Forest Canoe Trail - 740 miles from Old Forge NY to Fort Kent, NY. It's new and seems likely to push Northeast canoe camping to a new level. We're doing a stretch of it in a few weeks. They have a website.

sleeping bear
05-07-2006, 08:42 PM
[QUOTE=Amicus]
You should buy a canoe if your interest is serious - an Old Town or the like made of Royalex (an indestructible and flexible compound). They're not expensive and a few trips will repay your investment.QUOTE]

Naah, get a wood one. :D

The Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (http://www.wcha.org/)

chas
05-07-2006, 08:46 PM
An excellent trip can be done on part of the St. Croix river which forms some of the international boundary between Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. The water is dam controlled below Vanceboro (the usuall start) and has good flow on most summer weekends. It's a mix of flatwater and class 1 and 2 with a short stretch of class 3 that can be easily carried, this makes it a river for all but the greenest of greenhorns. I took my kids down it when they were 9 and 10.
You can hire a man to drive your car from the start to the end, usually at either loon bay or about 10 miles beyond, he owns a small store in Vanceboro and used to allow camping behind his store (at the river's edge) on the night before a trip. The trip from Vanceboro to Loon bay is approx 19 miles, you can camp one or two nights on the way and there is really good smallmouth bass fishing between the fastwater sections. There's nothing but woods on both sides of the river. We've seen moose and bald eagles there. Just a great river trip.
There used to be good description of this trip in the AMC Maine river guide if anyone is interested.

Chas.

Toe Cozy
05-07-2006, 08:51 PM
These books could guide you to some good spots for exploring in a boat. We use the VT/NH one all the time.

Quiet water guide VT/NH (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1878239945/qid=1147048563/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-3704950-1086358?s=books&v=glance&n=283155)

Quiet water guide for CT/MA/RI (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1929173490/qid=1147048563/sr=1-3/ref=sr_1_3/104-3704950-1086358?s=books&v=glance&n=283155)

I'll never forget the fun of our first summer with a canoe. We rented one on a weekend in Brattleboro, VT to use on the Connecticut River. That same day I told my husband, we've gotta get a canoe. We bought the canoe the same week we bought our very first house. I was more excited about the canoe than the house, by far.

There is also a long distance canoe "trail" that you may be interested in some day, I think it's been mentioned here before. Sounds like an awesome experience! Northern Forest Canoe Trail (http://northernforestcanoetrail.org/)

I would also recommend buying a canoe. It's so nice to have it and just throw it on the top of the car and head out for an adventure. We've definitely gotten our money's worth out of our 17' Old Town. We leave her outside in the winter and the weather has worn off most of her lettering, leaving just "Old T" So that's her name. Old T....we love her. She's as dear to me as my pack...maybe even more so actually. A whole new way to experience the outdoors. Exploring nooks and crannies of ponds, lakes, rivers, reservoirs. We see more wildlife when we canoe than we ever do hiking.

If you get a canoe some day and travel to VT check out Green River Reservoir
Green River Reservoir (http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/grriver.cfm)

Since it's nearly impossible to get a "VFTT" in a canoe, I'll stop now! ;)

Good luck, have fun...buy a boat!!!!!

Fitz
05-07-2006, 09:12 PM
Here is a good source of information:

http://www.npmb.com/cms2/forum.php

I second Sleeping Bear's motion. Make mine wood.

http://www.wcha.org/

hikerfast
05-07-2006, 10:28 PM
call contoocook river canoe and kayak in concord nh. 603-753-9804. They rent canoes and kayaks for day trips on the merrimac and contoocook and blackwater rivers. kind of a nice way to start out doing some day trips on mellow water. They shuttle you up and you take your own pace paddling back to your car. After 2 or 3 trips you will have an idea of how you like it and what you want to do next.

sardog1
05-07-2006, 10:40 PM
Umbagog is nice. I've only been canoeing up there twice, but it's definitely one of the best spots of the North Country. I seem to recall that you could rent campsites on Big Island (SPNHF owns the island, maybe they lease it to one of the outfitters or to the state or feds, not sure), but can't find the info online.

(warning: Umbagog can get wicked choppy on a windy day...)

NH Division of Parks and Recreation administers the remote camping sites on Umbagog, including the ones across the line in Maine, as part of
Umbagog Lake State Park (http://www.nhstateparks.org/ParksPages/Umbagog/UmbagogCmp.html). Remote sites can be reserved online at that site. Bring your $$ -- it's a minimum $24 per night ($29 from June 16-Sept. 3) and a minimum two night stay for a reservation for the remote sites.

Danielle
05-08-2006, 08:01 AM
Thanks for all the replys so far everyone! I know that Snowman is bummed out to have his knees not cooperating for hiking this spring, so it's great to know about all the canoeing/kayaking available around New England. It definitely looks like we have something to research and have fun with this summer if we can't get out on the trails with our backpacks :)

HikerAmiga
05-08-2006, 08:09 AM
call contoocook river canoe and kayak in concord nh. 603-753-9804. They rent canoes and kayaks for day trips on the merrimac and contoocook and blackwater rivers. kind of a nice way to start out doing some day trips on mellow water. They shuttle you up and you take your own pace paddling back to your car. After 2 or 3 trips you will have an idea of how you like it and what you want to do next.

Bob and I visited with these folks yesterday and they are so very helpful!! Bob listed their number above but they also have a website at: http://www.contoocookcanoe.com/contoocook.html

We canoed for 9 miles in 3 hours along the Contoocook River yesterday and it was my first time on a river. I loved it!! Learned a few strokes and rested my knee which was a bit affected from 2 past weekends of long hikes. Saw a Great Blue Heron and a muskrat.

trailbiscuit
05-08-2006, 11:10 AM
It definitely looks like we have something to research and have fun with this summer if we can't get out on the trails with our backpacks

I guess she thinks she's coming with me! :eek: :D
Thanks for all the suggestions...this site rocks!

KayakDan
05-08-2006, 12:11 PM
Canoe camping,and kayak camping,are quite different. Each has it's advantages. A canoe is like having the trunk of your car floating-just load it up! Kayak camping takes some planning and compact gear,but it can be more comfortable for some,and you can cover a lot more distance for the effort.Also,with a sea kayak,you can venture out on the ocean,or just paddle a flatwater pond,it all works. I wouldn't recommend ocean travel by canoe,unless you have the experience and special gear required. Mrs KD and I canoed six NE rivers before we discovered kayaking. Your best bet is to sample both and see which you prefer. Here are some possibilities
Northern Waters-Canoe or kayaking on Magalloway and Umbagog (http://www.sacobound.com/northern/paddling.php)
Squam Lake-Canoe or Kayak Rentals-Camping(pricey-but there is a legitimate reason) I would recommend Moon Island (http://www.squamlakes.org/sla/rentals.htm)
Old Quarry-Sea Kayaking,mainland or Island Camping-guided trips(Bill is a pretty cool guy!) (http://oldquarry.com/shop/kayak.php) Here's the book that got us started canoeing (http://oldquarry.com/shop/kayak.php)
A couple of other thoughts-don't judge either one by the gear that you are provided on a rental or trip. Most outfitters don't use high end stuff,as it gets beaten up. Better gear is usually a better experience.
Also,this time of year,all the major stores have on water demos of their boats
Here's the REI Info (http://www.rei.com/stores/store_event_detail.jsp?pid=D18A18CD1BD83E4778C5157 9C72BEF2F&template_id=14&template_family=webDetail&ignore_cache=1)
And Here's Kittery Outlet info (http://www.kitterytradingpost.com/)
Happy Paddling!

weatherman
05-08-2006, 12:56 PM
Is the Saco a problem? I've tentatively agreed to co-lead a trip with my son's Cub Scout pack this summer, and the leader was mentioning the Saco as a good 2-3 day place to go. I have also heard rumors, however, that it tends to be loud and a bit alcohol-fueled... definitely not the place for 10 year olds. We still have time to change itineraries.
Thanks- sorry if this is hijacking the thread- if so, feel free to PM me instead of replying.
Weatherman

Peaks
05-08-2006, 06:10 PM
Is the Saco a problem? I've tentatively agreed to co-lead a trip with my son's Cub Scout pack this summer, and the leader was mentioning the Saco as a good 2-3 day place to go. I have also heard rumors, however, that it tends to be loud and a bit alcohol-fueled... definitely not the place for 10 year olds. We still have time to change itineraries.
Thanks- sorry if this is hijacking the thread- if so, feel free to PM me instead of replying.
Weatherman

Well, I haven't canoed the Saco in a few years. But, on summer weekends, there used to be parties all along the way. So, not the best place for families.

That being said, no one has mentioned the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, going from Old Forge NY to St. John. A couple of maps have been published, and others are in the works.

Amicus
05-08-2006, 06:45 PM
That being said, no one has mentioned the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, going from Old Forge NY to St. John. A couple of maps have been published, and others are in the works.

See # 7 above. ;) You can join for $35, get a free map (that otherwise cost $10 - they're great) and other interesting info on the Trail, supporting their excellent efforts. All but two of their 13 maps are now out, and the last two are coming soon. You can get them through the NFCT website - www.northernforestcanoetrail.org .

BorealChickadee
05-08-2006, 10:03 PM
Trailbisquit- Igot into canoe camping 7 years ago after having surgery on both knees. I knew it was the only way I was going to get back in the woods that summer. I went with a used kevlar canoe and am glad I did. I can load it and portage with ease. (wimpy female here). i have the New York version of the Quiet WAter Guide and I do like the book. I'd say to take a look at it for Maine if ther is one.

The big advantage of the kevlar canoe is that now my son and I portage it for longer trips up to 2 miles at a time. Opens up whole new worlds.
And yes it makes for luxurious camping. A chair for evening campfires, better food, books...luxuries.

woodstrider
05-10-2006, 12:32 PM
Adirondacks-various outfitters

Little Tupper Lake- No carries-primative campsites no leantos

St. Regis Area- lots of carries connecting the various lakes- some leantos

Long Lake- public launch area in town-leantos along lake on public land
(along Northville/Placid trail)


New Jersey-good outfitters

Pine Barrens- various river floats like;
Mullica
Bass

Shewolf
05-10-2006, 02:52 PM
I'm with BorealChickadee! My boyfriend bought a kevlar canoe and wow is that bugger LIGHT. Portage is easy and you can camp in complete luxury! We can even take my hulking shepherd with us along with all the gear.

Woodstider has given you some great places to go, as well. We've canoed both the St. Regis area and Long Lake. I'm a bigger fan of St. Regis since there are so many sights to camp and some great secluded ones if you are willing to do a little portage work!

SOFAS
05-10-2006, 04:11 PM
If you want to stay at a NY state campground, Fish Creek Pond and Rollins Pond have excellent access to canoe areas. You can go many miles with minimal portages. Canoe rentals are available in the campsites and most of the sites are on water. There are other outfitters in the area.

Amicus
05-10-2006, 04:15 PM
My boyfriend bought a kevlar canoe and wow is that bugger LIGHT. Portage is easy and you can camp in complete luxury!

I know how wonderfully light these are because I own one - a We-no-Nah Jensen Ultralite. I've never considered it sturdy enough, however, for canoe camping, at least the kind we prefer, on rivers. The best rivers all have rocks, at least sporadically, and for those you want something like Royalex that takes a licking and keeps on ticking. (The Jensen mainly gets used in an annual canoe race, with an occasional quiet spin on a pond.) Perhaps there are other kevlar models that are more rock-resistant? Most of the weight on our portages, in any case, comes from our gear (we don't travel light), and we unpack that and carry separately on anything but the shortest portages.

sleeping bear
05-10-2006, 04:20 PM
I know how wonderfully light these are because I own one - a We-no-Nah Jensen Ultralite. I've never considered it sturdy enough, however, for canoe camping, at least the kind we prefer, on rivers. The best rivers all have rocks, at least sporadically, and for those you want something like Royalex that takes a licking and keeps on ticking. (The Jensen mainly gets used in an annual canoe race, with an occasional quiet spin on a pond.) Perhaps there are other kevlar models that are more rock-resistant? Most of the weight on our portages, in any case, comes from our gear (we don't travel light), and we unpack that and carry separately on anything but the shortest portages.

The compromise is Royalite or R84, Mohawk (https://www.mohawkcanoes.com/home.htm) makes some nice tough/light boats. I want a solo!

Flounder
05-10-2006, 06:24 PM
I would recommend Richardson Lake http://www.southarm.com in Andover ME: they rent boats, kayak and canoes at the facility and have great Wilderness Camping along the lake. You can paddle about 15 - 20 miles in a very remote lake the camp sites are great with some on islands. Fishing is top notch as well if you are into that.

I have done a lot of boat trips in my day and this is one of my favorite. Spirit Island, Pine Island and my person favorite half Moon Cove (most southern site) are the best sites in my opinion.

Go get it!

DougPaul
05-10-2006, 10:09 PM
I know how wonderfully light these are because I own one - a We-no-Nah Jensen Ultralite. I've never considered it sturdy enough, however, for canoe camping, at least the kind we prefer, on rivers. The best rivers all have rocks, at least sporadically, and for those you want something like Royalex that takes a licking and keeps on ticking. (The Jensen mainly gets used in an annual canoe race, with an occasional quiet spin on a pond.) Perhaps there are other kevlar models that are more rock-resistant? Most of the weight on our portages, in any case, comes from our gear (we don't travel light), and we unpack that and carry separately on anything but the shortest portages.
I used to white-water boat in a Royalex canoe. Very tough, but heavy. Low maintenence. Slides over rocks. (17 ft Old Town Tripper + extra foam floatation = ~90lbs.)

Aluminum is lighter than Royalex, low maintenence, moderatly rugged, easily dented or bent, but easy to fix. Usable in current, but sticks to rocks. Very noisy.

Fiberglass and kevlar were lighter, but delicate. Low maintence, but some work to fix. OK on flat water, but stay off the rocks if you take it in current.

Wood was pretty, but delicate and high maintenence.

Doug

Wet
05-10-2006, 10:23 PM
Hey Trailbiscuit,

Welcome to the wonderful world of Canoe camping.

My suggestion to you would be to take out a canoe several times before loading one up and going camping. You can usually use them for free at some parks (IE the Middlesex Fells reservation in Boston). Or you can rent them for a few hours at a local camp or from someone on the Charles river.
I don't know your canoeing experience so some basics - and then I'll have some trip suggestions for you and others interested.

First, do some quick research on Ask.com
Get a few terms down, understand the different strokes, and the potential hazards of river/lake canoeing....(Winds, Strainers, Eddys)
You dont need to go nuts with white water stuff. Mainly focus on the different canoe paddle strokes, there reather easy and can be mastered in a day or so of practice.

Next- go take out a canoe- You can use the ones at the Middlesex Fells reservation for free. (the boating dock off 28 on the Malden/Medford line) Or Rent one on the charles river..(not sure your local)
You should take one out several times to get comfortable before you load it up with gear and try camping.

Next up some suggestions on where to camp...

Wet
05-10-2006, 10:38 PM
OK where to go:

Well first, something rather important I forgot. EQUIPMENT: Get a water bag. They sell em online and at EMS/REI/Wherever. Also usefull is a Short Lawnchair and Metal Cooler. regarless of wether or not your borrowing/renting or owning a canoe. The Short lawnchair goes on the bottom of the canoe between the gunnels directly behind the front seat. Place your water bags on top of the chair. this keeps the bags out of the muck that will get in the canoe. Though they are waterproof, it always helps, and keeps you clean while caring em in and out of the canoe. you should be able to fit 2 bags in the first gunnel space. Then you'll have some filler gear that will do in behind that. lastly place the cooler in the gunnel space infront of the rear seat. This is great for the rear person, as it gives you something to brace our feet against. This should all work nicely on a 17-18" cane....(Old town Discovery 149 i think). Lastly the Metal cooler. The old style metal coolers, usually stay colder better than the plastic ones, there more durable and the last two points are the most important> Metal coolers have the latch locks (i cant find em on plastic ones) This will keep your stuff in the cooler, if the cool/boat tips over. Lastly, Metal coolers are chew proof. If you go to the more popular canoe camping places, you will encounter recoons, who have been know to chew rigth through plastic coolers to get to the goodies...
Other good Stuff - Sandles- You will need the sandles with clip type clasps. Do not use velcro ones. The velcro ones come off when you swim in water, with good current. The clip style sandles wont come off your feet. (Water shoes are junk, and your feet get nasty) I havent tried any of the new hybred mesh type shoes. But my preference is on Sandles.
Sunblock- sounds silly but people forget it all the time.
from personal experience, do the inside of your ears....the top inside, will get burnt from light reflection off the water...also make sure you lather up those pasty white toes your showing off in our sparkly new clip style sandles.....

ok I promiss, i'll get to some trips in a minute.....

Wet
05-10-2006, 11:04 PM
Ok Trips:

Well, my absolute favorite area to go is the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
http://gorp.away.com/gorp/activity/camping/secluded5.htm
http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/Pubs/AWWBroc/AWW1.html

I have done serveral week long trips up to this area, if your looking for solitude and nature you will find it here. For something like this I would reccomed using an outfitter. You drive up to them, they drive you with your canoe's to where ever your going, and drive your car to where your taking out. When you pull out you leave the canoe there, and go on your merry wy. they'll pick it up later. GREAT! system....
For any hikers out there, there are some great 4-day trips on the lakes (all connected no portages) that can end whith you driving to baxter on the 5th day, Hiking Katahdin, and then going home on the 7th day...WHAT A VACATION!!!

* the whole reason to use an outfitter. If you put in at churchill damm, most outfittes, will drop your gear at the end of the rapids. So you can canoe class 1 & 2 rapids without a heavy canoe, and not worry about tipping and soaking your gear....you can also do a lakes trip, drop your gear at churchill damm for the outfitter. and for an extra $20 or so, have them meet you at the end of the rapids...good times




anyway some other canoe trips:
Stay off the Saco
The conneticuit river is good
I reccomened the BattenKill river in VT (make sure you can steer a canoe)
http://www.paddling.net/places/showReport.html?1107

other trips:
http://www.paddling.net/places/showReport.html?956
http://www.paddling.net/places/showReport.html?1073

expat
05-17-2006, 08:54 AM
The Moose River Bow trip is a good one, but it does have one long (1 mi) portage. The benefit is that it's a loop! Start on Attean Pond in Jackman, ME, cross it to the long portage, then put in on a pond that empties into the Moose river. There is a short portage around the major falls, and there there are two or three class I or II drops, but nothing big. We did three days, camping at the far end of the first portage, then at the big falls. The Moose River flows back into Attean pond, where you started. Late June was good, but I've heard that it can get crowded in July, but I don't think it gets to the level of the Saco.

The second place is Nicatous Lake, about 40 mi NE of Bangor. There are several campsites accessible only by water. I think that fire permits are required, but I can't recall where to get them, maybe Enfield. The lake is very quiet.