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Thread: Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge

  1. #1
    Senior Member spider solo's Avatar
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    Sep 2003

    Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge

    May 21-23 2010

    A beautiful trip with sunny skies and calm water !! This was a welcome change from last week's rainy days of hats and gloves on Mooselookmeguntic.
    Philippe came down from Sherbrooke Qc as we are practicing for a trip to La Verendrye QC for a couple of weeks later this season. So aside from the fun aspect of paddling in a beautiful area we are trying to refine the gear to the absolute essentials and practice our navigation skills as well.

    Fri May 21st was our rendezvous at L.L. Cote and off we go for the launch at the nearby Androscoggin River and up into Umbagog. Reaching the area called Sweet Meadows we scan hopefully for signs of Moose and then weave our way over to where the Bald Eagle nest used to be near campsite 29. It was not to be found, everything looked about the same but no nest to be seen ... leaving a bit mystified we make our way eastward over to Pine Point where I want to follow a compass bearing I had worked out at home.

    Turns out my bearing was off (practice, practice, practice) but with plenty of daylight we search out a beautiful campsite and pitch our tents.
    Err...well... Philippe pitches his tent. I on the other hand find my poles are not the ones that go with my nice small tent which I had proudly brought.
    They do however go with completely different tent.which is happily else where...therefore time for plan B.
    The extra small tent. Actually it's a Bivy Bag though in winter terms sometimes called a "body bag". No matter, I have spent many a night in it and it's like an old friend.

    Now the big Fri night adventure we have been waiting for ..some awesome night paddling !!!
    Lot's and lot's of fun paddling by moonlight. Philippe left a small white light on back at the campsite. Tiny as it was, it worked great so we could have a reference point as we paddled along.
    I do manage to make a less than graceful exit from my boat upon landing but not to worry the weather was warm and no one to see so "life is good "on that account.

    Saturday, finds us happy puppies...ok maybe a bit like a tired dog...well not that bad either. I would say just about right.
    Beautiful morning and we explore Sunday Cove poking around here and there.
    Chirds a burpin...every way we go....mucho nice-o indeed !

    The plan is to regroup a the campsite and work on some navigation skills.
    Plus we have a new destination.
    Friends I had never met but knew over the years were camped elsewhere on the lake by sheer coincidence. Social butterflies that we are (not really)
    we opted to head over there for a lunch break and a quick hello.
    (These group of people were organized by the legendary personage of Sherpa Kroto..though he may deny any portion of that statement).
    With compass in hand and on the boat we set out across the lake.
    In the distance of the shimmering water sits a lone figure ...It is the gregarious Sherpa himself...a picture of happiness, fishing and soaking up the sun.
    After a little photo opt and some blah,blah, blah and an up date of the Disappearing /relocated Eagle nest... seems the Eagles themselves will dismantle and reuse the sticks for a new location..very cool.

    Off we head for a lunch visit and introductions with Sue Biscuit, who sure enough, is quite hospitable and we made a nice visit. Very nice to finally put faces with the names of folks I had only known through their writings.
    More people arrive in short order to this could be suspected, with my trail name of ...spider solo.. well, 4 people or a 3 eyed critter is usually enough to send me on my way. Think I met one soul there named Kevin twice as I hadn't seen that many people so quick since who knows when and I'm like "howdy doody there.. a yah" so off we go to see the sights and feed the mouche noir (black flies)

    We make our way down the shore and crossing over to Tyler Cove . Temps are hot, hot, hot and we are sweltering. We loose a few layers of clothes, have a snack, and check out some footprints in the sand, We decided they were unequivocally not those of an ele-phant so we moved on to things we might actually know....

    Seeing the eagles nest on our return Philippe has an excellent view of the proud parents... one on the nest and one nearby.

    Shortly there after I about startle some poor fellow out of his boat...could have sworn he saw me coming...perhaps I should put a beep beep horn on my boat next time.

    Tired when we get back to the campsite I take a snooze on my "petite tent" and settle in for the night after dinner and conversation.

    Sunday.....yes the final day.
    Up at 5:30 for an early morning tour of Sunday bay. I make my discovery of a Moose. I don't have to worry about it moving off before it can be seen by inquiring eyes.
    This is not a happy moose... in fact very unhappy...actually quite dead and we speculate as to why later in the day.

    Breakfast and packing up a state employee makes a bee line for our campsite to inform us that it is actually not open yet. Pleasant enough fellow. In French I inform him Philippe does not speak English.
    Which is not quite true at all. His English is extremely good. I just didn't want to make him have to deal with all the idiosyncrasy of how we in the "'states tend to deal with perceived figures of authorities ...that plus I was the guy who invited him.
    On the other side of the border I'll be more than glad to have him do all the talking for us. Here in the "states" I figured it was my responsibility.

    All packed up, hatches secure and off we go to check out Rapid River or at least the last rapid as it enters into the larger waters of Umbagog.
    I start heading beyond the entrance for the river but my friend reels me in and we make our turn into the bay for the river.
    It turns out to be an exceptionally nice area and we will keep it in mind for future trips. A few scattered islands and some nice habitat for Moose makes it very inviting indeed.

    After a brief break at an area called Cedar Stump camping, which I believe, is run by yet another group out of Errol.
    We head back to Pine Point and make a direct crossing, in a bit more "bumpy" water this time, searching out the Magalloway River up in the NW portion of the lake. The area is also known for it's "floating islands"
    Islands seemingly made up mostly of bushes and grasses where trees eventually take hold and grow but without any real substantial soil. If I have my thinking correct.

    The entrance of the Magalloway River turns out to be somewhat elusive for us but we spot another Bald Eagle which had apparently seen us long before we had the pleasure of viewing it.
    After meandering here and there we find the entrance for the river and head up it till we reach our 3 o'clock turn around time then head back to the Androscoggin River and back to our vehicles capping off three "picture perfect "days of fine weather and paddling.

    Such an excellent trip !! ...and a chance to realize how much more we need to trim down for our upcoming trip carrying 2 weeks of food..yikes !
    Last edited by spider solo; 05-30-2010 at 05:27 PM.
    "you've got to stand for something'll fall for anything"

  2. #2
    Senior Member Gris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Flyin Thru The Night :-)


    i am sooo sorry i missed this...
    Buy my new book 'Zen and the Art of Pessimisim,' or not. I guess it doesn't really matter if you read it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    nice meeting you

    sorry I did not realize who you were until after you left...I was the one having trouble landing my yellow boat.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Newton, MA
    I've been wondering about that eagle nest relocation having camped on the island across from the nest a few times and enjoyed their companionship. Didn't realize they could be so noisy, however, and dawn would greet us with a cacophony of eagles and loons that somehow blended into the most welcome symphony.

    Anyone here familiar with bald eagle behavior to explain this nest relocation?

    Had they become annoyed with campers across the channel? I would doubt this since the nest and the campsite had both been there for many years.

    Had they sensed the old dead tree the nest set atop might soon fall from under them?

    Did they find a better spot for prey?

    Or, are they like everyone else looking for a change of scenery?

    Is the territory large enough that another family might take over the old location, eagle immigrants if you will?

    Sounds like a magnifique trip, spider, tent aside!

  5. #5
    Senior Member spider solo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Bob nice to meet you as well. It is a bit of a tough landing spot at that location.
    Since I did much the same landing the night before across the lake I thought I recognized a kindred spirit...and technique.

    It was the "lone ranger" Sunday morning who was offering the info about the eagles moving their nest stick by stick. I'd be curious if that was acurate info.

    When we saw another eagle the next day in the same area as the old nest I was wondering if it was from a previous brood sayin "geez my folks moved and won't tell me where" ...(but I kind of doubt it)

    I do have much the same trip report only with a map and more photos over at

    but don't know how to link directly to it.

    However here is the "Blackfly Song" for any future adventures.....
    Last edited by spider solo; 06-01-2010 at 06:04 PM.
    "you've got to stand for something'll fall for anything"

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