Anyone who has hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail quickly learns the term “Trail Magic”. AT through hikers regularly find gifts of a cold drink or other tasty treats along the trail. Our own Andy Williams, Site Manager at Debsconeag Lake Wilderness Camps regularly encounters AT through hikers where the trail crosses the road leading into our camps at Fourth Debsconeag. Andy has a 5-gallon container in his truck filled with granola bars that he hands out to appreciative hikers as they near the end of their 4-month odyssey on the AT.
This time of year I am reminded of all the trail magic and goodwill that our wilderness trips are the beneficiaries of. This past week our Maine Coast Kayak group took a bit longer than planned to paddle around Pemaquid Point. When it became clear they wouldn’t make it to their intended island because of strong head winds a local landowner who is a Chewonki supporter allowed the group to camp on their private property. On the coast there are a number of privately owned islands that Chewonki groups have access to through the goodwill of island owners. A former Chewonki staff member met up with our Umbagog whitewater kayakers at the Rapid River recently with frozen popsicles! Imagine being provided with a cold treat on a hot and humid day after a week of drinking water that is the same temperature as the air!
These are but a few of the many acts of kindness that our trip groups experience. Chewonki groups also provide service while on trip. Our groups have helped rebuild campsites on the Allagash and cleaned up sites on the St. Croix River and picked up trash on the coastal islands we visit. A group of our 10-Day Maine Woods Adventure Girls provided an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker with some extra macaroni and cheese this past week which was greatly appreciated as the hiker was nearing the end of their 4 month trail hike and low on supplies. Earlier this summer one of our cabin trip groups helped with the evacuation of a hiker and his dog in the Bigelow region.
A member of the search and rescue team sent this thoughtful note of appreciation:
“Thought I would drop you a quick note thanking your campers and counselors for helping out with this rescue yesterday. Chewonki folks helped transport the patient’s dog (walk them out) back to the trailhead. This is kind of gesture can be a great relief to the family. They returned up the trail with a bunch of water bottles from the ambulance for the rescuers as we proceeded with the carry-out. Here in the backcountry, all rescues are multi-agency affairs. It was nice to see your crew joining in. Just thought you would want to know.” Best Steve, Franklin County Search and Rescue
North Woods Canoe
Called in 7/29 to let us know they experienced a strong thunderstorm and they are all fine, it is our protocol for groups to check-in after any unusually strong weather event, and they are having a great time and awaiting their resupply that will take place today at Indian Stream on Eagle Lake. During the past week they have portaged into the Allagash Watershed and they will now spend the next week and a half paddling north to the village of Allagash.
Thoreau Wabanaki Canoe Trip
Called in 7/29 to let us know that they too experienced the same storm thunderstorm and all are well. They are just finishing up the Mud Pond portage and have entered Chamberlain Lake in the Allagash Waterway. They look forward to meeting up with their resupply on Friday at Chamberlain Bridge.
The Boatbuilders paddled today from Tinker Island into Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island. They we will resupply them at Mount Desert Campground at the head of Somes Sound. The group will spend the night at the campground and then early tomorrow drive to Quebec City and then to the Parc de la Jacques Cartier where they will spend the night before continuing on to the Saguenay Fjord and the start of their Quebec paddling adventure.
Maine Coast Kayak
“We have been soaking up a ton of the Maine Coast magic during the past week! We are approaching our 50 mile mark and have been surrounded by harbor porpoises and seals and have had the opportunity to paddle past some iconic lighthouses.”
We met up with the MCK crew yesterday for their first resupply in Muscongus Bay, They are now continuing to head east to Penobscot Bay.
Called in 7/28 to report they had experienced a strong thunderstorm and today they are waiting a delivery of their resupply by motorboat to their campsite in Sunday Cove on Lake Umbagog. They have been spending their days refining whitewater-paddling skills on the Rapid River.
Maine Appalachian Trail Southbound
Called in to report the same big thunderstorms and they have now travelled over Sugarloaf and Saddleback and are ready for their second resupply on Friday. They group is passing over the height of land just south of Rangeley Maine and will soon be in the Mahoosuc Range.
Northeast Rivers has moved on after their time at the Rapid River and they have paddled the Rogue River and Gatineau tomorrow they are headed to the Ottawa River where they will spend several days before beginning to work their way back east to return to Maine and the Kennebec River.
Sub Arctic Leadership
The group continues with some of the most challenging sections of their route as they close in on the Parc de la Gaspésie. Yesterday Eric a staff member from the Quebec section of the International Appalachian Trail met up with the group for their second resupply.
We had another call from the George River Crew on Monday night and here are a few highlights. “Participants are in the final phase of leadership on the trip meaning they are calling all the shots with guidance by trip leaders on whitewater decisions. The group is now officially on the George River. The George is three times wider than the DePass River the tributary that they paddled to the George. The river is crystal clear and you can see down 20 feet to the bottom. The group saw a black bear while scouting their first rapid on the George River…taking it as good omen. They have not seen anyone human for 18 days other then float plane pilot that flew in their resupply. Best Foods: Cinnamon Buns, Cheesy Biscuits and a 2 foot Lake Trout, caught and eaten!
-Greg Shute, Director of Outdoor Programs