Family Paddling on the West Branch of the Penobscot

By Kate Williams

With September now upon us, and the devastation from Tropical Storm Irene still very much part of our lives here in VT, it’s kind of hard to remember that I actually went on vacation this summer.  So, I’m writing this post both to remind myself that I did, in fact, have an awesome adventure with my family a mere two weeks ago, and – more importantly – to share it with you, as it took place on a wonderful section of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

I believe the story of the trip is best told through pictures, so see the gallery below.  But first, a big shout out to Steve and Belinda at Allagash Gateway Camps for shuttling our cars, and providing a warm place to return to at the wet end of our trip.  They got us off on the right foot, and provided a great return destination, hot ramen for the kids included!  Also, our thanks to the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the manager for the Penobscot River Corridor.

Here’s the photo gallery, with the trip itinerary below.

Our itinerary:

Day 1:  Roll Dam to Lobster Lake

Days 2-3:  Lounging on the sandy beaches at Lobster Lake, and exploring this incredible little gem of a destination.  Camped two nights at Lobster Lake.

Days 3-4:  West Branch to Chesuncook Lake.  Camped at Little Ragmuff on the West Branch.

Days 4-5:  Chesuncook to take out.  Camped on Gero Island – we’d planned one more night on Chesuncook Lake, but we opted to do a marathon paddle down Chesuncook as the rain locked in on us, and we took out a day early.

Overall assessment:  A great trip.  The paddling was fun and interesting, the wildlife plentiful (bald eagles, beaver, river otters, osprey, mergansers, Canada geese, and more), and the scenery both breathtaking and relaxing.  You have to work a bit to get to this trip, but it’s absolutely worth it – eight thumbs up from the Williams family!