Re: Is Spencer Stream wheelable?

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@erikpieh 170 wrote:

I am leaving in a week for a thru paddle, and going up Spencer Stream looks difficult. Are there logging roads that I can use my canoe cart on to make this section easier? What is the route?

I’ve heard that upstream travel on the water is difficult due to rapids, and that the dam is hard to portage around.

I’ll answer my own question with a quote from my Wife’s journal below. Our logging road portage on the north side probably wasn’t worth it. This is a hard section of the NFCT, and builds character…

Next we encountered the biggest obstacle of the trip- six miles of paddling upstream on Little Spencer Stream. We actually cheated and portaged the first 1.5 miles on logging roads. What ensued was grotesque: three hours of gut wrenching paddling upstream over Class I-II rapids repeatedly. At our best we would dig in deep with our paddles in sync and make it up the rapid, although sometimes this required a second or even third try, sometimes with surfing. Other times we would trade off bracing and trying to pull ourselves up the rapids by utilizing rocks. We were glad to have sturdy old paddles along for this challenge. We longed for flat water and when we would reach small stretches of flat water it felt like heaven. At one point Erik was uber-man and got out of the canoe and pulled it upstream through the rapids while Emily and I braced in the canoe, paddle ready, just in case Erik took a misstep on the slippery rocks. It didn’t help that we decided to undertake this section of paddling at 4:30pm and both sides of the river had steep tree-lined forested banks making camping options very limited. After four hours it was 8:00 PM and we finally found a big enough patch of land to camp at the top of the Middle Deadwater. We set up our tents and cooked dinner with the darkness surrounding us. We were camped on low ground, almost bog-like. That night the no-see-ums were particularly nasty- biting us through our headnets.
The next morning we found the portage trail to Spencer Lake and began wheeling the canoe. Along the way we found a natural spring. We then put in on Spencer Lake.