Re: Whipple Pond via Spencer Road to Grand Falls (past Spencer Lake)
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The first edition of NFCT Map 10 shows a paddling route connecting Spencer Rips Road to Fish Pond/ Spencer Lake via Whipple Pond, Hall Pond, and a small stream. Later maps show the trail re-routed via a longer portage that uses Hardscrabble Road and Spencer Rips Road. Those roads are sparsely traveled but well maintained. The few paddlers I know of who attempted the original route were through paddlers (going upstream) who reported an epic maze of passages through alder scrub, with blown down trees, beaver dams, and debris blocking the channel. Navigation upstream to Hall Pond and Whipple Pond was reported to be very difficult.
This year on May 29th I paddled from Hardscrabble Road down through Fish Pond and Spencer Lake to Grand Falls with the NFCT section maintainer. We left a vehicle at the confluence of Spencer Stream and the Dead River, near the put-in used by whitewater trips on the Dead River. This was an easy day trip. The gauge on Spencer Stream was reporting a water level of 830 cfs. That made for a quick, fun paddle down Spencer Stream, Class I and a little Class II. On that date we were ahead of the bugs, barely.
Spencer Lake is beautiful, and you are in the far North Woods for the whole trip. There are a couple of rustic camps/ lodges on the lake, and that’s about it. If you plan an overnight, please contact the manager in advance (207 243-3020) to get permission to camp on Spencer Lake. That campsite has sandy beaches and great views – a pretty special place. I did not fish so I can’t report on that part of your question. – K