Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Penobscot River

... or more precisely, the West Branch of the Penobscot River, is a beautiful, powerful, wild section of Class V water. It starts at the Power Station outflow, then enters the Gorge. Here, the river runs in a narrow cleft between cliff walls that rise 40 or 50 feet sheer above the river. Below (and out of sight unless you are crazy enough to hang over the edge) are some really strong holes and waves.
(Remember, if you want to see a larger image, click on the picture...)

After the Gorge, the river drops through an easy Class II and around the bend into the Little Eddy. Below Little Eddy, the river begins to pick up strength, passing around several bends and under a bridge before entering the Crib.

The Crib is deceiving to the eye. From the shore, it looks big and powerful

but unless there is a boat in it, you don't really get a sense of how big and how powerful it is.

This raft took the river left course. I happened to snap the shot just as they decided to stop paddling and go into a huddle in the middle of the raft...

Watching a kayak go through, a real sense of the size and strength of the Crib can be seen.

Below the Crib, the heavy white water run finishes at Big Eddy.
I did a video of this part of the river. I have learned that videos on my blog really slow it down and the video quality is poor, so I am not posting them here any more. If you would like to see my video, you may download it from

Below Big Eddy is several miles of Class II and III water. A waterfall about 8 feet high is below that. In the picture, notice the woman fishing on the rock to the left? I watched her catch a nice trout.

I came back two days later and fished from the same place while watching baby salmon trying to work their way upstream. This part of the State is filled with streams, ponds, lakes and rivers, all of which seem to be clean and good fish habitat. It seems like every day I find several more places to not catch any fish...

West of the Gorge and the Crib, some very bumpy stone roads continue into the North Maine Woods interior.

While the scenery is nice, the roads are more than what I want to travel with Enterprise.

Finishing this post, Mount Katahdin, the northerly terminus of the Appalachian Trail...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baxter State Park

Baxter is a State Park clearly focused on the hiker. There are a total of two roads, one a loop and one a dead end. Yesterday I explored the loop road.

Beginning in the northeast corner of the park, I first had to drive north on Route 11 to get to the park. On the way I passed a stunningly colored field.

Shortly after the field I got a great view of the east face of Mount Katahdin.

The park road is a narrow gravel road. Restrictions are a 20 MPH speed limit and vehicle size no more than 7' wide, 9' high and 22' long. There is no way that Enterprise is getting into the park.

The north part of the drive is just a tunnel through the trees with no views. Reaching the southwesterly part of the drive, views of the mountains begin to occur.

Further to the south, I reached Stump Pond. It had some lovely views of the mountains but they didn't photograph well, perhaps because of the flat midday light. What did work well is the namesake of the pond, the bleached stumps that line its shore.

Leaving the park, I spoke to some local folks who pointed me to some great viewpoints of the south side of Mount Katahdin across the West Branch of the Penobscot River. I got there this morning.

In the afternoon, I connected with a guy who took me up the dead end road in the park and showed me how to get to a pond known for moose activity. Even without moose, it was a beautiful location.

On the way to the pond we saw a moose cross the trail mere feet in front of us. It was so quiet, and the vegetation so dense, that I had no chance for a photograph.

When we reached the pond, at first there was nothing. We were joined by a fairly short gentleman with a remarkable moustache and a very tall, slender woman. He had a very heavy Russian accent. After a while, however, we saw an animal off to our left.

Right behind him came...

Seeing that, the man with the moustache said "See, Natasha? Is Moose and Squirrel."

I checked the map for our location and saw that we were in Frostbite Falls...
I was going to check at the local college, Wattsamatta U., to ask why a flying helmet and goggles were on the squirrel's head but Professor Peabody was not in. Maybe another day...

(Thanks to Andy for a great photoshop job!)

Later, I got some very close shots of a cow moose.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Rocky Coast of Maine

A sunny day - what a concept!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Low Tide

I finished the repair of Enterprise's roof. I think it is OK until I get to the mothership for them to check it out.

Yesterday afternoon, at low tide, the clear sky and sun's angle finally gave me a chance for some camera work.

Thar She Blows!

Sunday was the first day in 19 days when it did not rain on me. I took advantage of the break in the weather to drive to Boothbay Harbor to go whale watching.

Boothbay Harbor is a classic northern New England harbor with wooded shores, numerous small craft and a few larger ones, islands, lighthouses and docks and cottages tucked into the wooded shores.

The whale watching boats head out to feeding grounds created by upwellings of deep, cold, nutrient-rich water. The upwellings feed algee which feed plankton which feed small schooling fish which feed larger feeding fish which feed whales. The whales feed by diving, filling their mouths with water laden with marine life, then straining the water out through their baleen. The marine life is left behind. Surfacing after a dive, the whale exhales the breath it has been holding for the duration of the dive. The classic plume of vapor shows where the whale surfaced.

They spend a few minutes at the surface, recharging their tissues with oxygen before diving again. The dive for Finbacks, the kind of whales we saw, begins with an arched back. The long, narrow body just slides under. Unlike humpbacks, the flukes on Finbacks remain under the water.

After watching them a bit, we let them move off and we headed back.

On the way back, we saw a lot of birds and seals on the unpopulated islands in the outer harbor area.

After 2/3 of a month of rain, it was a great way to spend the day.