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NSPN Lake Umbagog #2, Oct 5-8, 2018

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Skip report-go straight to slideshow.

 This would be my sixth visit to Umbagog, and second time as organizer for an NSPN long weekend of kayak camping. We happened to, by chance, pick peak foliage weekend, which was spectacular, as was the company. We gathered in dribs and drabs at the spacious public boat ramp in Errol, above the dam.


Our destination was a remote group site on the eastern shore, a 5+ mile paddle from the ramp. We would paddle much of the way against the barely-moving Androscoggin River.

IMGP0004.thumb.JPG.1a7399c90e330ec2e30860edba0f985b.JPGDespite the (false) advertising, our hopes of seeing a moose were dashed, though I suspected our best chances were along this section of the trip. (I’ve never seen a moose on the Lake or River!)

 About half of the group decided to peel off to explore a few of the remote sites at the Magalloway/Umbagog/Androscoggin confluence. This marshy area for many years was the site of a nesting bald eagle pair, and was a big attraction when I canoe-camped with the boys here some 25 years ago. Alas, the tall, dead pine tree succumbed to gravity, and is only a fond memory.






 We made a beeline to Pine point,


then a short paddle across the mouth of the Rapid River to our northerly-facing campsite in the woods. The landing zone was not a little dicey,













but we managed to haul the boats and set up our multiple tents and tarps, our little village for three nights of camping bliss.

 Night time falls early this time of year, but we were well-prepared with a roaring blaze around the stone fire pit, a perfect source for grilling up asparagus, pork, bratworst, and tall tales. Some were worried about staying warm during the projected cool temps (one claimed temps in the low to mid 30s overnight), but, by morning, ALL campers were accounted for.

Saturday was a lovely day for exploring the Rapid River, so we kayaked around the corner and moseyed up the river, only as far as where the rapids started, where some played in the Class II. Here we stowed the boats, enjoyed snacks, and proceeded up river along the path and Carry Road.


Occasional signs and symbols attached to trees signaled short paths to the river, all with spectacular views, the favorite with open, flat rocky ledges and bright sunshine.  About half the crew decided to turn back after a nice stroll, while the few remaining journeyed as far as Pond in the River, where hints of civilization included scattered cottages, pick up trucks, and docile guard dogs. I hoped to recognize a cottage that resembled anything from Louise Dickinson Rich’s book  “We Took to the Woods”, but was stymied. We turned back after stopping to look at what remained of “the Alligator”, scattered metal parts of a mechanized thingamajig to regulate log flows into the river.

 Our jerry-rigged combination of three separate tarps kept any rain at bay, and, for a second night we enjoyed another feast, campfire, and camaraderie.


 Sunday started off lazy and continued, as we bushwhacked to a more coveted group tent site on the southern-facing portion of the peninsula-fingers crossed for securing this for next year! Three departed early for home and other–worldly commitments. Some choose to continue the low-key day by paddling close to the shoreline, in and out of coves, snapping photos of beautiful foliage, while others did a longer, clockwise route of the Lake’s upper half, dealing with some moderate northwest winds.

 By the third night we were completely accustomed to the gourmet offerings, fire, and friends, so we repeated.

 Monday morning arrived, and we had had nothing more than a rare sprinkle over the weekend. We left in groups of two, four, and two, at separate intervals, and made our way back to the cars and home, most of us drawn into the parking lot at Errol’s LL Cote (? Northwoods version of L.L. Bean), to find the latest gadget/gear.



 Thanks to all who came out to play and enjoy Mother Nature’s finery!


Edited by gyork

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