|"So, uh, where's the outlet?"|
Over breakfast at Dean's with two of the wardens (poor Jim D. couldn't make it, had to work), John offered to carry our gear to Ashland for us, and Jim F. called ahead to the local Rod and Gun, who had a log cabin on the river bank. So, our day was planned and we set out with lightly loaded boats for Ashland.
|Jim told of a fellow in the ranger business who was heading down Beaver Brook, out of Portage. "The guy came around the corner and smelled something awful bad." Jim stuffs his nose in the crook of his elbow for effect. "Anyway, not much further down and the guy comes across a set of dentures. Back home, about two in the morning , he put two and two together and sat bolt upright. He couldn't sleep anymore, thinking there was a body there in the woods. He called the FBI and they took over. They stumbled around in the woods but never found anything." Later they found a bunch of other gear and figured some one just fell in and lost their stuff.|
The route began with a four mile portage to Little Machias Lake, then down Little Machias River to the Aroostook, then upstream about a mile to our goal. Jim said there were some blowdowns along the way and he wished he'd have known we were coming, because he would have cleared them for us. What a nice guy.
The day was physically demanding. After the portage, we paddled directly into a stiff headwind out of the south for two miles down the lake. There was an immense blowdown at the outlet of the lake, and no water. I found the first mile disheartening with having to step out, drag the boat, step back in over and over. Then drag the boat over a blowdown for variety.
After that first mile, the river picked up a little depth and meandered through alders for a long way. Getting my pole tangled in the alders was a relief compared to the shallows. At the confluence with the Aroostook, there was another series of shallows. We stopped and bailed enough alder twigs to start a fire.
THE AROOSTOOK, 5 PM 6/14/00
It was Jumbo's turn to get frustrated as we plowed into the headwind and strong current. It was difficult to get a purchase on the rounded river rocks and pole-stumbles were frequent. That mile took us about 45 minutes. Waiting for us on shore was Jim Fahey, his wife and his beagle, plus a passle of old timers from the cabin. I was awful happy to end the day, see my gear on the porch and share a cup of coffee with the guys. Gawd Damn! What a character builder.
Jim left, they were on their way to Bangor. Then he came back with a 6 pack for us. Nice guy. I already said that once, didn't I? John Robertson stopped in, to check on "his boys", then moved on. John showed us the two beavers he caught that day.