We got an early start, 6AM. Right off the bat, we ran Whetstone Falls, about a mile of easy class III, but with a surprise hydraulic under the bridge. By the time I saw it, there was no option but to run straight through it and let the momentum carry me. That thing looked as though it would latch on and spin any one that tried an angled line through it. I remember seeing a mess of people camping near the bridge, on the banks. Glad we didn't stop there. Looked pretty crowded. Next was Grindstone Falls, which has to be the most technical thing I have ever run. I have to say it was two miles of solid class III. It was wild. What an adrenaline rush.
We stopped at the town of Grindstone and wandered up and down the road. No store. We had been misled once again. A little further down, we stopped at Pine Grove Campground. Surprised the heck out of them, because they didn't hear any one drive up. We had heard there was a store here too. No such luck, but they did have a couple of things to buy. We each bought two Snickers and a Gatorade. Wow! What a calorie blast! I felt like I could run up a tree.
Ledge Falls was the last big set of rapids for the day. It wasn't as difficult as Grindstone, but it had a serious ledge drop into a hydraulic at the very end. By 1 PM, we had covered 23 miles. We pulled over at the town boat ramp and loaded the canoes onto the portage carts. Our goal was Katahdin Shadows Campground. It was about 2 miles to the campground. We stopped first at a diner, parking the canoes in a space by the front door. They didn't have what we were looking for, so we headed on down the shoulder of Rte 11. We stopped at a convenience store, then headed on down the road to the campground.
Dominated by huge RV's we turned in the driveway to the campground. Rick Levasseur, the owner, just happened to be mowing the lawn. He shut off the mower and walked over. "You guys gotta have a story to tell." He said. We probably talked for a half hour, right there on the edge of the drive. The Winnebagos had a hard time squeezing past our canoes, parked in the narrow drive, but Rick didn't seem to notice. Rick used to guide river trips down the East Branch Penobscot, and helped portage around the upper falls. He wants to get back into it.
As a matter of fact, I was busy humming the tune at the beer store, when JS, in the lead, rounded the bend on the way to the Budweiser cooler. He nearly collided with a woman who was unseen because she was bending over to get a thirty pack. Her butt was about three times as wide as Jumbo and he would have drove her head right into the cooler if he hadn't stopped. Like a couple of giddy schoolboys, we had to leave the store real quick so we could burst out laughing.