Mud Pond Carry - Allagash

Last Friday I had the pleasure of traveling across the Mud Pond Carry from Umbazooksus Lake into Mud Pond. This was the toughest portage I have ever done.

More than half of the trail is either standing/flowing water or mud or any combination of the same. There are between 12 and 15 trees down across the trail. At the end, there is a 100 foot stretch of knee deep water.

Three different maps list three different lengths; 1.6 miles; 1.8 miles or 2 miles. Sure felt like 2 miles to me.

It took me 3 hours to carry, lift, wheel my 40 lb boat across, then 2 hours for next bit of gear. After 5 hours, I was exhausted, so camped at Mud Pond end, then made one more 2 hour trip the next morning.

Fortunately, I wore mukluk type boots and a wet-suit. I think the mud would have been tough on water shoes. Hiking boots would have been trashed.

Now, I can understand how Thoreau and his companion got lost here.

Anyone else had the pleasure of this one?

Not yet
and the more I hear about it, the more I think I may never try it! Ha! I wonder if it might be better later in the year when the water tables typically drop. I will be through there one of these days to finish the NFCT, but I have been considering an alternate route that loops around to the west, avoiding the mud pond carry.

Kudos to you for sticking it out! I hope you found it rewarding and satisfying instead of just a total beatdown.


always stuck to the main river
the only portage I did was around Allagash Falls.

Alternative is available according
to NFCT. Paddlers can stop at the Chesuncook Store and they will arrange a shuttle to Chamberlain Bridge.

One of the Allagash Rangers said the fellow going through before me, decided to follow Longley Stream Road east to Dottle Brook and then down Dottle into Mud Pond. Ranger wasn’t sure why he went that way or if it proved any easier.

The most memorable thing, to me, about the Mud Pond carry (besides the pain & agony) is how narrow the path is and how far down through the forest floor it cuts. Just wide enough for two feet. It makes you realize how long this trail has been used by humans.

It is one of those things that I hope to never do again, but I’m glad I did it the one time.

This trip brought me to Churchill Dam. I’ll have to decide how to deal with Chase Rapids sometime in the future.

chase rapids are relatively simple

– Last Updated: Jun-04-08 7:08 PM EST –

Make sure there is enough water and most of the drops can be run on river right===It can be a little dangerous when the water is really high--but that would be April-May and only when there is a high rain/snow spring runoff. BTW the Rangers offer a shuttle service for your canoe and or equipment---most people pay to have their gear shuttled around the rips and then run them in an empty boat

last year it was ten bucks

– Last Updated: Jun-05-08 12:02 AM EST –

Chase Rapids varies according to the release. Its not always the same.. Highwater is a joy, low water requires a little more attention. Be there by twelve..(thats last years data though)

One of our group who was a self proclaimed expert in a solo canoe panicked on the first little drop, sat in the bottom of the solo canoe, never put a paddle in ,and emerged at Bissonette Bridge(still sitting in the bottom of the boat) nevertheless saying there was a problem with the boat he borrowed.

It worked fine for me.

Its still more fun in Chase without a load affecting your boats liveliness.

I have never heard of Mud Pond Carry being waterless.

most of the people
I know who have gone down Chase–including me about 10 times–do it with an empty boat. Your stuff stays a lot dryer that way.

Thanks for all the
good advice regarding doing the Chase rapids. An empty boat sounds like the way to go. Al

Mud Pond Carry - Allagash.

I went through the carry from lake Umbazooksus to Mud Pond around June 20th 1970. I was then only fifteen years old and my three companions were fifteen, sixteen, and sixteen. We arrived at the beginning of he carry around 4:00 PM and decided to portage all the camping gear plus one canoe to mud Pond. My friend was stronger than me and his father had teached him to carry the canoe alone. At that time, there was almost no fiberglass canoe. We had a 14 foot birch bark canoe and a 14 foot canvas canoe. I can tell you I will remember all my life that carry. The longest two miles I ever did. It was completely dark when we arrived at Mud Pond and fortunately, two of our team, less loaded, arrived before and had time to raised the tents and prepare the fire. Mosquitoes were crazy. We camped right at the end of the carry since we had to go back to pick up the second canoe the next morning. The trail was muddy but not at the beginning. Portion of it was really walking into a stream though but the worst was when fallen trees were blocking the path with the canoe on the shoulders. I don’t remember that we crossed any log road then.

Each time I’ve done this carry I swear I won’t do it again. When my father and I did it in 1967, it was the worst thing I’d ever done. It was wet and muddy and it seemed like it went on forever. I was carrying a large pack that weighed a ton. I sat down of the side of the trail to rest and the pack pulled me backwards. I couldn’t stand up and I couldn’t get it off. I lay there for what felt like forever while the mosquitos bored holes in me. Eventually my father (carrying the canoe) caught up and helped me back to my feet. We spent that night on the far side of the pond and watched one of the most amazing meteor showers of my life.
The next time was in 1972. I went with 3 buddies. We arrived at the carry in the rain. It was properly juiced up and provided the expected experience. My buddies were questioning the wisdom of the entire trip by the time we camped on the far side of the pond. We had come from Greenville and were on our way to Fort Kent…this was the worst day of that trip…as expected.
I returned in 2010 with my older son. We were paddling a canoe that we had built together, a 17 1/2 foot Traveller. He carried the canoe through the muck, beaver haul trails, over trees etc. A strong and fit athlete, he declared it the worst day of his life.
I returned for my next to last time three years ago with my younger son. After years of trying, we finally made the run. The carry was waiting and up to par. Properly juiced up it was flowing, muddy, trees were blocking…it was as bad as it could be. He described it as a family right of passage and suggested that he would do the same with his children when he has them.
The best way to describe the carry? It sucks! And Mud Pond?..the fun is just starting when you get the there, you need to pack the canoe and re-launch. Good luck with that. And the outlet…hope that the stream is running.
Honestly, I feel sorry for anyone that has avoided this carry. You’ve missed out on an experience that is life changing and certainly memorable.
Thoreau’s Indian guide did not get lost with him…he was lost by himself. He must have been a complete moron to lose that trail and wander out into those woods…a moron. The carry trail cannot be missed.

I will have one more go at the carry. I’ve told my son’s that I want some of my ashes spilled on it…some on the side that runs to Umbazooksus and some on the Allagash end of it. For them to live up to my request they each need to go back one more time. Too funny.

I was told that the Mud Pond carry is not possible this year because the water in Mud Pond is too low. We are going on a trip next week and wanted to use the carry to get in to Chamberlain Lake. Can anyone confirm that it’s not passable this summer. Thanks.


no havent done ot but its wicked dry
call the Ranger at Chamberlain
wjo would know if Mud Pond has any water
May depend on the dams releasing oilut of Chamberlain/Telos

However the Allagash River is running at 180 cfs. that is insanely low so while the portage may not be wet Mud Pond may be quicksand

yes I’ve done the mud pond portage in the 80’s. It is one of the wetter portages. I guess by Allagash standards one of the worst (tramway, chase rapids, lock dam, telos cut) but the frequency of portages on the east branch has my vote for worst (Haskell’s/Grand and Pond Pitch/Hulling Machine). All of it is worth doing though when you can run the west branch, webster brook and then hop down the east branch (Thoreau’s route). Portaging is a part of it. The kind of trip I’d ditch the spruce poling poles, grate, and axe (groups of boyscouts) to make portaging easier.