Need suggestions for Maine fall tour

-- Last Updated: Jul-28-10 3:08 PM EST --

Have done Umbagog, Aziscohos, and Upper Richardson in western Maine. Somewhat intimidated by Flagstaff and Moosehead. Would like something smaller and tamer, not prone to treacherous wind and waves..

Criteria: wild but easy to get to; beautiful; good camping at will; within 2-3 hours of Portland (not far northern Maine); roads driveable with a compact car; lots of coves and islands to explore; enough to keep me busy for a few days.

I like to stay camped in one place and make day trips from there.

Thanks for your ideas!

you can get to the south end off the Golden Rd

attean pond

Moose River Bow
On almost every paddling trip I’ve taken in Maine I’ve had a least one day of wind that has prevented me form paddling or caused me to change plans. I think the biggest inland waves I ever saw were on the Richardsons as a strong wind came out of the north. I swear they were over three feet on the south arm.

I’ve never paddled on Chesuncook but it has a big reputation for windy conditions. I wouldn’t rule out Flagstaff, or Moosehead, but you might want to consider the Jackman area. The Moose River Bow trip is a classic and should be relatively quiet in the fall. The Moose River to Long Lake is also very nice. Good luck and watch out for bull moose in rut.

Richardson storms
The worst thunderstorm I ever saw in my life was, if I recall the date, August 2007, at Upper Richardson. I was camped about halfway down the lake. There was continuous thunder and lightening every few seconds for 6 straight hours. Huge bolts on all sides.

The next morning I launched at 5 a.m. and the lake was pure glass.

I’m not a sea kayaker, have no open ocean experience. But I think of those big lakes in western Maine as ocean conditions. Richardson especially is prone to a funnel effect. My Aziscohos trip was delayed by several hours because the waves at the southern end were so big that several pontoon boats were forced back. I drove to the north end and couldn’t launch until 5 p.m. A ranger at Aziscohos told me has seen 8-foot waves there.

What you describe is exactly why I seek the sheltered end of the lakes, in among the coves and islands, and prefer the smaller lakes.

Thanks very much for your suggestions!

wicked bad waves
got stuck for 3 extra days on big beaver island in upper richardson. just got back from mooselookmygunquick witn many island campsite and coves galore. i put in at haines landing. you will have several public boat ramps on this lake. most of the campsite are on the western side shelted from the wind most of the time. nicatos lake is a bit af a drive but i have found it top me favorite lake in maine. the best fall trip is the st.croix river. a long drive but you get what you work for.

Lobster Lake
If the Golden Road is not too far you might consider the West Branch Penobscott and Lobster Lake. Put in at Lobster Stream.

We were up there last September and Lobster Lake was deserted. The West Branch was full of fishermen though.

Along Sebago’s shoreline

– Last Updated: Jul-27-10 11:34 AM EST –

* Due to known territory by others...guess we can scratch Sebago.*
Ponds are much better for paddling enjoyment.
With "2-3 hours of Portland", my $.01 would be the western mtn lakes, and if the wind blows...just go hiking, but one can often find refuge from the wind given where it's coming from, not always, but often.
Windy days, where any bugs are kept at bay, are often great for hiking.
If you're ever upstate in the Moosehead area(y/n?), the woodlands to the NE(~30min to 1hr from downtown Greenville) are off the paved but roads are always in pretty good condition without need for xtra clearance(W.Branch Ponds(1st, 2nd), Big Lyford Pond..east off the LilyBay Rd..just south of Kokadjo..runs past 1st Roach Pond(on road along its southern shore)..east for ~10-15mi). Pristine cold-water ponds(~30'+ max depth in places)..mostly shallow with small beaches, woods to explore. Moose, deer, birds..etc, some of my favorite ponds to paddle...not expansive = can be windy but usually not much at all. A few small beaches to hit...lots of brush/flowers along edges = always photo-ready. The more shallow ponds with salt-rch aquatic growth = easy feeding for moose.
Again take the DeLorme atlas...cuz not many signs(although more than in decades past).
It's just that in last 10+? yrs the road north of Kokadjo has gone downhill without steady maintenance(from extinct GNP).
*Fall is often a great time to find deserted beaches, Acadia...southward to Ogunquit, as well...fwiw.

My inlaws live near Sebago so I’ve paddled there a bit and it’s wilderness, there will be lots of boats and plenty of houses to look at. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice place, but I wouldn’t recomend it to any one who is remotely thinking about peace and quiet. I would guess that 90% of the shore is developed. In Maine the farther north you get from I95 the quieter it will be and Sebago Lake is 15 minutes from the interstate.

just power boat hell. stay away until your in your 80s.

Donnel Pond
Yes, we can scratch Sebago off the list. Been there, won’t go back.

Here’s what the Quiet Water guide says about Nicatous Lake, which otherwise looks beautiful: “Wind blowing strongly from the north or south causes treacherous waves.” But it points out that that’s a problem on most north-south oriented glacial lakes.

I’m thinking of Donnel Pond. Small but looks interesting. Anyone know it?

one thing not mentioned a whole heck

– Last Updated: Jul-30-10 9:55 PM EST –

of a lot is the issue of cleansing one's canoe hull(if owned) with agents...clorine(y/n?) maybe applied with brush.., then rinsed, to guard against spread of invasive water millfoil, from its southern refuge up into northern waters.
Haven't paddled either...TR!

Donnell Pond

– Last Updated: Jul-31-10 8:42 AM EST –

Had our 1st Maine paddling experience only last yr & it included Donnell Pond. Have a map which I recall printing from Bureau of Parks & Lands website. Get one.
Launch & nearby area is very developed but remainder of pond is development free. Map shows 3 ind camsites & 3 more "group type" sites that are large, each accommodating 4 parties & are fronted by long sand beaches which also attract day visitors. Nice hiking from both beaches to mt overlooks of coast
Pond was very busy during our Aug mid-week visit. We got last campsite & it was moved into by others as we were leaving. We camped there as Donnell is 30 min from Acadia NP & allowed us to arrive @ gate early & increasse chances of securing a no reserve campsite there
Map also shows 3 campsites on Tunk Lake, approx 6m E on Rt 182 from Donnell turnoff

Was Donnel scenic, Glen?
Where else did you paddle in Maine that you liked?

Donnell Pond
Once you paddle out of the bay containing the launch & all the cottages, Donnell was scenic enough. No other development. It’s a small pond, however - 2.5m long & 3hrs max to circumnavigate

It was also busy. Perhaps I’m spoiled living just outside Adk park but even w/ the nice hiking it wouldn’t have occupied “few days” for me, nor would I go out of my way to return. But others have different styles

As stated, that was our 1st trip to ME so I’m a complete newbie re it’s attractions. We also paddled & camped Flagstaff which we enjoyed more than small Donnell & spent time @ Acadia. Much enjoyed both fresh & saltwater paddling there & great hiking.

We originally considered also doing Moose R Bow trip but chose not to add to long ride home.

I’d guess Donnell will be much less busy & thus more attractive in Fall after school resumes

I’d say

– Last Updated: Aug-04-10 7:29 PM EST –

Mooselookmeguntic. It has become our favorite these past few years.
You could launch at Stephen Phillips Preserve and make use of their campsites for a nominal fee. Students Island with multiple campsites is very close. Toothaker Island is a favorite but it does commit you to a rough water crossing if things kick up. Many other islands to pick from though at greater distances.
The preserve people are very nice low key people. There are even some shoreline campsites that are quite nice....a small point but the privies are well maintained though it helps to mention you would like one with a roof over it if possible. Esp if rain is likely.
Students Island offers some hiking so you can stretch your legs if conditions are not conducive to paddling.