For four years, I’ve been saying, “I paddled all of Maine except for seven miles, the upstream part on Spencer and Little Spencer Streams.” This was the day to finally meet the challenge of the hardest stretch in Maine and I was ready, waving goodbye to Taylor as he headed back to Virginia.
PADDLER’S NOTE: As with the South Branch of the Dead River, I took detailed notes. The ascent of both streams, a distance of 7.0 miles, took me 6 hours and 20 minutes. Water levels must have been in my favor, because I did not have to unload my boat at all, nor lift over any dams.
The first and last miles required the most and slipperiest walking. My GPS showed 2.4 miles and 2 hours to the confluence of the two streams. Every mile had intermittent portions that could be paddled, for anywhere from 35 to 300 paddle strokes. The easiest mile or more was around Parker and Parker Bog Brooks.
Enough notes! As I was tucked up under a ferny, licheny, brownish-gray wall of rock, enjoying Sarah’s no-bake chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal cookie, I heard a soft squeal. I looked up into the eyes of a moose…the first of my trip…on dreaded Little Spencer Stream, no less. She puzzled me out, then settled comfortably for a while, until I said softly, “I won’t hurt you. I’m going to go and leave this place to you.” But when I moved, she faded into the brush.
PADDLER’S NOTE: I easily found the portage (to take you around the dam without ascending a rock cliff) at the top of Middle Deadwater just below the rapids. The aluminum boat was there as promised, as well as a green canoe. After a short carry up a smooth trail, it was wheelable the rest of the way to Spencer Lake.
By then I was exhausted, but a tail wind pushed me along up to the campground at Fish Pond, where Sydney and Marji later joined me. We had the campground to ourselves, although the one on Spencer Lake had been full. Went to bed quite content.
TOTAL MILES: 516.8