Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Scofield Point Campsite: Allagash Wilderness Waterway Canoe and Guide Training Trip Journal

September 15, 2006 I got up at 5:10AM and stumbled up the trail to the scenic overlook in the dark trying to see without my flashlight. The overlook is a ledge outcropping that gives a great view of Eagle Lake and Farm Island looking across the lake to the tramway. Once at the ledge, I lay down on my fleece jacket to await the sunrise. A strange bird flew over my head. Since it didn't sound like a regular bird, I opened my eyes. A Saw-whet owl sat on a branch just 15 feet away and kept moving his head up down and side to side, looking at me. He flew to a branch on the other side and repeated the procedure. I tried to get a picture a couple times but didn't have much luck due to the low light conditions. All the picture shows is the reflection of his eyes in the darkness.

It was partly cloudy but there was a decent view. As the sun rose on the other side of the island, I took some nice pictures and headed back to camp with the story of my owl encounter. I arrived back at camp at 6:30AM and no one was up yet. I gathered firewood and practiced making fire with damp twig bundles. It was while making one of these twig bundles, that I found a moose vertebrae about 20 feet from the fire in the woods. I figured the little forest creatures would have long since nibbled it up- but there it was. We left it where I found it.
I warmed up some water so we could wash up and then I changed out of my sweaty shirt. Tim explained his rationale for wearing suspenders instead of a belt. Suspenders allow the hot moist air that your legs generate to warm your upper body as it vents up your chest- and you don't get crotch rot. I took a nice picture of Tim and Paul in their bright red suspenders. They looked so stylish. We packed up our camp but didn’t leave.

It was time for a group activity so we sat down at the table and made a harness for our water bottles out of string. We cut 4 strings 2.5 times the height of the object to be harnessed, flipped the object upside down, tied an overhand knot in the middle of all 4 strings, then we tied over hand knots in pairs of ropes just over the edge of the object (upside down bottle in this case). Then we tied over hand knots every 2 inches or so in each pair of strings and repeated this step until we got to the top. We did one last overhand knot an inch above the previous one at top of bottle, ran a new loop of string through the loops that formed and pulled tight around the object. Now we had harnesses for our water bottles. It was a fun activity.

We had another fire building demo where we all made fuzz sticks. When we lit the fuzz sticks, Dawa left her match case too close and it turned into a plastic glob. We ate a lunch of tuna, crackers, carrots, mayo, mustard, humus, and celery with GORP for dessert. The clouds had retreated, and we left around 2PM and canoed down towards a beaver house, then over to Zeigler campsite which looked like a nice place to camp. Then we paddled on toward Scofield point which was our goal for the day. It was hot, sunny, and the wind was welcome as it pushed us out of Eagle Lake, under John's Bridge, and halfway across Churchill Lake. Not only did Scofield Point have a gorgeous campsite, but the view was amazing.

Dawa pitched her tent out on the sand dunes. Devin pitched his tent way out on a gravel bar. It is a beautiful spot. The breeze was nice and I set up clothes lines to dry my clothes and sleeping bag. I took some pictures as we set up camp. We used the propane stove for cooking again and basically only used the fire to boil water for drinking, for dishwater, and to cook sourdough biscuits in the reflector oven.
Dinner was tofu with a soup mix and rice and carrots. After dinner, when the sourdough biscuits were ready, I used leftover strawberry jelly and canned milk to make a strawberry shortcake dessert. It tasted great and others followed my example. We then made another batch of biscuits, this time with garlic powder. A few of us discussed saving some cheese at lunchtime to make cheese and garlic biscuits. We were really getting into our wilderness lifestyle and now had time to worry about food creativity.
While cooking the second batch of biscuits we listened to a coyote howl fairly close to the campsite. It got dark quickly. Devin and I washed dishes, we told jokes, and went out with the star finder to try to identify some more constellations. We all crawled into our sleeping bags by 9PM.
SUGGESTION: tin foil might be nice for the reflector over when cooking sticky things as it can be hard to get clean. Of course we could have just melted butter on the pan first, or skipped the sticky stuff.

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