Monday, September 29, 2008

Inlet Campsite Day 2: Allagash Wilderness Waterway Canoe and Guide Training Trip Journal

September 19, 2006
I was up at 5AM and, for once, I didn't feel tired. I think the previous day’s nap did me a lot of good. I got the fire started, made coffee, put on oatmeal, and dish water. By 6:30AM other people started to stir. I went fishing for a bit in the canoe with Keith (I had to rescue the lure that I had hooked on a log at 5:30AM).We got really close to a loon on the way back and he took off and circled around only to land near us again. We returned to camp by 7:30AM. During our usual breakfast of oatmeal, our campsite was invaded by quite a few sparrow sized pink and green birds. A quick look in the reference guides introduced us to the neighborhood house finches. Tim discussed options for our layover day, stay at the campsite and do bushcraft or paddle over and hike to the tower. I was the only one who wanted to hike so I went solo. At 8:30AM, I paddled over to Tower Trail campsite. There I met a nice older couple from Savannah, Georgia. I convinced them they should climb up and see the tower since it was warm and mostly sunny. We all left at 9AM, and since I needed to be back to the campsite by lunch we didn’t stay together. After 15 minutes or so, I stopped for a bit of a break and the older couple caught right up- I was impressed. I got to the tower, climbed to the top, took some pictures. I could see a front of clouds coming from the south and started to climb back down. By the time I got to the bottom of the ladder, the older couple had arrived. It was getting very windy but the tower seemed secure. We chatted for a bit and took pictures with each other’s cameras at 10:45AM.
By the time I arrived back at the lake, the wind was up the waves were very choppy. I rolled my canoe over, put it in the water, and loaded it quickly at 11:45. I had a heck of a time paddling solo directly into the headwind and whitecaps to get back to the campsite. By the time I made it back to Inlet campsite, I could see the older couple preparing to hit the river ahead of the weather. I had made it back by 12:10 and it was time for lunch. My solo hike had resulted in only one blister, sore arms, and a lot of cool pictures. I saw moose and bear scat, ruffed grouse, and red squirrels. In the afternoon, I carved a netting needle. I thought about taking a nap when some of the other folks did but the clouds began to look ominous so a few of us set up the tarp over the picnic table and split a bunch of firewood. We had just enough time to throw all of the gear into the tents before it started raining. It rained hard for an hour or so. Tim started a wet weather fire. We boiled the beans and cooked rice over the fire. The fire wasn't hot enough so Tim finished up over the propane stove at 5PM. Paul cooked bacon and Devin made gingerbread.

After dinner, we sat around and tried to stay awake by talking about books. I jotted down some of the recommendations: Fannie Eckstorm's father's book, "The Life and Writing of a Maine Fur-Buyer, Hunter, and Naturalist", "How to Talk Yankee" by Gerald E. Lewis and Maine's Golden Road: A Memoir and anything else by John Gould, No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War by Hiroo Onoda. The big bull frogs were in camp again for the second night in a row. Went to bed to the songs of the loons at 8:15PM. It rained all night so we hoped the river would be up the next day.

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