July 31, 2012

Big Sky Kayaking

With kayaks securely fastened atop the roof and a laundry-list of meticulously packed gear in toe, our journey began. For the next four days we would venture across a remote chain of lakes deep in the heart of the Maine Woods. Our kayaks would be our mode of transport, a backpacking tent our home, and a lightweight cook stove would be our warm-meal-supplier. These are the types of adventures men dream about. Painstaking planning is required for you can’t forget anything crucial and all your gear needs to fit within a kayak.

The journey to the Debsconeag Lakes from Southern Maine is long. Original plans included a cheap motel stay on the first night. We’d wake early and well-rested while being semi-close to our starting point. I’d rather wake early with $90 still in my pocket, however, so we completed the entirety of our drive and arrived to our destination slightly before . Twenty minutes later I was breathing heavy inside my warm sleeping bag.

The primitive campsites chosen for this trip are located on sandbars. White sand between my toes and wilderness camping – an odd combination, but what else could I ask for? Well it would be nice if Casco, our 90lb chocolate lab could join, but it’s true that he wouldn’t fit in a kayak and swimming for days on end would be short of impossible. This is why we packed an inflatable raft. This will be one hell of an adventure…

Here are some photos from the beginning of our journey. Stay tuned for a concluding post.

A Maine tradition - an Old Town canoe. This belongs to a fellow paddler. Soon I'll own one myself.

Casco patiently waits for take-off. Today marks his first day in a flotation device.

Seemingly unaffected by his new-found buoyancy.

Each time the dinghy floats around a corner, Casco re-positions to keep me within eye sight.

My new Filson tin cloth duffle securely tied to the dinghy. There aren't many pieces of gear I trust to hold my valuables.

Eggs, bagels, and sandy feet. Breakfast on the beach.

Perfection in reflection.

My first kayak has been a great one. My Manatee Deluxe shoots straight as an arrow and really paddles well throughout a variety of conditions.

Current reading. A great New England book suggested to me by one of my favorite outdoor columnists. 

Our kitchen for the next four days.

The bugs are horrible here. Yes, we're already covered in DEET-free spray.

Paddling through one of the greatest sunsets I've ever watched. Our campsite has to be closeby.

Evening reading during the last light of day.

One of Maine's true beauties, a loon. One of many spotted near the tent.


Anonymous said...

Casco looks like he enjoys it. That's great!

Nigel said...

That looks absolutely beautiful Rhon. Those tranquil waters look so inviting and Casco looks like he's loving every minute of it. My pooch would be in the water in an instant.

Laura said...

What a good looking dog and sunset to match!

Anonymous said...

get some DEET

Rhon Bell said...

Nigel - it was an excellent trip. One of the best this year thus far. Always worth bringing the pup along.

Thank you.

Rhon Bell said...

Laura - thanks for the note and kind words.

Anonymous - DEET definitely would have been more effective.