Adventures on the Eastern Branch
By Peter Buchanan-Smith
Last week I picked up a guide in Old Town and by late afternoon I had put in just south of Grand Lake Matagamon. The sun was on our backs as we slipped downstream in our canoes on the Eastern Branch of the Penobscot River, Maine.
The river paddles like a good book reads: pensive and meandering at times, fast and churning at others. In 1864 Thoreau paddled my route upstream, with the help of a Penobscot indian guide he made his pilgrimage to Ktaadin. Not much has changed since then: we portaged the same falls and the river begged us, much as I’m sure it did Thoreau, to wonder why we didn’t pack lighter. My one request of my guide was to take us where no one else would be, and to that end we hardly crossed paths with a human soul, but we certainly weren’t alone. Among the creatures seen a self-assured family of bald eagles kept one step ahead of us for most of the trip: as you can see from the pictures mother, father, and even a mottled juvenile were anything but camera shy.
The waters meander through land recently purchased by Roxanne Quimby, founder of Burt’s Bees. Quimby sold her company in 2007 and bought up 120,000 acres of Maine forest. Although she has banned hunting Quimby still allows fishermen, hikers, and paddlers and has kept some of the best campsites open (ours were well kept and had good supplies of firewood). On our last night we decided to bushwhack our own campsite and were rewarded with a case of poison ivy. I’ve since polled friends of Best Made for a cure and have got some pretty inventive suggestions: from scrubbing the affected area with steel wool and dousing it with bleach, to just plain urinating on it… I’ll keep asking around.
This is an ideal three to five day canoe trip, and my guess is that depending on the season and water level it would suit paddlers of many skill levels.
Set oven to 450, slice in half, crack egg inside avocado, bake
Fact: A fried egg make anything better.
The Best Made axe sling is back in stock. rejoice.