Kayak Trip: Pushaw Lake to Bangor
~Kayak Trip: Pushaw Lake to bangor~
Date: Early summer, 2000

Earlier this summer I went on a kayak trip (in an Old Town "Loon 138") with the intention of seeing how far I could get. I didn't have any set time or date that I had to be back... just until I decided to stop going. I could have stopped in two days or been gone for a week or even a month. I just wanted to see how far I could get. My only limitations were the amount of food I could pack, I think I had about $50 for more food if I needed it, and how far I could make myself go. The trip started on Pushaw Lake and ended three days later at the docks by the SeaDog in Bangor. It was not lack of food or money that caused me to stop much sooner than I would have liked... it was tendonitis in my left arm. I first noticed it after the first night of paddling into the wind, trying to get to the place I wanted to camp at the other end of the lake before dark. The tendonitis got worse over the course of the trip and by the time I made it down to Bangor it was becoming a real problem (my wrist was swollen to the size of my fore arm and it was hard to tell where my wrist ended and hand started because my hand was swollen as well) so I decided it would be best to stop while I was close to home.

Overall it was a good trip, just a little disapointing because I had to stop so soon. I would have liked to have been gone at least a couple more days...
The tendonitis seemed to go away after about three weeks.

Here are my journal entries from that trip...

Day 1
1:15am, finally ready to go to bed... got the tent set up and ate a nice warm meal (okay, so maybe sardines and a can of chicken-chedder-soup-stuff isn't so great but at least I heated it up). I'm camping in the corner of someone's yard. they must have went to bed not too long ago because I heated my food on the coals from their fire pit. I'm tired but I'll write more anyways... the 9 mile paddle up to this end of the lake was nice but a little hard. It rained most of the way and I spent a lot of time paddling into the wind. It took about two and a half hours which is pretty good. I was really pushing myself to get to a spot at the start of Pushaw Stream where I wanted to camp. I didn't get to that spot. There was a nice sunset, even better that I was paddling towards it and it was reflected on the lake which was calmed down by that time. Then it got dark and I paddled around for a couple hours trying to find the start of Pushaw Stream by the light of my head lamp. Stopped and walked up the road one way for about 20 minutes one way then turned around and went the other way and found the place I was looking for... but getting in looked like it was going to be a maze through some swamp so I went back to the kayak and paddled it down to someone's camp near the swamp.. so here I am now... in the morning I get up, pack my stuff into the kayak, and head down pushaw stream to stillwater streem, then out to the pennobscot and down to bangor. maybe south past that. 1:30, I'm going to bed!

Day 2
2:00pm, I'm at Gilman Falls. Stopped to eat lunch here and was just finishing cleaning up when I saw a small brown animal slide down into the water on the opposite shore. First I thought it was a muskrat, but then I noticed it's tail was to short fat and wide as it swam through the water.. so I thought it was a baby beaver. I was suprised it made it to this shore, it was about a foot from going over the falls before it leaped to the shore about five feet from where I was sitting... it was some kind of little weasil, like a mink or a marten or something... then it did this crazy little dance and ran under the cement thing I was sitting on. Looked just like a small brown ferret.. other animals I've seen today... about 23 of those big blue-grey crane-birds (could have been the same one). Some really stupid ducks that would annoy me by flying up ahead of me when ever I got near...and when I got near again, they'd fly up ahead of me again.. I'd almost sneak past, heck, I did sneak past them a couple times, and they'd look over at me and fly up ahead again.. I think they just wanted to piss me off.. I now hate ducks. Also saw a large deer, some little black and red birds, and a bald eagle. I also explored a strange tower made out of cinder blocks.. it was really cool.. had three floors and a hatchway to the roof... and I found this really cool field with lots of wildflowers and a huge oak tree with a firepit under it. Well, time portage my stuff accross the road to the other side of the falls.

Day 2
10:30pm, Portage #1 was easy.. just up over a road and down a little hill. Portage #2 was longer.. around the dam near Stillwater ave I think. These portage trails don't seem to be very clearly marked. well, the signs are easy to see but they don't point to portage trails... so I paddled closer to the dam and into the chained off area that has the nasty looking water in it and pulled out up there where there was a trail. I don't remember much of this portage.. just that it followed a trail through the woods a little ways, went through the corner of someone's backyard with a dog that did not want me there, and seemed to end in a swampy-mudflat-cattail place. I did it in two or three trips... a couple for all my gear, and another for the kayak. I soon found that I was just up stream from the University of Maine and decided to stop and see if there was a lazer tag game or SCA practice going on.. I thought it was saterday or sunday but wasn't sure... still not sure, and there was no tag or SCA stuff going on. Not much past that was portage #3. This one was/is a bear. I think I'm about in the middle of it now, and I've set up camp for the night in a place with several of those big fenced-in high voltage things. So far the trail (the portage trail signs pointed to someone's backyard where there were no trespassing signs set up; and when I got out to look around, the fat shirtless guy that was mowing his now trespassed on lawn stopped mowing his lawn to go get a beer from the shed and watch me trespass on his no trespassing section of the portage trail)... anyways... I paddled down a bit further and found good place to take out... but not before checking out the island that is apperently some kind of beaver sanctuary.. I was thinking about camping there until I found out that it was all tall furns and mud.. and I saw the beavers too. But anyways, the portage trail took me around a large partly ruined dam, went through the woods for a while, then along the railroad tracks and a short section of road, and into this place where I am camped now. It's an okay place to camp for being right on the edge of town.. nice and secluded from the road.. but I have to put up with the constant humming of the electric things and about every ten or so minutes there's a something loud that sounds like a big breaker switch being flipped or something.

Day 3
5:45am, no time to write, gotta get up an portage before the mosquitos wake up.

Day 3
12:30pm, I've made it down to Bangor and don't think I'll be going further. my right wrist can't take anymore. It's swollen pretty bad and I can actually hear the tendons creeking with just the slightest bend. I'm writing with my left hand. yep, I was right in the middle of that portage last night.. the rest of it was through the woods. must have been a quarter to half a mile total distance. I had my first and second experience with white water this morning. Guessing it was class 3 in the first bit up in Orono and prolly class 2 in Veasie. I got sucked right into the worst of the class three because I saw a spot near the other shore that looked best but didn't get there in time.. turned the kayak strait into the rough stuff just in time. I'm really suprised I didn't take a spill. Then there was portage #4 at the dam in Veasie. that would have been a long one but the people that work there put my kayak in a truck and took me and it through the electric plant's yard to where there's a gate on the other side. They said I was lucky to get there when I did because most of the time the guys that help people portage through are not there and the gates would have been locked.. it would have been a really long portage and it was starting to be a very warm day.. after that it was just some mild class 2 rapids and a calm paddle down to Bangor. One last thing I was worried about was the old dam in Bangor but it was high tide and there was hardly a ripple in the water above what was left of the dam. Over all it was a fun trip.. didn't like all the portaging. Need to make a carrage that can go on the back of the kayak and fold up when I'm not using it...