Kayak Trip: Saco River, 2002
~Kayak Trip: Saco River~
June, 2002

I should have written something about this trip earlier. I went on it during early or middle part of the summer, and it's now november. I didn't keep any sort of journal for this one, but I'll try to remember how it went.

This trip was something different for me. first of all, it was a multi-day river trip, and second.. it was with a group of 15 or so other people. The group of people I went with were part of a church group. at my parents place on Pushaw lake, the pastor of some church was their neighbor, he was the one organizing the trip and invited my parents and I along. I'm not really into their religion, but they were good and didn't try to push it on me or anything. I had a lot of fun going along with them on their trip, which I was not sure I would because it was a river trip, and it was with a bunch of people I did not know. Most of them were middle aged or older, but a few were in there early to mid twenties or younger.

If I recal, it was a five day trip. the river snaked around a lot and was often very shallow and slow moving, with a sandy bottom the entire way. before this, I'd always thought of rivers as having muddy or rocky bottoms, or bottoms littered with wooden junk. even the "sandy river" I went on last year had a rocky bottom.

I had never heard about this before, but during a certain week early in the summer the Saco River is running at it's highest. It's a rather popualar canoe-trip-party sort of thing that people do every year. On the weekends of that week it's supposedly very crouded as hundreds of beer swilling canoeists take a few days off from work to do part of the river. We went during the middle of the week and only encountered a few other groups during our five day trip.

I really don't remember many details about what happened each day on the trip. We started out in Fryeburg and ended in Hiram five days later. By road, Fryeburg to Hiram is only about ten miles, but because the river winds around so much, it's about 30 or so miles by river. We were told that it was mostly flat water, but that it had a good current, and that there were a few rapids to watch out for. It was actually very slow moving, with not much current in most places, and only one small bit of rapids where an old stone bridge used to be. Most of us were in canoes, my mother was in her Oldtown Loon 138, and I was in my new Oldtown Millinium 160.

We camped every night on sandbars, often finding stuff left by the partiers a few nights before. Could have made a good bit of cash collecting cans on this trip.. if I would have had a place to hold 145,000 cans.

Something I thought was interesting about how the river twisted around so much... the current moves fastest around the outside of the curve. So with just about every bend there was a sandbar and shallows built up on the inside of the curve; and the outside of the curve was often a steep muddy embankment or small muddy ledge/cliff with very deep water at the bottom of it. Trees at the top of the best embackments often had rope swings with a 10-15' drop into equally deep water. So us younger people on the trip had lots of fun with that.. jumping off things and swinging into the water. To top it all off, on the last day we happened past the largest sandhill I'd ever seen. It was all very fine sand and someone had even left a sled there. We took a short break to take turns sledding, running, jumping, and tumbling down the hill. It was near a road, and almost worth a trip back to southern Maine (only a couple hours drive) just to find the section of road with that hill. It should be just a couple miles northwest of Hiram, on route 113/5.

I think that's about it. We all made it into Hiram alive and in one piece. Maybe I'll be able to do this trip again next year, it was a lot of fun. I'll try to find the pictures from it and post them.