Let no one say it And say to your shame That all was beauty here Before you came
This simple phrase I learned in the Boy Scouts many years ago and have tried to live up to ever since. I hope everyone who views these pages enjoys the beauty that I have brought back and shares my feelings. The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740 mile trail starting in New York and ending in Fort Kent. The stretch I did consisted of 100 miles from Stratton to Rockwood. I took the trip in July of 2003.
I have broken the trip into 7 days, with maps of each day. If you click on MAPS below you will go to a folder with down loadable maps that that can be printed out on a 8 1/2" x 11" paper. Each one is about 500k.
If you open the maps and they seem quite grainy, then save the image and print them out. The image is the size of a regular sheet of paper.
I would like to thank Amy from Gray Ghost Camps in Rockwood for allowing me to leave my truck at the campground and for being my shuttle person.
E-mail Jim Santerre
To view all the pictures I took in numerical order from the start of the trip go to Pictures
Every great adventurer likes to brag about how hard it was and all the bad weather they had. Although it was hard work at times the trip went off almost flawlessly. I woke up one morning and there was water on the tarp so I knew it had rained over night. Other than that I had perfect weather. The temperature was in the mid seventies, low eighties, during the day and sixties at night. Crossing the lakes and ponds I encountered some wind but nothing that was too drastic. The day after I got back a severe thunder storm went through. The insects were minimal and I only applied repellent twice during the trip. The portages were quite easy and there was plenty of water for navigating. There was plenty of wildlife to admire and photograph. I saw about 8 moose and an equal number of deer. Beaver, muskrats, otters, mink, eagles, osprey, numerous hawks, ducks, geese, cranes and so many loons I couldn't count them all. Paddling up Spencer Lake I had a loon on either side about 50 - 75 feet away.
My meals were relatively simple. I had coffee, with sugar and Creamorer, toast and hard boiled eggs for the first 3 days, then I had toast with jam and a breakfast bar after that for breakfast. For mid morning snack I had Ritz crackers with jam and peanut butter with water to drink. At lunch time I made tuna fish sandwiches with butter and mayonnaise. For an afternoon snack I had a fruit bar and some home made beef jerky. For supper I boiled a Dinty Moore microwavable lunch packet. Coffee was instant. The Creamorer and mayonnaise were in individual packets. The jam, peanut butter, and butter (margarine) were in squeezable tubes. The tuna fish was in predrained aluminum packets, 1 per meal, 2 sandwiches. Although the Dinty Moore meals were supposed to be used in a microwave, boiling them for 10 minutes worked quite well. I had beef stew, chicken dumplings, turkey and gravy, and a couple of others for variety. I used some thin rigid plastic sheets, about like a table mat, to wrap the bread to keep it from getting crushed. I hung the water bottle over the side of the canoe when ever I stopped to help keep it cool.
For gear I packed my clothes in vacuum bags with each days outfit in a different bag. This was so that if one bag leaked everything wouldn't get wet. I split up my food and clothes in different back packs, so if I dumped and lost one of the packs I wouldn't loose all my food or clothes. Also having almost everything in back packs would make it easier to portage, although this did not figure into the trip after all. I used a propane single burner stove and lantern so I wouldn't have to worry about a campfire permit. One of the biggest weights was extra propane tanks I took. I used 4 but had 8 total. The total weight for all the equipment including the canoe was about 200 lbs. For portaging I used the rear wheels from 20" coaster brake bikes. I bored out the center, pressed in an aluminum plug then bored out the center and put in 1/2" brass bushings. The axle was made from 1" aluminum round stock with 1/2" SS rod in each end. Two pieces of 1" rigid aluminum pipes mounted parallel with the canoe were attached to the axle. I covered the pipes with pipe insulation to prevent wear on the canoe. I used straps attached to the ends of the pipes and the gunnels to secure the carrier to the canoe. Snap pins held the wheels on. I duct taped extra pins to the axle just in case. I lost one pin and was glad I had extras. I chose to portage using the gravel roads instead of using the established portage trails. It typically took about one hour per mile to portage. I planned my trip for 7 days, assumed it would take 10 days and packed for 14 days.
I hope you enjoy my journal as much as I did the trip.