12 miles / 20 km Lakeview camping, Island Pond - Nulhegan Basin Visitor Center
At 5.30 I scurry across the campsite taking with me all our wet clothes to the laundry building. I am wearing Geoff’s underpants and my fleece top, the only dry clothes at hand. After 20 minutes in the dryer all our clothes are warm and dry. We silently pack in and steal away from the campground at 7.30 while the other inhabitants are still sleeping.
The rain starts again. At 8am by Spectacle Pond just before going down to the put-in a woman comes out of a house and beckons me over. I was thinking she was about to offer us coffee as we are yet again two drowned rats but she just busy-bodied if we knew where we were going at 8 am on Independence day. After paddling across the pond and walking up to the road we get to Nulhegan Pond at 10.
Get out for the Nulhegan Pond carry
Its ok to cross
We ask ourselves if anyone ever uses this part of the trail as the put-in looks so little used. We wend our way down to Wenlock Crossing. Till now we have been very happy with our 17 foot boat.
This morning a shorter boat might have been easier. The river just wiggles its way through the marsh. The roses were pretty after the rain.
Beaver dams and fallen trees block the route.
Plenty of roses adorn the banks
We stopped for lunch at Wenlock crossing. After lunch, we continued and the river becomes wider and picks up speed.
The weather has not improved.
Soon we were at the start of the first rapid. It was time yet again to put on our helmets. The first few rapids were fun. The river was full after last night’s storm.
Plenty of water for an exciting paddle
The rapids began to get more serious and as we approached an island we had no clear view downstream. We stopped in an eddy at the top of the first island (the river splits ito 3 with 2 small islands) but from upstream we could not inspect the rapid. Geoff bushwhacked through the island and discovered a Class III boulder field as the river came together again, not something to paddle alone with a loaded boat.
What's round the corner?
Not too be seen from where we are.
Never paddle further than the next safe eddy.
View from downstream of the island
We discussed options how to get out of the situation. We could not proceed downstream but we were already too far downstream to ferry across to either bank as there were no suitable eddies at this point.
Geoff then walked across the river using the split canoe pole to steady himself and investigated the bank. He found a trail going up to the Wildlife Centre. We then tracked the boat back upstream, unloaded it at a small sandy beach and then portaged everything up the hill.
Everything safe ashore
Exhausted around 5.30 we got to the road. We decided we were not going to make the Nulhegan campsite this evening, and even though there was an ideal place to stealth camp in the woods, we decided we would ask at the center if we could camp in the grounds. The center was closed, but there was a house next to it with a car parked outside. We assumed this would be the wardens house and knocked on the door asking permission to camp on the grass surrounding the centre.
The house is a bunk house for students bird counting in the refuge. They invited us in and offered us the spare room and use of kitchen and bathroom. How lucky we are. Outside it is raining again!
Just before dark, it finally stopped raining, the skies cleared and produced a beautiful sunset.
View from our bunkhouse bedroom window