29 miles / 45 km Hunter cove, Rangely Lake - Trout Brook, Flagstaff Lake
Grey and in the afternoon wet
J offered to drive us to the Dead River this morning to avoid the road portage along Route 16. As we were still about 5 km from Rangeley we at least wanted to get as far as the logging museum by ourselves. J offered to meet us there and lent us his telephone so that we could ring on arrival at the museum.
We set off at 8 on a gray morning and were soon in Rangeley.
We signed the register. Chris and Meghan are now 2 days ahead. We portaged over to Haley Pond, stopping at Ecopelagion for some extra water bottles and gas cylinders for our stove. We also learned from Ecopelagion that other thru-paddlers had been shuttled recently so we did not feel so bad that we were also going to do that.
Park in Rangeley
The portage out of Haley Pond was not North of the put-in but East. We found the first portage sign in a marsh but no sign of a walking trail. Geoff went looking and found the real start of the trail about 30 meters upstream in Gull Pond stream. The board walk is magnificent and makes for an easy portage up to the museum.
It was Sunday and the museum had just opened. We visited the museum which provides a fascinating insight into a bygone age and industry. An original Dead River Bateau is displayed in the basement. A video shows the Dead River in spate during logging activities.
J picked us up here and drove us along the road to the get-in for the Dead River. It was very dead. We were extremely disappointed to find about 3 tea cups of water flowing in the river. J proceeded to drive us down R16 stopping each time the river came close to the road, so that we could inspect the water level. The map shows some streams coming in so we were hopeful that there would perhaps be more water downstream. At the Kennebago Road bridge Geoff inspected the water level by wading thru the river. Only at one place did the river come up to just under his knees. We continued driving downstream and tried to find the Cadd Road put-in. (I only later read the trail notes that this is now an ATV trail). We tried to get down the Cadd road and J’s truck overheated. While we waited for the engine to cool down, some ATV’s passed by.
Cadd Road only suitable for ATVs
Eventually J dropped us off at the official boat access in Stratton. We could not thank him enough for his time and patience investigating all the possible or impossible put-ins for the Dead River.
The only regret we have is that we have now missed 19 miles of river. We do not regret missing the 2.5 mile Dallas portage as we have already lost 2* status by allowing ourselves to be shuttled over the Grand Portage a few weeks ago.
After lunch at the boat access, we paddled to the boat access in Stratton itself and went in search of the Coplin coop for organic vegetarian food. Disappointed that the store is more of a gift shop than a food store, the only purchase we made were 2 bags of dried apples. We still need to find some tvp.
Still using an old fashioned credit card imprint at the coop in Stratton
Rain and wind greeted us on Flagstaff lake and after a short paddle we set up at Trout Stream and hope that the wind and rain will abate tomorrow.