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Sebois/East branch Penobscot rivers Maine - wilderness canoe trip - easy rapids


 If anyone is interested in a canoe trip on the Sebois river in Maine, please let me know. I am thinking of going with a friend, but if we had another canoe it would make it easier to do a shuttle with two cars. If not and you live in that area, we may need a shuttle and can pay someone. I am inquiring with camps in that area for a shuttle service. If you know of someone, please let me know also. I will describe the route here for anyone interested:

 The Sebois river is a somewhat small stream that is only runnable up to late spring or very wet summers. It is accessible via the dirt road well to the east of lake Mattagamon.  It is a solid 18 miles of easy rapids that never quit so you pretty much do about 6 MPH the whole way without even paddling. There is some short class II rapids near the start. There is one very short canyon that has to be portaged around and you have to have an idea of where that is and watch for the portage trail on the left and pull out in fast water above the canyon. The portage is maybe a tenth of a mile long. The entire Sebois is mostly one giant class I rapid and very easy. It then flows into the East Branch of the Penobscot and eventually you hit some roads where the take out is, either at wetstone falls or the rest area farther down. It is a 2 day trip that probably spans 30 or 35 miles of pretty much solid wilderness and you won't see hardly any other people except towards the end. Wetstone falls on the East branch is the only real difficult rapid, but of course it could depend on water levels.

 You can paddle the east branch near lake Mattagamon most of the summer and skip the Sebois, but you have to portage at least 3 sets of falls.

 If we do the river, most likely it will be around this coming Memorial day weekend. It is a two day trip, although it might be more relaxing to take 3 days as all the paddling tires me out and after the first day I might want to rest in camp a bit. I am in my early 50's you know ! I don't want to be lazy, just saying I may not be in shape for two days of solid paddling.

 I did this trip alone once about 5 years ago, the Sebois part of the trip is pretty awesome and there are some views of Mount Katadin. This is a great trip, the other river in Maine I like is the Saint Croix which is on the border with Canada. I think those are some of the best trips in Maine. Up on the Allagash, I think the area has been heavily logged and  clear cut. If anyone knows of other good trips in Maine please post .. I have paddled the rapids on the Carrabasett and Sandy rivers, but those are closer to paved roads and civilization



Trip report:

 This is a description of a canoe trip we just did.

 We canoed the sebois river in Maine. The sebois is only runnable at medium water levels, but there had been a good amount of rain. It flows south on the east side of Baxter state park, and is just outside the park. It flows into the east branch of the penobscot river. The east branch has better water levels year round, but there are 4 sets of rapids and falls that must be portaged on the east branch a bit below matagammon lake making it a slow trip. Both these rivers flow through wilderness and the rapids are not too bad mostly. I paid Matagammon wilderness camps $150 to shuttle my car about 35 miles or so downstream. The sebois has a few class II rapids below the road then it flows into a short canyon that must be portaged as there are some falls.  After launching from a small picnic area along the road, we camped at the base of these falls which was a beautifull and picturesque campsite. It rained early in the morning and my MSR stove it turns out is better for boiling water than making pancakes which I should have known better. The sebois has many easy class I rapids and fast water. We covered the 18 miles or so to where it meets the east branch in about 4 hours which includes a stop for lunch on the bank. I think we averaged 5 miles an hour without hardly paddling at all. This is a beautiful river. We crossed an old railroad bridge that is no longer used. It seemed there was a few primitive campsites above and below the bridge within a mile or so that are not listed on maps. Further down there is a car bridge where we saw a camp with a few older guys hanging out who seemed surprised to see us. The sebois does not get alot of canoeist overall. This bridge is about 3 miles above where the sebois flows into the east bracnh.

 Where the sebois meets the east branch is an official campsite called big spencer campsite which has a picnic table and all. A few miles down from there a large and picturesque river flows into the east branch from the west. We paddled on to the top of wetstone falls where there was a very nice campsite on the right bank (west side) we campd there. It appears that was a good idea because further down by the second set of falls a road comes in from the east and since it can be accessed by car there are signs at the bridge that say no fires and no camping. Wetstone falls is a series of two class III rapids separated by a short section of flatwater. We had to portage most of the gear to the bottom of the first set of falls. I ran the canoe through the rapid and then we put all the gear in and ferried the canoe across to the other side. A ferry is a canoe manuever where you cross a river by paddling at a slight angle in the current upstream. We then protaged the gear around the second rapid and I ran the canoe through with just one large river bag full of gear.

 We saw one small moose, something like 10 bald eagles, a few oysprey, and deer. One deer was on an island and went it saw us it ran across the river by leaps and bounds. Even though the river must have been almost waist deep, the deer was able to cross very quickly.

 The weather was mostly pretty nice and it has been the highlight of 2014 thus far. I have been looking for a job which has been stressful and I finally found a contract and hopefully should be starting next week, so I did the canoe trip just before starting the contract. We canoed about 35 miles of river ..

 I just ran the saint croix river (I've done this river before) .. put in at vanceboro on the canadian border .. The border patrol was out in force. We saw a helicopter patrolling the river. A border agent asked us if we saw anything suspicious. I have many doubts that the border is any more dangerous or anything is going on that hasn't gone on for the past 20 years though it appears border patrol has stepped up drastically. Canadians have to camp on the canadian side of the river and americans on the american side. Some canadians where arrested some time ago for camping on the wrong side of the river. One serious rapid however only has a portage trail on one side .. I was told that is a grey area, but maybe I shouldn't have even asked ..

 Anyway, lots of rapids above and below little falls .. Nice campsite on loon bay with a small beach ..

 These pics are me running canose ledges on the river. There are two campsites on the american side below canose ledges (skutnik and anapurna). Canose ledges are a mile or two below loon bay, most people take out at loon bay but you can take out at kellyland dam another 9 miles or so down the river. This is a great river with lots of class I and class II rapids, lots of campsites and canoeists on weekends but very remote territory on the canadian border with maine ..

 The whole trip was about 33 miles of river between vanceboro and kelly land, a shorter trip with take out at loon bay would be 20+ miles or so I think


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