Self-Propelled Journal: August 8 – 9 Upper Richardson, Mooselook and Rangeley Lakes – In one day – (Quieting my Puritan ancestors)

August 8 

So I think today’s journey may have quieted my Puritan ancestors who were uneasy, even in their graves, about yesterday’s sloth and idleness.

Tucker and I were up early and on the lake shortly after sunrise.  It was a short paddle to Upper Dam and the portage trail to Mooselookmeguntic Lake .  We were met at the landing by three young, tow-headed boys (still in pajamas) who had come out to check thir baitfish trap.

It was a difficult landing spot.  The 1953 Old Town canoe weighs about 85 lbs. empty.  I eventually maneuvered it up the iron-work walkway and then down the 250 yard portage path.  The historic home of Carrie Stevens (creator of the Gray Ghost trout fly) is here along with a commemorative plaque.

Mooselookmeguntic was flat calm as we relaunched.  I took advantage of the ongoing mild, clear weather and paddled hard, north toward Oquossoc.  We reached our scheduled destination campsite for the day (Stony Batter Point) at 10:30 aam.

Both Upper Richardson and Mooselook had heavy boat and float plane traffic all day today and yesterday.  Even a helicopter flew overhead.  These are not wilderness lakes, at least not in August.  The beaches on Upper Richardson draw vacationers this month as reliably as any saltwater beach.  And motorized watercraft (or aircraft) are the way to get there.  I see no other canoes until I am half-way up Mooselook – a group of four doing a section of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

After a short stop at the Stony Batter campsite, we made quick work of the short distance to Haines Landing in Oquossoc.

Retired Game Warden, and good friend, Blaine Holding, met me there with his truck to ferry the canoe and gear to the Rangeley Lake boat launch.

Tucker and I walked the mile long route over what would have been a tough portage. After lunch in Oquossoc, thanks again to Blaine, I crossed Rangeley Lake to the south side and check in at the Rangeley Lake State Park.

Taking off on Rangeley lake – the old fashioned way.

My wife and son joined me here for a relatively luxurious night of car-camping.  My Puritan ancestors were not heard from again.

August 9

Sometimes this self-propelled theme seems contrived.  It’s true, that every inch of the route is being done under my own power.  But in the background, the complexity of the gear changes and logistics requires more motorized travel than I would normally engage in for a whole year.

Today’s a good example.  My wife Claire drove from Farmington to Rangeley last night with a car full of gear.  We camped at Rangeley Lake State Park and this morning my son, Ben and I paddled the Old Town across the lake to the Rangeley town boat launch.

Claire drove around the lake and met us in town.  I switched to bike gear after loading the canoe.

Switching gear in Rangeley.

The I rode the bike along Route 16 up out of the Androscoggin watershed and down into Stratton and the Kennebec watershed.

Bigelow Mountain from Route 16 – Flagstaff Lake.

Meanwhile, Claire and Ben drove to Eustis and set up camp at Cathedral Pines Campground on Flagstaff Lake – where I met them. And tomorrow I will switch back to the canoe to cross  Flagstaff.

It would be impossible to do this trip of trip on a self-supported basis.  My support staff – Claire, my kids and a few friends – are the real heroes.


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About jimandrews

Jim Andrews is an attorney, Registered Maine Guide, writer, husband, dad and sixth-generation Mainer who grew up in the hills of Oxford County and now lives in Farmington. He is a monthly columnist for the The Maine Sportsman magazine where he focuses on muscle-powered travel in the outdoors and specific applications to fishing and hunting in Maine. Late in the fall of 2010 Jim suffered a mid-life crisis and decided that the cure would be a self-propelled trip from Kittery to Fort Kent in the summer of 2012. The preparation, planning and execution of that trip will be covered here -- as well as his own ongoing attempts to reintroduce physical effort back into the increasingly-motorized world of fishing and hunting in Maine. Find Self-propelled on Facebook: