Best American Adventures: Canoe the Allagash
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By Kate Siber; Photograph by Carl D. Walsh, Aurora Photos
Maine’s North Woods are so far removed from the
rest of the bustling Northeast, they’ve changed little since the 19th
century. That’s why canoeing the Allagash River, a state-protected
wilderness waterway, is a little like time travel. Over 92 river miles
(148 kilometers), canoeists notice few signs of civilization, save for
a few dusty bridges, a historic lumber camp, and the occasional distant
rumble of a logging truck.
frequent the river between May and October, spring is arguably the best
time to go: the crowds are few and the spring meltwater makes a longer
trip possible. Enlist the help of Allagash Canoe Trips, a guide service
established in 1953 and run by three consecutive
generations of Cochranes. The consummate trip will take at least nine
days, following the narrow, trout-packed Allagash Stream; serene,
motorless Allagash Lake; and finally the storied river itself. Along
the way, canoeists run Class I and II rapids, see a 45-foot (14-meter)
cascading waterfall, and hike up nearby mountains to spot views of
Mount Katahdin. But it’s arguably the moments when
you’re least busy—gliding silently through the glassy water, observing
a moose or an eagle standing sentinel over a nest—that you fall into a
peaceful trance impossible anywhere else but this still-wild land.
Need to Know: Allagash Canoe Trips (www.allagashcanoetrips.com),
a guide service, runs small, private trips. A nine-day, 100-mile
(161-kilometer) trip along the Allagash Stream, Allagash Lake, and
Allagash River costs about $1,225.
- Nat Geo Expeditions