Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Ballad of the Allagash

Fellow Outdoor Adventurers,

New England Film Festivals will soon select their summer film category winners.  Given our Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) and Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) accomplishments, I have decided to submit a film documenting our memories of the AWW and NFCT
.  The AWW serves as the eastern-most section of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT). Sections 12 and 13 of the NFCT overlap the Allagash for nearly 90-miles from Chamberlain Lake to St John River at Allagash Village. 

If you remember, a while back, Linwood and I asked all who had been on the Allagash trips for one or more verses to be used to write "The Ballad of the Allagash."  This film uses the Ballad we wrote as the foundation for this video. I trust the memories will still be there for you.

I suggest you sit your friends and family down, make some popcorn, gather your favorite drink, and together watch this half hour draft of The Ballad of the Allagash.  Keep notes!

Here is 
a 60-second trailer to promote the "The Ballad of the Allagash."

A Thirty-Minute Film: "The Ballad of the Allagash"

Please send me your comments on both videos.

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Without a doubt, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (Allagash, AWW) in northern Maine rates as the brightest among the jewels of Maine’s wilderness state parks and historic sites.  Some 104 miles end-to-end, the Waterway offers the canoer both lake and river paddling environments, including primitive camping, portages, class 2 whitewater paddling on 5-mile Chase Rapids, remnants of the century-old Eagle Lake tramway built to aid transporting logs to the papermills, and the 40’Allagash Falls. 

The pictures and videos in this film are a composite of three Allagash trips guided by Loon Parsons. 

This presentation has four parts.

  1.  First, meet the film paddlers – The Loon and the Chickadee.  And the fifteen paddlers they guided on week-long adventures of Allagash insights, history lessons, teaching paddling skills, and the peace of the remote north country, called the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
  2. Second, watch the briefs from the trips to get insight into the verses sung in the Allagash Ballad. See, our paddlers do a canoe rescue for two of our group in the middle of Eagle lake. See father-son combinations run the hazards and remnants of Long Lake Dam. Hear why Folger’s Black Silk coffee is forever cherished.
  3. Next, hear Tim’s interview on his seven trips in Maine with “The Loon “and “The Chickadee,” and memories to be heard in The Ballad of the Allagash.
  4. Finally, is The Ballad of the Allagash, sung to Janis Joplin’s melody, “Oh, Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz.“ All the verses are composed by individuals who experienced paddling the Allagash Wilderness Waterway with Master Maine Guide Loon and his wife, The Chickadee.” Each stanza of the ballad reflects a special Allagash moment.

Allagash Wilderness Waterway (AWW) - Three Trips

The map here shows in red the three put-ins, one at Johnson Pond, and two at Indian Steam. Our take-outs are at St John River in Allagash Village, Maine, near the New Brunswick, Canadian border. Johnson Pond was a 104-mile eight-day paddle, and Indian Steam, a 94-mile six-day paddle. The blue arrows are the northern paddling downstream route.

Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT)

The Allagash also serves as the eastern-most section of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT). Sections 12 and 13 of the NFCT overlap the Allagash for nearly 90-miles from Chamberlain Lake to St John’ River at Allagash Village.

Section 12 is a 41-mile paddle from Umbazooksus Stream to the Umsaskis Lake outlet to where Section 13 begins. As seen in the map, from our Johnson Pond put-in, we joined the designated NFCT Section 12 in Chamberlain Lake before the Lock Dam.

Our Indian Stream put-in meets NFCT Section 12 in Eagle Lake.


NFCT Section 12 is a 41-mile paddle from Umbazooksus Stream to the Umsaskis Lake outlet to where Section 13 begins. From our Johnson Pond put-in, we paddle across Chamberlin Lake joining the designated NFCT Section 12. The Indian Stream put-in joins NFCT Section 12 in Eagle Lake.

First roamed by native Abnaki Indians in search of food and furs, then in the 1800s by lumbermen in search of virgin timber for logs and pulpwood, the Allagash today is visited by the adventurist paddler seeking a deep backwoods experience in wilderness camping.




Our Daily Paddle and Campsites

Each day begins from your tent, a campfire breakfast, packing of tents, gear, and canoes, and then paddle northeast downstream to experience an assortment of streams, lakes, rivers, and white water. Remember, the Allagash flows northeast. Each day ends after eight to twenty miles of sometimes challenging paddling and all the while seeing an abundance of wildlife from the majestic moose to our national bird, the bald eagle.

 We locate a campsite, prepare a campfire, set up tents, maybe a swim, enjoy a well-earned dinner, see a beautiful sunset, followed by campfire stories and tales of the day. Then comes a deep sleep in the Allagash Wilderness waterway. The next morning we continue our daily routine and look forward to the day’s paddle and confronts.

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is rich in historical points of interest from those by-gone eras. 

We explored the “Tramway” that connects Eagle Lake with Chamberlain Lake and see the locomotives that ran between Eagle and Umbazooksus lakes in the early 1900’s lumbering era.

 At Churchill Dam, preparing for paddling the 5-mile Chase Rapids in empty canoes, we left our gear with a park ranger, who brought our bags to the end of Chase Rapids.

Twelve miles from Allagash Village, we portage the most incredible spectacle on the river; the 40-foot high Allagash Falls, a thundering, boiling cauldron of power and beauty.

A week or so later, after paddling 100 miles, we are at Allagash Village, where the Allagash River and the St John River meet on the Canadian border.


Indeed, paddling the Allagash is a bucket list of treasured memories. These remembrances are shared and made lasting in The Ballad of the Allagash.

 References

Map-Paddling the Allagash Wilderness Waterway https://www.maine.gov/dacf/parksearch/Pro

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The Ballad of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway

(To the tune of “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz” (Janis Joplin)

Introduction to Ballad by Steve

This Allagash Wilderness Waterway Ballad video was prepared from participants’ memorable moments of expeditions guided by Registered Master Maine Guide Linwood Parsons and his wife Betty.

Without a doubt, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway rates as the gem of Maine’s wilderness areas.

The verses of this Ballard are to the tune of Janis Joplin, “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz.”

The Ballad of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway

 (Kathy)

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a big can of Ben’s.

I’m out in the woods now,

The flies never end.

Got bitten all over,

No help from my friends.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a big can of Ben’s.

 

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a bed of my own.

A mattress and box spring

That’s not on the ground.

Last night I got bruises,

I slept on a stone.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a bed of my own.

 

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a roll of TP.

Those baked beans of Betty’s

Are getting to me.

Been wiping with leaves

Til I got poison ivy.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a roll of TP.

 (Linwood)

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a deputy’s badge.

We helped save two druggies

At Little Allagash.

Ole Andy was naked,

And Tara was scared.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a deputy’s badge.

 

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me new waterproof gear.

“Dry bags” became “wet bags”

When we sank to our ear.

We swam down the rapids

A chasin’ the beer.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me new waterproof gear.

 (Betty)

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a few more good years.

To paddle with Linwood

And Harry mit beers.

Chase Rapids with Karen

Without many fears.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a few more good years.

 (Karen)

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me an instant campfire.

No sawing of firewood,

No stripping of bark.

No pleading with Linwood

Or Harry to lite it.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me an instant campfire.

(Harry)

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a brand new spruce paddle.

Chase Rapids are coming,

Excitement is high.

Cross draw, sweep, and a pry,

Til we all finished dry.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a brand new spruce paddle.

 (Steve)

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Maine Master Guide.

To show us the Allagash,

In swagger and stride.

And teach us canoe rescue,

And a loon landing wildlife bona fide.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Maine Master Guide.


Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Chickadee and a Loon.

The bread in the Dead,

Cornish hen in the coffee can.

Folger’s Black Silk,

and a pudding lid spoon.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Chickadee and a Loon.

 

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a campsite to rest.

Spruce gum for the rookie,

Counting moose at its best.

A swim though the rapids,

Flint and steel for our test.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a campsite to rest.

 (Steve)

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Long Lake Dam

A dam to portage if you can,

Or paddle at risk and I’ll be dam.

A spike waiting to rip the canoe,

Tim and Steve paddled be dammed.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Long Lake Dam.

 (Tim)

Oh lord take me down to the Allagash now.

Take me to the north woods,

 Where the moose runs wild and proud.

To see the eagles soar,

As I relax on the shore.

Oh lord take me down to the Allagash now.

 

Oh Lord, won't you buy me some rapids right now.

The "V" through the rocks

will guide us somehow.

The draw stroke shall save us

with a quick turn of the bow.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me some rapids right now.

 (Dundee)

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me more beer.

To help me create more cairns made of stone,

And the whistles of willow,

And the white birch bark stars.

So much more to create, so

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me more beer!

 (Paul)

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a big ole white sail.

I’m on Eagle Lake and,

The wind never fails.

My arms ache from paddlin’,

Oh, S#%t is that hail?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a big ole white sail.

 (Linwood)

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a big ole fat fish.

I'll gut him and skin him,

Then he'll land in my dish.

An eighteen inch Brookie,

Now that'd be my wish.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a big ole fat fish.

 (Linwood)

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a bigger Canoe.

'Cause the one I have now,

Just simply won't do.

Need more room for the beer,

for the hard strokin' Crew.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a bigger Canoe.

 (Rick)

Oh Lord, won't you buy me some stars in the Sky.

They look near at hand,

yet, are so high.

I'm just a lightening bug seeking a mate,

in the heavens above, but I'm feeling spry.

Oh Lord, won't you buy me some stars in the Sky.

(Steve)

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me paddlers so grand.

Dundee is prepared,

And navigates first hand.

Timothy skilled in the stern,

When the river gets tough he insures the turn

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me paddlers so grand.

 

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a campfire recipe.

Garret flint and steel,

Tim saws wood fire-to-be.

Linwood’s cuisine is five-star,

Lobster and eggs benedict are the par.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a campfire recipe.

 

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me “Never say I wish I had …”

For eight days we were in awe of the Allagash and the Loon,

Our skills grew as we paddled in tune.

Coolers with names of rivers,

All are lifetime of memories delivered.

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me “Never say I wish I had …”

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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail Long Lake to Village of Saranac


Fellow Outdoor Adventurers,

Paddling Film Festival World Tour will soon hold a film festival. I selected this particular film company because we have attended prior shows by them, and they had no NFCT films. Given our many Northern Forest Canoe Trail accomplishments, I have decided to submit a movie of our NFCT Section 2 experience for the canoeing documentary category.

I suggest you sit your friends and family down, make some popcorn, gather your favorite drink, and together watch this draft of the Paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail Long Lake to Village of Saranac.

Please send me your comments on the video.

Here is the 50-second Trailer I developed to promote the 50-minute "Paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail Long Lake to Village of Saranac."


50-Minute Film


--Below is the Description I will include along with the video--
Welcome to the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. The NFCT is a living reminder of when rivers were highways and communication routes. The Trail is 740-miles of historic waterway traveled by Native Americans. Its west to east direction begins in Old Forge, New York, and travels through Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and ends in Fort Kent, Maine.

The NFCT is divided into 13 sections and has detailed maps for each section. Our journey was Section 2 in the Adirondack and Saranac region of northern New York. We began at the Long Lake bridge paddling in a north-east direction and ended 42-miles and 3 ½ days later at the Village of Saranac. Our trip included transfers through two hand-operated locks to convey paddlers between waterways and three very demanding portages totaling 11.5 plus miles.

Our 3 ½ day itinerary:
  • Day 1: A 15-mile paddle on Long Lake, then a 1.6-mile portage around Raquette falls – which took three trips for a hike of 4.8-miles - with our day ending at the Palmer Brook lean-to on the Raquette River.
  • Day 2: Raquette River to Stony Creek Ponds, a 1.1-mile Indian Carry portage - which took five trips for 5.5-miles - and the .4-mile, Bartlett Carry, into Middle Saranac Lake for a paddle to our campsite on Norway Island. We paddled twelve-miles on Day 2.
  • Day 3: We paddled through the Upper Locks into Lower Saranac Lake to our campsite on Partridge Island. About an 8-mile paddling day.
  • Day 4: Lower Saranac Lake to First Pond into Second Pond and through the Lower Locks of the Saranac River into Oseetah Lake, and then into Lake Flower for our take-out at the Village of Saranac Lake. An 8-mile paddling day.
This Section 2 water highway has no fresh drinking water sources. Dehydration can be a major issue. We restocked our drinking water at night, boiling lake water with our Jet Boil.

On day 3 we paddled from our Norway Island campsite on Middle Saranac Lake to Partridge Island campsite in Lower Saranac Lake. We started day 3 with another great breakfast by Chef John. We appreciate John's menu planning, food acquisition, and indeed, his meals are fit for royalty.

We paddled through the self-operated Uppers Lock from Middle Saranac Lake to Lower Saranac. Enjoy our video of our lock transition as we thoroughly appreciated the experience of going from a higher lake to a lower lake – bypassing a strict set of rapids.

On our last day on Section 2 of the NFCT we paddled from our Partridge Island campsite through another hand-operated lock to Oseetah Lake. Experience the transitory and unique Lower Lock feeling of our canoes and gear being transported via water from Lower Saranac Lake to Oseetah Lake.

The paddling was easy and we soaked in the wilderness and beauty of the Adirondacks.  We saw deer, huge rock formations, swam in the lakes each evening, and watched sunsets from our island campsites.  

After we did our final take-out  at the Village, we went to the NFCT Kiosk and signed the NFCT log book.

Never say, "I wish I had paddled the Northern Forest Canoe Trail Section 2 in the Adirondack and Saranac wilderness."