1983-08 Allagash trip

It was August of 1983. We had recently moved to Connecticut, but a guy whose name was, I think, David Merrill, associated with the Hawthorne Valley school and the community in Harlemville New York, set up a trip down the Allagash, in northern Maine.

There were 5 of us, David, Mark Stark, Niku Mal (spelling may be approximate), and, I think, Teddy, whose last name I don't remember who was associated with a New York City Waldorf school.

  Mark on the schoolbus, Teddy and Dan tying stuff on       We took a few days of prepping and packing.

  Mount Katahdin from afar Drove to northern Maine, hiked up Katahdin, but didn't make it all the way to the top because the winds were really howling when we got to the base of the knife edge, and as we watched another group make their way very slowly down from the summit we decided that there were certain risks we didn't need to take. Even as a bunch of 15 year olds, which mostly proves that I lost my sense later.

  And so we drove into the middle of nowhere. I remember private roads, a sign which said "watch for low flying planes", followed by a wide straight section of the dirt road which a sign denoted as an "international airport", and then we arrived at Telos Landing.

  Niku, Mark, Dan and Teddy David left us to take the van to the takeout and hitchhike back. We cooked dinner, expected that it was, I think, about 100 miles to the takeout, so at worst he'd be back in 3 days of walking, so we behaved very responsibly, I'm sure.

        I'm not sure if this was at Telos Landing or further along, but David arrived back the next morning, and I remember, among other things, that downed birch bark will heat water to boiling (for sterilizing and for tea) really really fast.

      Niku resting, Mark fishing, Dan looking over the side   Mark in the stern, Niku resting, Dan paddling  

We paddled and paddled and paddled and paddled. At some point we went through a lock, where we had to crank a valve open to let enough water in so we could run the remains of the locks.

  Looks like Teddy in the bow, Niku in the stern   Dan in the bow, Mark in the stern, apparently it was shallow there...   Dan and somebody   Dan and Niku

We saw moose. And the water in the early mornings was like glass.


  In the early morning the lakes were dead still.


    Some people arrived and left the area in style and didn't have to wait an unknown amount of time for their driver to run the shuttle.

      As we faced another day of flatwater paddling, Mark and I decided to speed things up with a few pieces of driftwood and a poncho. We were later told by a ranger that there were no sailboats allowed in this stretch of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and though our canoes didn't look like sailboats, so he wouldn't ticket us, we should take pains to make sure that our canoes looked less like sailboats.

      We stopped and explored some old steam engines that had been abandoned by some logging operation back in the day.

      We did not run Allagash Falls, either of the two times I've paddled the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, but in my glory whitewater days I'd probably have seriously considered it.

  Dan, Mark, Teddy and Niku And I think this is the takeout.

Category: Dan Lyke life