Another Day on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Maine

Written by Dan. Added on September 18, 2005.

This is an excerpt from Allagash Wilderness Waterway, a short book I wrote about canoeing the river with Scout Troop 60 and my Dad and brothers.

Friday, July Twenty-First

As usual, my Dad and I were playing Clean-Up. We went very slowly since we knew we were nearly back to camp. And once we hit camp, what was there to do? Nothing. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon when I spotted a boat launch area and sign for Kelly’s Diner and Pepsi.

I asked my Dad, “want to get a soda?”


We stopped at the boat launch and I ran up to get two cans of Pepsi. Going into the diner was almost eerie—it was something right out of a Stephen King novel. Everybody immediately spotted me as somebody canoeing the river—I had my life jacket, hat and sunglasses on, and binoculars and camera around my neck (and let me tell you, that’s a sight unto itself). We had some brief conversation about different Scout Troops who had gone through the Allagash Wilderness Waterway recently. One of the customers said the bridge (our pull-off landmark) was down river about a mile.

So I went back with our sodas. We pushed off and put the paddles in the canoe. And that’s pretty much it. We just rode the current all the way to camp. Ok, so we did have to paddle a little just to stay aimed in the right direction and avoid a few rocks, but we didn’t put any real effort into it. My Dad leaned into his chair and pulled out his fishing pole for a while. I put my feet on the gunnels of the canoe and leaned into my chair, with my camera in my lap.

Eventually we passed under the bridge and spotted camp. We also spied Charlie and Eric coming in from the St. John River, which runs through Canada. We decided that was a good idea and detoured over there, too. Canada and the St. John River has great fishing, as evidenced by my Dad’s Catch-of-the-Day (shown here at life-size—or thereabout).

We got back to the Allagash River and resumed our terribly exhausting Drifting Activities. At around 4:30, we finally made it into camp. So yes, it took us three hours to cover about one mile. We later learned that everybody was worried something was wrong because we were taking so long to get there—they couldn’t see us much of the time while we drifted.