North Maine Woods/Allagash Wilderness
I've never explored the upper reaches of the state of Maine before, and wanted to see if anyone had any comments or feedback on this proposed trip.
Departure would be either in May or Sep/Oct/Nov of next year. We would have three weeks at our disposal for the round trip.
We would leave Atlanta and as usual drive like a bat-out-of-hell for two days in the general direction of Maine. Our first destination would be Kennebunkport (for some good ol' "lobsta"!), then on to Castine to visit an elderly aunt. Castine was also the site of a little-known and very unusual Revolutionary War campaign that involved the legendary Paul Revere.
I've visited Bar Harbor before, but it may earn a brief stop enroute to Calais, where we would follow US 1 up through Houlton and Fort Kent, before taking the swing southward into the Allagash Wilderness and Baxter State Park. After that, well....who knows?
I'm not an avid camper, but we plan to bring the tent and the usual equipment in anticipation of at least a few camping adventures.
I've researched various issues such as the North Maine Woods private road system, we'll be driving a sturdy SUV, and we'll approach the trip with due preperation and all that.
But....the question still begs.....
Is it worth it?
Considering the distance, the road system, and the primitive conditions and relative isolation of northern Maine, I still have a few doubts on whether this would be a worthwhile adventure.
Has anyone traveled up that way? Suggestions or commentary would be appreciated.
How are your canoe skills?
The Allagash Wilderness is one of those "just out of reach" places in America. Although there are a few logging roads and those pesky private toll roads in the area, most of the wilderness area is accessible by water -- hence the query about your canoeing prowess.
We haven't gotten there yet... We have explored some of the region around Presque Isle -- which is still a long ways north. May may be a little early -- have you ever been in the NE in black fly season? Believe me, it is a daunting time of the year.
As you make your way north I would suggest a stop at Stonington Harbor on Deer Isle (near Camden) -- really a fun place to hang out.
As to whether it is worth it... ANY day spent on a roadtrip is better than any other time. I will query some of the Maine lurkers and see if I can get some current news about the region.
Yes, I know, it IS worthwhile....after all, "The Journey's The Thing!"
My canoe skills are about the same as my camping skills ("adequate"), but my girlfriend and I have always enjoyed canoeing. The uncertainty lies with the degree of time and involvement. It seems to me this region is perfect for experienced outdoorsmen....but might it be a bit too much for two people with only minimum wilderness experience?
I've camped in state and national parks before (including primitive locations), but always with people who were far more experienced than I with the deep woods.
There are some other potential places we have in mind for this trip as well - sliding east to hit the Cabot Trail, or maybe going way up north to the nose of the Gaspe Peninsula, perhaps even to Quebec City.
But the opportunity to at least briefly explore one of America's greatest wilderness area is very enticing. We just want to be prepared and informed.
May is a secondary choice timewise, especially since its a bit iffy weather and bug-wise in the Northeast. More than likely we would go in the fall anyway. Strangely enough, if we hadn't bought this house back in the summer, we'd be on the final leg of this Maine trip just about now!
Stonington Harbor...sounds good! We just might pencil it in! BTW....for a great dining experience, check out Glen Sanders' Mansion in Scotia, NY (built before 1700, across the Mohawk River from Downtown Schenectady).