This classic three-week trip through Maine’s North Woods takes us to some of the most spectacular wild and scenic lands in Maine. Traveling on historic native canoe routes, participants experience the landscapes that make the North Woods famous, from the perspective of their simple mode of water travel. Both the natural history and the long human history of this area enrich the adventure. We focus on mastering canoe paddling in a variety of waters as well as learning and refining the skills of an outdoorsperson. Note to participants: We’ve designed the North Woods Canoe Trip to be perfect preparation for the Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Trip.


Paddle Moving Water, Camp in the Outdoors

The trip begins north of Moosehead Lake at scenic Lobster Lake. We spend three days canoeing down the West Branch of the Penobscot River on moving water to the tiny village of Chesuncook on Chesuncook Lake, which Thoreau visited. From here we travel on streams, lakes, and ponds, paddling the length of the 92-mile-long Allagash Wilderness Waterway, part of the national Wild and Scenic Rivers program. Highlights include remote Allagash Lake, Churchill Dam, Chase Rapids, historic logging sites and settlements, and wildlife encounters with moose, loons, and bald eagles. The daily routine consists of meals, travel, exploration, conversation, and time for reflection. Participants receive solid instruction in paddling and wilderness skills. Instruction covers flatwater and whitewater paddling techniques, reading the river, and lake-crossing considerations. On land we learn outdoor cooking, efficient packing, woodcutting, fire building, cleanup, navigation, map and compass, and reading the weather. We use traditional wilderness canoe-tripping methods, including poling, portaging, and paddling, to cover 8-20 miles a day. As with all Chewonki trips, “Leave No Trace” ethics underlie our approach to the places we visit. As a result, participants learn to live and travel responsibly in the outdoors.
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