Day 12 June 13
Recovering from the Lisbon Falls portage. Had to dig in deep on that one.
I am realizing I have only made two phone calls in 12 days. Both were calls for support. I felt the impulse to call people socially frequently and stopped. I wanted to really be in the experience. Not escape the solitude and immersion.
Consistently I have found very old trees along this intact river green belt. I love Ash trees and have never seen one this big.
I also appreciate wild cherry trees and have a handful on the mountain where I live. None this big. Even though the diameter is not that impressive, it is for the wild cherry tree in Maine!
The greatest teacher of mindfulness for me has been this lovely friend.
Poison ivy is my teacher. Pay attention and take one mindful step at a time are it’s offerings. Or I will be crying.
Sunny beachy riverside breakfast waiting to happen. Oatmeal with seeds, nuts, coconut flakes and chopped apple.
Super power pills.
I do dishes with sand scrubbing. I am in considerable and consistent contact with this river. There is no way around it. Same for you. Some river. Some cloud. some rain. Somewhere everywhere.
For so many days now, I have been reading a very good book. Intently and diligently. It’s called The River, this river. I watch for channels with the deepest, fastest water, where to navigate around rocks that are going to catch me up, follow easy directions of travel, notice places to avoid, places to rest, to camp. The river speaks volumes. There is a special feeling that I can’t put words to when I’m in the flow of it. I feel lifted, carried, suspended.
Of course with so many dams there is not always a flow so I have to find my own from my core. Some natural rhythm fueled by fire and breath. Solar powered. 🌞
I came upon a beaver lodge, an active one. The papa bear was pacing back-and-forth thwacking his tail warning me.
I said don’t worry, I would never hurt you. I’m your friend.
Check out the brilliance of the lodge. They built it around a fallen tree. mostly of mud. Did you know they have different rooms in there, one for sleeping and one for watching Netflix? They create multiple exits in case a predator approaches. Beavers are supersmart. They don’t always work either. That busy as a beaver thing is bullshit. They also play a lot, rest and groom. I’ve seen it.
Hey look at that cool wooden boat and dock. Now there’s a smart person getting out on the river messing around with a wooden row boat.
And so this is the segment of hey hey what are you doing hey hey OK rap song:
Hey hey Department of Transportation, don’t be taking down all those trees along the river side. You got to keep them there to filter out the salt and oil washing into the river. Hey hey that tree canopy along that river helps to keep the water cool, that makes it more fish friendly. Cool off those algae blues. Hey hey DOT that rip rap ain't the answer DOT. Plants and trees please. That rip rap don’t filter nothing DOT.
Ok that wasn’t a great rap at all. Had to be there but you get the point.
OK so I’ve seen old cars parts, tires and appliances in the river. Don’t you think it’s great that we pretty much mostly practically 100% don’t do things like that anymore that we know of? It’s just not the norm. Consciousness is rising.
I saw three Eagles today! Next is my series of really bad eagle shots. Use your imagination. If you look very very closely with reading glasses, squinting, clean your glasses, you will see some amazing athletic activity on their part.
I really really tried.
Other critter sightings, I saw a really spectacular Red-tailed hawk and a fox. In addition to the 3 eagles and 2 beavers, I saw a River otter, too.
River riddle; why does a butterfly cross the river?
Answer; because it felt like it. And it happens all day long. I have no idea what they’re doing but they must want to.
Here’s my birding list, what I’ve seen, noticed, and enjoyed; from large to smallish:
Eagle, Osprey, owl, great blue heron, Red-tailed hawk, cormorant, loon, Merganser, Mallard, black or brown duck I can’t member which, Pileated woodpecker, Kingfisher, Sea gull, Raven, crow, mourning Dove, Cedar-waxwing, robin, Sandpiper, red winged blackbird, Baltimore Oriole, Hermit thrush, somebody in the Wren family, chickadee dee dee. And more I couldn’t name. Felt like a bird sanctuary. Hey let’s get it designated as that!
So here’s the uncensored segment. I am learning the difference between a boat launch and a portage. The boat launches are well maintained. They support trailer access and fishing. This river is friendly for day access from basically one launch to another or between dams. Great!
What I’m doing is otherworldly as far as user friendly - not. I do not know what the dam companies are required to do for signage, River access around their dams or maintenance. I will be finding out.
Today I found a plastic bottle for a sign that led to a railroad track to town. And support from the Lisbon Falls Police Department got me around that dam. I talked to a staff person at this dam owned by Eagle Creek. He said the portage access blew out in March. They have not fixed it. There were no signs to it that I could’ve found from upstream. The sign existed beyond the boat warning barrels.
Here’s my thing. I don’t know the pros and cons of Hydro power. What is apparent is that dams manipulate a river and create ponds where there would have been faster moving, oxygenated water. If they’re going to dam our rivers I feel they have to make them human and fish friendly. They don’t own this river. I don’t either. This river is part of life. And all should be able to travel it.
I am very grateful to the Lisbon Falls Police Department for taking the initiative to scout a route for me and support me at the end of that portage by helping me to get that canoe down those rocks.
I have found the same situation with Brookfield, they are a Canadian company that owns 50 dams in Maine.
Ok that’s my lament today, gotta be honest.
I have traveled the path that many have before me. It was the natural way to follow the rivers to the sea and then back inland for the winter. I have had a glimpse of what it must have been like to live at one with the water and land. I am humbled and grateful to this river’s resiliency, legacy and beauty. I am grateful and humbled by this opportunity and am committed to be a support and advocate for this river’s full return.
I would love for you to celebrate this river with me tomorrow at the SEAdog in Topsham at my journeys end.
The celebration begins at four and there will be music and speakers and good food and cheer.
Meanwhile I will go to sleep near the river, have my breakfast with the rocks and the water and paddle to my destination in Topsham. I will reflect and anchor this epic solo journey.
I thank you for following me and joining me and supporting me as you have. I have been lifted by the flow of the river and the support of you.
Together we have raised over $3400 for our rivers!!! 70 people have contributed and I promise you whatever you offer, it will be used well through www.mainerivers.org, the non-profit I am raising money for. Our goal is $5000.