Day 7 June 8

It was nice to see my sisters and I am grateful for their love and support. After starting the day with a hearty dose of my sister Mer’s breakfast, (thanks again, Mer!) I got busy packing and preparing to portage directly into my hometown, Mexico. It was all downhill basically and not all that long. 

This is not the Lincoln Memorial or whatever it’s called, this is a smoke stack.

I was on a mission trying to make another appointment on time. A reporter from the Lewiston Sun / Rumford Falls Times, the lovely Marianne Hutchinson, had a meeting with me at the confluence of the Swift River in the Andro. It’s hard to estimate how long it takes to walk a canoe from one place to another. I made it on time again. So far I’m three for three :-)

This place has significance for me. Basically being a river rat growing up in and on and around the Swift River, it was a challenging and confusing experience to watch it join the Andro at the mill and have it just go away like that and change. This memory is what inspired this journey. And it’s not a memory- it’s still happening now. The Swift is basically untouched, pure, cold, free-flowing from  the Rangely Lakes area up north.

It was absolutely surreal for me to be paddling into the Andro from the Swift. If you only understood what it used to be like in the 70s and 80s. People still have this in their minds and it has truly changed since then. I’m only a week into this schooling, myself. After today’s paddle I can attest to this. I’m excited to share with you what I witnessed.

First, unbelievable to be  paddling in front of the mill, too. Talk about facing my demons. I felt myself soften, receive what it is, meet it without a story and just be open. I needed to be open. And opened.

Above is treated water after the paper making process, then being put back into the river. It looked clear to me. There was a slight odor but I couldn’t tell if it was from the water or the smokestacks. The odor was of sulfur but it was mild. And the general condition of the river water was quite clear. I was very pleased to see this. I was very grateful to see this.

Paddling beneath the walking Bridge that 100,000 million steps have been walked through generations of men and women, with their lunch pails and their dreams. My father walked the bridge and so did his.

The river changed downstream, quick water, Rapids, huge boulders, turns. A river I never imagined. So scenic so beautiful. Still within the mill's hum and shadow I saw a father and son fishing. I pulled up beside them and asked how it’s going.
He said he caught a 4 pound rainbow trout! Said he wouldn’t eat anything caught in the river though. He said we’re only supposed to have like one a year or month or something like that- no matter, he’ll  never eat any.

If your wondering why, and I could be wrong, it’s because of the heavy metals in the sediment upstream. We gotta clean it up. 

At least it has stopped being dumped.

And I tell you that the river is coming back to life in spite of our weirdness.

Oh I have some great river riddles for you. Are you ready? OK let’s begin.

What’s better than seeing one eagle on the Andro in a day?

OK what’s better than seeing two eagles in a day on the Andro??

How about three? How about four? How about freaking FIVE Eagles BELOW the mill help me God! ๐Ÿฆ…๐Ÿฆ…๐Ÿฆ…๐Ÿฆ…๐Ÿฆ…

Straight up no lie. First nest had both parents in it and I couldn’t see any babies. The second nest had a baby and a parent and the other parent was flying around. That’s five! Boom!

Second riddle. 
Ready? OK. What’s better than seeing one snapping turtle in this river?


I scared the other one off his sunny rock. Sorry buddy.

OK what’s better than seeing two snapping turtles in the river today? How about THREE!

The third one no lie was a circle of moving leaves. I just saw this leaf circle moving and it was next to the other one that was sleeping in the sunny mud. I tried to video it but it just stopped moving. Funny.

OK so what’s even better than that? In regards to turtles in this river? OK I’ll tell you. I saw mom on a nest incubating eggs!


This water was so clear, so cool. I felt like I was at camp. I thought after today I was not going to touch this water until I got to the ocean. I’m not afraid of it anymore. 

But I am afraid of this portage. And I will tell the tale tomorrow.

I paddled about 22 miles today. I’m just below the first dam near Livermore. My rotator cuff hurts and I tweaked my left knee at the big portage yesterday. Oh well. What are you gonna do. I’m happy to be horizontal and to be sleeping without a fly tonight under the stars.

 I didn’t get here till six tonight. The last hour and a half of paddling I found myself singing and doing different breathing meditations to be present and available.  So many times I’ve said to myself one of my favorite quotes from my friend Byron Katie, “we either sit, stand, or lie down. The rest is a story. “ And when things got a little hard or I got a little tired or felt a little put out I would remind myself that This moment is enough and it’s good. In fact it’s perfect. 

I’m grateful to this big old River and I’m here to love her up and she seems to be loving me up pretty well. Good night. 

Oh and if you wanna support this paddle with a  mission, anything you give helps bring care to our rivers thru the non-profit I am raising money for, Maine Rivers —- 


  1. What a day! Sweet dreams ~*~
    (Thank you for sharing)

  2. Thanks Jo! Friends with ibuprofen ๐Ÿ˜‰feel better today so far.


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