I awoke to rain again, this time pattering against the rain fly of the tent. I knew instantly we had made a mistake the night before, and I snuggled down into my sleeping bag and put the pillow over my head, willing it away for a few minutes.
While we had the foresight to put the rain fly on, we had forgotten to cover the clothes we had hung up the night before, most of our gear, and even our Maine Atlas had been soaked. Oops! Oh well, nothing had been ruined, and we packed up in a precipitation break.
We faced another section of stream that no doubt was too shallow for both of us to sit in the canoe. Since my father had discovered the fishing trail, I took a bag down the path while Brian took advantage of the lighter boat to fly down the waterway.
The trail reminded me of a northern rainforest. The tips of pine needles and the edges of ferns dripped to the mosses below; stones in and around the path glistened with moisture. By the time I made it back to the road, I was drenched.
After we hauled the canoe out of the water, we met our second canoe ferrier at a nearby ranger station. My mom, Lindsey Rustad, forest ecologist, picked us up in a bigger, rougher car to tackle the muddy roads.
I’ve said it before, but I want to reiterate a piece of advice to fellow North Woods recreationists: a road crew is so helpful, whether friends, family, of friendly sporting camp guides.
We had explored the original headwaters of the Allagash, and had one final river in our future: the Aroostook.
Because of the low water conditions we didn’t want to attempt stream paddling again, but that didn’t stop us from exploring Munsungan and Millinocket Lake. We camped by Munsungan Falls, walking along a near-stream trail amidst the green fern species, the aster and goldenrod, the mushrooms, all drying out from the recent rains. The storm had ceased hours before, and once again we reveled in a brilliant, colorful sunset.
—by Erika Zambello