Slept in a bit since we couldn't start down the Allagash below the dam until about 8am when the dam let out less water to make the river runable. The ranger opened it up over night to double the normal level to purge some water from all of the recent rain!
Put in just below Churchill Dam and ran down through some crazy bony rapids for about 4 miles. Water rated as "class 2" should probably have just been listed as "rocks". There were two sections that we came across with no clear line through - not a problem for plastic boats where you can Dukes of Hazzard your way through the rocks, but a bit of trouble for us in our hand built wood canvas canoe!
We were glad that we had the ranger shuttle our gear down past the rapids so we could run the river with a lighter load. Ended up lining a few sections, but overall we paddled well through the rapids. India held up great and came out the other end intact! A bit of a risk, but we felt up to the task and Bean rocked out in the bow - a paddling machine!
After this section the river deepened and became more navigable. Saw a moose munching on some river grass and cooling off in the water right in the center of the river - Bean thought it looked like a good idea and went for a swim to cool off as well.
Paddled across Umsaskis Lake in a hard cross wind to the Ledges campsite where we had lunch in the shade. Put back in and paddled through the thoroughfare and set sail across Long Lake. A good following wind bore us all the way across to the other end before turning to the side as we reached Harvey Pond.
Stopped at the portage around the old dam and decided that we liked the campsite so we stayed there for the night. Had some dinner and went for a swim. Then we hung out with our neighbors, Clint and Crystal. As it happens they have done some volunteer work with the NFCT and race canoes together - quite the gandfather/granddaughter team!
Weather: hot! and sunny - looks like rain tonight
Wildlife: 6 moose, 6 loons, 2 bald eagles, osprey, kingfisher - an earwig that Bean flicked into the water was promptly eaten by a fish (she was very excited about this small drama in the circle of life...) and a curious swarm of large, black ants with wings at sunset at our campsite. Huh.
"People are the massive variable. I go with one person who is basically made of granite. You want someone who is watching out for you to a degree you never question." ~Todd Skinner