Thursday, October 21, 2010

Camden - Sea and Lake Paddles

Camden; where the mountains meet the sea. In the summer you can sign up for kayak tours right from the town dock. And why not? The harbor is filled with schooners, yachts and sailboats, and just a half mile out is tiny Curtis Island with a lighthouse on the backside.
Our first destination in Camden was Laite’s Beach on Bay View Avenue. I wanted to explore it as a possible launch site. In season, restrooms are available there. It’s a small beach, with very limited parking, quite a ways above the water.

Laite Beach from the Harbor
“We can slide the boats down the grass.” Mark proposed, “then just carry them down the stairs.” Sure - down was easy - but eventually we’d want to bring the boats home. So we went to the official launch beside the condominiums on Sea Street. There are no facilities there and no parking, though parking is available in a nearby lot. I’ve never tried launching out of there in the summer, instead I’ve launched from Rockport, which has a much calmer harbor. In Rockport, for a small fee, you can launch and rinse your boat after.
Though it's quite late in the season, Camden Harbor was still very full.
Mount Battie and Camden Hills State Park form a dramatic backdrop to the harbor.
Camden's library as seen from the harbor.  Look for the tiny tower atop Mount Battie
Most of the schooners were wrapped up for the winter, a few were still out.
Lewis R. French prepares for winter
The Appledore was readying for one last day of cruising.
Meanwhile a frontend loader was pulling up sections of dock.
 After circling the harbor, we cruised along the south shore to Ogier Point.  Once we’d made it out behind Curtis Island the lighthouse came into view.
Closer to Curtis Island
As did some guillemots in their winter coloring.
Guillemots: alcidae with red feet which appear as blurry dots in photos
We went by the day markers, and beyond Northeast Pt. The chart shows passage behind the tip of Northeast Point. Though we were there near high, we found no openings between the rocks, but maybe on a higher high it would be passable. The tiny island just beyond the point was filled with cormorants.
We peeked around the corner then headed back into the harbor. Back at the launch a sailboat was being hauled out - a task made more difficult by a dump truck parked near the launch. We landed at a tiny beach and carried our boats over the rocks to a small turnout which was filled with piles of gravel and dirt for a construction project on a nearby road.
We’d planned to change in the car before going to lunch at the Camden Deli, not as easy a proposition with the activity around us, so instead Mark slipped on pants and I wore a coat over the wetsuit. Camden Deli, the building in the center with large plate glass windows, has an incredible view overlooking first a quiet pond filled with ducks and further out, the harbor.
Camden Harbor from the shore
We wandered the street after, admiring a 2012 model plug-in Prius, in town to impress the attendees of Pop Tech. I guess there was no plug facility available; the car was being charged by a gas powered generator.
Camden doesn’t just have a beautiful harbor, mountains, great restaurants, and fine shops. It also has Lake Megunticook, a charming lake filled with islands and inlets. There are at least four access points to the lake. One on route 105, Washington St; two on route 52, Bartlett Cove and the nearby public launch. The fourth launch is in Linconville, just off route 52 into Norton Pond, which is connected to Lake Megunticook.
A sheer cliff at Bartlett Cove reminds me of Yosemite
We launched at Bartlett Cove, a swimming beach with restrooms in season, and a portapottie still hanging out. Lake Megunticook is tucked behind Mount Megunticook which, along with Maiden Cliff, dominates the lake.
Maiden Cliff has a white cross upon it in memory of 13 year old Sarah Whitesell who was blown off the cliff in 1865.
Mark waiting patiently by the Fang
We paddled over to Fernald Neck Preserve, owned by the Coastal Mountains Land Trust. This rock by the shore reminded me of tree roots.
We took a moment to pose by a huge erratic, Balance Rock, and got rather bland pictures, then continued on along the neck, across to a small island and along the cottage filled shore.
The tip of Fernald Neck
Admiring an Island owned by the Trust, closed much of the spring and summer for nesting
The colors were still bright by the lake, and it was a beautiful afternoon to be out. Our trip had started cold enough to have frost on the car roof, but now the temperature was near 60. Unfortunately, Mark needed to get home and return to work, especially since we'd stopped by Mainesport to look for gloves and got waylaid into kayak discussions.


  1. Suggest you and Mark look into purchasing a pair of folding kayak carts. These devices will make it a LOT easier to portage your kayaks to Laite Beach and other difficult put in sites. Plus, if the carts are small enough, you can stow them in your kayaks when paddling and have them readily available as needed!

  2. That's a great idea, it would certainly have helped there.

  3. I am not looking forward to your paddling season to end. Your pictures return me to home.

  4. I'm definitely not looking forward to paddling season ending. I think that's why I've gathered two bloggers who do winter paddles, some southern bloggers and a New York blogger who promises to post more summer trips. And probably I'll post photos through the winter from prior years, or ice floes and ice breakers.