Saturday, October 2, 2010

Passadumkeag Stream – Sunshine!

Basics: Launch: Paved Boat Ramp off Route 2 in Passadumkeag Maine, at the mouth where the Passadumkeag Stream enters the Penobscot. Parking for a dozen cars, no facilities. We paddled 6 miles on Passadumkeag and Cold Stream.

Wow! Sunshine at last! It seems like it’s rained all week. So though today was a high wind advisory day, we planned to go paddling in Sunkhaze National Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately, though the web site claimed we could launch off Route 2, when we arrived at there we learned that public access to the Sunkhaze Stream had been closed at that point. We drove north about two miles to the Costigan launch into the Penobscot River. There the Penobscot was flowing south at about two knots, and the wind blowing from the north at 10-15 knots. While it seemed like we’d get to Sunkhaze pretty quick, getting back, especially after exploring the stream looked tough. So it was back into the car and up to Passadumkeag and this charming landing.
The winds were high on the Penobscot River, which is quite wide and runs north to south. On the Passadumkeag Stream the wind speed was mostly gentle with occasional gusts to 10. The current in the stream was mostly light, though it ran faster at a ledge between the Route 2 Bridge and the railroad bridge and in Cold Stream. Both streams were wide enough, Passadumkeag maybe 70 feet, Cold Stream at least 20 feet wide. While a wonderful fall paddle; this might not be an option in spring.
The base of the stream was mostly forested, and had some lovely color.

The bridge on Spring Bridge Road seemed to be less than ideally maintained. It has a simple dirt launch near the abutment for those wishing to launch closer to Cold Stream.
Shortly after that bridge it was apparent that there was a great opening behind a thin line of trees. I headed up Cold Stream to explore. Maybe it was just the sunshine, but I thought area was incredibly beautiful.

Cold Stream twists and turns and goes for miles with beautiful open marshy scenery. Note the wind in this picture.
A few years ago Mark was asked to give a few words as a "Paddle Safety Expert." It was for an evening news cast, a piece about the dangers of high rivers. Mark and another woman spoke. That woman said that the Penobscot River peaks 4 days after rains, since its many bogs and swamps absorb rainfall and release it slowly, just like this photo of a tiny rivulet coming out of the bog illustrates. (the narrow section is a small rise) She also said the Penobscot had already peaked and was now lower and safer.
Mark was asked about the effect of rain on the river and replied “After a rain storm, it’s a whole different beast.” That was the quote newscaster used and was heard throughout Maine.

We glided back down to the Passadumkeag Stream and continued our way upstream there. I’m glad we did because shortly thereafter we came across this vista overlooking Roundy Ridge.
The white birch trunks really show.
Log cribwork makes me think this was once a saw mill.
Most of the houses along the stream are between Route 2 and Spring Bridge Road, and many have boats ready at the water’s edge. It’s such a pretty river, I’m glad to see those living there appreciate it.
I love the lines of this railroad bridge. Have you ever worked with the West Point bridge design program? This looks like it would be a sure winner for low cost.
And water reflections are amazing!

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