Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Paddle to the Sea, Part 2 Hampden to Bucksport Maine

High Noon, launch 12:15, finish 3PM 10-11 miles.

On the plus side, it was ten degrees warmer than on our previous trip. And there was not as much wind, though what wind there was came from the east, rather than helping to push us from the rear. But it was the need to continually run the wipers as we positioned a car on Verona Island which made me think this might be a less comfortable run. However Mark wasn’t showing any inclination to back out, so neither would I. It’s been rainy/misty/showering for almost two weeks straight, though it might dissuade us from driving a long distance to paddle, by now we would rather get wet than miss another day.

So shortly after noon we hiked back down to our landing to continue our journey down river. (Again those without a house in Hampden/Orrington might try the Hampden launch or the Orrington Launch )
At the Winterport line the Penobscot makes a sharp bend, and mist had collected along the Winterport shore; a mist full of the scent of the river, dirt from the hillside, pine needles and grasses. There was another sharp bend a mile later, directing us south again.
We passed by the gentle hills, and a marina, and soon a second marina came into view.
 Winterport; where in fine tradition, many of the old sea captains homes faced the river.

The Marina in central Winterport.
Across the river, as we rounded Drachm Point, the Penobscot Narrows Bridge just came into view, and the river widened, the air was now scented with salt.  This was also the section where we spotted our first (and only) seal of the trip.
Next we passed by the mouth of the Marsh river, Mt Waldo is in the background. Right about here salt water begins to overwhelm the fresh and seaweed begins to appear on shore.
These cormorants were gathered on an old pier near Luce Cove.
On we travelled, passing by the buoy formerly known as buoy 39
And coming up on a row of cliffs at Indian Point just above Bucksport.

Here the scent changed again, smelling distinctly of balsam, before we rounded the corner. As Verso came into sight, the scent was more general ground wood, not the distinctive Christmas tinge it had earlier. And the air was warm, which I mistakenly took to be a south wind, until we passed the plant and the air temperature dropped several degrees and once more was salty. I guess the steam from the plant had just been blowing up the river.
A classic Fort Knox and bridge  view.
We were in Bucksport harbor, with its welcoming waterfront; a gazebo, plenty of parking, benches, tables, toilets and a walkway.
A short while later we’d stopped at the Verona Island landing, stage two done!
Plenty of seaweed at the landing, so it is definitely salt water.
An alternative stopping point is Marsh River Landing in Frankfort


  1. There is a lot of interesting and awesome scenery on the river. Enjoying your travelogue.

  2. Thanks, I look forward to following your blogs about fishing and the Maine outdoors and about your dog.

  3. This was super helpful, we're just planning the same trip as your parts 1 and 2 only in canoes, and this has been really helpful in figuring times and distances. Great blog thanks! I'll be back for more.

  4. Good luck Chris, I hope you have fun! It's a gorgeous river!

  5. can you estimate the approximate time it took you to paddle from Hampden to Buckport? I assume you went between high and low tide to ride the tide out? and were there any tricky parts? my family and I are planning to canoe it soon!

    1. We launched at noon and ended at 3pm, launching just at high. From Hamlin Marina, it's about four miles more, so another hour, to hour and a half ( as our trips grow, I find our need for breaks grow as well. ) good luck on your trip!