What a difference a year makes! Mark in the Kenduskeag Race in 2011:
Approximately the same spot this year:
Last year, on the night before the race we strolled along the Kenduskeag Stream Walk, eying passages, put-ins and take-outs. As we scouted a steady stream of serious racers paddled by, practicing their routes. This year there were still a fair number of folks on the stream including this trio headed upstream:
As we wandered along, some actual river vultures kettled above on the thermals. Tomorrow those live birds will be joined by hundreds of other river "vultures" hoping to see some canoes and kayaks capsizing.
It should be a different sort of race than previous years, one for the record books. We watched as one man pulled his canoe out at the Upper Kenduskeag Stream landing. "It's as dry as I've seen it in twenty years," he told Mark. Though he didn't run the entire stream tonight, he wasn't going to miss participating in the contest tomorrow. It's that sort of loyalty which makes the race a sure sign of spring. And this is probably late, but Ray Wirth offers tips to this years paddlers in his latest post at Waterlines. Good luck to all the participants!