Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Different Sort of Race

Wind and threatening skies might deter Mark and I from paddling, but not others.  278 boats, most with multiple paddlers, took on the Kenduskeag Race on Saturday, paddling, carrying and scraping their way along the 16.5 mile course.  It's that sort of dedication which makes the Kenduskeag Race a great rite of Spring!
The day was mostly rain free, but low waters made for a challenging run for the participants, who often had to get out and free their boats.
A few pictures from streamside:
An early kayak heads through
Love their expressions... 
Does Old Town make a four person Loon?  Did the team make this from three separate kayaks?
About half the number of boats from last year, but a good crowd, considering..
A canoeist boosting himself off a rock, probably not for the first time
Gumby! A race tradition! Stuck on a rock - something new!
Having a pusher for low spots was a necessity
Zip Kellogg, standing in his white suit; another tradition
And yes, the low waters did take a toll on the boats, as well as the paddlers:

Congratulations to the finishers!  More complete coverage at the Bangor Daily News and Mike's Kenduskeag Stream Race Site.   You'll especially want to watch video with the race start and scenes along the way to see how much team 131 had been through by the time I got their picture. Kevin Bennett's video, at the Bangor Daily News site, also features Gumby braving 6 Mile Falls and the four person Loon being portaged.  A special congratulations to Ray Wirth on his top five finish!
Ironically, heavy rain is in the forecast for the next few days; if only the dancers had remembered to ask for express delivery....

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pretty Bony....

What a difference a year makes!  Mark in the Kenduskeag Race in 2011:
(Photo courtesy of Mark's story of the race here.

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!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tracy Pond - At Last!

Not all goals are epic...

April 1 marks the start of open water fishing in Maine, so Jackson Beach, on Hermon Pond had both empty trailers awaiting the return of fishing boats and empty ice fishing shacks awaiting pick up.