Saturday, July 6, 2013

Crossing the Penobscot by Bucksport

What does it take to make a good moment?

Almost nothing.  I was sitting in the shade in front seat of our car, drinking an icy drink, windows open to let westerly breezes in, pleasantly exercised by a recent paddle about Bucksport Harbor, when I thought, "it doesn't get much better than this."

And really it doesn't.  It's not that Bucksport is an amazing paddle, there aren't any small islands or waves(though at certain points in the tide cycle there can be some very challenging conditions just upstream from the fort).  There weren't even any buzzards today.  But there were some lovely sights:
The new Penobscot Narrows Bridge, opened in 2006, and the footings of the old Waldo-Hancock Bridge.
Fort Knox:  After the British were successful in capturing Bangor and surrounding towns both in the Revoluntionary War and the War of 1812, Fort Knox was built overlooking the narrows.  Built between 1844-1869, but never used, Fort Knox remains as an impressive site and a terrific place to explore.
(To the left is Fort Knox in Prospect,  right is the Verso Papermill across the river in Bucksport)

The house at the Ferry Boat Landing just above Fort Knox.  What a classic house this is, and such a lovely siting. This is a fun video from 1925 of the ferry in action.
We saw seals and osprey, which avoided the camera.  Further up river were these high cliffs, providing some shade.  On a hot humid day, shade has a lot of appeal.
An old dock and its rotting components, appealing in its decrepitude, and a great resting spot for cormorants. 
Just south of the Verso Paper Mill, a new dock had attracted its own crew of bird life.  New dock or old, birds are appreciative of any perch.  this one had cormorants, seagulls and a few osprey.
A few boats lingered in the harbor.   This boat was up in Bangor for a week or two, there it was named the "Zee Whiz."  That name has been painted out, and it may be in the process of being renamed the "Sebago." It had a prior life as a ferry to Fire Island, but I don't know what it's new plans are.

Bucksport Harbor and its surrounding area has far more history associated with it than this short post mentions.  Still my key take away from this paddle, was enjoying my local environs is one easy way to build  happy summer memories.  I hope you're enjoying summer paddles too!

Summary:  Launch Verona Island.  Looped down to the bridge, across to Fort Knox, up to the power lines, down to the abandoned dock, back along Bucksport Harbor.  6 miles.  Launch 8AM, finish 11:00, one stop  High 10:15AM.  (The Google earth above is a shorter journey, the abandoned dock is maybe a half mile further upstream.)


  1. I went to Maine last summer, and stopped to see the Penobscot Bridge and Fort Knox. That may have been the best part of the trip. Enjoyed the pictures

    1. Fort Knox is pretty impressive, and the bridge observatory is a real treat too! Hopefully you'll get back some day to visit more of Maine. In the mean time thanks for cleaning the Mystic!

  2. I enjoyed the photos and your description of your local environs! Especially liked the photos of the bridge and the photo of the kayaker and the cliffs. Do you know what the purpose of rusted pipe and piling was? Or is it just part of the old dock? (photo before the old dock) I think it's neat that all of those different birds hang out together on their dock-perch.

    1. Before I posted this I searched on line for information about this dock and found nothing. My guess is it was a facility used by the paper company (originally Seaboard, now Verso) for offloading chemicals needed in the papermaking process. The pipe is bent and rusted through on the far side - it does not feed into an underwater storage area. I think the pipe used to go all the way to the loading platforms on teh near side.

  3. The bridge's twin across Eggemoggin Reach must feel very alone these days.

  4. Sure looks different with the old bridge gone..