about the Machias from some of my buds at Maine High Adventure (located at Matagamon). The East Branch is one of my favorites.
Some other great trips- Moose River between Long Pond to Brassua Lake, then paddle/tie the canoes together and sail Moosehead to East Outlet and run it Indian Pond. Arrange a commercial rafting trip from Harris Dam to the Forks. Have them transport your canoes back to their base camp on their flat beds. Your shuttle would be from Jackman to the Forks (to a raft company). The whitewater is a step up from the East Branch but more seasonal. You will be on the biggest lake in the State for part of this trip! Watch the wind! If this is running the whitewater will not disappoint. Portage gear before running East Outlet (trail gets overgrown near Indian Lake as of 2011). It may also be possible to portage gear on Moose since this is now NFCT. The moose is a seasonal run and very continous when its running.
Webster Brook is tougher than the East Branch because the whitewater is more continuous but only one portage. If the Telos cut is running below the dam then it’s very exciting to run empty. Put in at Telos Landing and take out on Grand Lake or run down the East Branch again! Webster is more easonal than the E. Branch on water levels, requires some campsites within Baxter but it is possible to get out of the park and camp up Big Logan on G Lake Matagamon to avoid another night of camping fees.
North Branch, Seboomook Lake to Roll Dam on West Branch. Don’t underestimate the first set of ledges you’ll encounter before roll dam (Slades Rips, West Branch) I highly recommend portaging this set- approaches class IV in difficulty. Check out the AW site for more info on rapids and the amc guidebook. Roll dam is a ton of fun and I always ran it empty, portaging the gear. Maybe paddle the Westbranch down to Burbank to lengthen the trip- good chance to spot moose. Beware of the South Branch- the upper limits of what is possible in tripping canoes- you need some real skills. The North Branch is Class II fun. Unfortunately a ton of NMWoods Fees in this area.
All three trips are a step up from the East Branch in terms of whitewater difficulty. In my opinion it is more difficult to boat the East Branch at low flows- Stair Falls is more grabby, and the rapid below Haskell Rock Pitch eats a lot of canoes at low flow but it’s more fun at higher flows. Whetstone and Grindstone are a lot “bigger” at higher flows so the swims can be epic. Just something to consider.
Another great place to post is the North East Paddlers message board. I’m sure they could tell you more about the Machias. Good Luck!
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