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  St John's in Maine
  Posted by: old_user on Feb-20-09 9:31 AM (EST)

Hello everyone,

I am planning a river trip with a friend in late June and we were exploring the option of the St. Johns. We did the Allagash a few years back at the end of June and loved the area. We have 4 nights so we were planning on leaving from Moody Bridge and finishing up in Allagash Village.

I have the Delorme Allagash and St. John map as well as the AMC maine river guide. I was hoping for some firsthand experience or accounts of the river. My main concern is going to be water level at this time of year (late June) I did a thread search and have read all the info that the archives had to offer.

If this isn't a reality due to water levels, does anyone have any other suggestions along the NFCT that would fit our bill of night 1 at the riverhead and then 3 days on the water with limited portage and fairly remote?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice.

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Messages in this Topic


  Another good source
  Posted by: riverstrider on Feb-20-09 12:58 PM (EST)
If you haven't already checked it out, the Northeast Paddlers Message Board has many paddlers familiar with that river (unfortunately I'm not one of them), and are a great source of info.

  St. Johns in June calls for Plan B
  Posted by: kayamedic on Feb-20-09 4:30 PM (EST)
We run it right after ice out. After the first week in June its iffy. I have lots of snow tales.

Sometimes if you are very lucky it can be run after lots of rain..that did happen last August.

Has to be a river? Lobster Lake is good for a night and then a night on the West Branch of the could also start higher up toward Sebomook. Then two on Chesuncook with a takeout at Ripogenus Dam. Allagash Campground runs a shuttle back to the put in.

Thats mix lake and moving water. No real whitewater.

St. Croix is another possibility. I wish I had done the Machias. I believe it fills your needs but its a ledgy one to class 3.

Moose River Bow trip is good for three nights though you can do an extension east of Rt 201 on the Moose River.

The NFCT site has lots of blogs from through paddlers and links to shuttle services.

  Posted by: old_user on Feb-20-09 7:38 PM (EST)
Thanks for the advice. I was thinking the same thing about the water level. Unfortunately for this trip, I am a teacher so I can't get that time until late June. I'm going to look into the penobscot trip that you mentioned.

We did the Moose River Bow Trip last summer. That was a fun trip, but that portage was no real fun at all.

Also, thanks for the new website. I'm down in CT so it was very helpful.

  Moose river portage
  Posted by: kayamedic on Feb-21-09 9:07 AM (EST)
"We did the Moose River Bow Trip last summer. That was a fun trip, but that portage was no real fun at all"

Bet you took the low one. There are two trip try the woods road that leaves from the SW corner of that bay(there is a beach and primitive campsite there). It ascends gradually to a height of land and is nowhere wet. Then descends almost exactly where your boardwalked swamp intersected the road. The only disadvantage is that you have to cross five or six washed out culverts.

Did that carry in one hour single carrying a solo boat I only had about 30 lbs of gear. The official portage was flooded and I knew that would take all day.
  go earlier
  Posted by: jonsprag1 on Feb-24-09 9:37 PM (EST)
you aren't likely to have enough water in late june to do the St John
  not sure about that this year
  Posted by: kayamedic on Feb-24-09 10:23 PM (EST)
If this snow pack sticks around it could be interesting!

What you said is true on the average but that river always has surprises.
  it can suprise you
  Posted by: jonsprag1 on Feb-25-09 1:45 PM (EST)
but I suspect on June 30 barring lots of rain snow etc you would be doing more carrying than paddling.
  What about the St. Croix?
  Posted by: booztalkin on Feb-27-09 2:08 PM (EST)
Ditto the others on West Branch. In parts, it looks very much like the St. Johns. It's a short run but between there, Lobster, and Chesuncook, you can easily spend three nights and there are no portages. The West Branch is dam controlled, so water is assured.

What about the St. Croix. Isn't that supposed to be similar to the St. John? Less the rapids? Is it as water finicky as the St. John.

Agree with others that water in the St. John is unlikely, but not out of the question. But I'd make that the Plan B. You run it if its available, otherwise, plan on being somewhere else.

If you don't mind driving your butt off, or maybe you are from up that way anyway, look at some of the Canadian Rivers. June is supposed to be the time for the Bonaventure, n'cest pas?
  Posted by: old_user on Feb-28-09 9:48 AM (EST)
Hey Thanks for some other rivers to investigate.

Where exactly is the St. Croix? I don't think that we would be totally opposed to exploring some canadian rivers. Do you have any suggestions that are "closer to the border" than others.

We have toyed with the connecticut lakes as well, but haven't found much great literature on them. I paddle the other end of the connecticut river quite often living down here in CT and I think that it would be pretty cool to see where it all begins!

Thanks again for the help.
  Upon further reading...St. Croix
  Posted by: booztalkin on Mar-02-09 10:04 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Mar-02-09 10:32 PM EST --

Dad works in a used book store and every so often runs across something he thinks will interest me. One such book is titled "No horns blowing", published in 1973, authored by Eben, iirc. It offers ten great canoe trips in Maine. I had just mentioned the St. Croix on vague recollection that somebody once told me it was nice. Both the St. Croix and St. John make Eben's list.

Eben says the St. Croix always has water, and describes a leisurely three-day trip with time spent fishing. Sounds almost tailor made for your wants. I'd offer to copy and send you Eben's description, but his info is so dated and his descriptions not that good, I think you can dig up plenty on the WWW that will be as good or better and lots more up to date.

The St. Croix sits on the border with Canada. Funny, doesn't the St. John sit on the border after Ft. Kent? Eben didn't have a map in his book showing the location, so you'll have to dig that up on your own. But I think it will be worth your while to investigate.


p.s. - there's no description of the St. Croix in Places 2 Paddle. Please remedy that when you come back.

day-after edit: damn, I hate almost remembering, which, for all practical purposes, is the same as forgetting. The author of above mentioned book is Eben Thomas.

  st croix
  Posted by: jonsprag1 on Mar-02-09 3:07 PM (EST)
The AMC canoe guide to Maine rivers has a very good description of the St Croix---the river is dam controlled at Vanceboro--call Domtar Paper Company to find out how much water is being released.
  St. John
  Posted by: kayamedic on Mar-02-09 5:44 PM (EST)
absconds to Canada after leaving Ft.Kent..where it flows southeast to the city of St. John.

I have a really good map of the St. Croix that I got from the Canadian Heritage Rivers Association ten years ago (and its on Tyvek.) Darn if I can tell you where to go to find it now.
  Posted by: old_user on Apr-22-09 6:44 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-22-09 11:28 PM EST --

c&c canoe in vanceboro that will be your best bet. the st.john is draining fast this year.i just looked at the st.croix and the gate keeper has the gates wide opened for a bit. late summer and fall are really pretty up there.

  St. Croix
  Posted by: mgc on May-08-09 12:20 PM (EST)
The Saint Croix is a very easy paddle. I took my wife and boys on it when the boys were about 12 and 14. They had no issues with paddling their own canoe. You will have an option to camp on either the US or Canadian side of the river. The Canadian sites are accessible by ATV so don't be surprised if you have guests. There is only one real nice run where you need to worry about dumping. You'll know when you get there. It's a quick drop with a very short carry. We unloaded the canoes and then ran it over and over again just for fun.
I do recommend this river as a nice easy 3 day trip for a family. It's not the St. John but it's worth doing at least once. We were able to get a local to move our car for us.
  just starting to get boney
  Posted by: old_user on Jul-24-09 2:55 AM (EST)
and the bugs are vicious.
  turner bogan as a put in?
  Posted by: old_user on Sep-03-09 10:24 PM (EST)
anyone ever tried this part of the river?
  anybody going up this spring?
  Posted by: old_user on Apr-27-10 7:21 PM (EST)
iced out early.
  Sometimes it comes up with substantial
  Posted by: kayamedic on Apr-27-10 9:39 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Apr-27-10 9:39 PM EST --


Its going to snow big time tonight.

No plans to go.

As of right now the river is very low.

  thanks med
  Posted by: old_user on Apr-28-10 6:50 AM (EST)
i have run the last 6 years but she is going low so soon. 5 years ago i pulled from 5th pond to allagash. that was before i learned to pole. after watching the levels go up and down last summer i think it would be worth the gamble to do a summer trip on the st.john. i have been down last week of june after a big rain and seeing it in lush bloom was fantastic. i did pay the bugs a toll of red blood. over the winter i sold off all my discovery canoes and got a tripper17 and an appalachian16 for bigger water. looks like the appy will have to wait till next year as i will be poling the river at these levels. have you done the aroostic?
  Some not much
  Posted by: kayamedic on Apr-29-10 7:47 PM (EST)
and it was only a 25 mile stretch with Oxbow somewhere in the middle.

It would be a guess that the Aroostook would have a bigger watershed with several feeder lakes.

Have to learn more about that one.
  need to check avail. gauges...
  Posted by: bigspencer on Apr-28-10 3:06 PM (EST)
Not much snowfall(slow runoff) this last winter = an area in need of check gauges often.
  level is good to go right now
  Posted by: old_user on Apr-30-10 9:00 PM (EST)
looks like a big rain coming in a few days. i see some guides have trips on the 10th and 17th of may. i have floated past nine mile as low as 1100cfm and i pulled my canoe at 850cfm.
  Posted by: bigspencer on May-01-10 5:09 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: May-08-10 6:09 PM EST --

Man if we could get some of that stuff TN received....(rolleyes)...*EDIT: Looks like we're getting back to somewhat normal early May temps and rain has been falling...much needed up north. After witnessing what last August-Fall's drought did to smaller streams I'll never complain about rain again.


  damn that river
  Posted by: old_user on May-20-10 2:05 AM (EST)
she is wicked empty now. i know some groups put in last weekend for the trip up to allagash. with temps going up and no water that river can become a death march pulling your canoe over the rocks all day. i was to go up this weekend for 12 days on the water but thats just a dream now. i have barely made it up the river when the nine mile gauge was at 1100cfm. below priestley bridge the river will torture you at the levels we have now.
  just got home from the st.john
  Posted by: old_user on Jun-21-10 12:11 AM (EST)
poled from baker lake to dickey at crazy low levels. no way could anybody paddle it. i left enough green royalex on the rock to make a small kayak. will post up pictures later this week. you can pole at half the level you need to paddle. i ran it at about a third. saw not a soul and had good conversation with my dog and a nice mouse one evening. best trip i ever had. finished with thunder and lightning while running big rapids, even pinning my pole in a deep wave train half way down. getting it back is a story itself.


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