Hypothetically speaking, if you were thinking of thru paddling the NFCT solo, and you happened to own a Bell Merlin II in black gold would you subject such a fine boat to the various abuses such as W.W and tough carries or would you look for something you don't currently own but wouldn't mind punishing like a rx hull. My inclination would be to use what I have, it is light and pretty efficient, pretty maneuverable. But I don't know about toughness. Bell isn't making any more of these beauties anymore it would be tough to replace. Thanks for your input. This is of course all hypothetical ....
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The Allagash at lower water levels|
Posted by: kayamedic on Jan-20-13 5:05 PM (EST)
might chew it up. How is it in class 2? You will be expected to run several sections of rapids.. Particularly nasty is the Saranac River.
It depends on you....|
Posted by: tdaniel on Jan-22-13 10:23 PM (EST)
pros for the Bell kevlar: 1) light to carry up Raquette Falls, across Mud Pond Carry and some other carries that aren't wheelable
I'd lean to Royalex|
Posted by: acre on Jan-25-13 12:05 PM (EST)
The boat is certainly going to take some abuse no matter how careful you are and even if you choose to carry around any obvious rough spots. If you run into low water conditions your canoe will take even more abuse. The trail has lots of beaver dams to surmount as well as the odd log to cross as well as the normal things that cause the bottom of your boat to turn white.
Posted by: cooper316 on Jan-25-13 12:36 PM (EST)
Kdaanen here. Yes we put a hole in the kevlar on the Catherine Street ledges on the Saranac River at the end of a long tiring day. I was able to patch it and finished the rest of the trail without any other issues. I added skid plates to the bow and stern before I left, which I think, helped immensely (at least peace of mind.) There were two river sections I did not paddle due to low water which may have been a problem for kelvar--both extremely rocky--the lower Nulhegan and the S. Branch of the Dead River. I wasn't ever going to do any rapids over Class II. The ones on the Allagash and St. John weren't a problem and I paddled the Androscoggin downstream instead of upstream and rode all the rapids on that stretch without any problems. My friend's sons were with us that day in a rental royalex got hung up once. There is no one perfect boat for the entire trail. A royalex does seem like the best option, but I wasn't up for the portaging all that added weight.
Posted by: cooper316 on Jan-25-13 12:48 PM (EST)
Here are pics of the damage and repair.
your wheels must be different than mine,|
Posted by: tdaniel on Jan-26-13 12:44 PM (EST)
two sets of wheels|
Posted by: tdaniel on Jan-26-13 3:21 PM (EST)
easy to roll but hard to steer with two sets of wheels
Mud Pond Carry|
Posted by: kayamedic on Feb-04-13 9:50 PM (EST)
two miles long as I am sure you know is a trench a foot wide.
Posted by: acre on Jan-31-13 1:53 PM (EST)
I would love to hear more about the rapids above Brassau Lake.
Moose River by Demo Road|
Posted by: cooper316 on Jan-31-13 11:16 PM (EST)
This photo was taken by Demo Road (near Gauge Rock) in mid May 2012 if this helps give you an idea.
that's a great shot at high water,|
Posted by: tdaniel on Feb-01-13 9:31 PM (EST)
Merlin on big lakes?|
Posted by: TommyC1 on Feb-12-13 12:15 PM (EST)
I'm going to go the other way and assume that the Black Gold layup is tough enough. You will want to portage around the more difficult rapids in any case.
As a former Merlin II owner|
Posted by: kayamedic on Feb-12-13 8:27 PM (EST)
(I broke it in a falls), its a fine big water boat if not overly loaded. It is kind of trim sensitive and like the Osprey wants to swap ends in a tail wind, so in that situation you really have to have the heavy stuff aft.
Before it was officially the NFCT|
Posted by: yknpdlr on Feb-13-13 5:47 PM (EST)
I carried and paddled the entire NY section, actually starting some 35 miles to the west of the official beginning of the NCFT in Old Forge. I finished by crossing Cumberland Bay beyond Plattaburgh. It took exactly 7 days totaling 185 miles, including 62 miles of carries. The carries were not as bad as the deer flies and 90 degree heat that July!
Posted by: old_user on Apr-04-13 6:46 AM (EST)
I'd get a different kayak - they take a lot of abuse. I'm looking to do the NFCT this summer. Did you want to do a solo trip? I have a couple of friends that might join me for a week out of the 4 that I'm planning...Diana
Posted by: rblturtle on Apr-27-13 8:21 PM (EST)
I had a nice conversation with a man that did it solo end to end. I had a royalex Wildfire(Yellowstone solo) then. He said if he did it again he would use one of those or maybe a roylex Mohawk solo 14. He also said he would take wheels. I don't remember what boat he actually used.