Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Whitewater Weekend: A Doubleheader!




The Maine whitewater season kicked off with the St. George and Passy River races last weekend, and now it's time for another doubleheader weekend.

Tomorrow (Saturday, April 18th) the Souadabscook Stream Canoe Race begins in Hampden at noon.

Note that there are two races offered on the Sou this year - a shorter race which stops before the whitewater (highly suitable for beginners) and the regular race course which takes you through several sets of rapids. Here's a writeup from the BDN if you'd like to know more.

And then there's the Marsh Stream Canoe Race in Frankfort on Sunday. This is one of those whitewater gems which is often overlooked but well worth a trip.

Visit the Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Organization (MaCKRO.org) for more information on these and other races this spring!

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Kountdown To The Kenduskeag




Only 30 days to go!

Aislinn Sarnacki of the The Bangor Daily News interviewed Jeff Owen of Orono about the upcoming whitewater races in Maine. Lots of useful pointers here - check it out: http://bit.ly/1Emu365

PS - don't forget! You may preregister now before race day looms upon you.

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First WW Race Of 2014: St. George River



UPDATE 4/2/14: The Passy River Race - scheduled for Saturday, April 5th, has been cancelled. The St. George is set to happen on Sunday, however. BDN article here.

Last week the St. George River Race was rescheduled for April 6th due to icy conditions on the river (it has iced out now).

Sunday April 6th, 2014 ~ 35th Annual St. George River Canoe Race

Registration: 11am - 12:30pm $20 per paddler 1pm start
Call the Waldo County YCMA to register: (207) 338-4598.
Location: Searsmont Methodist Church, Route 131, Searsmont, Maine
Course: Race starts at St. George Bridge in Searsmont Village.
Three miles of dead water, 1 mile of rapids, 2 miles of dead water and curves with one Class III drop.
Notes: This race has Class II – III rapids (plus or minus depending on the water level.)

Here's a zoomable, annotated map of the St. George race course.
(Thanks to Charlie Smith and MaCKRO).

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Passy River Race - 4/6/13



The 2013 Maine whitewater season continues with the Passy River Race in Waldo (near Belfast) this Saturday. Just a little over two weeks remain until the Kenduskeag!

Date: Saturday, March 30
Time: 11am
Place:
Savage Road, Littlefield Farm in Waldo, Maine.
Course: Race starts at the Littlefield Farm. The first mile is flat water with many curves. Course passes under a cement bridge to another mile of flat water followed by a short stretch of Class II rapids. A two-mile stretch of flat water to the Rolerson’s bridge, then Class I, II and III whitewater for a mile and a half, leading to a flat water stretch to the finish.
Registration: 8-10:30am, $20.
Contact: 338-4598

For more information, visit the Waldo County YMCA website.

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St. George River Race 3/30/13



The 2013 Maine whitewater season "puts in" with the St. George River Race in Searsmont this Saturday. All registered paddlers will be entered in a drawing for a brand new Old Town canoe!

Date: Saturday, March 30
Time: 11am
Place:
Searsmont Methodist Church, Route 131, Searsmont, Maine.
Course: Race starts at St. George Bridge in Searsmont Village. Three miles of dead water, 1 mile of rapids, 2 miles of dead water and curves with one Class III drop. This race has Class II – III rapids (plus or minus depending on the water level).
Registration: 8-10:30am, $20.
Contact: 338-4598

For more information, visit the Waldo County YMCA website.

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Maine Whitewater #2: Passy River Race

The Passy River Race is scheduled for this Saturday, April 2nd, at 11am.

And so is an early April nor'easterner! Good thing I didn't put my snowplow into storage; we could see several inches of snow or rain (or both) on Saturday morning. It won't stop a bunch of people from having a good time on the water, however.

The Passy is hosted by the Waldo County YMCA, where you can find more information. But here's the rundown:

Passy River Race 2011

Time:
11am start

Place:
Savage Road, Littlefield Farm in Waldo, Maine (outside of Belfast)

Course:
Course: Race starts at the Littlefield Farm. The first mile is flatwater with many curves. Course passes under a cement bridge to another mile of flat water followed by a short stretch of Class II rapids. A two-mile stretch of flat water to the Rolerson’s bridge, then Class I, II and III whitewater for a mile and a half, leading to a flatwater stretch to the finish.

Registration:
Call (207) 338-4598 to register, or stop by the Waldo County YMCA. Cost per paddler is $20, first 180 registrants will receive a t-shirt. Register for the race and be entered in a drawing for a brand new Old Town canoe!

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Maine Whitewater #1: St. George River Race

St. George River Race - photo by Michael Alden














UPDATE:Race results from the St. George may be viewed here.

The 2011 Maine whitewater season is upon us. Woo-hoo!

The St. George River Race kicks things off this Saturday, March 26th, at 11am.

The St. George is one of two races hosted by the Waldo County YMCA, where you can find more information. But here's the rundown:

St. George River Race 2011

Time:
11am start

Place:
Searsmont, Maine (Rt. 131 bridge)

Course:
Course: Race starts at St. George Bridge in Searsmont Village. Three miles of dead water, 1 mile of rapids, 2 miles of dead water and curves with one Class III drop. This race has Class II – III rapids (plus or minus depending on the water level.)

Registration:
Call (207) 338-4598 to register, or stop by the Waldo County YMCA. Cost per paddler is $20, first 180 registrants will receive a t-shirt. There will also be a drawing for a brand new Old Town canoe!


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The Sou & The Marsh

Maine's Whitewater Weekend was a blast (as it always is). Cloudy skies and cooler temperatures didn't deter these hardy paddlers. (Or is it 'hearty'? I was never clear about this, and a Google search for the correct usage is of no help because other people seem to be equally perplexed....)



Souadabsook Stream Canoe Race
Held in Hampden, this is often a wild and woolly ride! The stream seemed to be at a nice level this year. Last year, it was a bit too much, and many people portaged the trickier areas. But not so this year - people seemed to take glee in "tackling" the tricky areas and it looked like a good time was had by all.
65 registrations this year at the Sou, according to this Bangor Daily News article.

* * * *

Marsh Stream Canoe Race
Why this particular race isn't 10x more popular than it is, I'll never know! I really enjoy watching this particular race, so I'll have to get out the boat and take a shot at it next time around.

The Marsh is one of those "dark horse" whitewater river races - it seems to slip under the radar for whatever reason. I don't know if this is because it falls on a Sunday (although there's a generous 1:30pm start time) or of it's because the race falls on the heels of the Souadabscook in Hampden. Back-to-back races aren't for everybody, and some people have to choose one race over another when they schedule their weekends.



All I can say is that if any of you whitewater enthusiasts out there haven't heard much about this race before, take a closer look next time. The whitewater "season" in Maine is short enough as it is; don't let these well-directed races fall by the wayside. This race is too good for that.

Kudos to the Penobscot Paddle & Chowder Society for safety work on this race - these folks really have their act together! I'm going to become a member of PP&CS.

Here's a crib sheet for future reference. The exact dates will vary, but the spring whitewater race schedule (ahead of the Kenduskeag) is usually as follows:

Last Saturday of March - St. George River Race, Searsmont
First Saturday of April - Passy River Race, Belfast
2nd weekend of April - Souadabscook Stream Canoe Race, Hampden
2nd weekend of April - Marsh Stream Canoe Race, Winterport
3rd Saturday of April - Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

PS - I've posted my pics of both the Souadabscook Stream Canoe race here, and the Marsh Stream Canoe race here. Hope you enjoy them!

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Maine Whitewater Weekend!

Two exciting races this weekend! Thanks to the Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Association (MaCKRO) for the following information.

I'm going to be at both races, should be a blast!

* * *



Saturday, April 10th: Souadabscook Stream Sprint & Race, Hampden
(HELMETS REQUIRED)
8:00am - Sprint and Short Course Registration, Grange Hall, Emerson Mill Rd
9:00am - Sprint Start—Manning Mill Rd bridge (finishes at Paper Mill Rd bridge)
10:00am - Short Course Start—The start will occur immediately following the
conclusion of the Sprints. Recreation area below the falls off the Paper
Mill Rd (finishes at the Hampden Water Works on Main Rd/Rte. 1A)
11:00am - Downriver Race Registration—Vafiades’ Landing, Bog Rd
12:00pm - DR Race Start—Vafiades’ Landing, Bog Rd
(finishes at the Hampden Water Works on Main Rd/Rte 1A)

Awards for all races at the Water Works following the conclusion of the DR race.

* * *



Sunday, April 11th - Marsh Stream Canoe & Kayak Race, Winterport
(HELMETS REQUIRED)
10:00am - Sprint Registration—Winterport Riverside Riders Snowmobile Club, Pine View Drive (at the intersection of Stream Rd and Rte. 139)
11:00am - Sprint Start—Launch at Pine View Dr and drift downstream to the start (finishes immediately below Roadside Drop on Stream Rd)
12:00pm - Short Course and DR race Registration—at the Loggin Rd bridge
1:30pm Short Course and DR race start at the Loggin Rd bridge (short course finishes at the railroad trestle on Stream Rd.
DR race course finishes behind a garage-type business on Rte. 1A.

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Next Up: Passy River Race!
















The second chapter of Maine's all-too-brief whitewater
season begins near Belfast on Saturday, April 3rd at 11am.

Passy River Race - Saturday, April 3rd at 11am
at Littlefield Farm near Belfast

Registration: 8:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Cost: $20 per paddler

Race Location & Directions: Take Rte 7/137 NW out of Belfast. After about 3 miles, take a left on Shepard Rd. (Side note: about a half mile up Shepard Rd is where the race ends, at a spot where the river comes close to the road. You'll see lots of cars and paddlers and if in doubt, just ask someone where the start is!) Continue up Shepard Rd. At the stop sign, bear right onto Poors Mill Rd, then after about a half mile, bear right again. Continue across the bridge on Poors Mill Rd, and after about 1.5 miles, bear right onto Savage Rd (a dirt road). The start is about a half mile up Savage Rd where the river goes under the road.

Course:Race starts at the Littlefield Farm, first mile is flat water with many curves. Course passes under a cement bridge to another mile of flat water followed by a short stretch of Class II rapids. A two-mile stretch of flat water to the Rolerson’s bridge, then Class I, II and III whitewater for a mile and a half, leading to a flatwater stretch to the finish. According to race director Dale Cross, "...this river also finishes with about a mile straightaway, very wide. It’s like a stock car finish. You can see people all around you, so it’s really cool. Several boats wide could finish at the same time."
















(Source for Dale Cross quote: Bangor Daily News article).

* * * * *
Stop by the Waldo County YMCA to register for the St. George or call (207) 338-4598.

More information can be found on the
Waldo County YMCA canoe race page.

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This Week: St. George River Paddling Clinic & Race!

If you're looking to try out a race or just get your sea legs back, the St. George River Race is just the ticket!

This season-opening race is always a lot of fun and there are prizes to be won. And as the St. George Race is a good 10.5 miles shorter than the Kenduskeag, it's the perfect "primer" race.

But wait! There's more. If you are new to paddling and you want to prep yourself for any of the races this spring and summer (including the Kenduskeag, of course) you can try out a paddling clinic hosted by the good people at MaCKRO (Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Organization).

You will have to fill out an American Canoe Association (ACA) waiver form, which I have provided links for right here. You can download the waiver forms for both minors and adults. (These are PDF documents).

St. George River Race (Paddling Clinic): Thursday, March 25th at 4pm, Searsmont.

Bring the applicable waivers and your boat. Clinic is free. Experienced paddlers will guide you through the stream at your own pace. Designed for fun and for building confidence!

St. George River Race - Saturday, March 27th at 11am at Searsmont.

Registration: 8:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Cost: $20 per paddler
Race Location: Searsmont Methodist Church, Route 131, Searsmont, Maine
Course: Race starts at St. George Bridge in Searsmont Village. Three miles of dead water, 1 mile of rapids, 2 miles of dead water and curves with one Class III drop. This race has Class II – III rapids (plus or minus depending on the water level.)

* * * * *
Stop by the Waldo County YMCA to register for the St. George or call (207) 338-4598.

More information can be found on the
Waldo County YMCA canoe race page.

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Are You Experienced?
















Tough sledding on the St. George - 2009

Certain traditions in March allow me to mentally check out of winter.
I can pinch someone on St. Patricks Day if they neglect to wear green and my chances of being slapped are at least 50% lower than if I tried to do this on any other day. Girl Scout cookies are on sale, certain types of which should be classified as habit-forming drugs. We set our clocks ahead one hour but the net effect is at least five times that, and many of us are grumpier than post-hibernation bears on Monday morning.

And John Holyoke interviews Dale Cross for the Bangor Daily News.
As far as I'm concerned, spring is officially here.


Dale Cross, the director of the season-opening St. George River Race on March 27th (as well as the Passy River Race which takes place the following week), offers sage advice for newcomers to paddling:

“...I think it’s wise for folks that are just getting started … that they go with other folks that may understand the sport a little better,” Cross said. “It keeps everybody safe. It’s important to back up two steps and make sure they’ve got the proper equipment...I think that what any paddler needs to do is just get in the boat...flat water, anywhere they can get in where it’s safe, to get their sea legs.. get some things straightened out with a partner, on flat water, before they get into the whitewater stuff."

Read John Holyoke's full article here from the Bangor Daily News. Cross briefly outlines each of the upcoming races. Highly recommended reading as we approach the Maine whitewater season.

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2010 Whitewater Season Just Around The Bend
















Captain Morgan cruises by during the 2009 race
The whitewater season in Maine is almost upon us, and this blog is officially out of hibernation for the next couple of months. Woo-Hoo!
I mean, Arrrr!

Lots to talk about in the near future, but here's a wee dram:
The St. George River Race opens things up in just a few weeks, and get this...the St. George River has already iced out. I'll have more on the St. George (including when & where) in about a week.

If you haven't pre-registered for the 2010 Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race, what in the name of Long John Silver are you waiting for??

Whether you plan to go solo or assemble a motley-looking crew, pre-registration saves you time and money. $36 per paddler this year if you wait until race day to sign up, but only $18 per paddler if you beat the deadline (Friday, April 16th at 1pm).







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Kenduskeag 2009: Nice & (Mostly) Mellow

The Kenduskeag looks good and should be a lot of fun this year for a broad spectrum of paddlers. Here are some of my impressions and I hope you will add yours here as well.
(Click thumbnails for larger images)

Keep in mind that stream conditions will change between today and Saturday morning. For one thing, the stream should be a bit lower than it is as of this writing.

The photo above shows what the area of rapids variously known as "Shopping Cart", "Washing Machine", "Thunder Hole" (and a few other names) looked like on Tuesday. Enlarge the photo for a better view. Compared to last year and certainly the year before, this area isn't quite as scary looking, but that should not be taken to mean that the stream won't provide any thrills or challenges this year. Far from it!

Let's start closer to Bangor and work our way upstream to Six Mile Falls, because that's how I roll on these walking tours.

The area known locally as the Shopping Cart isn't nearly as hairy as it was last year, and nothing at all like it was in 2007. That's not a bad thing, as these rapids tend to surprise a lot of people who think that the worst is behind them.

Chances are, you'll be pretty much spent by the time you reach the Shopping Cart rapids, so I wouldn't want to give you the impression that you can just sail on through without difficulty.

Here's a closer view of the "tongue" of the rapids. Note the standing waves, which do tend to throw people for a loop. You have to be alert, and I'm thinking that river right is going to be the line most people will take when they approach this area. The shelf on river left (see photo) was somewhat passable on Tuesday but will likely be too shallow on race day, certainly for many canoes.

They don't call it the Shopping Cart Hole for nothing! Which reminds me, I'm pretty sure there is a Kenduskeag cleanup event scheduled soon (perhaps the day after the race) by Keep Bangor Beautiful, and the cleanup relies on the efforts of volunteers. For more information call 990-1201 or email Keep Bangor Beautiful. Or just do what we did and pick up the junk as you come across it.

OK, moving on. Let's take a quick look at the two mandatory portages on the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race. Maxfield Mill Dam, and (further upstream) the Flour Mill Dam.

Chris D'Amico, who scouted the stream with me on this walkabout, pointed out an interesting thing with regard to the "mellow" waters and the mandatory portage at Maxfield. There's a nice little rocky "beach" available for landing. This is usually submerged under a few feet of water. Also, the calm "coves" on river right can be used as a rest stop for paddlers who need to take a breather or bail their boats. Nice!


Looking to river left at the Maxfield portage, there is another option for take out. I've never really understood the benefit of taking out here as the bank is quite steep. It might cut down on the distance of the portage across the bridge a bit, but most paddlers take out river right. Not sure where the Maxfield Mill Dam portage is? Here's a map


Now we move on upstream to the Flour Mill Dam. This is also a mandatory portage and if you didn't portage at Six Mile Falls (which is optional), this is the first portage you're going to hit. The remains of the Flour Mill Dam are just upstream from the I-95 bridge. There's a nice walkway and lookout over these rapids if you are walking along on the Kenduskeag pathway.

Note the calm conditions here at this portage. Again, it's a nice thing to have a "mellow cove" for paddlers because these portages can become congested. The grassy area is often submerged under a few feet of water. The take out at the Flour Mill Dam is river left. Here's a map of this area.

It's a good thing the Flour Mill Dam area is a mandatory portage. This area is otherwise quite scary. You won't have to worry about the toothy rocks as seen in this photo because you'll avoid it altogether. As you can see, these "molars" would chew your boat up and spit you out. And these rocks are just upstream from some nasty rapids. It wouldn't be pretty.



Just as an aside: I had to include this shot of the large pipe which runs through the remains of the Flour Mill Dam. This was taken from the Flour Mill overlook. In the earliest years of the Kenduskeag race (circa 1966, 1967) it was possible for paddlers to portage the Flour Mill Dam by sluicing their boat through this large pipe! Don't try to do this now, however. Note the spillway and the drop. Bill and Fern Stearns wrote about this rather unusual portage option in their book "Tales of the Kenduskeag", at a time when only a couple of dozen paddlers braved the stream for the inaugural races.

Now we head upstream once again to the infamous Six Mile Falls. Let's cut to the chase: people want to know how things are looking and what approaches (lines) to think about. Here goes.

This sat map isn't the best for this example because the water levels were at summer low when the big bird snapped the photo, but generally there are three main approaches taken by most paddlers when lining up for Six Mile Falls. You might want to enlarge this image for a better look. Portage here is optional, not mandatory. Here's a map.

Based on our observations, going the river left "loop" is definitely passable at the moment, but it might not be so easy on Saturday. We'll see. As the stream level drops that left hand loop will become bony. On the other hand, this can be a VERY nice route to take to move you out into a position ahead of the falls so that you can line up nicely and cruise on through. Scout the left side loop on Friday night if you can. (See note about MaCKRO clinic below).


Click the image above to enlarge. See the island of red willows in the middle of the stream (left hand side of the photo)? It seems to us that whether you take the river right loop or the "bony left" loop, you'll want to sidle up to this island if possible and line yourself up for the center of the falls from there. Easier said than done, but the current isn't as ridiculous as it has been in recent years (2007 being one of the worst in recent memory).

I'll leave you with a comment from veteran racer Jeff Owen of Orono:
Six-mile Falls gets difficult if the water is too low--sharp ledges all over the place, particularly in the section at the top of the falls. If we're going to run the falls (meaning the water is not too high or too low), we always begin on river left and work our way down through the little islands over there--then move out to run the main chute at the bottom. There are several options up top on river left, the best being dependent on the water level. It'll be fun to look at it on Friday afternoon.
If you have any thoughts on Six Mile Falls this year, by all means share them with us in the comments! Would love to hear from you.

And keep this in mind: There will be a paddling clinic hosted by MaCKRO (below Six Mile Falls) for anyone who is interested in testing and "previewing" the stream on Friday afternoon. Here are the details.

- Compiled by Mike Alden and Chris D'Amico

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2009 Whitewater Season Begins Next Week












Update 3/29:
Great turnout (109 boats!) at the St. George River Race in Searsmont. (Photos)

Other races, spaced one week apart after the St. George, include the Passy River Race in Belfast and the Souadabscook Stream Race in Hampden. Mackro has posted a schedule of upcoming races.

Mackro President Jeff Owen wants to attract new paddlers to the sport in Maine. MaCKRO is hosting race clinics for all novice paddlers (and anybody else who wishes to participate). The St. George River clinic will be held this Friday, March 27th at 4pm. Read about the clinics here.

Also, if you are not a member of Mackro, consider joining. There is no fixed membership fee this year; you decide how much you would like to donate when you send in your membership form. Mackro is a good resource for beginning and advanced paddlers alike.

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Souadabscook Stream Race Highlight Reel















I've posted an 8-minute "highlight reel" video of the 2007 Souadabscook Stream Canoe Race on BlipTV.
Click here to watch the video.

Also, here is an article about the Sou race from the Bangor Daily News.
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St. George River Race: "A natural, wild time"














Less than a week to go before the St. George River Race gets underway, and it's shaping up to be a blast!

Here's an excellent article about the upcoming St. George River Race from the Waldo County Village Soup site.

UPDATE 4/2/07: And here is a post race article from the Bangor Daily News.

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A Few Upcoming Races (Maine)


While we still have to get through iceout, here are a few upcoming races to keep in mind if you'd like a "primer" before the Kenduskeag:

3/31/07 (Saturday) - St. George River Race (Searsmont) - 11am.
Phone 338-4598.

4/07/07 (Saturday) - Passagassawakeag River Race (Belfast) - 11am.
Phone 338-4598.

4/14/07 (Saturday) - Souadabscook Stream Canoe Sprint/Race (Hampden) - 9am (sprint), 12pm (race). Phone 234-4521.

4/15/07 (Sunday) - Marsh Stream Sprint and Race (Frankfort - Winterport Snowmobile Club) - 9am (sprint), 12pm (race). Phone 234-2510.

Check out the Bangor Daily News interview with race organizer Dale Cross (3/20/07). These races are going to be a lot of fun!

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