Peter Macfarlane's 2018 Solo East-West Through-Paddle of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail
in a Cedar-Strip Canoe by Otter Creek Smallcraft

NFCT's Map of Overall Route Peter & Sylva completing the NFCT

Day 8

12.6 miles

Monday 21st May

Narrows, Long Pnd - Jackman Motel


Day 8 route on Google Earth imagery

Last night was interrupted by logging trucks on the road along the south shore of Long Pond from about 2:45 am onwards, and also some snorting, which I initially interpreted as air brakes until it continued long after the trucks had gone. Shining a light around I saw nothing, but it was probably a moose. I awoke late this morning, around 5:00 am. It was a clear calm morning as I boiled water for tea and packed up, planning a gentle trip to Jackman followed by complete rest.

Long Pond before the wind

The “flight deck”

Long Pond was initially calm, although the west wind soon returned, gentle at first, and then vicious as I exited the lake back into the Moose River. A couple of moose wandered away in the distance, and yesterday's eagle tally was added to. The Moose River seemed interminable, especially into the wind. At one point I sprinted to overcome the drop under a bridge, convinced I must now be coming into Jackman, but no – that bridge was not on the map. Eventually the real Route 201 bridge appeared, and Big Wood Pond soon after, covered with white caps. Shortly after, I pulled out at Pomerleau Park and carried to the Jackman Motel. I had stayed here five years ago at the end of a long rainy day from Spencer Stream, and had been marvellously impressed by the quality and the low price – $40 for the night. Now I was arriving before noon.

Long Pond – still calm

Moose River

Not only was there a room available, but also my mailed food package had arrived. Furthermore the owner recognised me from five years ago – blond, bedraggled, weather-beaten, English accent, wooden canoe (I suppose that's quite distinctive!) With the canoe stowed behind the building, I settled in and had a wonderful hot shower, the first of the trip. Then my search for hand salve and hot chocolate led me to Bishop's Store, just down the road, from where I saw that there was a laundromat a little farther on. I took the opportunity to rinse clothing.

Taking advantage of the motel wi-fi to check email, I noted a message from through-paddler Mack Truax, advising me that my SPOT waypoints had stopped at the the mouth of the Allagash. This threw me into a spin. They were the only communication (one-way) that I had with my support crew. What would they be thinking? We had discussed protocols for what to do if waypoints didn't arrive, but this was now apparently six days with no evidence that I was still alive. Having no cell service, I ran back to Bishop's Store to use the payphone which I had used last time, but it was out of order. Back at the motel, I then explained the situation to the owner, who graciously allowed me to use the motel phone to contact Viveka, who was not at home – I left a message which probably sounded as though I was in shock (I think I was) – and then Ray and Hildy, who cheerfully confirmed that my waypoints had been coming through perfectly fine, and that they otherwise would have contacted the Allagash Rangers, which I half knew would be their recourse. I'm not sure what Mack's issue was (cache not refreshed?) but it served to generate a certain amount of panic on my part!


Drying the boots

The afternoon disappeared with eating snacks from a supermarket down the road and lazing on the bed. I also took the opportunity to dry my boots in the sun. They wouldn't stay dry for long, but at least I could put them on dry on one occasion. That evening I bought a large wrap and a re-supply of hot chocolate from Bishop's, and then re-packed for a dawn start. What would the wind have in store for me tomorrow?


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