As stated by a client, preparing for an upcoming Allagash excursion: This looks like the adventure of a lifetime. Oh, how true that is!
What follows are great questions and answers, in preparation for such a trip. Here we go.
What level of fitness is required for the 6 day / 5 night Allagash excursion?
It is recommended that you be reasonably fit. The trip involves 4 days of paddling, covering 53 miles on the waterway (from our Umsaskis Lake put-in to Allagash Village), along with the “potential” for another 11 miles on the St. John River (to St. Francis) if time and the state of the group permits).
In addition, everyone is expected to assist in loading / unloading canoes, carrying gear around portages, setting up / breaking down camp and other activities typical for primitive camping. If you should have ANY concerns with regards to your health or state of fitness it is recommended that you discuss this with your physician before considering such an excursion.
What is primitive camping?
Camping at a site which has a fire pit, picnic table and outhouse. We must bring anything else that is required. To support this a detailed packing list is provided. Since we will transport our gear via canoes (which have limited space) we must stick to the essentials.
I’m wondering about the bugs and how you deal with them.
The bugs can be fierce at times – especially early in the season. Dealing with them includes; wearing long pants and a long sleeved shirt (nylon is best as it doesn’t retain moisture), applying lots of bug spray (with DEET) and it doesn’t hurt to bring a head-net for use in the evening.
What about the rain / weather?
As mentioned in the list of things you’ll want to bring, good quality rain gear is important. In addition, you’ll want to bring clothing and a sleeping bag commensurate with the worst possible climate of the season. Historical weather info tells us that it can get down into the mid-40’s and 50’s at night, even during the summer. And, finally, we’ll have tarps to provide coverage for our campsite in the event it rains.
Will I need a heavy duty backpack for gear?
We won’t be doing much hiking, other than carrying / portaging our gear around a few impassable river obstacles. A more effective approach is to pack everything in waterproof / dry bags as recommended in the packing list.
Will we have the ability to link up with civilization along the way, to get additional supplies or connect to the grid via cell phone?
No – Once we head into the Northwoods we are off the grid for the duration. For emergencies we will have a satellite phone and first aid kit. In addition, Ranger Stations are strategically located along the waterway. You’ll want to go by the Scout Motto: Be Prepared! Upon expressing interest in a trip a detailed packing list and itinerary will be provided so you can plan accordingly.
What if I have no canoeing experience?
All participants are provided an orientation to canoeing prior to departure as well as pointers and reminders, as needed, during the excursion.
Does the State of Maine have rules specific to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway?
Yes – Click here to learn more.
I’d like to get some cool footage of the trip. Can I bring my drone?
No – Drones are prohibited in Maine State parks (refer to rules at the above link). You can bring your camera!
Does the State of Maine provide overviews of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway?
Yes – Click here for current conditions, a video and other information.
Can you point me to any online videos covering the Allagash?
Yes – Click here for the first in a series of videos on YouTube.
Is there a map or video that shares the route for our trip?
Yes – Click here for a video which includes this information (and more). You’ll find an animated map covering our route, which begins at about 4 minutes into the video. In addition, click here for a downloadable / printable map. As a reminder, we begin our journey at Umsaskis Lake.
I’ve noticed there are fees related to road use/access and camping on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. Are these fees included?
Yes! The only extra costs you should expect to incur on this excursion are any incidentals you may choose to acquire and meals not included on the way to / from the waterway (all of which is clearly specified in the trip profile).
Where can I find the “trip profile” mentioned above? And, how do I register for an adventure?
Once you indicate interest and we’ve had a bit of dialog we’ll send you a link to the trip profile and registration form. We simply want to make sure you know what to expect, before registering for a trip.
Can I fish while on the Allagash?
Absolutely! You will need to acquire a fishing license and bring your gear. Following are links related to fishing licenses:
License Fees – Note: If you are a non-resident and don’t plan on doing any other fishing in Maine during the year it is suggested you acquire a 3 or 7-day license for your Allagash excursion.
Are there any good books or recommended readings related to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, or the Northwoods of Maine in general?
Yes, there are a few recommended books…
The Allagash Guide, by Gil Gilpatrick – Available at Amazon. Provides detailed insight regarding planning for a trip on the Allagash.
The Maine Woods, by Henry David Thoreau – Available at Amazon. A great book covering Thoreau’s excursions in the Northwoods of Maine.
You Alone in the Maine Woods – Free download from Maine.gov. Provides pragmatic insight and advice that could save your life if you were to become lost in the Maine woods.
Feel free to Contact Us if you have other questions related to this adventure of a lifetime.