Archives for category: Canoe trips

Day canoe trip on the St. Croix River with East Grand school students. Check out our 2019 schedule for St. Croix, Allagash and Bonaventure River canoe trips!  Trips are fully outfitted and guided.

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Canoe the Wild offers outfitted and guided custom canoe trips for school, youth, scout, adult, friends, family groups. Pictured here is a school group while on a 3 day St. Croix River Canoe Trip. Maine River trips are ideal for your next group outing. Canoe the Wild can fully outfit and guide your  group. everything is provided and all your group members will need are a few changes of clothing and sleeping bag, we’ll take care of the rest. Visit Maine on your next summer vacation.  Contact Canoe the wild to discuss putting a trip together for your group.

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Canoeing the Wild with Friends
by Tony Mason.

As we stood on the rocks at the side of the Cascapedia in Quebec, we viewed two sharp drops in the rapids. Our guide, Dave Conley pointed them out.
“You can avoid them by staying to the left. If you get into that top one broadside you may never get out!”
“You mean we could die?” I said.
Everyone laughed, somewhat nervously.
After paddling down the river for two days we had heard the load sound of the upcoming rapids so Dave had recommended that we walk down to the bend in the river to scout the obstacles. Our group consisted of four friends from Amherst College classes of 1964 and 1965, plus the son and son in law of Bob Krughoff, and Michael, a friend of Dave’s who was a teacher at Lawrence School attended by both my children years back, and Vance who was Dave’s assistant. Bob had proposed the trip after receiving strong urging from his children. When he arrived he was disappointed that Dave had planned starting further down the Bonaventure River instead of starting at the top of the gorge.
“The river is as high as I have seen it” Dave warned when we first arrived at our campsite on the coast of the Gaspe. “ I have gone down this river 14 times and I know the risks.”
He then repeated about six times that the river was near record high due to recent rains.
Bob had not arrived at that point because he had to wait for his luggage which had not made the transfer at the airport. The rest of us readily agreed with Dave who projected a sense of competence and wisdom. We then learned after starting to paddle that Bob had mastered only the J-stroke. This was not particularly helpful when trying to “eddy out” on the riverbank. Consequently in the early going Bob’s boat would come in without turning, ramming another canoe or the shore. Luckily he had his son-in-law Denjar in the bow who quickly learned how to control the canoe so their performance improved.
However, when we reached the class 3 rapids with the heavy drops Bob nervously tried practicing other techniques. After scouting the river we walked back to our canoes and began descending the river one at a time. Dave started first, as usual standing in the canoe controlling the direction with a pole. He made it look easy. This somewhat lifted the confidence for the rest of us. Next went Vance, a recent college grad on the way to Ohio State in chemical engineering, who Dave had hired to help with the trip. Vance extremely skilled in the canoe, assisted with every aspect of the trip. Those of us remaining watched from up the river as he rounded the bend, passed the high waves without difficulty. Next came Larry Dewitt using his strong strokes and darting technique characteristic of his winning style on the soccer field at Amherst. He also was successful. Then it was Bob and Denjar. We watched as they disappeared around the bend but then there was a long delay before Dave gave the signal for the next canoe, We learned that Denjar made a heroic effort while Bob was doing some variation of his J- stroke as they hit a rock, spun around backwards and then tipped over. Alex Krughoff, Bob’s son, was in the bow as he and I guided the “Nimrod” safely down the passage. Alex had coined the name for our canoe. Both of us weighed over 200 lbs causing less freeboard and the momentum of an aircraft carrier. Michael, who had brought is own canoe and plenty of experience looked like a pro as he threaded his way. Then Chuck using his calm deli berate technique passed through the waves with a resolute expression on his face.
After that excitement we pulled over to the side of the river to have lunch. Dave and Vance set up the usual table covered with assortments of cold cuts, peanut butter, lettuce, tomatoes, and a choice of bread or a pita wrap, as well as watermelon, grapes and cookies.. As always we ate well. Dave had supplied two coolers and several sealed barrels which each produced magical items such as fresh wild salmon, choice steaks, and pork loin which he would cook on a large iron frying pan over the fire. With each day we would all marvel about all the meticulous preparations for the trip.
One night sitting around the campfire Dave remarked how the woods gave him a spiritual sense. He respected the wild life and enjoyed taking photographs with his fine camera with a telescopic lens. Larry had a similar camera at home which lead to long discussions between them about the pros and cons of camera equipment.
Michael and I never won a cribbage game. Having played with my parents, Dave had given me a refresher on the rules and then soundly defeated me in a game. Then a round of team contests ensued. Michael and I first lost to the Krughoffs¸ then to Dave and Vance who again proved his competence in all things. He also knew many obscure facts about canoeing and chemicals. By the end of the trip when ever some question arose we would say “ask Vance”.
After Bob and Denjar had flipped their canoe the rest of us felt quite smug, until the next day when Alex and I hit some large standing waves. With the first one we took on water, with the second more water leaving only a few inches of freeboard. Then we began to tip. We both yelled simultaneously “The Nimrod is going down!”. We were able to get near the shore before submerging, but since the current was strong I was starting to float downstream. Suddenly Vance’s canoe appeared along side us for the rescue.
On the lower part of the river we saw two eagles-one sitting just above the large nest high in the tree. We did not see a moose but one night I pitched my tent just a few feet from some old moose tracks in the sand. I was awakened during the night by a loud “crack” sound. I peeked out of the tent, could it be a moose? Then it happened a few times more. I surmised it must have been fish jumping but next morning Dave told me it was a beaver telling us to keep our distance. The next day we paddled down to our final take out point near the mouth of the river. During the trip we had shared the woods with the wildlife as well as sharing many stories with each other. For more information about river trips in Maine and Canada with Dave Conley visit Canoe the Wild.com

Allagash canoe trips are for all ages and for those with little or no experience. This trip was six days and five nights from just below Chase Stream Rips to Allagash Village. Swim, fish, view moose,eagles and loons, learn to handle a canoe, meet and make new friends and eat great meals cooked over the open fire. Discover why Maine is a top summer vacation destination and why the Allagash wilderness Waterway is the most famous river for canoe trips east of the Mississippi. Contact Maine Guide Dave Conley to discuss your next adventure and summer vacation plans during the 2016 summer season.

Looking for a great summer vacation idea with lots of adventure and family fun? Outfitted river trips 3 to 5 days on the St. Croix River guided by Canoe the Wild might be just what you are looking for. Our trips are safe and geared for all ages with no previous skills necessary. Contact Maine Guide Dave Conley to discuss trip options on the St. Croix and Allagash River Canoe Trips.

“Besides being exceptionally competent and helpful, our guides were genuinely nice people whose good nature, positive attitude, and enthusiasm for the outdoors was infectious”. Lee Goldburg, Princeton, NJ

“This was the most wonderful experience. We all had a great time. It could not be better. Thank you so much. Your crew could not be better”. Alexsis Beach, San Francisco, CA

The Beach Family of Switzerland, California and New Jersy took part in a three day and two night canoe trip on the St Croix River guided by Maine Guide Tammi Matula with Veteran East Grand Outdoor Education students assisting. Other Maine wilderness trips include the Allagash and Penobscot Rivers

 

“Dave, thanks again for a fabulous trip. Every member of our party thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Your preparation and your execution in the field were impeccable in every respect. Everything met or exceeded our expectations. We are already talking about our next trip, hopefully the St. Croix with you next summer”. John Aromando, Poland, Maine

Another guided Maine canoe trip with Dave Conley and Canoe the Wild. This was a four day and three night canoe trip. A guided trip on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a great place to view wildlife and brush up on your canoeing and camping skills. Other trips that offer great scenery and easy whitewater include the St. Croix River near Vanceboro Maine. Choose the Bonaventure River in Quebec for more adventuresome whitewater and great wilderness scenery.