Below is an account of the last day of 8 days paddling the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Maine in August 2015. See links below to read the other days of the adventure! 

Big Brook East to Allagash Village and Home:

We took our final morning of the trip a bit more leisurely, though we awoke at 5:00 and were still on the river by 7:10. To stave off the hint of nighttime chill in the air, Joe made a fire  where I brushed and braided my still damp hair in its warmth. Sunrise on the trees across the river was especially lovely this morning. We enjoyed our last breakfast of very smooshed Allagash Bars with the rest of the coffee, which made for cowboy coffee reminiscent of motor oil. My tiny ration of half and half hardly lightened that dark fluid in my cup, so I added two marshmallows. The combination greatly added to my morning energy and efficiency. The foods you combine at the end of such a long backcountry trip will occur nowhere else…

Big Brook East View
Sunrise on the Allagash

After dousing the fire and doing a final check of camp, we were off. We went through several areas of rapids, probably only rapids due to the low water at this time of year in this wide section of the river. We saw and seemed to follow yet another bald eagle and some kingfishers and herons. The sky was overcast, but with a variety of cloud shapes and textures. When we were about halfway to Allagash Village, a wind from behind us rustled the surrounding trees and rippled the water. The change in the air seemed to foreshadow an impending storm. Our pace quickened and the wind slowed. The sky even brightened despite the thick layer of clouds.

Final day on the AWW

We blew past the sign marking the formal end of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway as we rode, concentrated, through some more rapids. We also missed the final Allagash checkpoint due to the lack of signage around what we later realized was the boat ramp leading to the station.

The river widened, the vegetation became more deciduous and shrubby, and houses began to appear. We came ashore for the last time just before the Allagash River meets the St. John River. After we located our vehicle that had been shuttled from our put-in spot at Johnson Pond by a local shuttle service , we loaded our boats and gear while being swarmed by blackflies and briefly dumped on by rain.

After a filling lunch at the Swamp Buck in Fort Kent–silently consumed due to our ravenous hunger–we headed south on Rt. 11, arriving back home by 6:00. That night, it poured and thundered unlike any weather we had experienced while on the river. We switched off our electric lights and crawled into our beds with cool and dry sheets under a sturdy roof and slept well–but we did not hear any moose splashing in a river as we fell asleep.

This was an account of Day 8 of an 8 day trip. Check out these links for other days in the adventure:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7