Last summer, filmmakers Brad Tallent and Austin Graham of Adventureitus Productions, along with their partners, Megan Tallent and Mallory Hirschler, canoed the length of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail, shooting an intriguing teaser. Just in time for the 2018 paddling season, the pair is producing a series of video guides for each section of the water trail, which stretches from New York to Maine.
In this CanoeKayak.com exclusive, Adventureitus makes a case for the Southern Maine section of the NFCT. Maine occupied nearly half of the team's 69-day through-paddle. No region better captures the wild nature of New England's Northwoods, including a nearly two-week segment of water trail without a resupply point. We caught up with Tallent to hear more about the project and to get the inside scoop on canoeing Maine.
CanoeKayak.com: From the video, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail’s Maine section looks gorgeous. Was this your favorite section of the trail?
Brad Tallent: There is no way to pinpoint a favorite area along this trail; every area of the NFCT is incredible and unique in its own way. With that being said, there is something very special about Maine. The amount of waterways directly connecting to one another is a huge relief due to very few portages. It was the first time we could just paddle and soak in the picturesque backdrop of the Appalachians. The solitude offered in this area is why we paddle.
Because Maine is so remote, paddlers should obviously take stock of their skills and gear before setting out. Where do you suggest they start?
Skill-wise, there are sections in Maine for every level of paddler. The lakes of southern Maine would be a great weekend getaway for families and anyone looking for a quiet weekend with breathtaking views. The Dead River, Moose River and Spencer Stream are incredible sections of river running that a wide range of paddlers would enjoy.
Knowing your gear in such a remote wilderness is extremely crucial. Having stock of food, fuel, and keeping things dry is something I cannot stress enough. There are sections that you will not see a soul for days and could make for a miserable trip if the essentials are not remembered.
The classic “trail town” of Rangely offers a wide range of amenities including grocery, outdoor stores, rentals and even guide services. It is always a good idea to check in with the local experts before heading out.
Are there any key pieces of gear for the Maine section?
With this area being so remote, good maps are the first piece of gear that comes to mind. With many of the lakes and streams connecting, it can be a job in its self to keep the trip heading in the right direction. The official Northern Forest Canoe Trail maps that cover this area are maps 8 to 10.
Depending on the timeframe proper clothing to keep the insect pests away is essential. Late summer and early fall, the temperatures at night can flirt with freezing. A drysuit would be a wise decision if paddling late in the season.
Can you talk about the community of paddlers in Maine? How do they support the NFCT?
Maine in general is a mecca for outdoor activities, so it’s no wonder its nicknamed “Vacationland.” Every trail town along the way plays a major role in the growth and stability of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. As stated before, Rangely has an abundance of support for paddlers.
If heading into Lake Umbagog, Errol, New Hampshire offers easy entrance into the lake. Northern Waters of Errol offers support to paddlers heading into the region as well.
What has the response been like to your video guide series?
The NFCT has been growing steadily year by year, and that's why we wanted to create this guide series to begin with—to give everyone a visual into the incredible areas along this trail.
We are getting great feedback from the guide and cannot be happier that we are getting the word out on this incredible trail. We want to keep up with changes to the trail through the years to keep this a viable option for people to reference the trail.
Is there anything else you think readers should know?
On Flagstaff Lake, there is an incredible side trip to the Appalachian Trail; stash your boats in the woods and take off for a hike to the top of mighty Mount Bigelow. It offers an incredible viewpoint of the lake and is really awesome to see these incredible trails intersect one another.
See all of Adventureitus's new video guide to 14 specific segments of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, entering Maine in Section 8:
More Northern Forest Canoe Trail at CanoeKayak.com:
— Check out editor-at-large Alan Kesselheim's gear list for the NFCT
— Read about author Laurie Chandler's solo NFCT thru-paddle
— Inside Skip Ciccarelli's 25-day NFCT speed record