Today we went on a short canoe trip on a brook that we’ve both had our eyes on for a while. It is off the Androscoggin River near the Dummer/Cambridge, NH townline. Andrew drives RT 16 almost daily and the mystery brook always intrigued him. Lindsay had kayaked down the Andro last year (read about it here: Kayaking the Mighty Andro) and had started up this brook a short distance and wanted to go back to explore more. We parked on the pull off road (old RT 16) section just after entering the 13 mile woods and paddled across the River to the brook opening to the left. We saw two ospreys and a loon before even entering the brook.
The brook was a windy waterway with walls of alders, sweetgale, and laurels. Occasional tamarack or fir tree would rise up higher. Beaver and muskrat evidence was everywhere. Lots of little trails leading through tunnels of alders onto islands intrigued us, but we stayed in the boat. We found a little pond, complete with pond lily, and hung out with fish, frogs and dragonflies.
The deer and horse flies were horrendous, but like usual we made a game out of killing as many as possible. When the brook closed in tight around us and we used the alder branches to pull us through, but spiders dropped into the boat. After navigating over 3 or 4 beaver dams and one large downed tree (where Andrew even had to get out to pull the boat over), we turned around.
We paddled back out and up the Androscoggin River a short distance before heading back to the truck. The river in this section is smooth and gentle, lined with tall spruce and fir on one side and joe pye weed, meadowsweet, and other shrubs on the other. A loon ducked underwater to fish near us. When the car traffic dissipates, it feels like you are out in the middle of the wilderness.