We had all good intentions of waking up super early the following morning and setting out at 5 a.m. Unfortunately, due to our Jackman night life adventures the night before, we didn’t. Instead we were up at 8 and reached Attean Pond by 9:34. While unpacking the truck and loading up the canoe we met Karl, the man who was trying to convince Red-Green from heading out the day before and the person who checks folks in who are going to Attean Lake Lodge. Karl is also a Registered Maine Guide, and has lots of great stories to share.
RED GREEN AND OTHER TALES
We had to ask Karl what was up with the two guys in the aluminum canoe the night before. He told us that they were from away, and had found the canoe in Uncle Henry’s and picked it up on their way to Jackman. He said that he warned them that it wasn’t a good idea to head out on the pond in that kind of weather, but the two fellas insisted and set out. Apparently, the canoe wasn’t quite water-tight, and began to leak. It was a slow leak, but they decided they should head back to the landing. By the time they made it back, one was bailing while the other was paddling. Karl continued to share another story with us, about a group who set out with an old canoe. Apparently the paddler of the canoe hit a rock, and it split in half a ways out on the pond. Being a resourceful bunch, they managed to tie a tarp around the canoe pieces to connect it back together and towed it back to shore. He said it was quite a sight to see the tarp-canoe strapped to the roof of their truck, and the crew was quite proud of their modified masterpiece. Karl gave us a few tips about the trip and we set off.
We left the landing at 10:30 a.m. with smooth paddling, until we came out of the sheltered cove. From there on out, we were battling 1-1.5 foot swells, with water coming over the bow. It wasn’t enough to be concerned about, but the paddling was somewhat challenging. We reached the first portage just before noon. The portage is 1.25 miles long, and is rather challenging. It is a portage that you cannot bring a kayak cart on, as one group ahead of us discovered. They had attempted to use one, and by the time we walked past them, one wheel was broken. On our second trip back they had modified the cart with two long poles to carry it and the kayak. There are boardwalks along the trail to help you cross muddy sections, and lots of hills, rocks and roots to maneuver over. Henry’s tump line on the canoe broke and we had to stop and fix it. By 1 p.m. we had finished the first portage and headed back for our second load of gear.
The weather was not in our favor for this section of the trip. We could hear thunder and it was raining off-and-on throughout our portages. We finished our second portage just after 2 p.m., and decided to sit and wait until the thunder stopped before leaving for the second leg of our journey. We stored our gear under the canoe and sat under a tree at the campsite located at the end of the Attean-Holeb portage. The site is beautiful and very spacious, and you can’t beat the view. The thunder stopped by 2:30, and with light rain showers, we decided to head out. Unfortunately the wind had picked up even more, and we experienced 1.5-2 foot waves on Holeb Pond. After a tough paddle on Attean followed by a tiring 5 mile round-trip portage, we were feeling worn down.
By the time we reached the end of Holeb Pond at 3:30 p.m., we were ready to beach the canoe and set up camp. Unfortunately the camp sites there were all full. It is a popular location, and at the end of Holeb Pond is Holeb Landing, where canoeists start the Bow Trip. Many camp overnight at the landing, or leave from the landing and head to the campsites across the shore from the landing. Our exhaustion and the high winds forced us to find a spot on the shore were we could camp overnight. We found a beautiful spot not far from the landing and set up camp. The site was well guarded from the wind, and made for some beautiful sunset photos.
We saw lots of wildlife in the area, including a bald eagle, lots of loons, a family of ducks and some crows. As we set up camp, two guys from a neighboring camp came by while collecting wood for their fire. They were both teachers who were taking a group of high school kids on the Bow Trip. They told us each year they take kids on the Bow Trip, and gave us some additional information about the route. That night we had steak, broccoli, carrots and brown rice for dinner. It was fantastic. Henry broke out the reflector oven and baked some three-berry muffins for us, which were also amazing.
A BEAUTIFUL ENDING TO A CHALLENGING DAY
We sat on the shore by our campfire watching the sun set behind distant mountains, casting beautiful colors over the lake. We both agreed that this was one of the most beautiful places we had ever camped. Loons called across the lake as we planned tomorrow’s journey. Not far from Holeb landing is the mouth of Holeb Stream, the gateway to Moose River, and whitewater adventure. We had no idea what adventure was in store for us…stay tuned!