Paddling the Maine Island Trail

Week of January 2-8, 1997
Paddling the Maine Island Trail
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Paddling the Maine Island Trail
Question: My wife and I are interested in a four- to six-day sea-kayaking trip in July of 1997 somewhere on the coast of Maine. We have never been there and know very little about the area and are doing research to see what we can work out. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated.

Alan Nichols
Hudson, NC
mtnhigh@twave.net

Maine's wild coast offers 2,500 miles of
harbors, coves, and inlets for exploring


Adventure Adviser: Although it's a bit of a misnomer--there is no marked trail, just a navigable route along the Maine coast's 2,500 miles of bays, harbors, coves, and inlets--the Maine Island Trail is always a good call for a multi-day paddling trip. The "trail" winds its way through 3,000 spruce-infested islands from southern Maine all the way up the bony coast to true "Downeast" Maine, past Roque Island, and out to New Brunswick.

A good bite-size section starts in Merchant Row, a cluster of small islands off the village of Stonington at the southern end of Deer Isle, about 150 miles north of Portland. Put in at the town wharf and dodge lobster pots and lobster boats en route to a choice tent site at Harbor Island, about three miles offshore. From there, you've got a whole slew of choices for multi-day trips: north to Eggemoggin Reach and Acadia National Park's Mount Desert Island (watch for monster-size schooners before making the crossing), east to Blue Hill Bay, or south to Isle au Haut.

The Maine Island Trail Association (207-594-9209) can provide you with charts and guidebooks, camping details, and information on access to private islands. Camping is plentiful in Acadia, both on Mount Desert and Isle au Haut, as well as at 11 campgrounds near Bar Harbor. Call the park visitor center at 207-288-3338 for information, and the reservation line at 800-365-2267 to book a campsite. If you'd rather do a guided trip, Maine Island Kayak Company offers two- to five-day paddles along much of the coast from $250-$950 per person, depending on the route. Call 800-796-2373 for a Summer 1997 schedule.

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