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 Water Adventures, From Intimate to Epic Follow Me to My Favorite Spots by Scott Vlaun
 The author paddling on his favorite boggy and biodiverse stretch of water on one of western Maine’s countless small ponds and backwaters.
“No man ever steps in the same river twice...”
~ Heraclitus
Maine’s “West Coast” may not be contiguous and craggy like that other one to the east, but it does contain a vast amount of shoreline along some of the state’s major rivers and largest lakes. Then there are myriad smaller waterways and secluded ponds, each one, a latent adventure. Factor in the changing seasons, from the high energy of ice-out and spring melt, to the lazy heat of summer,
and on to the crisp and vibrant autumn, and you could paddle every day of
your life and never get bored. And remember the old adage, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute?” Any paddler will tell you that a keen eye on the weather is crucial, especially on our larger lakes where a mellow crossing on calm waters one day, can turn into a wild, white-capped ride on the next. Throw in the choice of canoe, kayak, rubber raft, or paddleboard, and the options for human powered travel on western Maine’s waters is truly infinite. But of course, for the classic Maine paddling experience, the canoe remains supreme.
The birch bark canoe was perfected by the Wabanaki, or People of the Dawn- land, and was their primary source of transportation for all but the winter season. The lakes and rivers of what we now call Maine were the highways and byways of the Penobscot, Mic Mac, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Abenaki, and other tribes. Their lightweight and versatile craft were used to access hunt-
ing and fishing grounds, for intertribal trade, and I imagine, the occasional sunset cruise with a sweetheart. While materials have evolved, and dams have hindered the flow of the waters in the name of progress, those same boat designs and meandering routes, still plied by the Wabanaki people today, are there for adventure both epic and intimate.
Barbra Barrett
Arts, Entertainment, Adventure and More in Western Maine

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