Peter Macfarlane's 2018 Solo East-West Through-Paddle of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail
in a Cedar-Strip Canoe by Otter Creek Smallcraft

NFCT's Map of Overall Route Peter & Sylva completing the NFCT

Day 0

0.0 miles

Sunday 13th May

Shelburne, NH - Fort Kent, ME


After playing for the Scottish country dance in Fairlee yesterday evening, I went home with Ray, one half of my Ray-and-Hildy New Hampshire-based support crew, the same as five years ago, to their home near the New Hampshire-Maine border. After a comfortable night in the guest bedroom, I opened my eyes and gradually focussed on the nearest thing: a bookcase. One spine commanded my immediate attention: The Darwin Awards. It's the kind of stunt that Ray might have engineered, but he maintained all innocence.

We left Shelburne, NH, at 9:25 am, and shared the driving on the long road east then north, arriving in Fort Kent shortly before 5:00 pm. I had reserved a room at the Northern Door Inn, so we checked in, and then went to look at the river. This was the moment of truth. Would it be utterly insane to try to paddle up it. As we climbed to the top of the levee, a surge of relief spilled through my whole body. Having seen a flow rate of 70,000 cfs farther upstream just a couple of weeks earlier, and then watched as the graph inexorably fell, it was almost elating to see that the present flow rate was manageable. Certainly it was flowing, and nobody in their right mind would attempt to paddle up the middle of the river, but there was a little slack water along the edge, and that would be my refuge.

We found dinner, and turned in for an early night. Thoughts of relief mingled with those of trepidation and anticipation as I fought for sleep.

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