Tracking Expedition to the Penobscot River in Maine, USA
At the beginning of October 2020, Survival School will be going on another Expedition. This time we're off to Maine in the USA on a Canoeing, Bushcraft and Tracking Expedition. The dates will be confirmed 11 months before the trip (that's when the airlines release their schedules), but we are looking at 3rd to 10th October in time for the magnificent autumn colours. Bear, moose, fireflies, glowworms, deer, beaver, racoon, muskrat, coyote and so much more. This is a trackers heaven and you'll see so much more tracking then just sitting at the campsites. True exploring gives you a better experience.
- This is a trip of a life time. If you are doing anything else- cancel it!
- The airline reserves the right to change its flight schedules so early flexibility may be required.
- The Expedition will last for 8 days.
You will need to book your own flights and there is only one transfer from the airport to the canoes.
Full Payment (no flights) £895
Travel from London Heathrow to one of the hubs in America either New York Boston or Philadelphia then catch the onward flight to Bangor, Maine. The first night is spent in a hotel (two sharing per room) ready for a good night’s sleep.
After breakfast we meet up with our friends who provide us with the canoes and take us all to the drop off point, which is roughly a three-hour drive of which two hours are spent purely driving through the north Maine woods to a Ranger Station for a briefing on the local wildlife. Any information we can feed back will help their conservation programmes.
There is also chance on the way to stop at Millinocket to pick up some food supplies for the week.
Once we have said goodbye to our friends it’s time to fit the boats out and get onto the river.
Although the Penobscot River is world famous for its white water grade five rapids this section of the Penobscot River has no rapids or white water on it…. Phew, just a gentle constant flow so there is no previous experience needed.
We only travel a few kilometres before we find our first campsite… Unlike our trips to Sweden in the summer where we have near constant daylight and the freedom to stop wherever we wish… The Penobscot River is different, as we have to stay at designated campsites… It’s federal law but rest easy these are remote sites and just have a toilet and a picnic bench and a fire pit as standard.
Daylight runs out around six in the evening and as we are five hours behind the UK time it’s normally an early night for most people.
After breakfast and a briefing of the day ahead we start tracking. Each day will consist of a short paddle (10km or so) and the rest will be tracking. Last year we tracked Coyote, Bear, Beaver, White Tail Deer, Racoon and many others. All training is provided during the course and there is no need for prior experience. More experienced trackers can learn advanced skills that are not so straight forward in the UK.
We head towards the next evening’s campsite and if we are quiet enough there is sometimes the opportunity to spot eagles, moose, beaver and chipmunks to name a few. There is frequent sighting of moose in this area. Perfect for sit spots.
We paddle for a few hours and the scenery and landscape of the river changes slightly at this part of the river and after a lunch stop we come to the mouth of the Penobscot River and head back into Chesuncook Lake.
We cross the lake and spend the night on Gero Island… This place has a very special feel to it.
Unfortunately we have to leave the island and head down the lake and stay at another site for the evening and if the wind is heading in our favour we can raft up and put up a makeshift sail and sail our way down the lake. Last year we tracked Coyote to a kill site where they fed on the remains of a large female moose.
After breakfast it is a short paddle for the morning and finally meet our friends at the extraction point to take us back to our hotel.
Once back in Bangor and after a soak in the bath we head across the road for a drink and evening meal.
Head back to the UK and if the flights are later on in the day then we can get taxis into Bangor which is a ten minute journey to go shopping in Bangor mall. You can also take the opportunity of visiting Stephen King's House - spooky!
Sleeping bag (ideally suited down to -50C)
Tarp & hammock or tent – please ask for advice if you are unsure.
Thermarest or other ground mat.
Water bottle or Platypus, Dromedary or Ortlieb collapsible water container
Mug + billy can (not mess tins)
Fork or spoon
Sheath knife (to be kept in hold luggage)
Folding Saw – please ask for advice if you are unsure (to be kept in hold luggage)
Dry bags – everything must be waterproofed.
Rucksack or Northface style hold all, or Ortlieb Dry Bag Carrying System
Wide brimmed hat or cap with neck protection
Insect repellent + insect head net. The mosquitoes can be a problem sometimes.
Travel clothing for 1st and last days on flights.
Canoeing clothing – we suggest - trousers, shorts, t-shirt, shirt, lightweight loose fitting clothing, ideally cotton, must be long-sleeved/ full-length legs. Quick drying clothes. Your feet may get wet and you will be walking on slippery rocks – do not take Gortex walking boots, or sandals. The instructors have worn wellies in the past and they work well too.
Spare dry footwear for the evening.
Fleece / down jacket etc
1 small roll of duck tape
1 Snap gate Karabiner (small but not mini) + 10m of cord (at least 3mm)
Torch with 2 sets of spare batteries
Sunscreen (Riemann P20 is expensive but effective and proven in extreme conditions. It only needs applying once a day and is available at the airport duty free shop)
Personal effects; - wash kit, medication etc (it is probably worthwhile taking your own supply of analgesia and anti diarrhoea tablets as well as toilet paper)
Rations - taking food into the USA is not advised. We will have a trip to a supermarket before hitting the water so there is no need to take any food from the UK.
Tea / coffee / whitener
Please ensure that ALL kit is carried in a waterproof bag. Any cameras, mobile phones etc should be kept in re-sealable plastic bags to keep out water…, which will get everywhere!
The local currency is the United States Dollar. You can put almost anything on a credit card but we would suggest taking about £50 in US$.
There are three things to consider:
- Tick borne encephalitis – please speak to your GP about this.
- Tetanus – please be up to date before the trip.
- Please visit www.dh.gov.uk/travellers and apply online. Health insurance is absolutely essential. Make sure it is valid for the USA.
Please consult your doctor. It is worth taking antibacterial soap with you and washing your hands before eating. Even by taking these precautions it is still possible to get an upset stomach, so having your own supply of Imodium (and loo roll) is advisable – if taking wet wipes, ensure they are biodegradable (i.e. Kandoo)
The temperatures in the wilderness could still be over 300C during the day but may dip below freezing at night. Be prepared for all eventualities. The likely temperatures are a max of 25 and a min of around 10. It can quite windy though.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE ASK.
COST AND AVAILABILITY
- A deposit of £395 is payable to secure a place on the expedition.
- The cost of the Maine Canoeing Expedition is £895 per person. This DOES NOT INCLUDE flights!
- Places are limited to 14 people
- There is also a lower age limit. All members of the expedition must be 18 years of age or over on the day of travelling out there and must be able to swim 200 metres with no difficulty.
- All members of the expedition must arrange and have their own travel insurance to cover themselves whilst on the expedition.
- It is also wise to have cancellation insurance incase of political instability in the region or other unforeseen problems which may affect the running of the expedition.
- Hotel on first and last nights
- Canoes/Paddles/Storage Barrels/Buoyancy Jackets
- Fishing Licence
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
- Personal Expenditure
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Rations for the Canoe Phase (You should buy what you need for 6 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 evening meals - please ask for advice)
- ESTA / Visas
- You will need a current 10 year passport.
When choosing a company offering overseas events do ensure and ask for confirmation that they have adequate insurance and licensing. This will give you the peace of mind that both you and your money are secure, and that you are dealing with a reputable company.
BS8848 This venture is in conformity is run in accordance with British Standard 8848.