On a 740-mile canoe trek: Resupply, postcards delivered and plenty of adventure
RANGELEY - A day ahead of schedule, two women on a 740-mile canoe adventure were greeted on a brief stop here with fresh food, postcards from second-grade fans and a hug from Mom on Saturday.
Mt. Blue High School graduate Emma Carlson is traveling along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail with friend Emily Rooney of Vermont. In April, they launched their canoe at Old Forge Pond in upstate New York, and have paddled their way through Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and into Maine. They plan on arriving at Fort Kent around June 1.
Emma Carlson's mother, W.G. Mallett School second-grade teacher, Sarah Carlson of Farmington, met the canoeists to resupply them by launching her kayak at Lakeside Park and paddling out to meet them. The three then paddled back to the park and had a picnic with plenty of stories from their trek so far. They also got to read postcards written and designed by Sarah Carlson's students, who have been following the canoeists' progress with the route mapped out in the classroom. The paddlers have written letters to the students, determined to not use computers or a cell phone on the trek. Read the first story here.
Sarah Carlson shares her meeting with the canoeists and a few notes from her students that Emma Carlson and Emily Rooney received:
"As I said I paddled out to meet them from the town park in Rangeley. They had been stuck on Mooselookmeguntic on Friday due to high winds blowing right at them. I had a feeling that they would get up early on Saturday to try and get ahead of any possible wind and, sure enough, they had. As I was getting my kayak into the lake I looked up the shore and saw a tiny white speck just rounding a point.
"I launched and started heading toward what I was pretty sure was them and before long we were waving paddles and shouting hearty hellos! We grabbed each others' boats and the stories just literally started flowing!
"One thing that Emma was so excited about was that they had stopped two nights before at the home of Maine author Louise Dickinson Rich, who wrote about life on the Rapid River near Middle Dam in the 1940s. We have all her books and Emma is a big fan of her work, as am I. They stopped in to say hello to the caretaker of the house, who is a friend of a Chewonki friend of Emma's. Emma was especially moved by seeing the actual typewriter that the author used to write the books about living off the land in that area so long ago. I know it is something she will never forget.
"As they spoke we drifted all the way from the point to the town park. It was like we were in a little bubble together - a wonderful feeling.
"The other stories are ones that I think she should tell! But one thing that was clearly evident as they talked is how amazing people have been to them along the way - kind, generous, and very intrigued. As they reorganized their gear and packed the provisions I had brought to them there were some folks having a picnic at one of the other tables in the park. I had seen them watching us and, after Emma and Emily left on their portage to the Dead River, they came to me and said, 'Those friends of yours must be having quite an adventure!' I told them about the trip and they were just in awe. One older gentleman said with a sweet smile, 'Those girls sure have a lot of energy!'
"As far as wildlife - I asked about that because that question comes up in student writing and discussions, too. They have seen kingfishers, osprey, and - that morning actually, a bald eagle successfully diving for a fish right in front of them. They have seen mink and many, many beavers.
"Emily said that once they rounded a bend in the evening and one was sitting right on the shore. It just watched them pass, completely at ease. She also said that they hear them at night very loudly slapping the water. Another time they saw a moose very close by that went into the water and swam right in front of them!"
Students addressed their postcards to: Emma and Emily, Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Somewhere in Maine
"Dear Emily and Emma,
I like the postcards you sent. I can't wait until you come to W.G. Mallett School and see the whole class!!!! - Katie.
Emma and Emily,
Is it fun out there? Any big waves? Any big cows? Thank you for all the postcards. We all loved them. - Sean.
Dear Emily and Emma,
Hey, how's it going? We are all waiting to hear from you. We miss you. Have you gone out morning paddling? How's the weather? What is your favorite thing you saw? That could be any noun. - Molly.
Once I went on a canoe trip. My family and I paddled all the way to the other end of Varnum Pond! Then we had a picnic. It was fun! PS - Did you see any animals? - Ella.
Dear Emma and Emily,
Have you seen any animals? We've, well I've, been having fun following you on the map. Will you have a lot to tell when you get back? - Ivy.
Are you almost done with your trip? Thank you Emma for the post cards. My teacher will bring you more food and will make you homemade cookies. - Kandie.
Dear Emma and Emily,
What does the Saranac Lake look like? Was it hard to go upstream? - Kyedn.
In school we have been learning about geometry. Is your hand tired from paddling? My camp is on Sandy River Pond. I live on a pond. - Jet.