Franklin Countys First News

On a 740-mile canoe trek: Resupply, postcards delivered and plenty of adventure

Emma Carlson and Emily Rooney paddle across Rangeley Lake on Saturday.

Emma Carlson and Emily Rooney paddle across Rangeley Lake on Saturday towards a brief stop for lunch, resupply and to read postcards from Mallett School students. (Sarah Carlson photo)

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.

The pair  head towards Lakeside Park in Rangeley for a resupply, picnic and to read postcards from Mallett School second grade students.

Emma Carlson, at left, and Emily Rooney, head towards Lakeside Park in Rangeley for a resupply, picnic and to read postcards from Mallett School second grade students. (Sarah Carlson photo)

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!'

Emily Rooney, at left and Emma Carlson are paddling the

Emma Carlson, at left and Emily Rooney, are paddling the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. (Sarah Carlson photo)

"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!"

Emma Carlson, at left, and Emily Rooney read the students' postcards during a brief stop in Rangeley.

Emma Carlson, at left, and Emily Rooney read the students' postcards during a brief stop in Rangeley. (Sarah Carlson photo)

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.

The resupply is packed up for the final push to Fort Kent by about June 1.

Food is packed up for the final push to Fort Kent by about June 1. (Sarah Carlson photo)

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.

Dear Emma,
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.

Dear Emma,
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.

See ya!

See ya! Emma Carlson and Emily Rooney leave Lakeside Park for their portage to the Dead River. (Sarah Carlson photo)

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10 Responses »

  1. What a wonderful experience to be a part of! Thank you Sarah for sharing this live experience with your students (but you are noted for that!) Cheers and Greatness to Emma and Emily!

  2. This is so cool, Sarah! The whole collaboration/postcard writing piece extends the experience beyond Emma & Emily...thanks for all that you do for children!!!

  3. what a great adventure! and SO glad to see you have wheels for that 4 mile portage!

  4. We were fortunate enough to meet these ladies In Richford Vermont, and brought some of our Northern Forest explores to meet with them, so glad to see so many wonderful pictures, I told them this trip would make them famous, way to go Emily and Emma, from your friend Lori

  5. This is very, very cool.
    How I regret never having undertaken such an adventure when my body would have allowed it.

    Good on these people and all who may follow them. Life is an adventure. All you need do is grab hold and go for a ride.

  6. Awesome adventurer, prefect time of year, I'm going to do this too, thanks so much for sharing. Are you going to paddle back or drive. LOL. A little humor. Take Care!

  7. Thrilled to see this on Paddling.net on my FB page! What a great adventure. Keep on paddling!

  8. Life is full of adventures and experiences......and both of you are accomplishing this. What a wonderful adventure! Love, Learn, Cherish & Discover........and congratulations.......you made it!

  9. Hi Emily,
    Wow, what a feat accompli, we are so so proud of you. See you in Fairfax this summer.
    Love,
    The Schigg Family.

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