What a great august for paddling, there seems to be a nice cool breeze in the air – with almost the smell of autumn in there as well. The sun was high this past Saturday so we decided to head to Osgood Pond.
I called my friend Mike Lynch to see if I could take him up on his offer of borrowing his Old Town Penobscot Canoe - kind of a test drive before we sprung any money on getting one for ourselves. After picking up the boat we headed straight over to the northern launch site for the lake. There is an official state launch site for Osgood Pond, but a more attractive one slightly further up White Pine Road. This launch we chose follows a passageway between Osgood and Jones Pond and a bit less than a half a mile up this inlet, which has almost no current. The launch is a bit small and you need to heave your boat over a guard rail, which isn’t that big a deal for a 6 foot plus guy like me, but for Corenne who is a hair over short, had slightly more of an issue. The launch was shallow and perfect for a canoe or kayak.
This narrow inlet to Osgood Pond flows ever so slightly toward the large body of water. Just at the end where it comes into Osgood Pond we hit a serious 45 degree, dog-leg-left. Once we went into the turn, the wind hit us like a wall and we had to put on the brakes to avoid running ashore. The waves being produced made small whitecaps as they slammed against the shore. The waves must be highly due to the shallow shore at the inlet and the wind of course. Once we were out in the open it wasn’t too bad, we just need to get out a bit to make headway. We must have looked like Tom Hanks trying to escape from his five year captivity on a remote island.
The wind was still strong but with some persistent paddling we made our way across to White Pine Camp and the long bridge they have going over the bay. From this point we technically entered the river, while wide at this point, you can see the current in the grasses below the surface of the water. It was at that point when we looked up and saw a bald eagle soaring above. We then entered the fields of fragrant water lilies and pickerel weeds, what a picturesque spot. Ahead we could see a half a dozen boats on the horizon and soon concluded we wouldn’t have a peaceful time alone on the waters of the Osgood. But, to our surprise they turned around within only a half mile of the pond and we were by ourselves for a bit. Our plan was to travel the river to the narrows where we couldn’t get any further and in the least reach the campsite along the way, for lunch. We passed only four other boats along the way, all of which were coming out.
The river narrowed a bit as we passed through, mainly due to the heavy growth of vegetation and low water conditions. It wasn’t too long before we passed by a major inlet on the right; we decided not to go up this one, but to continue to the campsite that was just downstream a bit further, around a couple more turns. We reached it in fine fashion, very easy to spot and a perfect area for lunch.
After lunch we opted to not go any further downstream due to it getting late in the afternoon, but according to the map we were only about 1/2 a mile from the point where we would have to turn around anyhow. The paddle back upstream was just as easy. The current was so minor we couldn’t even tell it was there. In route back to Osgood Pond we had the pleasure of watching a peregrine falcon or young eagle play around in the trees. It was too far to get a good look and I’m no bird expert with wing patterns and flying styles but I do know it was a bird of prey and a hefty one at that. We had one other neat little birding experience as well. We had the privilege of watching a kingfisher fly his hunting route along the shore of the river and even do a vertical dive a couple times, coming up with a tasty snack.
Once we hit the open water it was more windy conditions, but this time a bit worse. We did manage to get into a groove after a while and made out way back to the inlet, where the wind ceased and the day came to an end.