Northeast Whitewater Blog

Destination Moosehead Lake Hiking Guide

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Moosehead Lake is a destination for everything outdoors; visitor highlights include seeing moose in their natural habitat, tackling whitewater rapids on our nearby rivers, relaxing with a book at a lakeside retreat and yes, hiking!  Not only is the Moosehead Lake area ideal for the casual hiker, it also is a destination for the more serious backpacker.  What’s great about this combination of rolling hills and mountains?  Based on your skill level you can choose from short day hikes or opt for a more rigorous and challenging mountain based on your hiking pursuit.

Mountain peaks and waterfalls abound in the Moosehead Lake area, but you have to plan accordingly the time to get to some of these very remote hiking spots and roundtrip hiking time.  Fortunately, there are waterfalls and mountain peaks great for hiking enthusiasts that are nearby to Northeast Whitewater for the casual day hikers and for the more serious hikers, some destinations are an hour away on dirt roads which makes the hike and the drive both a challenging adventure.  Consider hiring Northeast Whitewater guides for both easy and the more challenging hiking pursuits!

The appalachian trail and section known as the 100 mile wilderness (the trail doesn’t approach any towns or places for hikers to resupply) is 5 miles south of Northeast Whitewater and continues north to Mount Katahdin, but not before rising up and over some challenging and scenic hikes nearby to Moosehead Lake.  Goodall Falls is at the entrance of the trailhead here and a nice stop for guests looking to stretch their legs, walk a few steps on the appalachian trail and see a scenic Maine waterfall.  There is a good size parking lot here.  Barren Mountain, Chairback Mountain and White Cap Mountain are all challenging hikes on the appalachian trail in the Moosehead Lake area.  These mountains are accessible as day hikes.  Plan for a full day, bring food/snacks and water, and plan for windy weather on the peaks, so pack some layers.

Nearby to Northeast Whitewater are Big Moose and Little Moose Mountains, and Eagle Rock.  All three hikes are nearby, scenic and wonderfully versatile hikes in the Moosehead Lake arelittle-moose-mountain-pondsa located northwest of Northeast Whitewater in Shirley and ranging in 10-30 minutes drive time to get to the trailheads.  What we love about Little Moose Mountain is the variety of hiking trails one can enjoy here.  There are 3 trailheads to access Little Moose Mountain; the easternmost trailhead is on the left as you depart Greenville north on Route 15.  The western most trailhead is called Notch Pond trailhead and located near the boat launch of Big Indian Pond.  Our favorite section is the Big and Little Moose Ponds trailhead, which is a loop trail.  There are ledges and dramatic cliffs, mossy covered boulders and tall standing evergreen trees add to the beauty of the hike.  

Big Moose Mountain offers panoramic views of Moosehead Lake; where you can see the charming town of Greenville (southernmost town on Moosehead Lake) and northwest towards Mount Kineo and north towards Big Spencer and Little Spencer Mountains.  This is a wonderful day hike for active people looking for a 3-4 hour hiking trip that is moderately challenging.

eagle-rock-hikeEagle Rock is a 6.3 mile roundtrip hike that also offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, lakes and ponds.  What is unique about this hike is that there are many moderate hills to pass up and over and then a few steep climbs to scenic views, so the hiking day covered seems much longer because of the ups and downs.  It’s well worth it!  The views are spectacular and makes for a great day out in the woods.  Pack a lunch/snacks and plenty of water and take in the beauty here.

If your next destination is Moosehead Lake, consider hiking on your own or with a guide, one of these mountain peaks!  If the spirit of competition gets you motivated, consider the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit.  The Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit is a six mountain hiking challenge. The mountains include: Mount Kineo, Number Four Mountain, Whitecap Mountain, Eagle Rock, Big Moose Mountain, and Borestone Mountain.

Happy hiking and don’t forget to bring along your best friend (furry or otherwise)!

Modern Basecamp Under Construction at Moosehead Lake

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Northeast Whitewater is proud to announce its new, modern facility ready for spring 2018 with on-site camping, bunkhouses, meal plans and huge bathhouse – your basecamp, lodge and guides to 3.5 million acres of Maine’s woods and waters at Moosehead Lake!

Northeast Whitewater is nearing the end of its 11th season and 2nd season at our new location in Shirley, Maine just south of Maine’s largest lake, Moosehead Lake.  Since our purchase of the new property in October of 2015, we have been very busy with facility upgrades, new developments and big projects to cater to our summer camp groups, scout troops and many vacation travelers that visit Maine each year.

New Bathhouse

New Bathhouse Under Construction at                              Northeast Whitewater

Owner of Northeast Whitewater, Jeremy Hargreaves explains, “I’m excited to be able to offer our guests a modern, beautiful facility to meet for our day trips, as well as provide an on-site home away from home for our groups seeking a Maine woods experience through traditional guided trips at our new, modern basecamp, lodge and guide service.”  

Projects that will be ready for the spring of 2018 are:

(4) New Bunkhouses that sleep 4 – 8 guests

(6) New wooded and private campsites

Covered Pavilion for catering meals

Large, modern bathhouse with changing rooms, showers and toilets

On-site meals for breakfast: Maine blueberry pancakes, sausage and eggs or opt for our hit the spot breakfast sandwich!

corn-hole-gameOur famous grilled riverside BBQ is a customer favorite on all of our rafting trips!

On-site dinners: From BBQ’s to Pizza Parties and Guided Theme Dinners, you won’t want to miss out on this new guided dinner experience!

Beach Volleyball, Cornhole and Horseshoe pits are ready to go!

Are you ready to start planning your 2018 summer camp, inflatable-kayak-tripscout troop or class trip with Northeast Whitewater?  We offer whitewater rafting trips, ice cave excursions, waterfall hikes, moose canoe tours, stand up paddleboarding, tubing, inflatable kayaking, staff trainings and so much more!  Our goal of providing quality, personalized trips with really amazing guides is at the heart of what we do. We are a family oriented.  It’s not a wild party with us.  We are dedicated to families and youth having an exceptional Maine experience both on and off the river.

See you on the river and at our new basecamp at Moosehead Lake soon!  FMI 207-695-0151

Awesome Trip: Kennebec River Rafting

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Awesome Trip: Kennebec River RaftingKennebec River Rafting

This was our first time whitewater rafting and we had so much fun! Our guide, Derek, was friendly, knowledgeable, and had a great sense of humor. We loved the BBQ lunch, much better than the usual cold sandwiches, and were impressed with how quickly everything was set up and prepared for us. We will definitely be back next time we visit Maine!

Rating: Excellent⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Christine & Mike P.

Huntington, New York

Unforgettable Moose Safari by Canoe

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Unforgettable Moose Safari by Canoe
Canoe Moose Safari
We (a family of 2 adults and 4 children ages 12 to 14) hired a private water moose safari in the afternoon, and had an unforgettable experience. Our wonderful guide, drove one hour to the lake where we were to take 2 canoes, she explained everything about moose and how we should behave to maximize our likelihood of spotting them and not scare them away, as well as gave us information about the whole area of Moosehead Lake. She knew very well the spots where it is most likely to find moose rummage around and took us to a lake where we could enjoy observing them for two hours! Yes, we were a bit lucky, as not all trips are that fortunate to have a mother and a son moose some meters away for two hours, but her knowledge and expertise were key to having that. As we boarded the canoes our guide took control of the two canoes, that is, she alone rowed for the two canoes, and made sure we were as close as possible to the moose without scaring them away, so that they did not feel uncomfortable with our presence. Of course, that exceeded our expectations and it is something we will not forget. I thus strongly recommend anyone willing to watch moose in their own habitat to hire a safari with Northeast Whitewater. They are knowledgeable, professional, and friendly. With these ingredients you only need a bit of luck to have an unforgettable experience.
Rating: Excellent⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Xavier R.
Barcelona, Spain

Canoe Moose Watching

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Canoe Moose Watching Canoe Moose Watching

We had an absolutely fabulous time moose watching by canoe in the evening. Some members of our group were absolute nervous novice canoeists. Northeast staff immediately was warm, reassuring, friendly and inviting. Our guide was fantastic: knowledgeable, friendly and we had two perfect, very up close long encounters with a cow and then a bull. The lake he took us to was a scenic delight and just right for beginner and experienced canoeists alike. I did not know what to expect, but Northeast Whitewater exceeded all our expectations (one member of our group cried from happiness). The price is reasonable, staff is knowledgeable and safety conscious and I would definitely like to return for some of their other tours. Thanks for a memorable trip!

Rating: Excellent⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Lisa L.

Tillsonburg, Ontario Canada

Moose Canoe Tour and Ice Caves

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Moose Canoe Tour and Ice Caves Ice Cave Hike

Our guide did an amazing job on our Moose Canoe tour last week! She is experienced and knows the area very well. We saw 4 moose and really enjoyed ourselves. We were on the lake about 2 hours and also saw a loon which was awesome. If you go, volunteer to have the guide in your canoe! That’s what my wife and I did and it was a good move. It was a lovely lake and overall experience was great. The ice caves were the next day. Harrison was great as well. We enjoyed talking to him and getting to know him better. He got us there safely and although it was quite a drive, we had a lot of fun! The caves require some climbing and you should wear long pants and shirts. Take a change of clothing if it’s warm is our advice. Northeast was terrific to work with and took good care of my family. Thank you Jessica and Harrison.

Rating: Excellent ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mike S.

Reading, Pennsylvania

Bring the kids: Whitewater Rafting in Maine

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Whitewater rafting in Maine is best for the entire family, so bring the kids!  We know you are looking to check something else off your bucket list this summer with your family.  Why not go whitewater rafting in Maine? Everyone should experience whitewater rafting, so pack your bags, load up the car and bring your kids on our family whitewater rafting trips.  family-rafting-trips

Whitewater rafting is not just for adults the kids will have a blast too! The Kennebec River is not only our #1 river trip but it is our family river. Our age requirement is 7-8 years old. Children must weigh at least 50lbs in order to fit in our PFDs (personal flotation device). On the Kennebec River you will get to experience class IV whitewater which means big waves and big fun. We hit all of our major rapids on the upper portion of the river, then grab our lunch gear so everyone can enjoy a scrumptious riverside BBQ and then relax after lunch on the lower half of the river. riverside-BBQ

The lower half of the Kennebec river is so much fun after experiencing class IV whitewater because it gives you the chance to just chill out on the raft, catch some rays, play games, get to know everyone on your boat, and swim along side your raft in the river. We also offer inflatable kayaks for our guests looking to try out a different water craft in the slower moving water. This gives you the opportunity to paddle around nearby to the rafts and is great if you have both young kids and teenagers because it allows for options to make the trip even more awesome. Just another perk for everyone of all ages to enjoy!

We hope to share the Kennebec River experience with you and your family this summer. As Sue Fitzmaurice once said “you must go on adventures to find out where you truly belong”.  So, start planning your next family adventure and bring the kids for a day of whitewater rafting in Maine with Northeast Whitewater!  You’ll be glad you did.

Give us a call to experience the best family rafting trip 207-695-0151.

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Northeast Whitewater Guide Training: Life of a Trainee

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A siren pierces the layer of fog hanging over Indian Pond Dam like a gigantic alarm clock with no snooze button. Then, right on cue, the loudspeaker crackles with a warning as icy as the water below, “WATER LEVELS DOWNSTREAM FROM DAM ARE RISING, EXIT THE WATER IMMEDIATELY!” Except we are not exiting. We are getting in. My fellow trainees and I are embarking on the toughest and most exhilarating training of our lives.

 

First Night and Equipment

            However, I am getting ahead of myself. Training officially began on Friday, May 26th. I suggest getting to base early to allow time to fully set up your tent and meet your fellow trainees. The first night was a barrage of information covering everything from how to correctly hold a paddle to where you can find free coffee when you are back on base. We also got to meet the employees, trainers, and the furry four legged staff members Ellis and Abby.

That night they supplied us with the necessary safety equipment to make it down the river, this included:

1 Helmet: Initially I thought this was to protect against rocks, but it is more to guard against fellow crewmembers as the fly around the boat during a rapid.

1 Yellow PFD: This is crucial for when you inevitably fall in. It will also make anyone who wears it look like a Minion.

1 Paddle: Don’t go anywhere without it, when you are in the raft you can’t go anywhere without it.

The night ended with a quick (hands on) lesson on how to inflate, deflate, and stack 15 full size rafts before we were sent to bed, with a reminder to set our alarms for 5am.

 

Ferrying and Flipping

            Day 1 on the river was dedicated to the basics. Our experience as a class ranged from someone who had guided before to people who weren’t sure which part of the raft to sit on so a lesson in the fundamentals was just what we needed. Under the snowy peaks of the Katahdin on the Penobscot River we endlessly practiced our guide strokes, prying and drawing across a forgiving class 1 rapid. Suddenly, the head trainer Jeremy told us to flip our boat. I wanted to remind him that the goal of the guide is to keep everyone in the boat, but I stayed quiet and we dutifully flipped our raft… 7 times. It turns out, the only way to learn what to do in the event of an actual flip is to rehearse flipping over and over and over again.

Practicing a flip

That night we had class time to teach us about the different hydraulics we could face on the river and a quick briefing on the Kennebec River, which would be our training ground for the next six days.

 

 

The Kennebec

           From Sunday to Friday, the Kennebec will become your home. By the end of these six days, your butt will remember every bump on the bus ride to the river. Your legs (if you are not wearing a full wetsuit- me) will be speckled with Black Fly bites from the put in. Your mind will be able to replay a safety speech in your dreams. And your strokes will be anticipating each wave as you cruise through the rapids.

My advice to a future trainee is to become a sponge. Soak up everything the trainers are saying. Even when it is not your turn to guide listen to the advice the trainer is giving, familiarize yourself with the river by looking around and asking questions when you are unsure of what certain things are. The quicker you can identify markers like Goodbye Hole, Funk Wave, Kayak Keeper, and Magic Falls the easier it will be for you to guide a solid run. Northeast does a great job of pairing trainees up with a number of veteran guides that can each give you tips and different perspectives about the Kennebec.

By the end of the day Friday, our class, which in my mind is of course the greatest training class of all time, had broken (unofficially) some Kennebec River records. Here are the most notable:

 

Most Bug Bites Sustained on A Right Leg

Best Drawing of the Kennebec River in Gravel

Longest and Most Discombobulated Float Out

Most Bug Bites Sustained on A Left Leg

Worst Chafing Behind Knee Caps

Slowest Inflation of Rafts at Put In

Most Pizzas Consumed in 20 Minutes at The Forks

Greatest Number of Bus Games Played

Slowest Deflation of Rafts at Take Out

Least Burnt Rice on First Try

Most Naps Sneakily Taken on Bus Home

 

These statistics are a testament to my training group, because although not all of these are positive achievements, we stuck together and worked as a team to get through them. That is what Northeast Training is all about, how well you can deal with adversity as a team and still find success.

Kennebec River

 

The Penobscot

            The Last 3 days of training took place back where we started, the Penobscot. Except this time we would not be merely ferrying across a Class 1 rapid. Instead the Class 5 rapids Exterminator and Cribworks were our targets. Both falls acting like the final bosses in a video game, if we wanted to complete our training, we would have to go through them.

Penobscot River

 

Summing Up

            Guide training is not an easy 10 days, and that is a good thing. At the end of the experience you will be able to guide customers through some of the most technical whitewater in the country, so earning this certification should not be a task that everyone can handle. There were times when I was putting on a soggy wetsuit at five in the morning that I wanted to quit, but I am glad I didn’t. The feeling at the end of training when you pass your test and receive your license must be what Tom Brady feels when he holds up the Lombardi Trophy at the end of a long season. Every late night, every mosquito bite, every dip in the 50-degree water becomes well worth it. You have conquered the training, you have bonded with a team, and you are ready to take on the white water.

Chase Stokes

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Rafting Questions Answered

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Planning a whitewater rafting trip does not have to be difficult; it should be fun!   Everyday folks have questions about what to expect and how to plan for their whitewater rafting trip to Maine with Northeast Whitewater.  We make it easy for you to answer all of your questions when you call, but sometimes folks book with our online reservation system and need to be able to get their rafting questions answered and not get tied up on the phone.  That’s what this blog post is all about.  A helpful guideline of questions that tend to be the most asked questions when guests are planning their rafting trips. We hope you find our “rafting questions answered” tool, helpful as well!  It’s’ our goal to make vacation planning tons of fun, yet super easy.  Here are some of our most asked questions about our trips as guests begin planning their whitewater adventure!

When Does The White Water Rafting Season Begin & End?

Our season runs from May – mid October for moose watching tours, waterfall hikes and outdoor instruction programs; seven days a week. Our whitewater rafting season kicks off Memorial day weekend in May and runs until the last weekend in September.  We offer daily rafting trips on our family friendly and #1 rafting trip, the Kennebec river, as well as our more adventurous whitewater rafting trip on the Penobscot River.  Have you rafted these rivers?!  If so, step it up to challenge the rapids on the South Branch of the Penobscot river Canada Falls section.  This is a once in a lifetime trip offered September 2!

whitewater-rafting-family-tripsHow do I stay warm on the river?

Wetsuits are required in early Spring & Fall.  You will want to wear a wetsuit on the river in early spring and we judge that by any river day prior to June 15 and anytime after September 15.  That is when the rivers are much cooler, so we want you prepared to be wet and warm not wet and cold.  If you don’t have your own wetsuit equipment, we rent full wetsuits (3mm farmer johns & 3mm tops), booties, and paddling jackets for $25 per person. No matter your size, Northeast Whitewater has the wetsuit for you!  All sizes from extra small to extra large are available.

What should I wear on the river?

We recommend a bathing suit, sneakers or river sandals, sunglasses (with a strap especially for prescription glasses); contacts are fine. Synthetic active wear is highly recommended. DO NOT wear cotton or cotton blend clothing! Also, consider a warm hat, and wool socks in the spring and fall. And, don’t forget a towel and a change of clothes for the end of the day!

Can I change while on the river trip?

We recommend bringing extra clothing to change into at the end of your trip, especially if you get cold easily. This can be left on the bus. There is no riverside changing.

Are there bathrooms at the lunch site?

There are bathroom facilities at the put in and take out of the river. We recommend going to the bathroom before you get on the river, since there are no bathrooms at the lunch site.

What can I bring with me?

We recommend that you do not bring valuables to the river or on your trip. Our vehicles are left unattended during the day and Northeast Whitewater does not take responsibility for your items left in our vehicles. Disposable cameras, bug spray, sunglasses, eye glass retainers (Chums), and sunscreen are available for purchase and can be secured to you, the raft, or put into the Guide’s drybag located on the boat. If you have required medication you can also bring that along and put that into the Guide’s drybag. Make sure that you lock all your valuables in your car, bring only what you need for a day on the river, and you can leave your car keys back at Northeast Whitewater at the front desk.

What if it rains?

ALL Northeast Whitewater trips happen rain or shine. We recommend dressing appropriately for the weather forecast expected on your trip. If you are rafting you will be getting wet anyway and too busy having fun to notice the rain!

If you found while reading this it has sparked some new questions in your mind, please feel free to give us a call at 207-695-0151 or email us at info@northeastwhitewater.com. We are glad to help with your vacation plans.  Let us help plan your Moosehead Lake area things to do today!

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Your Free Guide to Moosehead Lake Things To Do

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So you have decided to spend some time in the Moosehead Lake area and that’Blair Hill Sunsets awesome, but what do you do once you get here? Here’s your free guide to Moosehead Lake things to do. Yes there are plenty of pamphlets to give you ideas, but let us share some of our hidden gems with you that may not be mentioned in those pamphlets. Who doesn’t love a beautiful sunset? There is a beautiful spot just outside of town, Blair Hill. Here you not only get to watch the sun go down over the mountainous horizon, you get a full view of Moosehead Lake, Maine’s largest lake. There is always postcard worthy photo opportunities here.

Who doesn’t love an adventure? Let Northeast Whitewater be your guide to the best Maine adventure trips. The Kennebec River is our most popular whitewater rafting trip and our numbkennebec-river-raftinger one family trip at Moosehead Lake. Enjoy big waves at a fast pace with your friends and family, followed by a river side BBQ! Have you ever seen a Maine moose? If not, join us on one of our guided Moose Safaris that run daily. We also offer guided waterfall hikes and you’ll see some of Maine’s most mesmerizing waterfalls. Maybe you are a little bit of a history buff, we’ve got something for you too. New this year, we are offering guided hikes to the B52 Bomber crash site on Elephant mountain. On this trip you will learn about what happened to this aircraft and its crew, but you will also see the plane reminisce left from the crash.

Have you heard of The Challenge? The Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit is a challenge open to anyone that is an avid hiker. This challenge consists of hiking 6 different mountains that are located in the region all differing in elevation and distance. Scenery and the panoramic views offered from the hikes are amazing. To participate in the challenge is super simple. All you have to do is grab an application and record the date you climbed each mountain, time you reached the summit, and write down your mailing and email address. You can download an application from the website or pick one up from the Moosehead Lake Visitor Center. If you complete the challenge, mail your application in with a $10 program entry fee. Once your application has been reviewed you will receive a confirmation letter acknowledging that you have completed the challenge. You will also receive the official MPP patch and sticker for successfully completing The Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit.

With all these adventures and Moosehead Lake things to do who isn’t feeling hungry? Lucky for you Stress Freethere are many great options to satisfy your biggest cravings. Must eats: Kick off your day with a hearty breakfast at Auntie M’s before your adventure begins for an amazing home cooked meal.  Check out the Stress Free Moose Pub (pictured here), where you will enjoy good food and a fun, energized, family atmosphere. Enjoy live entertainment on weekends, and always the opportunity to make new friends. Maybe you just want something to satisfy that sweet tooth; our friends at the dairy bar have got you covered! Get a taste of all your favorite flavors or try one of their Maine specialty flavors, while enjoying the lake at Thoreau Park.

Start planning your summer adventure now! We recommend visiting the area during the months of May through October. Whether you come when all the plants and flowers are in full bloom or when the leaves turn vibrant fall colors, there is always something to do. Let Northeast Whitewater be your Maine adventure destination for all your Moosehead Lake things to do. Our gift shop is open daily from 7-7 for your Moosehead Lake memorabilia and our adventure coordinators are ready to help with your vacation plans. Give us a call 207-695-0151 or stop by Northeast Whitewater 155 Greenville Road, Shirley Maine. You can’t miss us on your way to or from the lake!

northeast-whitewater-lodge