Carfree Overnight Bikerafting Trip (Video)
In the fall, three friends headed out for an overnight bikerafting trip along the beautiful Penobscot River in Maine, relying only on public transportation and human power to make the trip possible. Watch a wonderfully shot and edited short video from their trip by Ian MacLellan here…
Before we get to the trip, it’s worth acknowledging the land—and in this case also the water—we traveled through. Julia and Ian traveled by bus from the ancestral lands of the Aucocisco Band of the Wabanaki to that of the Penobscot Nation, where we biked to the Penobscot River, which the Nation is still fighting to protect and regain stewardship of.
Thanks to the work of the Penobscot Nation and partners, including the National Resource Council of Maine, we were able to paddle a stretch of river that hasn’t had downstream dams since 2013 (more information here), allowing for the return of sea run fish and several fun rapids. The Penobscot River Restoration Project impact is most significant at the former site of the Veazie Dam. Today, all that remains of the dam is wood cribbing and concrete foundations on shore.
The trip came out of a conversation that Ian MacLellan and I had about the possibility of car-free trips in Maine. Both Ian and Julia Von Ehr volunteer with the Portland Bike Party and are big proponents of using fun to draw people into the bike community and sustainability. The trip took place September 14-15th of this year, and the idea was that I would provide the rafts and local knowledge and Ian would film as he and Julia biked and rode the bus from Portland to Bangor. I biked to the bus station with rafts and gear in tow. We met up at the bus station in Bangor and rode our way north to the town of Orono and the Penobscot River. You can watch Ian’s short video from the trip below:
This wasn’t a hard trip, and it did not happen in a remote place, but it was definitely an adventure. We were new to traveling together as a group and put together a plan that included things we hadn’t all done before. Like a Portland Bike Party, it was a fun and welcoming adventure. We are already starting to look further north and are talking about car-free options that include Baxter State Park and Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.We used Alpacka Rafts. The red boats are Caribous, and the blue is a Mule. The bike trailer is a Frances Cycle Farfarer.
Day 1 Plan
Ian and Julia biked from home to the Portland bus station, catching a ride to Bangor. I biked from home to the Bangor bus station. Together from the Bangor bus station, we all biked to Walden Parke Preserve trails, the Bangor City Forest, and the Veazie rail trail to Orono. We put in on the Penobscot River above the Basin Mills rapid and paddled to the Penobscot Valley campsite on the Penobscot River Paddling Trail, where we spent the night.
Day 2 Plan
In the morning, we paddled downriver through the Veazie Rapid and took out at the site of the former Veazie Dam. From there, we rode to downtown Bangor for coffee and snacks. We parted ways in Bangor, with me biking home and Ian and Julia biking back to the bus station.
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