St John River Canoe Trip, May 14-19, 2021
St. John River: One of Maine’s finest remote canoe trips, the Saint John River flows 128 miles from its headwaters (Saint John Ponds) and meets up with the Allagash River just below the town of Dickey. If flows through a forest of balsam fir and spruce.
Below Baker Lake, the Saint John has an unusually even gradient, and there are no portages. The river itself is now less a center of activity then it used to be when logs were driven down in the spring and farms along the way helped supply the logging operations. We’ll explore historical logging artifacts near Seven Islands and Nine Mile Bridge. The trip from Baker Lake to the Town of Dickey is 105 miles and can be done in six days. Our trip begins at the outlet of Baker Lake.
Later in the trip, we’ll take on the mile-long Big Black Rapids. 24 miles downstream from the Big Black Rapids and near trip’s end, we’ll take on Big Rapids, which are 2 miles long. We’ll be sure to brush up on canoeing skills and commands on the calmer parts of the trip to get you ready for these rapids. Depending on water, skill and comfort levels, we may choose to line a few questionable spots.
Meet Location: Meeting location, we’ll meet up in Medway just off interstate 95 at 9AM on day one. From there you’ll follow us to a place close by where you’ll leave you vehicle while on the trip. At trip’s end, we’ll bring you back to your vehicle, approximately 3-4PM on day six.
What is Provided:
Logistics: We take care of all pre-trip planning, packing of group gear, menu, shopping for food and packing meals. With years of experience and many outings on Maine and Canadian rivers, we’ve become quite efficient with the whole process including best place to start and end your trip, where to camp, what rapids to scout, river distances and time needed to travel, points of interest, camp setup & takedown, providing quick shelter, proper fire wood selection and building the campfire, the knowledge & experience of your canoe route so you can have a safe and enjoyable time.
Gear We Provide: We provide all necessary camping equipment including river bags to keep your clothing dry, compact sleeping pad, quality and spacious outfitter tents, type III life jacket, paddle, spare paddle, durable Old Town canoes, compact camp chairs to relax around the campsite, group tarp, cooking & eating utensils, well stocked First Aid kit and for a little added peace of mind, a Garmin InReach two-way satellite communicator.
Note: if you have some of your own gear you prefer to bring, be sure to indicate that on the online application. Bringing your own boat? Call Dave to discuss.
Meals served on the Trip: We provide all meals beginning with lunch on day through lunch on day 6. Breakfasts include the best organic coffee, assortment of regular & herbal teas, & hot chocolate, oatmeal with fruit, buttermilk pancakes, served with real Maine blueberries & syrup, and the traditional Maine guide breakfast of local farm fresh eggs, meat, potatoes. Lunches are on the fly and may include make your own wraps with assorted breads, variety of meats and cheeses, tuna, lettuce, pickles and tomatoes. Snack foods may include trail mix, bars, fruit. Suppers may include the best cuts of locally raised ribeye steaks, salmon, vegetables & rice, fresh cooked biscuits, spaghetti with homemade sauce and Garlic bread, Chicken, rice, vegetables & dumplings, fresh salads and freshly baked desserts including brownies & strawberry shortcake. We can accommodate vegetarian diets. Note for the gluten free folks, please contact us to discuss what you can bring to substitute as needed. Vegan diets require bringing substitutes that require no extra cooking as space over the fire and pots are limited.
What is Not Included: All meals prior and after the river portion of your trip, transportation from the Bangor airport (if needed), gratuities, although not required, it is customary to tip your guides, suggested amount 10-15% for exceptional service, fishing license, trip insurance (if you choose to) including, medical, evacuation, and trip cancellation. To view multiple providers and policies, Visit: Squaremouth.com
Personal clothing & sleeping bag (see packing list below)
Cost Per Person: $1395 (covers significant NMW fees & Transport) To secure the trip, please fill out our online application from the website, download the release form from the bottom of the same page, fill out and return with a $200.00 deposit per person (payment by check preferred) with the balance of $1195.00 due 30 days prior to your trip.
Extra Costs: Optional fishing license for those who desire to fish. Nonresidents ages 16 and older 3-day fishing license is $43.00 for a 7-day nonresident fishing license, ages 15 & under can fish for free. Licenses can be purchased on line. There are no hidden costs. Gratuities, it is customary to tip your guide but not required. Suggested amount for exceptional service, 10-15%.
Fishing: For those who like to fish, The St. John River has an abundance of Muskie. These can be very large so bring appropriate tackle. I once caught a 32” muskie on the St. John while trolling a repala behind the canoe. I recommend long handled pliers to remove fish hooks as Muskie have sharp teeth. Lighter tackle can be brought and tried on tributaries for brook trout and be sure to keep an eye out for fiddleheads to bring back to cook up with those trout! You will need a fishing license, cost for a nonresident 7 day fishing license is $43.00 and can be purchased on line at http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/fishing.htm
Canoe the Wild reserves the right to cancel a trip due to safety, forces in nature that are beyond our control such as low & high-water levels. In these cases, your payments are refundable.
Personal Gear List (what to bring)
- *Dry Bag for your personal clothing and sleeping bag (Sealine 115 liter)
- *Dry Bag to use as a day bag (Sealine 30 Liter)
- *Sleeping Pad (self-inflating)
- Sleeping Bag (I recommend 20 degree F or warmer (zero degree F), compact and packable)
- Quality rain coat & PANTS
- 2 warm, heavy wool sweater or heavy synthetic tops for cool weather.
- 2 sets of long underwear (top & bottom lightweight, synthetic or polypropylene are best & provide some warmth when wet)
- Heavy Knit hat in case of cold or rainy weather
- Felt hat or baseball cap (shade from sun)
- 1 pair of river shoes for canoeing and wading WITH GOOD TRACTION AND PROPER FITTING (Old sneakers with smart wool socks or similar)
- Hiking boots for around the campsite (This pair you will never want to wear on the river so as to prevent having both pairs of shoes wet!)
- Over the calf rubber boots worn with heavy wools socks and not tight fitting (can be worn around camp when it is wet and on flat water stretches of the river).
- Warm paddling gloves (note, I have paddled into a snow squal in early June on the St. John River!)
- 2 quick drying pants (no jeans)
- 4-5 pair heavy and medium wool socks (synthetic or wool is best)
- 4-5 pair underwear (at least 3 are synthetic)
- 3-4 undershirts (at least 3 are synthetic)
- 1 long sleeve shirt light in color (to shield from the sun).
- 1 towel
- Hat with visor (sun)
- 1 bandanna
- Small flashlight (extra batteries)
- Personal toiletries: toothpaste & brush, deodorant, biodegradable soap
- Several gallon size zip lock bags to organize stuff in
- Pocket knife or one that you wear in a sheath on your belt
- 2 Personal WIDE MOUTH water bottles (quart size, no glass) No plastic recyclable small mouth bottles.
Optional Gear List
- 2nd set of rain gear in case the 1st set gets soaked
- Boxed wine
- Lip balm
- Small shave kit or wait until trip’s end.
- Insulated travel mug
- Spare eye glasses
- Extra pair of paddling gloves
- Heavy duty crocks
- Head bug net-should be too early for bugs
Note on Packing: organize personal gear and clothing in 3 or more 13-gallon size trash bags prior to placing in waterproof river bags. If this is already done when we meet in Ashland, it will save us time transitioning into riverbags. Trying to stuff your pack or duffel bag into my river bag size 115L, robs room and makes it harder to fold and roll the river bag shut. Items you may want throughout the day can be packed into a smaller dry bag size 20 or 30L bag Don’t forget to pack your fishing license if you plan on fishing!
Register For This Trip: Online Trip Application
Contributing photos by Shauna Stuber