Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Deboullie Ecoreserve - North Maine Woods 2010

Before we had even left Deboullie in 2009, my brother and I had already marked the calendar for our 2010 trip. We were also able to drag our friends Sean and Eric up to this remote area in late May. Having this trip planned an entire year in advance was hell, but it finally came. This year, we were stepping up our game and decided to make it a kayaking trip. We loaded 4 kayaks onto the roof, along with all of our gear, and headed up to the wilderness for 3 nights and 4 days. This was the first time going away with more than just 2 people, so I was looking forward to a great trip.

Our home for 3 nights
It is always more talkative with people, so the 6 hour drive was not as bad this time. Once we got into Portage and onto the logging roads, were were treated to 3 or 4 moose sightings on the way in, including one that darted right out in front of the car while I was driving! Pretty intense. Once we got to the parking lot near Pushineer and Deboullie Pond, we unloaded and packed up the kayaks with all of our gear. During our 2009 trip, my brother and I had set our goal on camping on Gardner Pond, where there is a remote campsite accessible only by boat. We put in at Deboullie Pond and began our paddle across the very deep Deboullie Pond. On the other side of Deboullie Pond, there is a portage of a couple hundred yards over to Gardner Pond. The entire paddle from the car to the camp site is close to 3 miles.

It was incredible to have hiked around the year prior, and come back and sit in the middle of this enormous glacial lake and look at the rock slide and formations from a different perspective. Once across to our destination, the exploration began. There is no possible way for someone to walk or hike to this campsite. It is protected on the southern shores of the pond by cliffs that go straight into the pond, and the northern shore, which is a steep hillside that is densely overgrown with large trees, roots, and underground streams. About twenty feet into the woods behind the camp site was more of the same. There are no trails around the campsite, but there are several hundred feet of rocky shoreline that become yours. Its almost like your own sanctuary, and if anyone is coming you will notice, because they are coming by boat.

Eric fishing just offshore
In 2009, Bill and I tried fishing however we never got a nibble. That was because we were using the wrong bait. This year, we had equipped ourselves with fly fishing rods and trout lures. One of our goals was to catch Maine's rare arctic char (Blueback Trout), which can only be found in 11 lakes in all of Maine, including these ponds. Our friend Eric was the first to pull a char out of the water. He caught it while fishing from the kayak. We certainly cooked that up, which led to an unfortunate getting deathly sick, or so it seemed. Although I have gotten sick before from fish, I did not believe or know whether I had an allergy. It seems that I may have an allergy to fish in the salmon family. To make a long story short, the fish tasted amazing, especially with our canned food, which we mixed the meat with. However, a couple hours later, I began paying for it, and I payed for it ALL night long, until the bile started coming out. I know, sorry.

Eric's Blueback up-close
My Blueback Trout
The next evening, when we were all fishing, trying to catch that night's fish portion for dinner, I had the opportunity to snag the Blueback Trout. I will never forget catching this fish, because I was able to capture it on video. It is clear from the video that technique, the correct position, and luck play a factor in landing the Blueback Trout. We were fishing on a shallow shore, but one that basically drops off into the abyss about 20 feet from shore. After a long time of no action, not even a bite between us all, I moved a few feet forward, allowed the lure to sink more than I had in any previous cast, and then it hit. It had been so boring, when I felt something hit the line, I knew that was it. Having this awesome and perhaps once-in-a-lifetime experience on video is something that I will cherish forever. (Unfortunately, I could not eat my own fish that night)

On the last day before hiking out the next morning, Bill, Sean, and I paddled across Gardner Pond and back to Deboullie, where we then hiked a fairly strenuous elevation gain of 800 feet to the summit of Deboullie Mountain. Although the top is somewhat wooded, there are paths that lead to outlooks offering excellent views of the remote land. After heading down, Bill and I took Sean on the hike to Galilee Pond. When we made it there, there were two Brad Pitt River Runs Wild looking kinda guys in full fly fishing gear telling us they could not catch crap. I took off my boots and hopped into the pond as they looked on. I was using my Colorado, which I caught the Char with. I was in and out the pond in less than 10 minutes and caught about 3 smaller sized brookies

This trip never fell short of my expectations. In two trips, I have developed a connection with this area. Its true remoteness and beauty and will wow anyone who stands within it. Pictures do not measure up to what it is like to stand among such enormous and breathtaking geographic features, and do so with no other people nearby. What really gets me, is that even people who live and work in Maine will tell you that they have never heard of this place.

If you did not catch my Blueback Trout video on my previous post, check out that video on my YouTube Channel, along with a video showing the rough water on Gardner Pond. 

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