Penobscot River (Old Town to Union Rd)
|Stretch:||Old Town to Union St Boat Ramp|
|Difficulty:||Class II to III|
|Flows:||10,000 cfs to ?0,000 cfs . USGS Penobscot at West Enfield gauge|
|Gradient:||8.3 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Park in Old Town|
|Take-out:||Union St Boat Ramp|
|Shuttle:||5.6 miles, (15 minutes one-way)|
North East Road Trip 2021: Day 4
We woke up in Millinock, where we had spent the past two days. The forecast was showing rain 2 days away over near the Kennebec and Sandy Stream areas so we moved our base to Bingham to be central to those runs. On the way there, we stopped for a mellow day of playboat on this pleasant in town run. We then reset shuttle and Diane took her mom down the run as well.
The run starts off with some pleasant seems to play on before opening up to a long rapid with numerous waves to surf. A few of these were front surf all day until you are tired type of waves, really nice. Below, there was a section of flat water until the Stillwater River rejoins. The Stillwater is basically just a big side channel that creates a big island out of the town. Where the Stillwater spills over its dam, it runs 100 yards through a cool class IV to IV+ rapid that you can walk up and run at some flows... which was too tempting to pass. Below, at the outflow of the power generation site is a great surf wave before entering one last nice rapid with surf waves galore. You quickly then end up at take out.
I would say that this run at the 14,500 cfs we had was mostly just II with some II+. But I can imagine, since this is about as low as it ever gets, the nature of the run changes as the flows double and can approach class III.
Also check out the Stillwater side if you are around as there are some park and play options on that channel as well.
- Small Ledge (II). As the river rejoins the main channel, there is a nearly river wide ledge. It can be avoided far right. Or you can run down the ledge depending on flows.
- Surf City #1 (II to III). Man there were so many waves on this one. We generally ran down the right of center and then right, and then center again... all surfing waves. Several had eddy service. A few were holes, a few were just endless carving. So much fun was had.
Flats (0): Not far below the river goes flat, but moves. Where as above there are small features and seams to play on, down here there is not much. Just a longish paddle.
- Stillwater Confluence: The Stillwater river comes in on the right and has a rather nice rapid if you want some much more difficult spice.
- O-Wave (II). Hug far right below Stillwater. At the exit of the powerhouse is a great little surf wave, you are seriously 20 feet from the outflow output of the building. Pretty cool.
- Surf City #2 (II to III). Just below you get another longer rapid. There was some good surf right of center near the rocks and left of center. Or a straight forward line down the middle.
Take-out: 7 miles north east of Bangor on US-2, turn right onto Island Ave. in 0.2 miles turn right onto Margin St. Then in 400 ft turn left onto Union St. Park at the boat road.
Put-in: Go back out to US-2 and turn right to continue on it. It will change names to Main St and Park St. After 5.2 miles turn right after the Rock Church of Old Town to access the parking area at the park.
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