Source to Sea paddles from Jay to Auburn

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BETHEL — Source to Sea is continuing down the Androscoggin River through luscious bottom land.

Source to Sea took an after-hours paddle around Otis Mill in Jay on Thursday, July 30, with the Androscoggin Land Trust and Mill Street Café, who provided the food. The float was a two-mile out-and-back paddle to the dam. The weather was threatening rain, so participants ate the post paddle snack before the paddle. During the float, a thunderstorm moved in, so the group turned back after about a half-mile. There were 21 paddlers in 20 boats (18 kayaks, one canoe and one paddleboard). Even shortened, they saw one eagle and one egret.

Source to Sea left the Twin Bridges launch in Turner at about 9:30 a.m. Friday, July 31, and took out at Center Bridge in Leeds at 1:30 p.m. The six and a half mile trip included a short side journey up the Nezinscott River to an abandoned bridge and dam. Scott Andrews led the group down the back side of the islands and through side channels into some back water areas. There were nine paddlers in eight boats (seven kayaks, and one canoe). Participants saw more than 10 eagles, some still in their nests, four loons, and three herons. During the lunch break, two loons warbled at each other, water-walked, finally faced off in a lowered neck face-to-face shouting match.

Source to Sea left the Center Bridge launch about 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, and took out at Cherry Pond at 1:30 p.m. The six and a half mile trip included a hike through part of Riverlands State Park to the homestead foundations led by Judy Marden of the Androscoggin Land Trust, and lunch on Judy’s Island in Gulf Island Pond. This is possibly the Androscoggin River’s most beautiful lunch spot. The bubblers (oxygenators) were running, allowing the group to paddle in the middle of a sparkling water route. When the trip ended, Shaker Hill Outdoors had kayaks and paddleboards for participants play on. There were 13 paddlers in 13 boats (12 kayaks, and one canoe). Participants saw five eagles, four loons, a heron and a flock of pink flamingos (plastic, of course).

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Sunday’s three-mile out-and-back from Auburn to the Rancort Preserve left at 8:30 a.m. and finished at 11 a.m. Source to Sea stopped for a short hike through the preserve and then returned for brunch at Rolly’s. Since the water was so low, the group chose the brunch over playing in the rips. There were nine paddlers in nine boats (seven kayaks, and 2 canoes). Participants saw four eagles, two herons, an Osprey and more than 70 ducks.

Source to Sea has four more paddles planned as it nears the sea at Merrymeeting Bay.

Paddle Festival Park in Auburn with the Androscoggin Land Trust. Put in time is 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6.

Paddle from Durham to Lisbon with a pre-paddle talk by one of NOAA Weather Station’s meteorologist. Put in time is 8:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 7.

Paddle from Topsham to Brunswick. Put in time is 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8.

The grand finale paddle will explore Merrymeeting Bay. Put in time is 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, at Water Street launch in Brunswick. Lunch, music and fun are planned for approximately 12:30 p.m. at Pinettes Landing on Water Street.

FMI: 207-754-8158, http://www.androscogginwatershed.org.

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