© The Race starts above
Joe Peas Rips near the north end of Indian Island on Cemetery St. (44.960371, -68.649272)
© Water level info: (Eddington Water Gauge: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/me/nwis/uv?site_no=01036390)
© These comments are based
on four trips on this stretch of river during June & July, 2014 and are
presented for open canoeists and kayakers with intermediate whitewater
skills. Less experienced paddlers
should not attempt this run without scouting first. Advanced canoeists and kayakers will find the
water somewhat less difficult than described, especially at lower flows.
Water levels at the Eddington gauge on these trips ranged from 4.5
ft. to 7.5 ft. (estimated 7,000-17,000 cfs)
© 0 mi: Put in at the end of Cemetery St and paddle
downstream the east side of Indian Island (River left).
© 0.25 mi: Joe Peas Rips, a short class 1-2 ledge. Stay near the right shore for an easy, dry
line. There is a great looking surf wave
on the left here.
© 1.5 mi: At the end of Indian Island you will see the
Milford dam and a line of orange buoys.
Head for the right shore for the portage take out near Main St and the
parking lot. Carry through the parking
lot and down the river walk 500 yds. to the put-in at the stone sculpture in
Binette Park. (1.8 MI)
© Continue downstream in
the right channel with French Island on your left. After ¼ mi you will pass under a railroad
bridge where a fun 100 yards of class II waves await.
© 2.25 mi: Another ¼ mi brings you to Matewanikanok
(Place for tanning hides) at the south end of French Island.
Stay on the right bank for an easy class II wave train, or on the
extreme left for a technical class II rock garden.
In the center is a large ledge- pour over that should be avoided.
© 3 mi: A .5 mile stretch of fast moving water brings
the first significant rapid into view:
Class II-III Macewessis – ‘Bad
little carry’ at the site of the former Great Works Dam. You will see the Old Town mill on river right
and numerous rock and timber cribs in the river as you approach. There are several options here.
River left is shallow, rocky shoals; safe, but scratchy and
The middle is high volume fast water with large waves – start near
the center and work your way right, be careful not to get wet in the wave
The right shore offers another shallow rocky option.
© After Macewessis is 3.5
mi of fast water to Orono with occasional easy class I rocky stretches that
disappear at flows above 10,000 cfs.
© 6.6 mi: Najemsakehekan – ‘Falls where the river forms a channel’ (Basin) just downstream of
the mouth of the Stillwater River. Look
for a tall smokestack on the right downstream of the rapid.
This is another ¼ mi stretch of class II-III with lots of large
waves in the center and right and shallower, rocky rips on the left.
Avoid a 100 yd. wide ledge/pour-over about 100 yds. off the right
If you choose the right side stay near the right shore as you
approach, then move to the left 15-20 yds. as you approach the narrow man-made
island to stay in the main channel, but close to the island. After dodging some rocks and waves, you will
finish the rapid in a fast wave train with a good recovery eddy on the right
next to the island.
The far left shore offers a few safe but slower, shallower, rocky
routes without the strong current and wave trains.
There are a number of other fast options left of center that may
require some strong paddling to maneuver around large rocks and waves.
© After Najemsakehekan the
river continues with mostly easy fast moving water to Veazie. At high flows there can be plenty of pushy,
swirly current here. There is one 300
yd. unnamed class I-II rapid about 1.5 mi. upstream of Veazie.
© 10.2 mi. brings you to
the biggest rapid on the trip: Wapanopentek – ‘White waterfall cascade’ in Eddington/Veazie. Wapanopentek is nearly 1 mile long; a class
II-III rapid offering a challenge at any level.
You will see the former Veazie hydro-power house on the right in the
distance as you approach, a residential Veazie neighborhood and a ¼ mile+ long
wood and rock ‘wing dam’ parallel and 50 yds. off the right shore.
There are a number of ways to run this section. Unless you are in a decked or inflatable boat
avoid the center where a long stretch of the biggest waves are in the middle
just below the former dam site.
Below these waves the river widens and the current slows a bit as
you pass the Veazie Salmon Club high on the right bank and paddle over the
numerous Atlantic Salmon lies that attracted thousands of salmon fisherman in
Perhaps the safest, easiest route is on the right between the
right shore and the long wing dam. This
is a class II rapid; at the end of the wing dam stay right to avoid the large
waves in the middle third of the river.
Another reasonable route is to paddle just to the left of the wing
dam where the water is surprisingly smooth.
At the end of the wing dam be ready to paddle hard to the right to avoid
the big soaking wave trains.
The left shore can be run by staying 5-30 yds. off shore all the
way to the Eddington Salmon Club. Be
prepared to paddle out around 3-4 protruding ledges.
© The fast water continues
over the ‘pipeline’ just above the Eddington Salmon Club and Eddington Bend on
the left. Tidal effects exist from here
to Brewer. High tide can flatten out all
of the fast water from here downstream.
© You will encounter
another short class II-II+ rapid/wave train ¼ mi. after Eddington bend if the
tide is not high. Stay to the left and
be alert, it’s easy.
© 13.5 mi: The final whitewater stretch is Pemecicewak –
‘Where the current tumbles downward‘(Treats
Falls). At low tide and high flows, this
can be an impressive class III stretch of fast, powerful waves as the river is
squeezed toward the left. At high tide
or low flow, it can be either a pond or easy, rocky quick water. Watch for Bangor Water Works and Eastern
Maine Medical Center on the right shore as you approach.
The safest route at high water/low tide is to stay 10-100 ft. off
the left shore and pick your way through the waves.
Watch for the historic Penobscot Salmon Club above a gravel beach on
the left where dozens of first-of-the-year Atlantic salmon were hooked and
landed before being transported to Washington DC and presented to the President
of the US to celebrate the beginning of the annual Penobscot salmon run.
Just downstream is the Penobscot Conservation Club.
© Continue downstream from
Pemecicewak to pass under the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge (15.2 miles). Paddle another 0.3 miles to the finish line
and take out at the Brewer Waterfront Park (on Hardy St off South Main St) on
river left. (15.5 miles)
The final two miles can be anything from a placid dead calm to a
challenging, choppy, upwind push as the tide, current and wind can combine for
lots of interesting conditions.