Canoeing Moose River Loop/Bow Trip in Jackman, Day 1

Scenic view.

Scenic view on the way to Jackman.


Henry and I love adventure.  Henry is a seasoned canoeist, although out of practice by about 25 years, and I am as green as they get.  Before our trip to Jackman to paddle the Moose River Loop/Bow Trip, I had been in a canoe about twice.  That’s a rough guess.  We came up with the great idea to canoe the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, which neither of us had attempted before.  We figured it would be a good idea to try a short paddle trip to figure out where the holes were in our brilliant plan.  It worked.


I packed my bags like I was heading on a camping trip- not a canoe-camping trip.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.  We headed out much later than planned, and had to stop along the way to pick up some supplies.  We arrived at our destination, Attean Pond in Jackman, at 6:40pm.  Mind you it was the middle of July, so it stays light much later.  There are two parking lots at the Attean Pond Landing.  Both parking lots were loaded, with around 16 vehicles parked in all.


Welcome to Jackman!


While sitting in the parking lot debating if we should unpack the canoe and gear and paddle to the nearest campsite, thunder started to roll.  The weather decided for us.


Don’t get any ideas! Red Green has brilliant plans too, like his “canooler.”

At the same time, two fellas from another state, whom Henry nicknamed “Red Green” (one was wearing suspenders), were happily unpacking their aluminum canoe and gear.  There was a guy who seemed much wiser than the two on shore apparently trying to talk them out of going.  An aluminum canoe, on a lake, in a thunder storm.  I enjoy a good adventure, but there are limits.  One boater on The Hull Truth said “I was struck by lightning in my aluminum pilothouse…blew all the damned bottom paint right off the boat and cooked the salmon in the fish box!!!”  I’m not sure how accurate that statement is, but I’m not taking any chances.


We left Attean Pond boat landing and headed to town.  The Jackman Motel was open and looked like a good place to stay.  Casey, the owner’s daughter, and a wall full of trophy critters greeted us when we walked in.  Her father Bill owns the motel and is a Registered Maine Guide.  They are great folks and the hotel is an excellent place to stay.  Bill showed up after a few to give us some information about the Moose River Loop/Bow Trip.  We found out that the locals typically canoe “The Bow” which starts at the Holeb Pond landing and ends at the Attean Pond landing.  The “Moose River Loop” starts and ends at Attean Pond landing.

Down the way from the motel is one of the coolest general/outdoor stores  in the state, Bishop’s Store.  Forgot your paddle?  Out of beer?  Need a tourist t-shirt?  Go to Bishop’s!

Part of the motel welcoming committee. Guess what kind of Registered Maine Guide Bill is!


Settling in.

Bishop's in Jackman

Bishop’s Store. Need I say more?


After our visit to Bishop’s Henry decided it was time to finish up the wanigan outside the hotel room.   A wanigan is a wooden box used to store supplies which can easily be carried with a tumpline, which is a long leather strap.  Luckily Henry is a carpenter when he’s not exploring the Maine outdoors with me.  He had all the tools and saws needed to put the finishing touches on the box.  Nothing like being prepared.


Adding the finishing touches to the wanigan outside our room.


Next we decided to explore the town of Jackman a bit and somehow ended up at a bar in the Northland Hotel.  It was a lively place with lots of interesting personalities.  We had fun talking with other people who were visiting the area and gathered more information about Jackman.  Eventually it was time to head home and call it a night.  We had a long day ahead of us.

Northland Hotel in Jackman.

Inside the the Northland Hotel’s bar.

Stay tuned for the next installment of our adventure on the Moose River Loop – Bow Trip.  High winds, long portages and the struggle to find an empty campsite await!

Angela Quintal-Snowman

About Angela Quintal-Snowman

Angela Quintal-Snowman is an Untamed Mainer from Deer Isle. A Maine native, she grew up in an outdoors family with her dad teaching her how to identify animal tracks and fish, and her mom teaching her campfire cooking and foraging skills.