Canoeing in Maine: Explore Mainstream Pond in Harmony


There are plenty of easily accessible Maine waters to explore throughout the summer, where rugged solitude remains the norm despite increased boating traffic elsewhere. Mainstream Pond in Harmony, located in the county of Somerset, offers tranquility and a variety of wildlife to enjoy at every turn. We enjoyed a 12 mile round trip paddle from the southern tip of the very thin pond to the Hwy 152 bridge in Ripley before turning around and seeing it from early afternoon. noon on the way back.

One of the magical melodies of early summer is the clucking of red-winged blackbirds. At Mainstream, it’s like they’re streaming the music, especially in the vast grassy savannah between the pond and the forest-lined creek flowing north. Once we left the red-winged blackbirds behind, it was time for a different song, the raucous calls of kingfishers leaping past us on dead branches leaning over the stream.

We nearly hit a grand slam with the eagle sightings, instead settling for a triple wonder game. The first observation was the classical pose; a still, taut mass of feathers and whiteheads high in a white pine staring intently at the water. The second present was another eagle high in the cloudless morning sky circling above the pond. Our third sighting was at eye level. In a rush of feathers, an eagle rose out of the grass and stalked towards us, with a fiery king bird chasing it skyward. David definitely had Goliath on the run. Later we would see more kingbirds, soaring inches above the water, snatching insects into the air.

And then ? They would be beaver lodges, some of the largest we’ve seen in Maine, at least six feet high. In front of a hut, two beavers suddenly emerged and swam a few meters away from us. Every time we pointed the camera in the right direction, with a thunderous tail slap, they disappeared for a minute before reappearing far from where we expected them. Freshwater clam shells glistened in the sun, strewn atop the pavilions. Deep canals dug by beavers radiated from each pavilion in the brilliant green of grasses and cattails. Near another lodge, we saw our first pair of loons. A few hours later, when we returned, we saw them in exactly the same place.

The impressive beaver lodges on Mainstream Pond stand at least six feet tall. Photo by Christine Wolfe

The wide creek leading north from the pond meanders up to Route 152. Eventually you’ll come to a large breadbox-shaped rock sitting in the middle of the creek. Here you will start to notice a slight current. Upstream of this block, two washed out beaver dams create a temporary surge in current. We had to put the paddles in overdrive to pass them. As we approached our turnaround point at the Highway 152 bridge, three women in kayaks began their annual one-way trip to Mainstream Pond.

Our return allowed us to enjoy views south towards the towering mass of St. Albans Mountain east of the pond. Rising sharply above the green canopy that surrounded us, it looked much taller than its 1,090 feet.

The cool morning turned into an 80 degree afternoon. When we had paddled the pond earlier, we had noticed an impressive stand of skinny cottonwood trees on what appeared to be an island, but was actually connected to the western shore by a grassy peninsula. This would be our bathing spot against the heat. It was a rejuvenating swim. We sat on a drying rock, admiring the slow build-up of the afternoon fair weather cumulus clouds. Thirty minutes later we were back at the boat launch where our exploration had started five hours earlier.

Consult the DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (Map #31) to help you get to the boat launch on Route 154 in Harmony, a few yards beyond the Remember Me Bridge. The short path down steeply to the water is rugged. It’s best to haul your canoe out to the water from the road and then park along the road 50 yards beyond the bridge. There are a few camps scattered along the pond and creek, and you may see a small boat or two fishing, but for the most part it will be you and the greatest show on earth: Mother Nature.

Michael Perry is the former principal of LL Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools and founder of Dreams Unlimited, specializing in inspiring outdoor slide programs for civic groups, businesses and schools. Contact: [email protected]

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