Flagstaff Lake Trip for 3rd week in August looking for suggestions or tips

Home Forums Kayaking/Canoeing Flagstaff Lake Trip for 3rd week in August looking for suggestions or tips

  • This topic has 7 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 3 years ago by Marc.
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    • #59491
      Marc
      Moderator

      Two years ago I did a trip from the Hwy 27 to the dam on Flagstaff Lake with a couple day hikes in the middle. If memory serves me correctly it took three days. I’m looking to repeat the trip and possibly include an overnight hike to the Horns on the AT in Bigelow Preserve. Since I’m going with someone this time, I’ll place a car somewhere at the end of the trip allowing for more exploration time and maybe a short hiking trip.

      Looking for advice on where to park at each end and really any other suggestions as well. Not that familiar with the lake except for 2 days of rowing like hell to get to the end and then get back in time for work. Did notice that there weren’t many fish. I’m a reasonably good fisherman and didn’t catch a thing. Maybe I missed something or the water was just too hot. It was awfully hot. Also willing to have people join me days are flexible but need to include a weekend.

    • #59518
      Sue
      Participant

      you can park at the end of Bogg road (left side of the lake where the AT crosses the road). there is an organized camp spot there around the corner. I have in my head a trip planed in my head from the left of flagstaff Lake, over the Bigelows, pick up my kayak at the right side of the Bigelosw to go find a primitive camp spot on one of the islands on the lake, and back to the beginning.

    • #59532
      Marc
      Moderator

      OK, I see the spot and the organized camp site. On my last trip I stopped for breaks on several of the little sandy islands that dot the lake. Very nice and I think you’d have no problem camping there. I thought about that myself but my time was too limited to have an unplanned stop. I also thought about leaving my kayak at one end and then going back to the edge of the Preserve at HWY 27 and walking over the Horns, camping at the nice site where there is an actual AT Host, then down to my kayak and back via the water. Maybe I’ll borrow your idea and see if I can get my friends to go with it. Have to hide your kayak well at the other end. Hate to get there and have to walk back. A friend and I camped primitive style on a trip last weekend on Lower Jo-Mary Lake. Very nice and lots of fish and moose to boot. I put those pictures up on my profile, at least I think I did.

      Took my niece into Bigelow Preserve 4 years ago. I hope it’s still as nice as I remember it.

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212922883738983&l=f314d01df4
      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212922883058966&l=f9752456c4
      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212922882738958&l=dac0c42e6d
      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212922883458976&l=b26d489b67

      I’ll post again if I actually convince any of my friends to walk the length of Bigelow and then kayak back. I’ve already got people willing to kayak the lake but the walking might be a deal breaker.

    • #60013
      Sue
      Participant

      let me know what and when you decide. I may be into it myself. And yes, stashing the kayaks may be a problem unless you have somebody meet you there. I thought about that too. I would not trust people if i had them locked to the top of the car even….

    • #60112
      Marc
      Moderator

      I’m working gathering my friends. I have one person ready to go so far but we are still working on the schedule. He is in Portland and I’m in Bangor. Couple of co-workers are also interested. My schedule is limited due to work, so I will have to go in the 3 weeks of August or in late September. Considering taking as much as three days off depending on other peoples’ scheduling needs. If people come forward with specific schedule suggestions, I’ll post them for you to consider.

      I did find pictures from a couple previous trips in 2014 and 2015.

      Flagstaff Lake on Kayak: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10206194639817090.1073741836.1597205438&type=1&l=c4f860cb8c

      Bigelow Preserve on foot: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10203349856099275.1073741831.1597205438&type=1&l=bbd651b7c8

    • #61731
      Marc
      Moderator

      I finally got time off for a trip to Bigelow Preserve during the period August 18-21. Anyone and everyone is welcome for all or a portion of this trip. My e-mail is rsuusa@aol.com and my cell is 205-529-5086. A simplified itinerary is at the bottom.

      I will leave sometime on Saturday, August 18 from the AT trail head parking lot on highway 27 (Carrabassett Dr.) about half a mile SE of Stratton Brook Pond Road. Not sure when I will leave from the parking lot, but I will set a time certain, or almost certain, if someone is joining me. I will hike up to the ridge, camp at West Peak on Saturday night, and then across the ridge and down to Flagstaff Lake at Bog Rd. on Sunday. With any luck my kayaks will still be where I left them at the lake near Bog Rd. On Sunday night or Monday morning my friend from work, Khusro Kidwai, will join me and we will kayak to the end of the lake at HWY 27 with a night of primitive camping midway. At HWY 27, I’ll hot foot it back to the car which is about 5 miles away and return to pick up people and up to 2 boats. My goal is to be on the road home no later than sunset on Wednesday, but it is possible to kayak the entire length of the lake in less than a day, skipping the overnight stay, if necessary. There are also some well-maintained campsites on the Bigelow Preserve side of the Lake where a side trail branches off from the AT and meets the lake not far from Flagstaff Rd. Ferrying people and boats back and forth to cars could take a while but shouldn’t be more than a couple of hours of work.

      It is possible to join me for just the kayak or just the hiking portion. I’ve asked 2 people to join me and they are still working out their schedules, but no one has said they would take the entire trip. My friend Khusro will be there for the kayak portion only.

      Simplified itinerary is as follows.

      Saturday, August 18-Tuesday, August 21

      1. August 18. HWY 27 (Carrabassett Dr.) AT Trail Head to West Peak Campsite on AT

      2. August 19. West Peak to Bog Rd. & Flagstaff Lake

      3. August 20. Bog Rd. to primitive camping at Lake Mid-Point (or shoreline site near Flagstaff Rd.)

      4. August 21. Mid-Point to HWY 27

      5. August 21. HWY 27 pullout to Car

      6. Pick up boats and people, return to cars.

      I built in an extra day in case something crazy happens. My wife expects to hear from me by sundown on Wednesday. Willing to amend itinerary as needed or requested but must pick up friend at Bog Rd. no later than Monday morning.

    • #61736
      Marc
      Moderator

      Slight change of plans. The kayaking portion of this trip, numbers 2 & 3 in the simplified itinerary, will start where the Appalachian Trail and Flagstaff Road meet near Flagstaff Lake. I plan to meet my friend there around 8 PM on Sunday, August 19. Parking is available in a nearby turn out. If you are signed into google, you can see all of this on google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/dssm3nfS3362

      For GPS purposes use the intersection of Flagstaff Road and Bog Brook Road in New Portland Maine. That will get you to within 1,000 feet of the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and Flagstaff Rd. The address is: Bog Brook Road & Flagstaff Road, New Portland, ME 04961.

      I’m happy to drive people back to their cars if they want to join us. I can fit three or in pinch 4 additional people in my SUV. I know the timing is inconvenient, 8 PM on Sunday night, but he’s coming in from Nova Scotia. If I know that people are joining us I’ll wait for them until Saturday morning. Otherwise, we may leave at night depending on how we feel since campsites are nearby via water.

      Marc Cryer
      rsuusa@aol.com

    • #61787
      Marc
      Moderator

      I had a confusing trip with a very late start and several people dropping out at the last minute. I left the parking lot at HWY 16 and the AT on Saturday around 3 pm and didn’t get on the lake until mid-morning on Monday. The best map I could find, better than the Delorme map and the AT maps, is the Maine property map at the link below.

      https://www.maine.gov/dacf/parksearch/PropertyGuides/PDF_GUIDE/bigelow-preserve-flagstaff-lake.pdf

      There is a reasonably nice campsite at the point where the AT and E. Flagstaff Road meet, Little Bigelow Gravel Pit, it wasn’t on any of my maps but was a great find. Plenty of safe parking and tent sites. There is a decent and short trail from the gravel pit campsite to Flagstaff Lake. We carried our kayaks down to the lake on this trail.

      From the point on the lake closest to the gravel pit it was leisurely paddle past the state campsites on the S. side of the lake (Round Barn, Parson’s Brook & Ferry Farm) to Hurricane Island which also has a nice designated campsite. Hurricane Island was fully occupied by friendly couple, so we pushed on and spent the night at a designated site on School House Point. School house point is a highly developed campsite, but I must admit I enjoyed the luxury of a table, close line, and even a pier. There are also a lot of rusted out vintage cars on site, no idea how old. Maybe they are from the town that used to be nearby before the area was flooded?

      My camera worked on and off, it seems to have gotten water inside the housing, so I have a lot of pictures but not a lot of good or useful pictures.

      https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10214585167775045&type=1&l=ea1437123b

      We spent a fair amount of time goofing around near School House Point and decided to return the way we came, rather than ending up somewhere near Stratton Elementary School and having to walk back to my car.

      The return was eventful only because, contrary to the weather predictions, there was a strong intermittent wind pushing against us most of the way and a slight current that ran from E. to W. The result was that we returned late about 8:30 on Tuesday night and got home after midnight.

      As always, I have less leisure on these trips than I imagine during the planning phase. On this trip I didn’t get beyond the basics, walk, paddle, cook and clean. I fished once for about 30 minutes at the pier on School House Point just before sundown. I caught 1 chain pickerel roughly a foot long from the rock at the end of the pier but since pickerel are not a personal favorite I let it go without injury. I was using a size 4, 1/8th oz. Panther Martin Yellow and Red Spotted Teardrop Spinner. https://www.panthermartin.com/Lures/spinners/spotted I used the same spinner, or a rooster tail, to catch numerous perch on two previous trips, when I fished from the shore near the Round Barn Campsites at around sundown. About three years ago, my niece caught a trout at Horns Pond with a Woolly Bugger fly. I was shocked, but I’m told the pond is stocked.

      If I were doing this again, I ‘d plan for more time on the water. The hike is fine at 1 or 2 nights but there is a lot of water and islands out there. I could have used at least 2 more nights to explore, fish and cook something other than ramen noodles. The designated camp sites are really very good especially Hurricane Island and School House Point. If more primitive camping is desired I’d recommend the islands on the S. side of the lake between the outlet of Hurricane Brook and the State Designated camp site on N. Flagstaff Road. Another option are the islands near Flagstaff Peninsula. I have never explored the shore at the N. edge of the lake beyond School House Point so there might be some nice spots there as well. There is certainly a lot of sand which is very pleasant but, of course, hard on gear.

      Sorry I don’t have better information or pictures of specific islands and sites suitable for camping but my camera wasn’t cooperative at the right moments.

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