…You have to slow down every time you cross a bridge, while driving, to look down. And that’s exactly what happened every time we made the trek from school to the river. As a student at UMaine Farmington the journey to The Forks takes you through North Anson where Rt. 8 (201A) crosses the Carrabassett River. Right from the bridge you can see North Anson gorge, a fairly technical section of whitewater (III – IV). The river is littered with jagged bedrock and shale and there is a nasty hole under the bridge at high water. I can’t even count the number of times in my first few seasons as a kayaker that we pulled over, got out of the car, and stared at the river wondering if we would ever step up to the plate. Finally, a few seasons ago, before either of us owned creek boats, Paul and I decided to fire it up. It was late afternoon, spur of the moment, and we couldn’t find anyone else to make the charge with us. We headed down anyhow and things looked good. We parked in an old lot near the bridge and hiked our boats upstream where we put in just above the bigger section of whitewater, or just above the main drop. A still camera and a video camera were with us that day so we decided we would take turns paddling, while the other person shot photo or video from a spot where we felt we had a good angle for a throwbag toss at all possible beat down spots. Paul went first and I opted to capture some stills of his run. (safety note: we paddled one run together first so that we both knew the lines and were comfortable paddling it alone)
This first sequence is Paul stomping the top drop, or the biggest drop that can be seen from the bridge.
Below, Paul is obviously stoked on the success of the top drop… or the fact that it didn’t swallow his little Vision 44. After the drop the water is a fairly mellow pool so you have some time to get your act together again
In the next shot, paul is just passing the camera and heading into the more continuous sections approaching the bridge
You can see here there are a few holes to negotiate, they were a bit sticky
Below, Paul is eddying out river left underneath the bridge. You can take out here if you can make the eddy, otherwise there’s a fairly technical section under the bridge with what can be a nasty hole depending on the flow. There is a clean line but make sure you scout it, unfortunately I was too far upstream to get a decent shot of Paul making his way through
If you’re like Paul you can peel out of the eddy and catch a micro surf just above the big nasty hole, I think he surfed this little guy for about two minutes if memory serves me correct
And thats all for the photos. We had an EPIC afternoon. This section of river is a blast, though it is fairly intimidating. It’s wide and the rock is nasty looking everywhere. I wouldn’t suggest ever paddling with only one boater in the water like we did, it was a rash decision to get a run in before the season was over and though we were confident with the run safety is not something to mess around with. Keep in mind, we did paddle it together first to get a feel for the lines and get comfortable with the run. That said, get out there and have fun!
And just a quick shot from last season, this is North Anson at EPIC high water! (photo cred Paul)
Side note: I also drove further upstream last season and got a run in underneath where the “Katies Crotch Road” crosses the Carrabassett. That section is also pretty rad. There is a line river left, a fairly solid class IV at high water with a funky corner under the bridge and a big wave train into a massive hole. Go check it out, it only starts to look good when the river is at about the flow in the pictures of Paul. It gets better as it gets higher with some serious sh!t river right under the bridge.