Forests and Lakes – For People – Forever ®

Moonlight Paddle Full of Magical Moments

July 16, 2014

Paddlers returning home by the light of the moon on Big Musquash

Paddlers returning home by the light of the moon on Big Musquash

Super full moons– when the Earth and the moon are closest too each other are rare events, and even rarer when they occur on a warm summer evening. Thus the Downeast Lakes Land Trust was eager to lead a  community paddle out onto Big Musquash Stream to enjoy it.  Paddlers put canoes and kayaks into the glassy water as the sun dipped below Pineo Mountain leaving curls of orange and flames of purple in its wake.

Led by Maine Guide, Deb Gorman with twenty years of paddling expeditions under her belt, the small boats darted like dragon flies along the surface heading up stream towards Flipper Creek and the Musquash Esker. Paddlers moved about in convivial twos and threes, gunnelling up to toss over mosquito repellent and share stories of special moments on rivers as they headed northwest along the stream’s wide channel.

Participants turned east with reverent “Wow’s” as the stunning sherbet-hued  moon rose over the trees. Hanging in the gentle eddies, the paddlers watched as it climbed into the summer sky at a stately pace.

Rounding the Musquash Esker, Deb explained the glacial features which make the Musquash system the most extensive wetland in the St. Croix Watershed. Eskers such as the one on the Big Musquash formed within ice-walled tunnels by streams which flowed within and under glaciers. After the retaining ice walls melted away, stream deposits remained as long winding ridges.

Deb shared her knowledge of a second interesting feature of the Musquash wetland system, the domed bog on the south eastern side of the river. “Domed bogs have their own hydrologic system,” she explained, “Fed by rain water, and waterlogged, the bogs become highly acidic anaerobic systems in which little plant material breaks down. While few species live in such places, those that do, are often quite rare and can include carnivorous plants like pitcher plants and sundews. Domed bog systems are themselves quite rare,with less than 100 like it in the whole state.”

After  a quick break for refreshing popsicles provided by Deb, the group turned for home. Coasting downstream into the rising moon, a series of well-timed fireworks rippled across the sky from Peter Dana Point, and a tired child snuggled down into a canoe sang herself  to sleep as the first stars glimmered out of the darkened west.

Paddlers are always welcomed in the Downeast Lakes Land Trust, and can take advantage of the eight water-access campsites found along West Grand, Pocumcus, and Wabassus Lakes as well as join in the 10th Annual West Grand Lake Races on August 3rd.The Downeast Lakes Land Trust regularly hosts speakers, sponsors workshops, and leads outdoor adventures that highlight the natural and cultural history of the Maine woods and waters.  These programs support the DLLT’s commitment to protecting both the environmental and economic health of the Downeast Lakes region. Visit our website to discover what is happening next.