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[at-l] fording the Kennebec

  I heard the dam upstream of Carratunk was gone, washed out last year. The
only hiker drowning I've heard of was many years ago. A hiker who lost
composure after slipping, panicked and did not think to release her hip
belt, thus drowned turtle-style, on her back held underwater by her pack.

In regard to fording I would suggest:
1> Be prepared. If you wear glasses have something to secure them. Have
extra zip-locks/garbage bags to keep gear dry.

2> Get there in the morning when the water is typically low. If you
breakfast at the fishing camp you'll be right on time to ford or ferry.
Historically, dam flood release is/was in the afternoon according to the
3> Decide when you get there if you should ford or ferry. If the river is up
(lots of recent rain), ride the ferry or let the ferryman carry your pack
and wade/swim.

4> Use two hiking sticks.

5> Tighten up your pack fit. Don't allow shifting weight to throw you off
balance. Be prepared to exit, i.e. quick release buckles should be
unobstructed, etc. A ten yard cord tied to your pack and a makeshift buoy
(water-bottle) will make it easy to find and retrieve if you have to dump

6> Study the river from the ridge (northbound) and scout a path and an
alternate thru white water, it indicates a shallower bottom (still water
runs deep). Fix it in mind with relative, shore-line landmarks.

7> It only takes 10 minutes to cross. Go slow, plant both poles, make each
step deliberately, test your footing before shifting your weight for each
step. The bottom is covered with slick, basketball size round river rocks
and gravel. The current is deceivingly swift.

   I wore my tevas knockoffs (I don't like wet boots) which fit loosely, so
I duct taped them to my feet. The water never got more than 3-4 feet deep at
the deepest part, which is only about 5 yards wide. I found fording the Kbec
to be the second most exhilarating (climbing Big K the first) experience of
a thru-hike!


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