birchbark oldie     Piskehegan Stream

First impressions are deceptive, and so it was with my earlier trip report on the Piskahegan Stream. This replaces it. What I had first experienced as a lively stream was actually a long upland meadow broken by only occasional quickwater and a short stretch of rips.

Piskahegan Stream
The put-in is under a culvert on Route 785. Careful of blowdowns!

Mind you, the first time I ran it was on a gorgeous late summer's day in 2004, with just the perfect water level, and the excitement of running a new river made it special. This year, we ran it in early June, under driving rains. The river was so high it was running in the woods, and all the Class I stretches were washed out.

The meadows before the Ducks Unlimited Dam, and the Shaw Meadows immediately below, each took several hours to paddle through, in driving rains. Yet, we saw several deer, blue herons, and a moose that bounded before my boat across the stream and into the woods. By the time I got my camera out, the only image of the moose I captured on my lens was the southbound end heading north through the alders.

That being said, the Dowdall Rips were amusing, and the rapids beginning at the rock dam and leading up to the Mines Bridge were long and thrilling. Kyle lead the way, running them all with impunity, making even the steepest drop look easy. Mitch and I both carried past the ledge at the takeout, a six-foot tongue with a clear line that Kyle aced.

Piskahegan Stream
There is a stretch of fast water several km long past the rock dam where the Mount Pleasant mine draws its water from the Piskahegan Stream. Mitchell threads his way down among the rocky drops. Sorry for the raindrops on my camera's lens.

Those looking for an afternoon of whitewater can put in at the Ducks Unlimited Dam, paddle two hours to the rock dam by the mine intake building, and cruise down to just before the Mines Bridge. These rapids can be intimidating. The first falls of the Piskahegan is just under the bridge at the takeout. There are two higher falls more in the next 10k down to the Magaguadavic river that I have not seen.

The Mines Road off Route 785 is private, and may be washed out in spots, so be forewarned.


Riveraddict says:
I walked the Piskahegan from its junction with the Magaguadavic up to what I now call the gorge, about 3-4 km up stream. There is a nasty looking bedrock section, maybe just runnable in medium water, but below this is a staircase with the river dropping about 30 feet and squeezed through a narrow 10 foot wide chasm, which must be like a fire hose in high water. The good news is that they would be quite manageable portages, but if you missed ...... OUCH.

Enjoy my slideshow!!

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Visit Aaron Fraser's Piskahegan Picture Gallery!
Check out David Jeffrey's video, kayaking below the Mines Bridge to the Magaguadavic.

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