Cold Stream, Maine, US
|Usual Difficulty||V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||65 fpm|
Source: Greg and Sue Hanlon's Steep Creeks of New England, which has more info on this run.
The listed gradient is for the 8.5 miles on Cold Stream, not counting the 3 miles on the Kennebec River.
This is meant as a little celebration/appreciation of a great day on the water.
We got some rain last week, in Maine, which set us up perfectly for some creeking this past weekend. Did the usual calling around and ended up with a party of six of us that have paddled together in different formulations for the last six years or so. I hadn't paddled with a couple of the guys for several years. We met up in the Forks at 8:45 AM and I live 3 hours from there so you can do the math. I didn't get enough sleep. The Forks is a cool town. Its an historic place set at the confluence of the Dead and the Kennebec. Benedict Arnold labored up the Dead with his troops and long boats on his way to Canada but these daze it's a rafting/paddling Mecca. I always see old friends there that are in the same state of eager anticipation as me. Local folks that feel like old friends are still running shuttles and taking yer buck for that last cup of coffee before you hit the river. It's a cool place.
We set up a fairly complicated shuttle system (at least it seemed complicated with 6 guys contributing to the plan) I happily stepped out of that process. The plan was to catch two creeks with the second dumping into the Dead River that was running at a big 7000 cfs spring release. Somehow I had not paddled either of these creeks so I was going to catch two PFDs (personal first descents) in one day, as were two of the other guys. It was 60 degrees, the sun was shining, we had a great group, two new creeks were waiting; it was the very definition of a superb day about to unfold.
The first creek was Cold Stream which joins the Kennebec in the lower (Carry Brook down) run. Its a pretty easy creek, but its rilly beautiful and it has some drops that will get the adrenaline going. It was running at 1.1 feet, maybe a low/medium level, a nice manageable level especially for my first time on it. Hard to describe the putin and takeout, but they are logging roads that are in the Gazetteer. The paddlers gauge is on the river left downstream side of the putin bridge. It starts out with some perfect easy warm-up water, then some nice drops followed by some more easy water down to the takeout. We didn't run through to the Kenne. Cold is really beautiful and lived up to its name with big hanging ice formations even in May. There are maybe 10 drops? in there and some require being "on it." Double Hydraulic is a pretty spot where the creek gorges up and the 250? cfs gets squeezed down to a 10'? wide slot. The move is to hit the first 5' drop with some speed and a decent boof stroke, and then skipping across the boil and catching one more good boof stroke off the 10'er. If you pencil you are likely to get caught in the curtain and swim. Four of us had good lines, one swam and one walked. The run finishes up with a sweet no-brainer 12'? waterfall that reminded me of pictures of Wonder Falls. Cold Stream is a classic in these parts and I felt really good on it and was totally stoked to be paddling with the group I was with.
Directions: From The Forks, ME, head North on Rte. 201 7.8 miles to a dirt logging road on the right. Take this road; continue past a storage facility on the left. About 1 mile from Rte. 201, a small one-lane bridge crosses Cold Stream; this is the putin.
To takeout: head back on Rte. 201 to where it crosses the Kennebec River.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Map of the Forks Maine|