The Machias (muh-CHAI-yus) river flows through the remote woodlands of eastern Maine 75 miles from headwaters to the sea. Regarded as an adventurous and challenging wilderness canoe trip, the Machias is also nationally recognized for it's high concentration of valuable atlantic salmon rearing habitat.
In 1973 the last dam was removed from the Machias making the river and it's tributaries one of the largest naturally flowing river systems in the eastern United States. Today, nearly the entire Machias watershed has been preserved through conservation efforts ensuring the river's natural beauty, pristine wildlife habitat and recreational access for generations to come.
The word "Machias" is loosely translated as "bad run of water". True to it's name the river has a number of class III ledge-drop rapids spread throughout it's course which are a source for many fireside tales. These class III drops are relatively short and easy to scout which is advisable since the nature of these rapids can change as water levels fluctuate in early spring. Holmes falls is the only mandatory portage but depending on our itinerary and water levels we may elect to carry or line some of the hairier class III's.
|Dates:||3 or 4 days, May|
30% non-refundable deposit to confirm dates
Balance due 2 weeks prior to trip
|Where:||Trip meets in either Machias or Bangor, Maine|
|Included:||all canoeing and camping gear, all food and meals prepared starting with lunch day 1 through lunch the last day, transportation arrangements to and from the river from Machias, guide services.|
|Not included:||sleeping bags, personal items/clothing (a packing list will be provided), personal beverages, guides gratuities, fishing licenses.|
|Reservations:||Sunrise Canoe and Kayak|
Our canoe trips are led by Master Maine Guides who have worked as professional river guides for over 20 years. All of our guides started on the Machias river in the early 1990's learning the basics of whitewater canoeing on the lower stretches then challenging themselves on the upper river and tributaries. Today, the Machias still remains at the top of the list for spring whitewater.
Our goal is to meet if not exceed your expectations while providing a river trip you will not soon forget. Your trip forms are very helpful to us in striving to meet this goal. Each individual should fill out and return a completed trip form to us at their earliest convenience.
Your guide will be in contact with you prior to your trip to answer any questions you might have concerning the trip or preparing for it. Your guide will also want your input in preparing the menu for the trip and may have specific questions for you after receiving your trip forms.
Your guide(s) will meet you the morning of your trip and travel to the put-in. At the put-in, they will cover canoe packing procedures and conduct a basic dry-land canoeing/river orientation including a safety briefing. Then you will put in and head down river where you will encounter rapids on your first day!
The Machias will challenge and strengthen your whitewater canoeing skills and your guides will be right there to help you get the most out of your Machias river experience!
Scouting wilderness whitewater and making decisions on how to best negotiate a rapid is a crucial skill for a wilderness canoeist. Your guides have been making these decisions for themselves and the parties they've led for over 20 years and they have run the rapids on the Machias at many different water levels with loaded and unloaded canoes. Even so, many of the rapids on the Machias need to be scouted first before making a decision on how to negotiate them because the water levels can change from day to day. Your guides will discuss and share their experience with you at each rapid helping you to make the best decision on how to negotiate them considering your skills and ability.
Solo canoeing is a specialty of your guides! If you have the basic skills and some experience solo canoeing in whitewater then the Machias will be a very rewarding experience for you! Your guide will coach and help hone your skills as a solo canoeist. Your guide will have individual conversations with you about how to negotiate each rapid while sharing their knowledge and experience with you as well as making recommendations for you based on your skill level.
Canoe poling is another skill your guides rely on and will be happy to teach you the basics. Many of the rapids on the Machias are difficult to pole with ledge and rock bottoms that are easy to get a pole stuck in but there are also beautiful stretches of gravel bottom river to pole as well especially at lower water levels.
Camp sites on the Machias river will have a fire ring, but not always a picnic table or privy. Other than these simple improvements, there are no other facilities available along the river corridor.
Morning and evening meals are prepared by your guide over an open fire. The entrees change each day. Typical morning meals include ham and eggs, french toast and bacon, and pancakes with sausage accompanied with fresh fruit, cereal, juice, coffee, and tea. Evening meals include chicken stir fry, breaded pork chops with green beans, marinated steak with rice, or pasta dishes with a hearty red or white sauce accompanied by appetizer, wine, and dessert. Lunches are buffet style with deli meats and cheeses, bread or wraps, fresh fruits and vegetables, pickles, chips, and cookies.
Your guide will go over the planned menu with you before your trip and welcome any input regarding personal preference or dietary requirements you may have.
Fishing on the Machias river can productive for brook trout in the spring and generally decent action for smallmouth bass throughout the summer. The larger headwater lakes have healthy populations of white perch. Fishing licenses are required for anyone wishing to fish.
If you plan to fish, a Maine fishing license is required. 3-day, 7-day, and seasonal licenses can be obtained online through the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website (http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/fishing.htm) or at most fishing supply retailers.
Bald eagles are common sightings and those with a keen eye may spot a couple nests along the way. Moose, white-tailed deer, black bear, and coyote also inhabit the Machias valley. Seeing a coyote or a black bear is extremely rare. It is possible to hear coyotes in the evening.
Bears along the waterway have not been a problem which may be an indication of how little use the river actually sees over the course of a year.
We will canoe to our take-out point on the morning of the last day planning to arrive there by noon. If your vehicle is parked in the Machias area this will ensure you are back at your vehicle and off to your next adventure by 2:30 pm. If we are transporting you party back to the Bangor area this will ensure we back at your hotel by 4:30 pm.
We typically run trips of 3-4 participants with 1 or 2 guides however if you have a larger group interested in running the Machias it's not a problem for us. A second guide will be added to your trip if there are at least 7 participants or 4 boats however a second guide may be added to your trip regardless of the number of participants.
Machias river trips are generally 3-4 days in length. If your schedule allows, longer itineraries can be arranged depending on water levels and access.
A minimum of 4 participants is required to run the trip. A 30% non-refundable deposit is required to confirm your dates.
Included in the price: services of registered Maine Master Guide(s), transportation to and from the river, all meals on-river which is typically lunch the first day through lunch the last day, and all canoeing/camping/packing gear.
Not included in the price: sleeping bag s, personal items and clothing (a personal packing list will be provided to you), personal beverages, transportation round trip from Bangor, and fishing licenses.
If you are arriving by car, your Machias river trip will meet in Machias, Maine. If you are arriving in Bangor by plane we can meet you at your hotel and provide transportation for your party (up to 6 participants) round trip from Bangor for an additional fee of $240.
Contact Sunrise Canoe and Kayak, Rob Scribner