SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – September 2011

Rip & Go: Debsconeag Loop - Maine Public Reserved Lands, Nahmakanta Unit, ME

Cross the northeast's wildest moose country beneath fall's fiery canopy.

by: Christopher Keene

Nahmakanta Lake (Photo by Tim Seaver)
Nahmakanta Lake (Photo by Tim Seaver)
Luminous moss (Photo by iStock)
Luminous moss (Photo by iStock)

Take it With You
Download a printable PDF of this entire weekend.

GPS-Enabled Trip Report
See this trip on a map, download it to your phone, GPS, or computer, and more.

Key Skill: Spotting a moose
Looking to frame a closeup of Bullwinkle? You can scarcely do better than the ponds, marshes, and ridges around the Debsconeag Ponds. Bonus: Mating season (September to October) ratchets up your chance of seeing moose interact. 
 
Go early
Moose are most active around water at dawn. If you spot a female alone, be patient; the male will be along shortly. Listen for his short, guttural grunts as he approaches.
 
Go silent
Moose may have poor eyesight, but their hearing is superb—especially bulls with large racks, which catch sound. Opposite tactic: To call a bull, pull a length of rough twine through a small hole in the bottom of a can to imitate a cow moose’s call.
 
Go back
Moose are creatures of habit. If you see fresh tracks near the water’s edge, return to the same place the next morning.
 
Go safely
Don’t get closer than 75 yards to a cow with calves, or bull moose, especially during the rut. If one charges, turn around and run for it (unlike bears, moose won’t give chase for long), and put something (trees, boulders) between you and the beast. Most charges are bluffs, but if you’re knocked down, curl up, protect your head, and keep still (this convinces the moose that you’re no longer a threat).
 
See This
LUMINOUS MOSS
The family Schistosteagaceae has one member— luminous moss (aka Cat’s Eye Moss or Goblin’s Gold), which grows inside the opening of animal burrows, the bases of uprooted trees, or similar shady areas. Its ability to flourish in such places is due to clear, globular cells that collect faint light—even reflections from a stream—resulting in photosynthesis and the plant’s faint, greenish glow during the day. Spot this rare moss streamside in Pollywog Gorge.
 
Locals Know
Many of the woods up here are second-growth bounce-back after a few centuries of logging in the Nahmakanta area. Loggers dammed nearly every pond and lake to move timber, and some streams—especially Rainbow Stream at mile 9.2—still bear the scars of the log-driving days in the form of steel pins and blasted ledges. You can spot signs of the old earthen dam on Fifth Debsconeag, 1.3 miles from the trailhead. This pond was used chiefly to raise the level of Fourth Debsconeag and flush the logs floating there downstream to the West Branch Penobscot River, where they’d head for the mill. The loggers were pretty thorough, but they didn’t cut all of the trees and send them down the river—some stands in the unit include individuals well over the 300-year mark, including one 320-year-old white cedar, and the elder statesman, a 397-year-old red spruce in the Henderson Pond area.




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Israel/Gaza Conflict
Posted On: Jul 30, 2014
Submitted By: Ben2World
Midwest
Manistee Nat'l Forest
Posted On: Jul 30, 2014
Submitted By: nrsteinke
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions