Maine's Dead River, which flows from Flagstaff Lake, offers the longest continuous stretch of Class III to V whitewater in the East. The sixteen-mile trip begins below Grand Falls, culminating at the the confluence with the Kennebec River in The Forks and Big Poplar Falls. Melt waters from Maine's deep snow pack insure high water levels throughout the spring, and the Dead River releases high water only ten times a season, six of which are in the spring. "Lake refills are right on target," confirms Wes Hallowell, river engineer for Kennebec Water Power that oversees the Kennebec and Flagstaff watershed reports. "We can expect to have all high water releases as scheduled."
This year's spring high water release dates:
- May 5, 12 & 27
- June 2, 9 & 17
One of the fun benefits of rafting in the spring is the wildlife; eagles and osprey build their nests high above the river gorges, while moose feed along the rivers before they head deep into the forest to escape the summer heat. The season traditionally begins May 1st, some hardy souls have been known to push the season right after ice-out in April. The water is chilly and wet suits are mandatory, but the rides are thrilling with the added volume of the spring run-off.
For more info on whitewater rafting in Maine, visit RaftMaine.com, an association of professional whitewater outfitters. They can provide maps of the Dead River locating the rapids, as well as their Class levels, current river flow, water temperature and wave height.
- The Travel Snob