Extreme Plein Air - Maine Getting Way Out There by Kayak

Getting There by Kayak on Ambajejus Lake, Maine: Story by Suzanne Savage Brewer

I recently spent a few days doing what some people will consider extreme plein air painting in Northern Maine near Baxter State Park. Baxter State Park is one of the jewels of this state. Governor Percival Baxter donated the land for Baxter State Park to the people of Maine in 1930 with the stipulation that it remain forever wild. The highest mountain in Maine (Katahdin) is within the park borders.

I grew up about 40 minutes from the park entrance and so have a long standing love for the area and its’ staggering rugged beauty.

You can visit Baxter State Park here. I am fortunate to have use of a camp on Ambajejus Lake not far from Baxter. This is a beautiful clean lake with granite boulders and many islands with small gravel beaches. It is a perfect place to do some kayaking, sightseeing and of course plein air painting!

In years past I have lashed a small plein air painting kit to my kayak to go out painting. This year I have bought a new kayak that is just the thing for plein air painting. It is a Necky Vector. The reason it works well for me is that instead of a closed hatch in the back it has an open well with a tie down over it. It fits everything I would normally take with me in my truck to go out to paint.

Here is a link to see my new kayak:

www.neckykayaks.com Here is a photo of my kayak all loaded and ready for some plein air painting fun.

At 6:30 am I loaded up and took about a 40 min. paddle to a little island in the middle of the lake.( Photo at the top of this page) I love this spot because it has an unobstructed view of Double Top Mountain (to the left ) all the way through the range to Mount Katahdin ( to the right). At this hour of the day the lake is quiet. It is just me and the loons. The little island is maybe 14'x20'. Just perfect for one or two if you like the other person!

Here is the view from the little island:

Here is the painting I did from the little island:

t is not difficult to have access to this spot if you are willing to paddle a bit. Extreme plein air painting is really just a name for my favorite activity of getting way beyond the parking lot in pursuit of my art. The adventure makes it all worthwhile.

From Millinocket take the Millinocket Lake Road to the North Woods Trading Post. Millinocket Lake is on the right and Ambajejus Lake is on the left. There is a boat launch right there.

Paddle out through Spencer Cove out into the larger area of Ambajejus Lake and look for any of the small islands you may land on and call your own for the day.

Good lodging is available at the Big Moose Inn. There are a variety of lodging options and the food is good too.

Of course while you are in the area make sure to take a trip into Baxter Park. If you are up for a hike, South Turner Mountain awards you with a smashing view into Katahdin. It gets you up just high enough without being too strenuous. If you are up for a real full day.....climb Katahdin. You will need hiking boots. If you try sneakers (tennis shoes) on this hike you will be in your bare feet by the end as the granite will grind them off your feet. The region has much to offer in outings and adventures.

To see more of Suzanne's work visit her website at: www.suzannesavagebrewer.com

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