In 1775, Benedict Arnold and 1,100 fellow Patriots marched up the Kennebec River Valley to storm Quebec during the American Revolutionary War. This is a story of incredible hardship and courage. Using bateaux (high-sided, double-ended boats), they struggled upriver, often carrying the heavy boats over uncharted wilderness, with starvation sapping their strength. The made it to Quebec, but their gallant assault failed. As I write this, we are retracing a portion of Arnold’s journey and it seems almost sinful to be enjoying the area. After exploring, we have decided to focus our trip on the upper part of the Kennebec River Valley, from Bingham to The Forks, where Route 201 hugs the river and winds over hills to the Great North Woods. This ramble is in a remote region where you must have an eye for nature’s beauty to fully enjoy it. If waterfalls, wildlife, rafting, or canoeing interest you, this is the place. The area is often overlooked by others and, even during peak foliage season, the roads are still relatively free of traffic.
Moose are plentiful in this area, so drive carefully, especially at dusk and during the night, when they are most active. Other wildlife you might encounter includes white-tailed deer, partridge, fox, coyote and maybe even black bear. Bald eagles are sometimes seen cruising above the Kennebec, so it’s a good idea to travel with a pair of binoculars.
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