Solo NJ kayaker stops for the night on 740-mile trip to Fort Kent

Posted Aug. 14, 2010, at 2:43 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:53 a.m.

ALLAGASH, Maine — A New Jersey kayaker nearing her goal of becoming the first woman to complete the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail on her own stopped for the night 17 miles from her final destination, Riverside Park in Fort Kent.

Cathy Mumford of Colts Neck, N.J., started her solo trip on June 19 in Old Forge, N.Y., and paddled through Vermont, southern Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine.

On Sunday, she spent two hours in Allagash village at the confluence of the Allagash and St. John rivers and later stopped for the night at Pelletier’s Campground in St. Francis, according to Kevin Gove, a publicist for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

Gove said Mumford has been joined for stretches of the trip by paddling friends and family and has stayed at wilderness campsites along the way.

Mumford was inspired by another New Jersey paddler, Mike Stavola, who set a speed record last summer by completing the canoe trail in 32 days. Mumford, who turned 50 in July, chose to mark her milestone birthday by undertaking the ambitious solo paddle, Gove said.

Red tape nearly thwarted her. Her 9-foot-long kayak didn’t meet dimensional regulations for Maine’s Allagash Wilderness Waterway, which stipulate a width-to-length ratio for all watercraft on the river.

Mike Boutin, owner of Northwoods Outfitters in Greenville, said Sunday that his company transported a 14-foot kayak to Churchill Dam, about two hours from Greenville, for Mumford to complete her trip in.

Boutin said a 9-foot kayak is a small craft to carry supplies for an extended trip and also might not handle well in fast water. The route northeast from Allagash is marked with Class 2 rapids, he said, and water levels are low, meaning more rocks and ledges are exposed.

Gove said Mumford had received a longer kayak at Churchill Dam and continued on her way to the campground in St. Francis. Mumford usually starts her day between 6 and 7 a.m. and is expected to complete her 740-mile paddle in Fort Kent later in the day Monday.

Mumford’s odyssey on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail may be tracked at http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0KU2nX1F35Mx41Y7z3oszzxmFu4SFaK2l.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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