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July 29, 2005

Penobscot Summer 05

It’s amazing to me how some great rivers to paddle
remain almost free of kayakers even during the peak-paddling season! A
perfect example of this is the West Branch of the Penobscot River in Maine.
Located right next to mighty Mount Katadin, the end of the Appalachian
Trail, the West Branch is an absolutely gorgeous and wild feeling river.
Seeing moose is an everyday occurrence along with Osprey, loons, and trout.
You cell phone definitely won’t work up there, so don¹t even bother
bringing it, a welcome relief for most of us! You can stay at the very
friendly and comfortable Big Eddy Camp ground run by Mark and Susan Adams,
and you will be treated to fresh baked coffee cake or sticky buns every
morning in addition to hot showers and flush toilets! But the best part
of being there is the river! The West Branch has many different sections
from total beginner floats to the class lV Gorge/Crib Works with great
play everywhere! You can play as little or as much as you like in beautiful
warm water all summer long. There is a great wave at the bottom of Big
Ambejackamus rapid with easy eddy access. The rapid itself combines everything
you may want in a rapid, its pretty long, has a big water feel with lots
of waves to catch on the way down the top section. The middle has great
boof move with some fun holes to play in followed by the fast fun wave
at the bottom! You can spend a couple hours there working on any of your
favorite wave moves and runing the rapid. In addition, if you want more
practice in your river running skills, you can choose one of the many
lines down the crib works rapid or Nature¹s way. You will thrilled
to find lots of great play down these sections of river too!You can even
chill out on the island next to the crib works and eat blueberries and
watch the rafts come through. And you may run into some old friends, you
never know. Last time I was there I saw long time Penobscot paddler Dave
Saaf, Dustin Urban¹s Dad, Phil and Karen Roy! We had a great time
on the river and so will you! In fact, I thought it was so cool that we
are bringing the inner city kids kayaking camp there for a week this summer!

Soft Power Health update

On June 7th, Soft Power Health held its second annual
fundraiser in New York City. We had a great turn out with lots of new
and former supporters of Soft Power Health coming out to celebrate with
us and even bid at our silent art auction. We had a new short promotional
film to show everyone this year about what we had accomplished and it
was even better than last year¹s! Of course, this year we had a lot
more to show like the finished construction of our clinic and the many
mosquito nets we have sold, and even a little footage from the Nile. To
date since the fundraiser, we have raised almost $40,000.00. This will
go very far to outfitting the clinic, hiring the Ugandan doctor and nurse
full time to work in the clinic and continuing our Malaria education and
prevention project! The demand for mosquito nets is incredible and for
the education that goes along with understanding Malaria so we aim to
train local Malaria educators in every village in the sub county where
we are based. And if you are thinking of a paddling trip to the Nile,
remember we are always looking for volunteers! It¹s a great way to
round out your African experience and have lots of fun too! Please feel
free to email me with any questions at
Hope to see you on the river soon!