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Turkey Tail Lake and Middle/Lower Jo-Mary Lakes
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psego

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July 21, 2016 - 4:15 pm
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Has anyone paddled Turkey Tail Lake to Middle Jo-Mary and have info, like road conditions, good camp spots (other than the two on the AT) etc? I was planning on driving in from Rt 11, to Lincolnridge or Turkeytail Rd. Thanks!!
— Phil

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psego

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October 6, 2016 - 7:27 pm
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Trip report and information:
A group of 8 of us spent 4 days on Turkey Tail, Middle Jo-Mary, and Lower Jo-Mary Lakes. The days were spectacular, with views of Katahdin in the distance.

Put-in and parking: N45.624340°, W68.937143° The road, Turkey Tail Rd., is gravel and in excellent shape. There’s room for 8+ cars at the put in.

We paddled on the north side of Turkey Tail Island. The lake was about 18″ below normal, and we were paddling mud on more than one occasion. The north side is rocky, but easy to get thru.

We made camp at N45.649566°, W68.941835°. Note that there are no established campsites, and the terrain is very “hummocky.” We visited a handful of spots before finding this one. There’s a snowmobile sign on a tree at the site. It’s about a one-hour paddle from the put-in.

The south access to Cooper Brook N45.65840°, W68.95759° was too weed-choked and muddy to get in. We never tried the north access.

To get to Lower Jo-Mary, you need to get thru a narrows and over a fallen footbridge N45.655362°, W68.947549°. The rocks here are super-slippery, and doing this with loaded boats would be really annoying. My partner fell into the water here, and we all were in over our knees.

We went to the Appalachian Trail, landing at the HUGE AT campsite N45.678721°, W69.004755°, and then enjoying a stroll on the trail.

Back at our campsite, we also hiked (bushwhacked) along a very hard-to-follow trail to N45.651773°, W68.937293°, where we picked up an old 4WD road, and then hiked through area frequently visited by moose (but we didn’t see any). We also saw bear scat.

It’s questionable as to whether or not it’s ok to camp where we did. I got some information from the owner of Buckhorn Camps, who graciouly game me some information on the area. There are some private homes on the south-east shore of Turkey Tail, and a few scattered around Middle Jo-Mary. We saw only one other boat the entire time we were there.

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BigSpencer

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December 13, 2016 - 9:31 pm
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Phil,
Fwiw..more moose will be visible in the early mornings and evenings in the spring and summer than in the early Fall.
Going in from the Jo-Mary checkpoint(just off Rte #11) on the Jo-Mary road there’s a road on the right that’s approx .5mi past where Johnston Brook crosses under…that used to end up at Middle Jo-Mary Lake(~4mi+). Not sure of its condition though. From #11 westward to the Sias Hill Rd. is well populated with bear, but I’ve often camped out at various spots and made sure I left it as I found it and have never had any issues….

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psego

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December 14, 2016 - 9:11 am
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I didn’t see that road on the map. We took ME route 11 south out of Millinocket, turned west onto Turkey Tail Rd at N45.594897, W68.822782, to Fire Rd 3 west. We parked at N45.624253, W68.936240, and put in at the bridge. The road conditions were 100% perfect for normal passenger cars.
One note: look at the satellite view near the bridge. You can see a navigable channel thru the reeds. We were paddling mud for some of this trip, and the lake depth around the bridge is too shallow outside of the channel.

We saw a LOT of bear and moose scat around the campsite. There’s always the question of walking quietly or noisily – do we want to see moose and accidentally surprise a bear? Being noisy seems to be the best option.

Btw, saw LOTS of moose on the West Branch Penobscot near the outlet of Lobster Pond.

— Phil

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