Date(s) Price(s)
July 22-26, 2024 $1,100

Women's Native Plant Study Canoe Trip

The Grand Lakes Region Women’s Canoe Trip & Native Plant Study is a unique and immersive experience led by Jennifer, a knowledgeable guide with a rich heritage rooted in Penobscot culture. With a history spanning 10,000 years, Jennifer imparts wisdom about native plants and their medicinal and edible uses; skills passed down through generations. As a master basket maker, talented beader, and a registered Maine guide, she is also a teacher of Penobscot culture, history, and preservation.

Our journey will take us through beautiful lakes such as Sysladobsis, Pocumcus, West Grand, Bottle, and Junior. As we paddle through this backcountry, participants will learn about the edible and medicinal uses of plants native to this area. The unique ecosystem of sandy beaches, interconnecting lakes, and the surrounding mountains contribute to an unforgettable exploration.

The trip is designed for those who wish to connect deeply with nature while exploring and learning about the rich history and culture of the Penobscot people. An added attraction following the canoe trip is a stay at Weatherby’s sporting camp and the Grand Lake Stream Festival, offering a weekend filled with crafts and music. This adventure provides an exceptional opportunity to discover the fascinating world of native plants and their traditional uses, all set against the stunning backdrop of the Grand Lakes Region.


  1. Two guides
  2. All the food and gear on the lakes trip.
  3. Shuttle to put in and take out spots from Grand Lake Stream.
  4. Transport to and from Orono.


  1. Accommodations in Orono.
  2. Meals in town.

Meet Your Guides

Polly, Master Maine Guide

Polly spent 10 years living a semi-subsistence lifestyle in the bush of the Yukon territory. During this 10-year period, besides hunting moose and caribou for her meat, she spent a significant amount of time foraging for wild edibles.

Jennifer, Wabanaki Guide

Jennifer is a knowledgeable and passionate guide eager to share her expertise on Penobscot culture, history, and preservation with participants. With a rich cultural heritage spanning over 10,000 years, she is well-versed in the traditional uses of native plants and their medicinal properties. Jennifer is also a master basket maker and practices the traditional skills of decorative beadwork.

As the Director of the Penobscot Cultural Museum on Indian Island, she is a very important keeper of Penobscot’s cultural heritage. She’s also a registered Maine guide, meaning she’s well-equipped to lead the group on this remarkable journey through a number of different north woods ecosystems.

Lakes and Locations

The Grand Lakes Region Women’s Canoe Trip & Native Plant Study takes participants on a journey through a series of interconnected lakes, each offering its own unique charm and natural beauty.

Sysladobsis: Known for its pristine waters and abundant wildlife, Sysladobsis Lake is an idyllic location for paddling and observing nature.

Pocumcus: This secluded lake offers a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing visitors to truly connect with their surroundings. We may camp on this lake where the loons will sing you to sleep at night.

West Grand: As one of the largest lakes in the region, West Grand Lake is known for its bald eagle sightings.

Bottle: Bottle Lake is where we end our trip at the public boat landing. It can sometimes be quite busy because of the large number of campsites around it.

Junior: Junior Lake is a beautiful lake with many islands. Some people seem to enjoy getting lost on it.

Native Plant Study

The Grand Lakes Region Women’s Canoe Trip & Native Plant Study offers participants an engaging opportunity to explore the world of native plants, guided by Jennifer’s extensive knowledge of the Penobscot’s traditional uses of these plants.

Diverse Plant Species: As participants paddle through the interconnected lakes, they will encounter various native plants, many of which have edible and/or medicinal uses.

Edible and Medicinal Uses: Under Jennifer’s guidance, participants will learn how the Penobscot people have used native plants for sustenance, healing, and well-being for thousands of years.

Preserving Traditional Knowledge: The Native Plant Study emphasizes the importance of preserving traditional knowledge and practices, inspiring respect for the environment and an understanding of the interconnectedness of all living beings.

Hands-on Learning: Through interactive activities such as foraging, plant identification, creating simple herbal remedies, and preparing various teas from native plants, participants can apply their newfound knowledge, fostering a sense of empowerment and connection with the environment.

The Native Plant Study component of the Grand Lakes Region Women’s Canoe Trip offers a unique way to explore the area’s natural heritage while deepening participants’ understanding of the traditional practices and cultural values of the Penobscot people.

For trip itinerary, click here

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Custom trips

Mahoosuc Guide Service can design custom Maine canoe trips for families, youth groups, clubs, or organizations from one to 10 days in length. We can also design trips to retrace any part of Henry David Thoreau’s route, including Webster Brook and East Branch of the Penobscot River. Contact us today to discuss your group’s interests, abilities, goals, and available dates.

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Safety and Basic Information for Canoe Trips

All our Maine canoe trips are fully outfitted and guided by Mahoosuc Guide Service’s owners Polly or Kevin. We provide all the food, camping, paddling, and cooking equipment, as well as a detailed clothing list to help you in packing for your trip. Most of our trips meet in Orono, Maine (just north of Bangor). We provide transportation to and from the river. Many of our canoe trips require no special physical conditioning. If you have any concerns about the physical requirements of a trip, please contact us.

On the Trip:

We are experienced teachers and will help you master the art of canoeing by teaching paddle strokes and poling techniques. You will learn how to set up a warm dry camp, and if you want, how to cook and bake over an open fire. All our food is natural or organic, and we source much of our food locally. Natural history, wildlife viewing, and fishing will be covered as your interests warrant.


You are in safe hands with Mahoosuc Guide Service. With more than 40 years guiding experience from Maine and Quebec to the Yukon Territory and Alaska, we have an excellent safety record. We are certified in Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responders. We carry a satellite phone for emergency communication!


Trip Itinerary

The itinerary is always subject to change because of weather.

Day 1

Meet at Black Bear Inn in Orono at 7:30 a.m. Finalize packing. Depart for our put in on Sysaladobsis Lake. Paddle instruction and load boats. Paddle approximately 3 miles to Cranberry Cove and set up camp for the night.

Day 2

Paddle approximately 6 miles to camp site on south end of Big Island. Set up camp.

Day 3

Paddle approximately 7 miles to south end of Junior stream below Junior Lake. Set up camp.

Day 4

Paddle approximately 4.5 miles to McKinney Point on the north east side of Junior Lake. Set up camp.

Day 5

Break camp and paddle approximately 4.5 miles to landing at west end of Bottle Lake. Lunch at take out. Drive to Black Bear Inn in Orono.