Moose River Camping Club






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About The Moose River Boys

The official MRCC Hospitality Flag

On Columbus Day weekend in 1986 an intrepid group of six novice paddlers decided to take on the challenging Moose Rive Bow Trip in Jackman Maine. The group included Earl Brechlin of Bar Harbor Maine, Dale Brechlin of Warren Maine, Carl Brechlin and his nine-year-old son Ryan of Meriden, Connecticut, and Jeff Betts and Dave Murdy both of Meriden, Connecticut. Earl Brechlin, who later went on to get his Maine Guide’s license, had paddled the trip once before, the previous June.
  In early October, fall is pretty much over up along the border with Canada. Most of the trees have lost their leaves and it is only a few weeks until the river begins to skim over with ice. Still, the group enjoyed every minute despite overnight temperatures in single digits that left the coffee pot of water sitting outside overnight a solid chunk of ice by dawn.
  The group’s inexperience showed. Flimsy garbage bags tied over backpacks was it for waterproofing. One square-stern aluminum canoe was dubbed “the K-whopper” due to its resemblance to a Kentworth truck. Even the smallest riffle prompted a stop to scout. Arms grew sore from the miles and miles of paddling against headwinds on the twisty river course and from the rugged portages. Yet the beauty of the river, the numerous moose and camaraderie of spending quality time in the great outdoors created a bond that has lasted for more than 20 years.
Over those years members of the group has backpacked in the White Mountains, along the Appalachian Trail in Maine, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, on the Blue Trail in Connecticut and throughout Baxter State Park. On some occasions extra days have been built into the schedule for volunteer trail work and other park projects. Members have also regularly done trail maintenance and patrols in Acadia National Park.
“The Moose River Boys,” as they have come to be known, gather each fall, now by tradition in late September, for a paddle or pack trip somewhere, usually on a river in Maine. They can easily be spotted by the distinctive “pirate-like” flag of a skull and crossed paddles that always flies over their campsite. Make no mistake, this is not a banner of intimidation unless your are one of those rare elitist woods snobs who gets all huffy at the though of anyone but themselves being out there. Rather it is an invitation to stop by, share a meal or cup of good cheer (Canadian Club, which is affectionately referred to as “condensed beer,” is the official club beverage), enjoy a cigar, and of course to share stories of adventures in the outdoors (most off which, we swear, are true).
Although the gear and skills have improved markedly, the bond MRCC members share has remained steadfast and unbending as the trail miles, rapids, and years fly by.




The first Moose River trip in 1986. Paddlers, from left, in front, Jeff Betts, Ryan Brechlin, Carl Brechlin, in rear, Earl Brechlin, Dave Murdy, Dale Brechlin. This trip lead to the creation of the Moose River Camping Club