I’ve been digitizing my old 35 mm negatives on and off for quite some time now. One of the many challenges I’ve encountered is my ability to accurately date the images. The latest set of images that I’m working with are almost 30 years old. They are from a New England whitewater adventure that I went on with my good friend Kevin S.
One October, a long time ago, Kevin and I packed up our Old Town H2Pro whitewater canoes and my Old Town Tripper and we embarked upon a week long tour of some of the rivers in the New England states. I drove my Chevy S-10 pickup on this trip. I know from automobile records that I had the S-10 from October 1988 to September 1997. That’s 9 years. To broad a time-frame to date these negatives.
I checked all my 3 × 5’s that I got from York Photo Lab years ago but they don’t have any date stamps on the back.
We ran several rivers over the course of the week. The Piscataquog River and the Mascomo River in New Hampshire, the Dead River and the Penobscot River in Maine are some of the ones I remember.
Aside from the rain we experienced on the day we left, from what I remember, the weather was beautiful the entire trip.
In New Hampshire we stayed with one of Kevin’s friends in his little Cape Cod style house. I remember going out to dinner somewhere for hot wings. I sat in the back of his station wagon and got quite car sick.
In Maine we tent camped at Katahdin Shadows Campground. This campground is located in Medway, Maine. The receipt had us checking in on October 15th and out on October 17th but the year is not stated. Somewhat of a clue.
While I was rummaging around in my photo room, looking for evidence to date these images I came across a brown paper bag with a hand drawn map on it. This map shows the logging roads along the Dead River. It was drawn for us by an elderly gentlemen outside of Webb’s General Store. Webb’s was located in West Forks, Maine. Since the Dead River is isolated from any main roads getting to the put in at Spencer Stream is very difficult. The guide book we were using suggested that we talk to the locals for directions because the logging roads in this area are constantly changing. So that is exactly what we did. I am not entirely sure but the elderly man may well have been Ed Webb himself. Edmund Farley Webb was a renowned local guide and river-runner who passed away in March of 2018.
In the end map proved to be invaluable to us. Not only did it get us to the confluence of Spencer Stream and the Dead River for our put in, it also gave me the last clue in dating these images.
On the back of the map, i.e. the bottom of the bag, there is a date stamp. JUN 08 91. This narrows it down nicely to the week of October 13th, 1991. Hard to believe but that New England whitewater adventure was 27 years ago!
After writing up this blog I was able to instant message my friend Kevin. In our text’s back in forth he asked if Robrandi had ever forgiven us for leaving her with a new born child. Now I knew for sure the dates were correct. My youngest child was born in April of 1991. We went on this sojourn in October of 1991. He was only 6 months old and Robrandi was not happy!