Maine: An Encyclopedia

Lunksoos Area

The Lunksoos [pronounced lunksue] area of T3 R7 WELS includes stunning views of the East Branch of the Penobscot River and historic sites such as the Hunt Farm and Lunksoos Camps. In 2014 it was also the local headquarters of Elliotsville Plantation foundation’s “Lunksoos Base Camp.” Not to be confused with Elliotsville Township (once a plantation) in Piscataquis County. The area is now within the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

Boat Launch on Penobscot River East Branch of the at Lunk Soos Camps (2014)

Boat Launch on the East Branch at Lunk Soos  (’14) @

Canoe at Penobscot E. Branch at Lunk Soos Camps (2014)

Canoe at Penobscot E. Branch at Lunk Soos Camps (2014)

Lunk Soos Lodge and Base Camp (2014)

Lunk Soos Lodge and Base Camp (2014) @

The term  “lunksoos” is said to be the Native American concept of “Indian devil,” or “catamount,” (a wild cat) or “wolverine.”

All this is reminiscent of 19th century lore expressed by Henry Clay Watson in Thrilling Adventures of Hunters, in the Old World and the New.  He recounts an adventure “reported by boys” as follows:

“There is an animal in the deep recesses of our forests, evidently belonging to the feline race, which, on account of its ferocity, is significantly called ‘the Lunk Soos;’ a terror to the Indians, and the only animal in New England of which they stand in dread.  You may speak of the moose, the bear, and even the wolf, and the red man is ready for the chace and the encounter. But name thee object of his dread, and he will significantly shake his head, while he exclaims, ‘He all one debil!'” (p. 296)

Famously, Henry David Thoreau passed through the area in 1846, camping along the way. Nearly a century later, in 1939, 12-year old Donn Fendler was found near Lunksoos Camps, having been lost hiking Mount Katahdin.

Red-Tailed Hawk in aTree on the Lunk Soos Camps Road near the Camps

Red-Tailed Hawk near the Camps

The Hunt Farm, built by William Hunt in 1835, became a source of supplies and lodging for woods workers and travelers alike.  It was south of the confluence of the Wassataquiok with the East Branch of the Penobscot. According to  John Hakola, it was “the last outpost of civilization on the East Branch.”  In 1845, Edward Everett Hale and Charles Channing were the first to take the East Branch and Wassataquiok route to Mount Katahdin.

Hakola quotes Hale as reporting that the Hunt Farm was “a large, rambling place, partly built of logs and partly of frame” in a clearing “grass and grain covered sweeping down the hill to the river” a position which “is for picturesque beauty unsurpassable.”  After one night at the farm, they went north a half mile where they landed on the north bank of the Wassataquiok and began their hike to Katahdin.

Hunt Mountain may be seen from the river and Katahdin’s Hunt Trail recalls William Hunt’s contribution to the area’s history.

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Additional resources

Fendler, Donn. Donn Fendler, lost on a mountain in Maine : a brave boy’s true story of his nine-day adventure alone in the Mount Katahdin wilderness / as told to Joseph B. Egan. Somersworth. New Hampshire Pub. Co., c1978.

Hakola, John W. A Legacy of a Lifetime: The Story of Baxter Park. TWB Books. Woolwich, Me. 1981.p. 14-15.

Watson, Henry C. Thrilling Adventures of Hunters, in the Old World and the New. Boston, Ma. Kelley & Brother. 1953. (accessed September 5, 2014)

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