BS. It's very safe if done properly. As far as "purism", MOST so-called thru-hikers who reach the Kennebec have blue, yellow blazed, skipped , missed trail anyway so have some fun and ford!
I attempted to ford the Kennebec in 1991 (the first 3/4 of my section hike) and almost drowned.
I forded at about 6 pm (I don't know the exact time as I had lost my watch) after a 20 mile day. I thought I was invincible (being 19 years old does that I guess). I got about 3/4 of the way across before I was swept off my feet and swimming. I was fortunate that someone was fishing in the river and got him to pull me to the side of the river.
This year I took the canoe on my 2003 thru-hike even though I was not too pleased with the canoe hours that early in the season. Though the ATC would probably not be too happy, I would have crossed even if the water were high and the canoe wasn't there just to be able to do more miles in the day. I believe that most other thru-hikers would do the same.
Also just to be clear, I did not blue blaze (not even taking the short way out from shelters), yellow blaze, skip sections, etc. I met quite a few who were doing the same. Doing any of these things is the same as cheating which is wrong (assuming the intention is to file the 2000 miler form with the ATC).
Incidentally the guy at the Caratunk hostel said that the first NOBO for the year forded the river at about 6pm and was swept downstream about 300 yards before he was able to get to shore. That ride shook him up enough that he stayed the night in Caratunk instead of hiking on.
Even though I ran into Warren the day before I crossed the Kennebec and got his expert advice, I wussed out and took the ferry... What was I thinking?
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