Oak Island

Blowing the red Old Country canoe off course, the wind skipped across Great Pond. Paddling towards a distant point on the wooded shore, I dug deep, as if avoiding a violent waterfall in some rain forest jungle. Slowly and with much effort, the canoe's bow ticked back on course. As my shoulders burned, I reevaluated my course and headed towards the protection of the saw-like shoreline. Protected from the wind by tree covered points, I made my way towards a dock and my waiting friends.

"What took you so long?" Dan asked as I got to the dock.

"The wind, Dude. Do you see those white caps?" I responded as I caught my breath. "It feels like you're paddling upstream."

Quickly we packed the remaining sleeping bags, food and fishing poles into the canoe and pushed off the dock. With the help of two more paddlers and a stiff tailwind, we made it back to Oak Island in a third of the time.

Stashing the canoe between two trees, we set up camp in proper Huck Finn fashion, and headed out to explore the island. With a few hours of sun remaining in the early summer evening, we set off across the island in search for fishing holes, traces of other campers and the highest point on the island.

In the distance, loons called as the first mosquitoes of the season buzzed around, settling on exposed skin.

A goose feather blowing away.

Spencer searching for the source of a distant loon call.

Pack out all trash. Extinguish all fires. Cut only dead trees. Bury human waste 100 feet from water.

Crawling around the shoreline, we hopped from rock to rock avoiding the tepid water. Dropping towards the hills to the west, the sun cast an orange hue on the trees and rocks. Consecrating the first days of summer, I rolled up my jeans to below the knee and liberated my feet, going barefoot on the rocks and pine needles.

Isolated by a half mile of water on each side and claimed by a thin pillar of smoke from a lone campfire, the island was ours. As if aware of the potential pranks and horseplay offered by a half dozen twenty year olds, the occasional boat gave the island a wide birth.

Walking to our camp and the promise of freshly cooked sausages, I murmured out loud, "This is the perfect place for a fort."

Here are some more links,
Oak Island (Picasa),
Great Pond (ART).


Five Minutes of Sunrise over Great Pond

I woke up to catch the sunrise on Great Pond hours after returning empty handed from an hour long fishing adventure at dusk. Normally I hear the birds chirping and witness the intensifying glow in the east with the same shock and anxiousness of a vampire.

For five minutes I watched the sunrise before retiring my camera and picking up my fishing gear to continue my hunt for a brown trout.

I will never forget the still morning air and fog resting on the lake.

Here are some more links,
Fishing at Sunset on Great Pond (ART),
Sunrise on Great Pond (Picasa).


Fishing at Sunset on Great Pond

Around dusk and dawn the brown trout of Great Pond come to the surface to feed. At about 7:30 one evening, Tucker and I went out in his LL Bean Old Town Canoe in search of the elusive trout. I prayed for the clouds to open up with thunder and lightening and for an unsuspecting five pounder to latch onto our hooks and pull us around the lake in an Old Man and the Sea type battle.

Much to my disappointment, the clouds fled to the horizon, exposing a beautiful sunset. I didn't even hear a fish jump. Once again, my fantasy of recreating a Hemingway scene failed.

I couldn't have been happier, and the next morning I woke up at five to give it another go.

Here are some more links,
Sunset on Belgrade Maine (Picasa),
Great Pond (ART).


Chopping Fire Wood

The man is not an IRS tax collector or a faceless oil executive, but a fun squandering third grade teacher or an overbearing parent. As a little squirt, the pedantic teachers and volunteer parents at my local elementary school squandered my fun, telling me to wash my hands, wear safety goggles and not to wrestle with other boys during touch football. In their soulless eyes, scraped knees, bumped elbows and fat lips are gateways to barbarianism.

In order to provide wood for the perpetually burning fire on the shore Grand Pond, we walked to the nearby woods to participated in some "forest thinning" in the hopes protecting the great Maine woods against potential forest fires and under cooked marshmallows.

With Tucker's hatchet we attacked cherry saplings like Paul Bunyan, reclaiming our manhood one chip at a time.

Sometimes the hatchet got over zealous and bit off more than it could chew, latching onto a log like a burr into a wool sock. A jarring swing and a well placed hand liberated the hatchet, and Tucker was back in action.

By wearing a Barbour International motorcycle jacket, a Filson Mackinaw hunting jacket, a pair of Red Wings work boots, or other pieces of clothing associated with a potential dangerous, yet pure activity, you are sticking your nose up to the shoulder pad laden third-grade teacher that put you in time out for running down the hallways or jumping out of the swing at recess. Here's to you Mrs. Johnson, "We will use hand chopped wood to cook our wieners, not some safe burning, mongoloid hybrid of wood pulp and fossil fuels!"

Here are some more links,
Chopping wood (Picasa),
Paul Bunyan Disney,
Flamz Errol Morris (High Life).