Camping In Western Maine

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It’s hard to express how good it felt to take this picture.  It was more than just the view, the soothing breeze with the smell of pine.  More than the sound of the wind and a nearby stream.  It was a sense of coming home to the place where I feel so connected to the land, a place I am the most comfortable.  The mountains of western Maine are like no other place I have ever been.  If this was the 1800’s, I never would have come back to write this.

As a young man I spent many weekends camping in this area.  Back then I could not afford great gear and I had to rough it much more than this trip.  Many times I woke up in the pouring rain, soaked to the skin, and slept the remainder of the night in my car.  Even with bad trips like that, the pull of the woods brought me back again and again.

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Today, as I drove in the 12 miles of sometimes single lane road to the campground, I felt the rush of going back in time.  Back to a time of my youth that was so full of promise, a time of simpler joys and quiet nights.  But I also thought of what it must have been like to be a pioneer in this area, riding my horse through the woods along a clear stream.  Breaking into an open field to see this beautiful lake in front of me.  I would have broken out my ax and built my home right here on this shore.

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This was the view from the stony shoreline of my campsite.   The main campground was across the narrow lake by the sandy beach.  Even though it was so close, I felt miles away in my mind.  I shut off the outside world and started thinking like a weary traveler from the past.  First things first, set up camp.

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Everything I brought fit in two large duffel bags, a cooler and a backpack.  All fit in the canoe along with Vinny and I with room to spare.  In future trips of longer duration, I will forego the cooler as ice will only last 2 to 3 days and stick with canned or fresh food.  The site was fairly level, very shaded and about 10 feet above the waterline of the lake.  Once the tent was up and covered by the tarp, I took a little paddle around.

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Can you imagine waking up to this every day?  Going out in the lake to catch your dinner. Stalking deer and moose, partridge or ducks to put food on the table.  Growing vegetables in the fertile soil by the shore.  Building your cabin from the spruce and cedar trees that grow all around here.

The pioneers had many hard times, many died in search of their place on this earth, but they had something many people will never have.  They had true grit and determination, the intestinal fortitude to go out there and make a spot in the wilderness their home.  They had the joy and pride of having done it themselves.  They had a spirit that is lacking in most people these days.

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As I come back to the campsite I am thinking about a good dinner and a quiet evening.  Just some time for Vinny and I to be alone with the soothing sounds of nature.  Unfortunately for us the people at the next campsite, about 200 yards up the lake, decided they were going to share the music they love with everyone!  I could hear the echo of it from the opposite shore it was so loud!  So much for going to bed early!

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This is why I hate going to campgrounds.  To many idiots!  Oh well, make the best of it.  I knew this was going to be a “Shakedown” of my new gear and a refresher of my outback skills, but next years trips will be away from all people.
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Campfire going, food cooked, full belly and a good wine to end the first day.  Goodnight Vinny.

 

 

It’s 1:30 am, and idiot next door is singing!  It took all my self control to not go over there and give him a piece of my mind.  I regain my composure, look up and realize he did me a favor.  Look at the sky!!!!

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Yes, those are the “Northern Lights” along with about a billion stars.  I spent the next 2 hours sitting there with tears in my eyes.  This one moment made the entire trip worthwhile.  How do you top something like that?  How can anything else stir my soul more than the unbelievable beauty of this evening?  It’s mind boggling to think about the vast stretches of space, the distances between stars.  If only the idiot next door was so far away!  He finally shuts up, and I crawl back to my sleeping bag to find Vinny blissfully asleep, and join him.

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It’s 5 am, and this is what greets me.  WOW!  I grab Vinny and paddle out into the lake.  I can’t put into words the scene, so I will just post the pictures.

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Is that incredible or what!  Just amazing what happens when the water is 70 degrees and the air is only 40!  Brrrrrr, a little chilly this morning.  “Look Vinny, a loon!”

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It took an hour and alot of paddling just to get these shots.   They are tremendous divers, they can stay underwater for 30 seconds or more, and then pop up 100 yards away.  Good thing I brought my 300mm lens!  And just for a laugh, it was not 20 seconds after that shot of Vinny that he jumped up on the wet plastic seat and proceeded to fall in the lake!  So much for bird watching!

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Breakfast of champions!  No, not Wheaties.  A 24 oz ribeye with southwest rub, new potatoes with garlic, shallots, thyme and parsley with 3 over easy eggs to round out the meal.  Something about all the paddling and the cool temps made me hungry!
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OK Vinny, time for a walk to burn off breakfast.  From my site a few trails lead off into the forest.  Vinny starts off down one and I follow.  “Hold on Vinny, I’m hurrying!”

 

 

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What did you find Vinny?  The Maine woods at her finest!  In the spring this waterfall runs hard, but late in the season it flows with the most tranquil sound, captured in small pools surrounded by moss, fallen branches and inhabited by water bugs.

 

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I sat beside this pool for an hour while Vinny ran up and down the rocks.  It was great to see the little guy having so much fun.  His age is showing as he struggled with the inclines and the moss.  He fell a few times, got all wet, but jumped right back up as if to say, “I’m not going to let age slow me down!”  When we got back to camp, he flopped down by the bank and watched me wash the dishes.

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I can’t blame him.  The view from our site is wonderful.

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By mid afternoon, Idiot started with the music again.  He and his wife had been out fishing and it was time to cook fish and start drinking again.  I could smell the fish, and as the booze was consumed the music and laughter became louder and louder.  Not again!  I had wanted to stay another day, but I decided to leave in the morning.  Maybe he would shut up early?  NOT!  You just can’t fix, stupid!

Next morning was the same beautiful sight.  I never get tired of this.

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Why do so many people not see what is right in front of them?  Why do so many complain about not having anything to do when there is so much around them?  If they just look away from their smart phone for a moment, walk away from the hustle and bustle of the city and get back to nature.

Out here there are no cell phones, no internet.  No taxis or buses, no traffic or mobs of people.  Just you and nature.  Just think how much better you could connect with your children without all the distractions, the memories they would carry the rest of their lives.  What’s more important than memories?  They are the only things you take with you when you die.  (I put an 8 instead of a 9, but you get the idea)

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34 thoughts on “Camping In Western Maine

  1. Thanks for sharing your camping trip. Your Maine woods are beautiful.
    Sorry it was slightly spoiled by loud, drunken idiots, but maybe they kept the mountain lions and bears away. hee hee 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, for sharing your camping trip. Your Maine woods are beautiful!
    I am sorry it was slightly spoiled by the loud, drunken idiots, but maybe they kept the mountain lions and bears away. Heee heee 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gorgeous. And that twit across the way did provide you with the opportunity for star gazing, which is lost anywhere there are lights and ‘civilization’. It would be worth it (almost) to put up with the noise, just to see that once. You show a lot of class in not getting revenge in making a great deal of loud noise early in the morning when the idiots are probably sleeping off a hang-over. Or going over there and adding to the din by shouting at them. Blissful days though, you got a beautiful memory or three, and your little companion seemed to enjoy himself immensely. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you. Thank you for sharing the beauty, the wonder and the bliss of being in the heart of the place you love with your best friend. And well done for being the bigger person where stupid was concerned …. You earned that silver lining of a night sky and aurora borealis, you truly did. The Bean is particularly happy that Vinny had such a marvellous holiday and is highly impressed at his fortitude after taking a dunk in the lake 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Seems that idiots are everywhere in this world, but at least he gave you the opportunity to see the lights of the ultimate outdoor cinema. So glad you finally broke the camping drought my friend. Your long awaited trip looks amazing and your photos are truly beautiful. I’m sure this will be the first of many trips to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I often wonder about the pioneers, too. Especially around here. Laura and Almonzo Wilder homesteaded about 60 miles from here. Some rough terrain for wagons! The place we went this weekend was about 200,000 acres of US Forest Service land. The history goes wayyyyyy back. 1800’s. I’m so glad you got to go camping. Your post reads like a book. The pictures are simply extraordinary! Truly.

    PS Perhaps the other camper needed a de-stresser as well?? Who knows what others are going through before they arrive. 🙂 That picture of the stars is crazy amazing.

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      1. Oh that’s a bummer that you won’t return to a place you’ve been to all your life. Maybe no one’s ever asked for a refund? Well, at least you got to go. Gorgeous photos and great memories with Vinny! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so glad most of your trip went so well for you and Vinny 😊

    Ppl do have a way of disrupting on other people’s time, no matter how remote a sight is in a campground 👎

    Many campgrounds will toss ppl out for that after a predefined time at night..

    The food looks awesome and I bet tasted every bit awesome..

    Nature agrees with you and Vinny but it seems that you and Vinny agree with nature too.. Look at the 3rd picture from the bottom of the mist on the lake and mountains.. See that little tip of land stretching out to give y’all a thumbs up ????

    Bet the crappy crooner got the the finger from it 😂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure you’ll find a remote spot where you’ll enjoy listening to the concert performed by nature’s orchestra 😊

        But you’re going to have a tough time topping the northern lights photo..

        The crappy crooner was good for at least that moment in time 😒

        Liked by 1 person

  8. My first time was the best and brightest.. Huge white waves, raced across the sky, continuously for about an hour.. I didn’t know what it was until the next morning when my customer told me what it was I saw.. I’ve seen a few since, but nothing like that night..

    Liked by 1 person

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