It was a beautiful, cold February day when Chris and I wandered around Aquinnah. There aren’t very many people there at that time of year, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
The shoreline at the foot of the Menemsha Hills reminded me of Maine. As I remember the day it was cold, but by February standards pleasant. We stopped and ate our sandwiches before wandering out onto the rocky beach. Chris found a few broken lobster traps washed up on the rocks.
The last weekend in May Chris and I made a trip up the Maine coast getting as far as Camden before deciding to stop for the night. We pitched our tent in a campground near Mt. Battie. The next morning we climbed up for a look around. We later climbed Mt. Megunticook before rain washed out the rest of our long weekend.
In June we took a ride up into the White Mountains and found an uncrowded, short hike on the west side of the Kinsman Ridge. Chris climbed the rocks around Bridal Veil Falls. Later we ate lunch at the pool at the foot of the falls, while enjoying and listening to the water.
In August we took our trip to the North Maine Woods. We had spent several months planning it, but found once we got there that all the rain in July had washed out roads and that the water in may of the small rivers and streams was running high and fast. We were unable to reach our first campsite because of a washout that left us slowly crawling down the side of a mountain in the truck over what had once been a road. We got soaked our second night out and our campsite flooded. That morning wee used our itinerary for kindling and pulled out the maps. For the next two weeks we went wherever the map led us.
Our third night out we stumbled across a beautiful spot along the Machias River. We pitched the tent in a nice grassy area near the river and settled in for a couple of days. The nights were brilliantly starlit. We’d let the fire die down so we could star-g. The rain, as it turned out was over for most of the rest of our trip. The only drawback to this spot was that Chris broke his fly rod. After that happened, we knew a trip to some town was in order. There are certain items one can not go without in the woods, a fly rod being one.
After stumbling around for five days or so after replacing the fly rod, the rain returned for a day and the temperature dropped. It was near 40 degrees – cold and wet. Our gear was soaked. Chris was just picking out fishing holes on the map and we’d head for them. By late afternoon, as I made some sandwiches on the tailgate of the truck and he fished a nice stretch of river, I began to think about that night. I wasn’t eager to spend it wet and cold.
Ross Lake Camps on Chemquasabamticook Lake was only 40 miles to the south. The dirt roads were muddy and the mud was getting deep in spots. We found our way and just at dusk we rolled up to the first of about a half dozen buildings that sat along the shore of the big lake.
We had been in the woods for about a week by this time. The truck was caked in mud, as was the canoe that sat on the racks over the truckbed. We were dirty and probably didn’t smell very good. I walked into the house, the only one we’d seen in the last 80 or 100 miles of dirt logging roads. A man was sitting at a table. He just looked at me in surprise. I don’t think he knew what to say when I said we were just passing through and were looking for a place to stay. This wasn’t like a Holiday Inn. They didn’t have a walk-in business, but there we were, dirty and wet.
Don and Andrea had space, plenty of it as it turned out. At that moment we were the only ones their. For $32 we got a rustic waterfront cabin, with a full kitchen that slept 11. A hot shower was available in a small shed up by the main cabin. Chris got the wood stove going and we used the large cabin to spread out and dry our gear.
The rain stopped overnight and the next morning I took this picture from the front of the cabin. Don was a Maine Guide and used these boats to take his clients fishing out on the big lake.
I was letting Chris do some of the driving on weekends, as the logging trucks only ran Monday through Friday. On some of those smaller logging roads confronting a speeding logging truck in a cloud of dust requires quick thinking sometimes and I didn’t want to put him in a situation like that. After a couple of days at Ross Camps we were rested and dry. I didn’t tell Chris about the old abandoned airport we were heading for. He figured once again that we were just roaming and had the map out looking for fishing spots.
The strip was put in back in the 1960′s by the land owners to spray for spruce bud worm. The 1500 foot dirt strip proved to be too short, so by the arly ’70′s they lengthened it to 3200 feet and paved the surface. DC 3′s flew in an out of the strip beside the St. John River until the spruce bud worm threat passed. After that the runway was closed, the buildings torn down and the place abandoned. It’s not an easy spot to access. With the Moose Bridge over the St. John River out, it’s over 100 miles from Ashland, one of the closest towns over rough dirt roads that have seen plenty of washouts.
We pitchedd the tent for a two day stay. I tossed Chris the keys and told him the truck was his for the duration. I had brough along two five-gallon cans of gas knowing he’d put some miles on the truck going up and down the runway. He fished the St. John and drove for the next two days. At 15-years old, having the keys was quite a thrill. We needed the extra 10 gallons of gas.
I was standing on a wooden bridge that spans the outlet of Second Little Lyford Pond and the river that feeds it. Chris spent a couple of days fishing from this spot. We had come here the summer before and he had some luck and wanted to come back. This time he once again caught plenty of trout. He was eating them for breakfast and dinner.
Hurricane Pond was another one of those places that looked interesting on the map. On the other side of the ridge in the background is Canada. It turns out that the small wooden dam that holds back the pond from Hurricane Brook and the North Branch of the Penobscot River had collapsed. The fishing had once been good here, but the shoreline was deep mud.
The North Maine Woods are 3.5 million acres laced with logging roads. The roads come and go as needed. This road to the dam at Hurricane Pond hadn’t been used for a long time. Nature is allowed to take her course in many cases in the North Maine Woods. Once gone, the dam would not be replaced. It’s original purpose had long since been forgotten. I took this picture from the bank where the dam once stood. The truck sat in about eight inches of mud and semed to be sinking further the longer it sat. Backing out was easy with the 4×4, but visability was poor as we had to pull the side mirrors in or risk losing them to the trees.
I took this picture because there was no gas station, nor any sign of there ever having been one. The North Maine Woods is vast with little to nothing in the way of traveler convieniences. It’s supposed to be that way. But where did this come from? If there was ever a gas station here (why there would be I don’t know) there are no longer any signs of it. Clearly, hunters have found a purpose for the sign.
We had a lot of nice pictures from our hike to Gulf Hagas. The West Branch of the Pleasant River hass cut deeply into the rock over time and created a canyon of swift and slow water. The hike can be tough in spots but worth the effort as the views are wonderful.
Back on the Cape and back to work some local hikes provided some picturesque opportunities.
In September this local hike provided some nice marsh views.
It also gave us the chance to walk among tall trees, something we had missed after our trip to Maine.
A month earlier this beach would have been crowded. September offers a great chance to visit some of the best spots that the Cape has to offer.
Of course this was a disappointment. In spite of the cool breeze I already had my shirt off when I ran into this sign.
I had the beach and the dunes all to myself.
This provided the answer to, How does a cow cross the street? There is only a bike path above this cattle tunnel at Bourne Farm in Falmouth today.
There are cranberry bogs behind this pump house in Falmouth. The water from Wing Pond floods the bogs for wet harvesting.
These boats at Hemingway Landing in Eastham were pulled out for the season. They’ll spend the winter on shore, returning to the water in the spring.
The season had pretty much passed the day I took a walk around Fort Hill and Hemingway Horbor in Eastham. The overcast left a soft reflection in the water.
The Tidepool Trail is on Crocker Neck in Cotuit and ends at a small beach overlooking Popponesset Bay.
By early October the fall colors were beginning to show at Eagle Pond in Cotuit.
Chris and I have hiked East Head Pond in Carver in Myles Standish State Forest several times. On a warm October afternoon we again took the three-mile walk. The pond was a brilliant blue.
The October leaves were turning the day we walked East Head Pond in Carver.
There wasn’t mush to see of Jehu Pond, but the trails in the area were easy walking, although unmarked.
It was a cloudy Thursday afternoon I took this shot at Quissett Harbor in Falmouth.
From the harbor I walked out to Quissett Knob. The sun was trying to break through the clouds.
The day I took this photo the wind was blowing up a storm on the other side of the point of land that is the Lowell Holly Reservation. Wakeby Pond had white caps, while Mashpee Pond appeared almost calm. The Lowell Holly area I thought would make a good snowshoe trip and I made a note to return once we got some snow on the ground. However, 18 inches just before Christmas was more snow than I cared to break trail through.
It was cloudy the morning I took this picture of the Mashpee River. The sun came out later in the day and I meant to try another shot, but forgot. By November the autumn color had passed, but the ticks were still active. At one time I picked 44 off my clothing (a record for me). One did get me though.
This year I took over 2,000 pictures during trips and hikes. It’s hard to say that I have a favorite. But there is one that comes close. I like it because for me it symbolizes freedom and grandeur. It gives defination to everything it overlooks. Entering the North Maine Woods from Millinocket it is one of the first things you see on the Golden Road. It is a mile high and the northern terminis of the Appalachian Trail. Chris and I have been fortunate enough to have roamed the North Maine Woods over the past three summers; we’ve canoed the Allagash, flown into remote ponds and paddled for weeks and this year we drove in, spending 16 days wandering around to wherever the map took us. Maybe someday we’ll climb Mount Katahdin. It’s on the bucket list.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.