Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Rusticatin'

We're back from our annual Labor Day vacay, this time taken way up North at Beaver Cove, Moosehead Lake, Maine, where men are men and spend most of their time lazin' on the deck.

Peggy and Fred took a 3-hour cruise on the steamship Katahdin - highly recommended - which covered less than half of the 40-mile Moosehead Lake.

During his tour narration, our captain noted that the lake trout population, known locally as "togue," had been virtually wiped out because some idiot - or group of idiots - had introduced Yellow Perch into the lake. When I was a kid in the `60s, it wasn't unusual to catch a dozen or more togue in one day's fishing. Tragically, all gone now, and probably not to come back.

While visiting the quarterdeck, I mentioned to the captain I grew up on Sebago Lake, the second largest lake in Maine. "Oh, that pond?" the captain grinned at me.

We found that the only direct route to Moxie Falls involved a route that personified the phrase 20 miles of bad road. About 5 1/2 miles in on a badly rutted, washed out road with large rocks poking out just waiting to take out things without which our long-suffering Murano would probably not run, we met a beat-up pickup heading in the opposite direction. "You can't go down there, the road's terrible," the driver called.. "You couldn't make it without a 4-wheel drive. Where you headed?"

"Moxie Falls," I replied. "Maybe, I should turn ..."

"We're going right by it," he interrupted. "Follow me." And with that he sped off on another road that led off God Knows Where which a) was even worse than the one that we were on and b) our GPS, which had gamely sent us down the original road didn't even recognize as a road.

In fact, the GPS - which we've anthropomorphized with the name "Tommy," gave up trying to navigate us, except to point an arrow at where we had been, apparently in the hope we'd recover our senses and return to Known Territory. Which we eventually did after about a mile or more of following the Mad Mainer, who blasted along the road at upwards of 40 miles an hour as I crawled over ruts and rocks. As his dust trail disappeared into the trackless wastelands, I found a spot to turn around, not an easy thing to do, and headed back to where Tommy's arrow pointed. After a long long long time, we finally made it back to the point where Tommy was willing to acknowledge that there was a road there, such as it was, and then only had to spend another 5 1/2 miles crawling back out to the paved road.

We'd finally make it to Moxie Falls the following day after Peggy plotted out a circuitous route that covered about 60-odd miles to a destination that was about 20 miles away as the crow flies but, by God, had the benefit of being entirely upon pavement.

Moxie Falls is very beautiful, if a little difficult to visit.

We also found the lodge my family stayed at during our regular visits to Moosehead in the `60s - Maynards. Already old when I first came there, Maynards was established in the early 1920s, the place is virtually unchanged in 2008, the only noticeable difference that I could find is that the cabins now have a full bath. Back in 1964 it was an outside shower and an outhouse.

And we did many other things, the things you do when you're on vacay in the Great North Woods: We visited Kamp-Kamp, the largest store in Greenville, Maine where Peggy longed for moose antlers and Fred for a set of Classic Illustrated Comics that could have come straight from my bunk at Maynards. We bought hand-picked blueberries and blackberries and fresh-baked goods for dessert every night. We hiked the Lily Pond State Park, read about local things in the local paper - including the kids fined for leaping jay-naked off the Black Frog restaurant dock.

And mostly we relaxed, 'cause that's what it's all about.

1 comment:

Yes... a Blog said...

It bears repeating: I am envious - what a great spot!