Mooselookmeguntic – Visit #1 2015

As mentioned in a prior post, my wife and I had “planned” to make our first trip into-the-woods, last week, to return to Mooselookmeguntic Lake, in Maine.

While things don’t always go according to plan, EVERYTHING, ALWAYS works out for the best.

The “original” plan was to arrive on Monday, after attending our nephew’s college graduation party, the preceding Sunday. But, due to poor weather, we decided to delay the camping expedition by 2 days and take the opportunity to spend a couple of days with my folks.

Interestingly enough, as we pulled into their driveway we again heard that awful grinding sound from the front-end of our truck. This was the same sound we experienced on our return trip from Canada, over the Christmas break. However, this time it was coming from the right hand side. So, I looked into our maintenance records and found that the last “fix” was the replacement of the hub assembly on the left hand side. It now seemed that we were due for the same procedure on the right hand side. My wife could have said (but didn’t) “I told you we should have had them fix both sides the first time.” 🙂

I assumed the quickest fix for this would result from a dealership in Bangor and wasn’t disappointed!

Upon calling Quirk’s Chevrolet and describing our symptoms, they said: “We can get you in on Wednesday.” Uh-oh, I thought. That is when we are supposed to be “in-the-woods”, according to our latest plan.

I responded: “We are scheduled to head into-the-woods on a camping trip Wednesday, so this would be too late. Do you have anything sooner?”, to which he responded: “We are already over-booked.” I then asked: “Do you have a Suburban or other vehicle that I could put my canoe on, that we could rent, so that we can keep our plans?” His response: “We really don’t have any vehicles that big to loan. Let me see what I can do…” After a very short period of time he indicated: “We can jam you in, in the morning”, to which I responded “That is awesome. Thank you very much! I’ll bring the vehicle right in, so that it is there for you first thing in the morning.”

The result: Quirk Chevrolet called me at 8:30 the following morning to indicate the truck was fixed. Fantastic! We can keep our “revised” plans.

This was a much better outcome than what might have happened if the weather wasn’t bad and we had headed straight into-the-woods only to have this trouble materialize when we were MANY hours away from a facility with the necessary parts for such a quick fix.

Now that this was taken care of we could spend some relaxing time with my parents. This included, having a GREAT lunch of delectable seafood at a newly refurbished restaurant: McLaughlin’s Marina in Hampden. This is where my folks typically launch their boat on the Penobscot River and head to Penobscot Bay, on the coast of Maine. A beautiful boat ride that we’ve taken with them a few times, although the weather wasn’t permitting on this visit.

We also visited Cole’s Land Transportation Museum.

Now, to be perfectly honest…On any other day, I might have driven by this place and said to myself “I’d never get that 2 hours back in my life, if I visited (what would seem to be) such a boring place.” But, I would have been completely wrong in that judgement. We did spend a couple hours there and learned some fascinating things regarding the evolution of transportation for consumers and industry, especially as relates to the great state of Maine!

For example: Did you know that there is a Model-T Ford snowmobile conversion kit? This is where the word snowmobile first came from. Someone decided to build an attachment / kit to convert a Model-T Ford into a snow-going machine, and received a patent for doing so in 1917.

What amazing ingenuity!

After all this excitement, my wife and I then headed into-the-woods!

Upon checking in at Stephen Phillips Memorial Preserve, we loaded our gear into the canoe in order to make our paddling trip to Student’s Island. The goal: make only one crossing with everything needed for the next 24-hours.

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Success!

Although Cindy convinced me that we should return for the firewood and rations we’d need for the remainder of our trip, to get it all behind us. Very good advice!

Since this trip was in early June it still gets pretty cold at night, in that part of Maine. On the first night the temperature dropped to a mere 39 degrees. Upon waking in the middle of the night my feet were freezing. But, we had prepared by bringing along a cheap comforter. Once we slung that over our sleeping bags we were plenty toasty for the remainder of the night.

Even so, upon rising in the morning, we could clearly see our breath in the frosty air. This is when you truly know you are living 🙂

A confession: As I share information and photos about these trips I get a “little” worried that it will attract more people to this amazing / secluded place on our planet. But, instead of being selfish, here we go. My 2 favorite scenic photos from this trip are as follows:

Sunrise (with fog) on Mooselookmeguntic.

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Mid-afternoon as we paddled around Student’s Island seeking the prized trout.

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After several hours of paddling, keeping our worms wet and NO FISH we returned to our site. And, because we still had an abundance of worms we decided to cast our bait out and let it float around via bobber. The result: Cindy catches the ONLY / sizable fish on this trip.

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While it wasn’t a trout she at least caught a fish (and beat me again). My dad is again probably going to make some crack about asking Cindy to teach me how to fish 🙂

Here I am sitting in our front yard, enjoying the view.

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And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t share a great experience that you simply CANNOT achieve while in civilization. That is, viewing a crystal clear, star-filled night sky. Yes, you can see “some” stars while in civilization. But, when you are in the middle of nowhere, with no light pollution, there is so much more to the night sky! On our second night, as we gazed upwards, we spotted 3 VERY BRIGHT lights, which we simply assumed were stars. Such is NOT the case. They were planets (Venus, Jupiter and Saturn). No, I didn’t identify these all by myself. I used the SkyView app on my iPhone which easily allows you to identify any heavenly body, including: planets, stars, constellations, satellites, space stations, etc. If you have an iPhone, give this app a try. You will be “star struck.”

After only a few short days of camping, on this first trip of the summer, we made our way to Kittery, in southern Maine. Here we found, on a prior trip, a great restaurant (Roberts) which serves outstanding raw oysters. So, we decided to spend the night in Kittery and return home the following day.

And, upon arriving home after being away for a week, we found the house in “reasonable shape.” That is, the boys did a pretty good job of upkeep.

So, all-in-all, a great getaway with no major surprises on our return (that we’ve found yet 🙂 ).

It is only early in our summer-long break and we have plans for other adventures. So, more to come…

All the best!

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