Category Archives: For Fun!

Proof of Leap

Cindy and I have returned from an awesome 9-days at Moosehead Lake, in Maine.

We shared the experience with 3 of the 4 boys, for a few days early in the week. During that time we rented a pontoon boat, which we affectionately referred to as: the garbage truck. We did so for 2 reasons: 1) The inside of the watercraft was well worn and dirty. 2) When going across the lake it was barge-like slow. So, garbage truck was quite fitting.

Just the same, we had a great time swimming, fishing and visiting one of the most beautiful spots on the planet: Pebble Beach, which provides an unbelievable view of Mt. Kineo (partial photo below). Since this spot is most easily reached by boat, there is typically few carbon units (I mean people) to contend with 🙂

After the boys left, Cindy and I had a couple days of solitude and viewing of wildlife. This included seeing more deer than squirrels on the property, a pileated woodpecker tearing at a tree (sounded like a sledgehammer), a bald eagle, ducks, a moose and, my personal favorite: loons. Cindy wanted to make sure I mentioned the crows. Not that they are rare: the ones we saw were HUGE. We agreed that they must eat well in this territory 🙂

Then, we had a chance to spend a quality 2-days with my parents, and their real, nice, FAST boat (a 19′ Bayliner).

Here is a shot of the 4 of us at Pebble Beach. Mt. Kineo, with 700′ cliffs rising straight-up from the lake, is in the background.

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Notice the beach. It is made-up entirely of small rocks that have been worn smooth by nature. Many of these “pebbles” are of skipping quality. We had an unfortunate incident here several years ago when one of our boys was playfully skipping rocks while Cindy was floating on an inner-tube. A rock caught her squarely in the mouth, splitting her lip open and breaking off a tooth. Being in the middle of God’s country, the nearest hospital was quite a distance away. After nearly 2 hours travel time (partly by water, partly by land) we got her all fixed-up (several stitches). Thankfully, after healing, there is no discernible scar!

Another interesting point about this crystal clear lake is that it has some very deep spots, the maximum of which (254′) is directly behind us in the above photo. In fact, after taking only a few steps into the water at Pebble Beach you are over your head!

Not only are there beautiful rock formations above water, there are some amazing sites to view below: while snorkeling. It is actually quite eery when viewing the gargantuan slabs of rock below the surface which literally descend out of site, beyond the reach of a snorkeler.

Earlier in the week I had been corresponding with the owners’ of the house we were staying in, about questions and providing updates on our time there. In one of his responses he made mention of a rope swing that I should try. I let him know that we had already tried the rope swing at Pebble Beach, to which he responded: “This rope swing dwarfs the one at Pebble Beach.”

OK then, I have GOT to give this a try.

In my commenting to this effect, the owner responded with: “No photo – It didn’t happen.

He had laid down the challenge 😎

And now I’m thinking: this is probably much bigger than I imagine.

During the 2nd day of boating with my parents we decided to try and find the rope swing. First, you must realize that Moosehead Lake is MASSIVE (120 square miles). In fact, you must watch the weather because if the wind or a thunderstorm comes up it can be ocean-like dangerous.

Once we found the southern end of Deer Island, on which the rope swing was located, we began the search for the next challenge 😎

Within 15-20 minutes Cindy spotted it, with her eagle eyes. I had been using binoculars, to no avail.

As we approached the swing, the dwarfing comment became clear.

The rope (at least 25′ long) was tied very high in a pine tree. We wondered how they got it up there. But, really, who cares 🙂

My dad stopped the boat nearby…I did my customary backflip into the lake and swam for shore.

I grabbed the rope and began the climb up the cliff. It wasn’t too hard, but not easy, either. Someone had constructed a climbing rope to assist thrill-seekers up the first part of the rock cliff which was quite steep.

I had reached stage one. You see, there was another stage several feet further above: we’ll call that stage 2. I figured I’d do a test run from the lower segment of the cliff. I was NOT disappointed and decided I was ready for stage 2.

You cannot imagine what it “might” feel like to swing from the trees like Tarzan, until you have tried something like this. Once you make the leap and begin the swing, time seems to slow down as you fly through the air. Then, you must pick the spot, at the far end of the pendulum swing, to release, and begin your decent into the lake.

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AMAZING!!! (Click on the image to zoom in)

I emailed the above photo to the lake house owners, as “proof of leap”, shortly there-after.

During our next visit to Moosehead Lake, this will be one of our first stops with the boys. I’m sure we’ll spend hours in this one spot, trying to out-do each other 🙂

After the “leap of faith” challenge was conquered, we boated to Greenville, a small town at the southern-most end of the lake. Here we had ice cream and then returned to the lake house, completing our journey for the day.

In closing, we had an awesome time, at a place we will return to again and again (this being our 6th visit to the area).

All the best!

Basic, Must-Have Life Experiences – Part 3

This is the third and final in the series of posts on the Basic, Must-Have Life Experiences that it would seem unfortunate, to not have experienced.

The list of activities include:

  • Swimming
  • Riding a Bike
  • Fishing
  • Building a Campfire
  • Shooting a Gun

As previously mentioned, these experiences teach important life lessons and skills related to personal power and self-sufficiency.

The first 3 topics were covered in prior posts.

Let’s now cover the remaining items on the list…

Building a Campfire

The ability to build a fire fulfills some of the most basic of human necessities: to cook, create light and/or heat. Especially, when in the wild or during a power outage.

Whether you start the fire with matches, lighter or a flint and knife doesn’t really matter. If you don’t properly prepare the materials to be burned it simply will NOT happen.

As such, it is suggested that each person learns how to do so.

I have found that the most consistent way to create a roaring campfire is to place the materials in such a way that it forms a teepee. This is done by obtaining and placing the following materials in the order / levels specified:

  • Tinder to get things started. This can include crumpled paper, birch bark, dry leaves, etc.
  • The next level of tinder which can include small twigs, branches, torn-up pieces of a cardboard box or anything else that is dry and combustible, with a little more “meat” to it than the starter material.
  • The final levels of wood consists of increasingly larger sticks and logs that have a longer burn life.

Above all, you must ensure the material is dry and there is plenty of airflow between levels to support a fire.

Once the teepee has been formed it is now time to ignite the tinder at the base. After just a few minutes your campfire should be ablaze!

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Our campfire at Moosehead Lake

It is simply mesmerizing to watch a campfire and hear the sounds of nature all around you 🙂

Shooting a Gun

In my opinion every “sane” person should know how to safely handle and own a gun – at a young age. It is an excellent way to teach personal responsibility and the nature of cause and effect.

That is, when you pull the trigger the mechanism will quickly propel a chunk (or chunks) of metal out the barrel. And, depending on the size of the gun and its ammo, you will hear and feel the power you have unleashed.

Yes, guns are dangerous: very dangerous – when mishandled.

So are automobiles, prescription meds, scissors, gasoline and matches.

However, as with all of the above, with proper care and handling the danger is diminished.

Start small: say, with a BB gun. I know, I know – You’ll shoot your eye out.

Not if you follow the basic gun-handling rules, which include:

  • ALWAYS assume that a gun is loaded
  • NEVER point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot
  • Be sure of your target and what is behind it
  • NEVER place your finger on the trigger until it is aimed at the target and you plan to pull it

For professional training, visit your local shooting range. Doing so is a very safe, educational and affordable way to experience the proper handling and shooting of a gun.

But, why guns?

For 2 key reasons:

  • Protection against man or beast
  • To obtain food in the wild

Let’s cover each of the above.

For protection – It is realized that “most” readers of this blog live in locations that are not “typically” dangerous (for fear of man or beast). However, things can change in the blink of an eye: ranging from the course of governments to an individual psycho.

Example: My folks live in a small, rural town in Maine. Nothing significant could unfold there, now could it?

WRONG!

The following happened just a little over 2 weeks ago.

A crazed woman was wielding a makeshift weapon (made of two metal spikes hanging from lengths of rope) that she was swinging around at mailboxes and cars, threatening people as she walked down the street.

My folks were observers of the incident – at the edge of their property.

The scene unfolded as my folks were about to pull out of the driveway, to head to the store. Surprisingly, they heard hollering to the effect of: “Put that down. Get down on the ground. Then…a gunshot.

They slowly backed down the driveway, returned to the safety of their home (with their gun) and called 911. They turned on their police scanner and the news to figure out what was going on. And, to determine if they should still be worried…

Fortunately, the incident had come to a conclusion and they could (again) safely leave their home.

While this was certainly unsettling, having a gun in hand brought a bit of personal security to the situation.

To obtain food in the wild – Building on the post: Are you prepared to live without technology?, wouldn’t it be nice to know that “if” you had to provide for your own source of protein you could do so, in the wild?

Sure, you could catch fish. But, eating that alone will get old. What about a little variety: some rabbit, partridge, duck, deer or moose?

In closing, each of the Basic, Must-Have Life Experiences covered in the last few posts can be obtained for free (or at a relatively low cost). Upon acquiring each, we are provided comfort in knowing that we are self-sufficient in so many ways. This, vs. having to depend on others for the basic necessities of life – when we don’t need to.

And, in so doing, we convert a phenomenon into a useful skill for life!

Get out there and get some!

Basic, Must-Have Life Experiences – Part 2

This is the second in the series of posts on the Basic, Must-Have Life Experiences that it would seem unfortunate, to not have experienced.

The list of activities include:

  • Swimming
  • Riding a Bike
  • Fishing
  • Building a Campfire
  • Shooting a Gun

Some may ask: What is unique and so important about these activities?

They teach important life lessons and skills, such as personal power and self-sufficiency.

The first 2 activities were covered in the prior post.

Let’s now cover the next item on the list…

Fishing

A few years ago we were staying in a cottage on Moosehead Lake, when I had a con-call scheduled with 2 people (stakeholders) involved in a client project I was leading.

When the first person joined the call we engaged in some small talk. I commented that after the call I was going to do some fishing with my family.

To my surprise, this 40+ year-old gentleman responded with: I have never been fishing.

My head reeled with possible come-backs. The one that came out of my mouth was something like: You should give it a try.

I’m thinking: How can this be?

Fishing is a single activity that teaches SO MANY life skills and lessons, including:

  • Planning – Where are we going? What will the weather be like when we go? And, what do we need to bring?
  • Decision-making – Deciding on the gear and accompanying bait to use, based upon the type of fish expected to be caught, in various bodies of water and times of the day or year.
  • Knot tying and rigging a line to support the intended bait.
  • Hand/eye coordination
    • Placing the bait (with hook, line and sinker) into the water by:
      • Casting it out and reeling it back in (without getting hung up on the bottom).
      • Casting it out (with a bobber) and letting it float around.
      • Simply letting the bait drop straight down from the rock or dock you are standing on, or boat you are sitting in.
    • Setting the hook in the fish’s mouth when you feel a tug or see the bobber take a dive.
  • Overcoming the fear of slimy things, including:
    • Baiting a hook – I recall my first experience at this. I soon realized that the worm really didn’t want to pierce itself with that hook. And, it would NOT get on that barbed piece of metal all by itself. I had to take charge and thread that slimy sucker onto the hook as it wriggled around in my hand in protest. Encouraging (pushing) your kids (and wife) to do this is a necessity. Otherwise, you are the only person baiting hooks and unable to fish yourself 🙂
    • Extracting the hook from the fish
      • The approach to this can depend on a number of factors, including:
        • Is the fish a keeper (to be eaten)?
        • Does it have teeth and/or spiny fins?
        • How deep is the hook embedded (on the lip or in the stomach)?
      • You see, if the fish is a keeper it really doesn’t matter what you do to get the hook out. It is going to die anyway. Have no mercy 🙂
      • However, if the fish isn’t a keeper, you’ll want to take care to not further harm or kill it so that you can release it back to nature. It is simple enough when the fish is hooked by the lip. When the hook is deep in its stomach a stick or, for the more sophisticated, a set of pliers specifically designed for this purpose, can be used to dislodge it.
    • Gutting and possibly scaling the fish
      • When you catch a keeper the next step in preparation for it becoming a meal is gutting it. This involves slicing off the head and running your knife from its bunghole to its newly opened neck-cavity. The final step is disemboweling it. Use your imagination 🙂
      • Certain types of fish have scales, which you’ll want to remove before cooking. This can be accomplished by running your knife in a perpendicular fashion up the sides of the fish against the lay of the scales. You’ll want to do this outside, as scales will be launched in every direction during this process.
    • Bottom-line: There is no way to get around these steps. Just dive-in with both hands. Fortunately, I am married to a great fisherwoman who is willing to do it all 🙂

Fisherwoman

Cindy, fishing from the shore of Moosehead Lake, in Beaver Cove

  • Patience
    • Patience is the single most important learning experience acquired while fishing. You see, you never know if and/or when a fish will strike. The body of water could be full of fish, but they may not be hungry. Or, you may have stumbled across a body of water that is fished out. All you can do is try. But, you MUST give it time (not seconds or minutes). Be patient…If a fish doesn’t strike, you can try different bait, a different location on the current body of water, or try another body of water altogether.
    • The key principle here is: A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work. Enjoy it, regardless!
  • Self-sufficiency – Knowing you can obtain your own food from the land (or water, in this case). 

Cindy and I just completed 5 days at Moosehead Lake. We’ve fished off the shore and a boat, in many locations. We have tried worms and lures. All, to no avail.

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to search out fishing spots by driving along the Eastern side of the lake and happened upon a cove not far from where we are staying. We both cast our bait (worms) using bobbers. We both received hits on our bait, and Cindy’s stuck. She reeled in a whopping 5-6″ small mouth bass 🙂 Not a keeper…

However, at least someone caught a fish!

After reloading our hooks several times, because of the constant hits we were taking from what were likely other very small fish, we decided to try lures. The goal: put out some bait that only a larger fish could get hold of. And, save the remainder of our worms for another day 🙂

We pulled out a couple of trusty Daredevils. Cindy got the new one: I the used one.

We began casting and reeling in.

To our dismay, Cindy got her’s hung-up on something (likely a fallen tree, based on the look of the shoreline). On attempting to get it free I broke the line. The other alternative was (for me) to jump in and swim for it. I decided against that, considering my fractured toe (which also has a nice cut on it, which occurred in the previously reported incident 🙂 ). Plus, I didn’t have my goggles to better explore where the lure was lodged (likely among tons of others that I might get hung-up on myself).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that within minutes of the above occurring, I too lost my Daredevil.

We loaded our gear into the truck and headed back to the lake house.

We’ll try fishing again today and/or tomorrow from my parent’s boat. Wish us luck!

In closing, fishing teaches so many lessons and skills. Above-all, never, never, NEVER give-up! Something that every person should learn, at a very young age.

We’ll explore the other Basic, Must-Have Life Experiences in the next post.

In the meantime, get out there and get some!