Day 1: Re-exploring

The morning breakfast bell rings, breaking the cacophony of bird calls in the morning. The fire from the night before is long cold. The cabin air is cool, but a certain excitement permeates the morning. Freshly made Blueberry pancakes and orange juice start off the day. A moose cow and baby along with a Great Blue Heron and some black ducks arrive to join us for breakfast.

moose mother and baby

After breakfast, we decide to join the wildlife on the pond. It’s a beautiful, crystal clear day with minimal wind. The silence of the deep woods is wonderful. The Camp is nestled into the side of the hill and forest.

west branch pond camps

The far side of the pond is some relatively undisturbed forest. We hear rumors of a trail which loops the pond. So we head off for a hike around the pond. It’s roughly a 8 km hike through a mix of maintained trails in the woods, a winter cross-country ski path, and older logging roads. It’s a nice little hike and a great way to get the blood flowing after the leisurely breakfast and row around the pond in a canoe.

The lunch bell rings and like Pavlov’s dog, we instinctively head over to the Main Lodge for another great meal. The homemade lasagna is excellent, finished off with some fine homemade pink lemonade and butterscotch squares. We’re now fortified for the next adventure.

We hop in the car and decide to go exploring. We aim for Second Roach Pond. The road is much rougher than it was when I last traveled it. 21 years of growth and lack of maintenance are obvious. The car bottoms out at a few places. Gingerly, we pick our way through the road and brush. In retrospect, we should have rented a 4×4 pickup truck to get better clearance. The low front bumper isn’t enjoying the brush, rocks, and other muck through which we’re traveling.

sad audi

However, it’s great to be back in the area. While much more overgrown, it still seems familiar. The terrain, Trout Mountain, and the various streams come back to me, amazingly. The sheer beauty of the place cannot be underestimated. We spend a few hours trekking around, mixing on foot hikes with driving as close as we dare get in the car.

We head back to Greenville to refuel. While refueling, the car decides to dump all of its oil at the gas station. Apparently, I missed one rock which punctured a hole in the oil pan. The car is not going anywhere. Well, we make it over to Porter’s Garage. I walk back to the station to help clean up the oily mess. Rocky takes pity on us and offers a ride back to the Camps in his big truck, in time for dinner. He suggests I call to check in on the car in a day or two. He’ll order the parts in the morning and promises to have the car ready to go by Saturday. Fun times. The unexpected makes this much more of an adventure.

We make it back for dinner, a bit late, but excited to have another home cooked meal ready and waiting. We spend some time talking to the other guests, all sharing our adventures of the day.

As the night falls, the moon rises into a cloudy sky.

night fall

So after some time listening to the loons and coyotes again, we head back to a nice warm cabin lit by candles and the wood stove.

candle-lit cabin

This is the second in a series of posts recounting the return to West Branch Pond Camps after 21 years. The full set of images are at my smugmug gallery.

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