Day 2: Keeping Local

# The Morning

We wake up to the breakfast bell ringing in the Main Lodge. It’s a quiet, misty morning.

misty morning

After freshly made blueberry pancakes, we decide to take a hike around the other side of the pond. We find a few trees felled by beavers, a moose skull, and an interesting tree wrapped around itself. At the end of the trail, we are out on the shore, where an old wooden boat has been rotting away for a long time.

beavers at work

As we’re hiking along, we hear a “Moose safari” guide putting into the water in a bright red canoe with some tourists. He’s talking about how moose can be dangerous, and this is the best pond to see them up close. I think the dangerous part is made up to heighten the drama for the paying customers. However, the customers are happily clicking away with their cameras and peering through binoculars looking for the dangerous moose. The guide spots one on the opposite shore, and they paddle over to it. And they keep paddling. And paddling. They are about a canoe length away from the moose. And then the guide gets out on the rocks and lets the tourists snap away. The moose has kept an eye on the canoe the entire time, stopping from eating and wearily looking at it as if trying to determine dangerousness of the humans. The moose starts to walk away. The guide pushes the canoe around and follows.I’m thinking, “Ok, seriously, leave the moose alone.” The moose walks further away to no avail, the guide is right there tailing the moose, just as close as ever.

harassing a moose

Perhaps moose are dangerous to *this* set of guides because the moose gets sick of the harassment and retaliates.

stalking a moose

Later on, we hear that some Sierra Club members recently filed a formal complaint with the local Rangers about wildlife harassment due to this exact scenario being repeated on multiple ponds and lakes, day after day after day. Frankly, I agree with the SC members.

# The Afternoon

We hear the lunch bell ringing and head back for some food. After a great lunch, we head back out for a complete loop around the pond. Here’s a gpx file of the hike.

On the loop, we are on Appalachian Mountain Club land. It seems the AMC has bought up huge tracts of old Scott Paper/Great Northern/SAPO timberlands. Once used for logging to make paper, now owned by AMC. It seems the AMC is now just doing “specialty logging” to hear the locals tell it. Same guys doing the logging, just different bosses. Except, the AMC isn’t replanting the trees.

AMC logging the forest

In the above picture, you can see a stand of Red Spruce trees planted by SAPO about 10 years ago. Red Spruce aren’t native to the area, so it was like a dead zone with respect to native fauna and flora. The AMC is doing some good by trying to thin the stand to let native trees return in which the hope is native fauna and flora return alongside. The AMC has also been blocking off old logging roads from any motorized vehicles. While not popular with the locals, the consensus is AMC’s plan is to let parts of the forest return without so many frequent breaks.

AMC access gates

We hike on. After a few kilometers, we wind up back at the main entrance to West Branch Pond Camps. It’s about 18C outside, cloudy, and yet we’re warm and thirsty. It was a good little loop to hike for an early afternoon jaunt.

West Branch Pond Camps

# The Evening

As the winds and rains pick up, we decide to just stay around the cabin until dinner. The loons don’t know the difference, or don’t care, and come over to visit us on our dock.

curious loons

We have a great dinner and conversation. And then head back to the cabin to start up a nice hot fire. I notice that BF left their initials here in 1958 while starting the fire in the wood stove.

BF 1958

Whomever you are “BF”, we’re in the same cabin 56 years later. We ponder this region of Maine and the greater world in 1958 for a bit. It’s a fine topic for a while. And then the night takes over and we sleep well while the rain storm blows and blusters about outside of our nice, warm cabin.

the wood stove at work

This is the third 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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