Canoeing On Flagstaff Lake – Sugarloaf Region, Western Maine

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Although we had to cancel the hiking trip up to Cranberry Lake on the mountaintop, we did make it out into the country and had our upptacamp experience down on the lake.

We had come up to my friend, Ed’s little cabin on Friday night, and on Saturday morning, good and early, we set out on some of the tote roads around the side of the lake to a state boat launch, stuffed our gear, the dawg, and ourselves in the canoe and paddled off. Our original intention had been that we would try to get down the lake as far as that other, much larger island in the distance. However, TOG broke his collarbone skiing last winter and it has never set right, so he was starting to feel some pain after only 30 or 40 minutes paddling. As high as the lake level was this weekend, [all of the sandy beaches around the islands and the edge of the lake where you can usually pitch a tent and make a fire were underwater] it was probably a good idea that we didn’t go that far. With all the heavy underbrush on the islands that comes right out to the edge of the water, it might have been very difficult to a find an open enough campsite down on the larger one.

The whole time we had been out on the lake only one other boat had passed us. It was a little canoe with an outboard motor and a couple in it whizzing along. Wouldn’t you know… when we got to the island, there they are, the only other people on the lake, and they’re all set up with beach chairs and coolers, and have settled in to catch some sun… 10 feet in front of the only campsite spot. They told us they would be  leaving “after a while”, and that  “That dog better not shake no water on me…” so we hunkered down to wait them out.

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We just went ahead and settled down on the beach at the other of the island to catch some shade. [in the upper photo of the “neighbors” you can just see where our original goal, Cranberry Lake would be… up along the crest in that swale just at the edge of the trees behind them]

Once the neighbors had moved on off a couple of hours later, we gathered our gear up and took it over to the campsite to get set up. And then we did…. NOTHING!   …we laid back against our bedrolls and watched the lake, the light, and the afternoon unroll in front of us.

And that’s almost all we did [other than snacking] for the rest of the day. We didn’t even make a fire. Just at dusk, Ed went down and tried to annoy the fish for a little while, and I tried to get a few photos of the sunset. BodhiDawg supervised. Geezers need a lot of supervision.

You can click on any of these photos below to load the whole set as a full-sized slideshow

One of the nicest, most unexpected parts of the weekend was that despite being 150 miles upstate and way out in the williwacks, I actually got enough bars on the cell phone to be able to call my wife down the nursing home and tell her how much fun we were having.

Full dark didn’t come until almost 10 PM. So, about then, we rolled out our bags and went to sleep under a half moon, to the sound of the loons calling up along the lake.

Sunday morning we got up, made some breakfast, loaded the canoe and paddled back to the boat launch.

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Yes… This is the public boat launch. Yes… These people have set up camp… Right in the public boat launch… Right on the public boat launch ramp. “These” people are from Massachusetts. This is why people from Massholechusetts are commonly referred to as Massholes. So, yes… we did have to carry our canoe and all of our gear right through that three-foot slot between their 27 foot long fifth-wheel trailer and the 12 foot tent.

Still, there was some consolation to be had from the fact that it was difficult enough for Ed to turn his small pick-up truck back around just so we could load up the canoe and our gear. The lake level was up high enough that all of the pullouts and turnarounds for the ramp were flooded right up to the edges of the road out onto the boat ramp. Those Massholes we’re going to have a really hard time turning that damn trailer around… Did I mention that there were 12 foot long mud hole ruts right behind the boat ramp access that you had to rev up and drive through quickly?  ….mwahahahaha…

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