Back To the Lake Hang 2018

By this time next week some of us will be on our second night hammocking back up at Flagstaff Lake above Rangley, Maine, and we’ll be sitting around the fire waiting for the late-comers who couldn’t get Friday off to call from the landing on the opposite shore so we can hang a light out to steer by [Relax!… the landing is off to the right of this view and is only about a half-mile paddle].

This was my friend, Brian’s setup right down by the waters edge last year. The weather forecast is looking really fine for us to have a wonderful pre-Solstice hang. There are 12-15 friends planning to be there… and I’ve never had a bad time out with this crowd. Way too much food and fun with others who love being out in the woods as much as you do is a fine recipe.

This time I will try to take photos instead of just hanging around forgetting about you visitors passing through Moosenut Falls.

[here’s a link back to my post from a few weeks ago>> https://moosenutfalls.wordpress.com/2018/05/15/flagstaff-lake-hammocking-trips/ ]

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Parting Can Be Such Sweet Sorrow

When I was 12 years old my grandmother in Pittsburgh unexpectedly pulled an old, Pennsylvania made, Kentucky style musket out of a closet and gave it to me. When you are 12, something like that is far beyond “way cool”.

This particular gun had been converted from a flintlock to a cap and ball mechanism like the one shown below.

 

The gun my Grandmother gave me was old and neglected, but had “good bones”. There was a beautiful brass mounted patch pocket on the butt, some pretty engraving on the lock plate, and the fore-stock had some nice tiger maple striping. However, there was some damage from powder ignition right in front of the lock, and forward on the stock, it had split and needed restoration badly.

It was a strictly a display gun. What I have always called a “fireplace piece”… one that you could hang over your fireplace as decor for the “WE have an Early American Heritage” look…

It has traveled with me to every home I’ve had since I graduated college. Sometimes it hung on the wall, sometimes it stood in the corner, and sometimes it languished in a closet, but I have always treasured it as the most wonderful gift my Grandmother D ever gave me.

As part of the chore of cleaning out so many things here at the Château, the gun was one of those that I made the painful decision to let go. I put it in the For Sale listings on an antique gun site here on the Internet. Some of the guys on there were nice enough to give me good price range advice and one ended up buying from me at what I found to be fair and equitable.

I had a surprise in my email today when he sent me photos of the gun with all of the restoration work completed. I’m delighted. The Fates obviously decreed that this guy was to be “the next owner”.

Nothing fancy, nothing too over-the-top, nothing showy… Just a wonderfully faithful restoration to its original look.

All of the wood damage has been repaired, the lock is been restored to a flintlock mechanism that matches beautifully, the brass work has not been polished to a ridiculous and impractical shine… It just simply looks like a gun that one of my ancestors would’ve used on a daily basis.

I especially love the addition of the silver nosepiece at the tip of the fore-stock. I am truly glad that the gun went to someone who had the time, the money and the knowledge to do a good job on its restoration. That is something that I would never have been able to achieve.

While it is a silly thing, one of the most delightful parts of the photos that he sent is the fact that this staging for the last photo [of the entire gun] could so easily be right out at the feet of one of my birch trees in my own yard.

Hmmmmmmming Birds

One facet of life here in Moosenut Falls that often gets passed over too easily, is the wildlife. We are just rural enough, and remote enough, that I do get to see a wide selection of critters on a regular basis.

For years now, I have hung out a hummingbird feeder early on every May. Back in 2015, within only a few hours of my putting it up, I found this little fellow latched onto the side. I call him Numbert.

He hung on in the same spot for over twenty-four hours. He would take a few sips of the sugar-water, close his eyes, and just sit. He was obviously pretty badly exhausted by his journey

I was able to get up within a few inches to take this photo. I don’t believe he was actually capable of moving at that time. He would blink at me and simply hang on.

Ever year since then, I have had one hummingbird who will come and perch on the feeder to drink. All the others will only hover to feed, and if I’m within any kind of distance at all, they won’t even stop to drink… they just “hmmmmmmmmm” off until I am gone, or have moved away. This particular one however will settle in, drink, poop right off the perch and is totally nonplussed by my presence only a couple of feet away smoking my pipe or admiring the scene.

I have had my suspicions that it might be the exact same bird. He had figured out that I was no threat, and could return every year with the same assurance. I got curious earlier in the week and looked up hummingbird migration factoids on the net.

To whit: “Banding studies have shown that migrating hummingbirds make the same stops year after year, often on exactly the same day. And just so you know, the bird you called a “he/she” was a he. The males are the first birds you will see, followed by the ladies about ten days later.”…

I freaking LOVE Mother Nature…..

 

Some more lovely tourism posters found on the web…

DO plan on visiting the amazing “Four Corners” area if you are going out west… just realize that these states are not quite in their proper arrangement…

Still, it really is quite fun to balance on one foot and be in four states at once. I can do two states and four counties right up the river from Moosenut Falls, and that has its own charm… it’s on a island in the middle of the river.

Climbing Cold Mountain

If you’re climbing Cold Mountain Way,
Cold Mountain Road grows inexhaustible:
long canyons opening across fields of talus,
broad creeks tumbling down mists of grass.
Moss is impossibly slick even without rain,
but this far up, pines need no wind to sing.
Who can leave the world’s tangles behind
and sit with me among these white clouds?

– Han shan

“Clambering up the Cold Mountain path,
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist-blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there’s been no rain
The pine sings, but there’s no wind.
Who can leap the world’s ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?”
― Gary SnyderRiprap and Cold Mountain Poems

 

Two translations from 8th Cent. Chinese poet Han Shan. Cold Mountain is not a geographic place, but the place where you are… your home, yourself,  your mindset. The ascent is your own Path to Enightenment… Keep climbing