As I sit here on Labor Day, the very first day of September, 2014, with the Cicadas making a racket all around my location in Woodfin, NC, I search back in my mind to remember that Loveliest of places, Maine, and more specifically, Moosehead Lake, where a gentle rain storm swept across from Mount Kineo, it soaked the vibrant greenery and the moss and made all the smooth rocks very shiny by the shoreline. I had collected plenty of twigs and pine cones before the rain to build a fire in Our Cabin and Krekel had gone off to Lincoln’s Camps to meet Peter Re, et al, over there. Peter is an incredibly talented Piano/Keyboard Wizard and an Old Friend of Ours, involved over the many years in forwarding the musical vibrations. I stayed behind to unwind a little after the whirlwind of OUR Fest, the Flavor Bay and the traveling and touring of the past two days, I was bushed.
“I’ve seen the Sun come rising out of a Lake at the break of dawn, it glowed like gold and it looked like the whole World had just begun.” from a Wish of Continual Seeing of Things by the Dynamic ARTs League. I penned those lyrics at Moosehead Lake back in August of 2004, upon rising early and seeing what looked like a fire on the Lake. This Friday morning was no different… Krekel was sawing logs on a tiny fluffy cot in the corner of the log bedroom, festooned with antlers and other random rustic appointments, jutting out at odd angles, so I woke up and tip-toed to the door of the cabin, opened the screen door with more creaks and squeaks than I had heard since the previous year’s visit and walked out into the dewy green carpet of soft grass stretching for several feet to the water’s edge. There was Mount Kineo, in the middle of what looked like 1 million diamonds shining, the Sun having just made its way over the tippy-top of that ancient rock and singeing, ever-so-slightly, the pine trees that line the hump-back island.
Our goal for the day-time part of August 8th, 2014, was to hike to the top of Mount Kineo and climb the Firetower there, a tradition which also began in 1998 and has continued with every trip to Moosehead Lake since then, of which there have been several, at least 8, that I can remember. In order to do that, We needed to catch a boat-ride over there. Peter Re had a boat and called Krekel just after breakfast to say He would be by to fetch Us in 45 minutes. Until then We sang songs on the porch and enjoyed the complete serenity of the surroundings. The Golf People were either up and gone on a Golfing excursion, or still passed-out from the previous Evening’s revelry…
Peter Re and his Wife Deborah Jean (pronounced like She was from the South: Debra-Jean) arrived and We all greeted and headed to the Marina to get onboard His new boat. There were two Sea Planes tied up at the dock and one of my biggest ALL-time dreams is to Fly-in to Moosehead Lake on a Sea Plane. Logistically it’s kind of tough. One would either have to take a Train to an Airstrip and then land in a field near a Lake or other water-body, big enough to take off and land on, then ride a Hay Wagon from the Airstrip to that place and get on a Sea Plane, which would deliver You from there. I still haven’t done it but I’d go in a heartbeat, just so You know. The one I got close to was called “Headin’ North” and it really plucked on the old Heart-strings. We piled into the boat and Krekel and I sat up front in folding lawn chairs to even things out, Peter Re said it was a bit choppy on the Lake already, although the Sun was shining brightly and the big puffy clouds that We could see seemed so far away, floating over the distant purple Mountains to the South and East.
We made for the North end of the Island of Kineo, which is actually more of Peninsula, as it is attached to the Mainland by a thin spit and a roadway (wide-enough for a Golf Cart), and then putted around to the backside of the Mountain and Peter Re dropped a fishing line into the deepest part of the Lake, there, while Deborah Jean took the helm. There was much recollection of times past, fishing with Abbott Vaughn Meader and Jason’s Dad, Tim Krekel. After a short while, Deborah Jean was ready to go back home, She may have had a premonition of some sort, We may never know… Peter said He’d drop Us off at the dock for the Kineo Launch, which was on the opposite side of the Island from where We were but He pulled in his fishing line and We motored around with much spray and bouncing in the now rough waves, although still below bright blue skies. They dropped Us off and headed back for the mouth of the Moose River and Peter said to call Him when We were ready for Our Pick-up. Krekel and I were both hungry and were delighted to find that the Golf Course on Mount Kineo, had a little Clubhouse, which contained a Grill. Neither of Us had ever seen it before but the Manager assured Us that it had been there for 16 years…
With full bellies We began to walk along the trail that runs along the base of Mount Kineo and has three possible ascents. We took the Bridal Trail and it started to sprinkle just a bit, so We thought We’d take shelter at the Honeymoon Cabin, just a little ways up that trail…
We were completely surprised to find out that the Honeymoon Cabin (similarly to most things built on that Island over the years) had burnt to the ground, probably by Ice Fishers or Snow Mobilers over the long Winter. There was no shelter to be found in the woods and the light rain had let-up, so We went on up the trail towards the Summit. It was muggy and muddy and We passed several weary Hikers making their way down, warning Us to take another route, as it was very muddy up there, they told Us. We, being consummate Hikers, continued on, not dissuaded by the groups of grumblers coming down. They really wasn’t any problem, We were able to easily get around the muddy spots and got to the Firetower with a little huffing and puffing. It was by this point very cloudy and windy but We climbed the rickety metal stairs to the top, nonetheless.
We got back down and there was a very Young Couple getting ready to go up the Tower. We told them it looks like a Storm is coming and forgot completely that three minute rule that applies to that part of the Country. We decided to take the Indian Trail back down, which is a bit more steep than the Bridal Trail but slightly shorter. Within a few minutes of reaching that decision, very large heavy drops of cool rain began to fall, a few at first, then a little bit more, We thought We’d take shelter in some trees as We moved quickly down the side of a rock face trail but there was to be no shelter… the Sky opened up like the rains of the Great Flood. Droplets the size of Jello-cubes and big chunks of ice fell on Our heads and shoulders. We were instantly drenched to the bone, soaked-through. I remember being caught in a rainstorm like this in the Summer of 1978, there are few downpours of this nature. Surrender to the soaking was the only option, We slipped and slid and hopped, accompanied by gully-washers, transferring items from the top of the Mountain all the way down to the edge of the Lake, and finally, We reached the path at the bottom, followed shortly thereafter by the also-soaked Young Couple We had seen at the Summit. Krekel called Peter Re, who had called Us when We were on the Tower. We could actually see He and Don riding out of the Mouth of the Moose River, in their tiny boat with the V-shaped wake behind it, on their way to retrieve Us. They had had to turn back very shortly after that, to ride-out the Storm on dry-land. Peter said there was no way He could come get Us now and that We’d have to sit-tight. We made it to the floating dock at last, under darkened Skies in mid-afternoon and inquired of the Motor Launch Captain as to how much it cost to ride over to the Rockwood Landing. He said “Five bucks, one-way.” We could call Liz Munster to pick Us up from there, in the case that Peter could not pick us up but sure enough, here He came, racing across the heavy chop to scoop us up and bring Us to the Lincoln Camps, with chattering teeth, We were fed hotdogs in Lobster Roll buns and warm beans!
Liz Munster did deliver Us from the Lincoln Camps back to the Birches. She gave Us a good pep-talk on the way, using allegory and stories, again of Abbott and Tim to illustrate Her point. She was instrumental in the setting up of the Gig and Accommodations at the Birches and was very helpful with most other things in the Great North Woods. She is often referred to as the “Moose Queen of Moosehead Lake”. Two more Musicians had been added to the Blue Bunny ALL-Stars for the Gig that night, while We were on Mount Kineo, a drummer that Peter Ray had met at a Gas Station and a Bass Player from a Famous Local Band. Along with Krekel on Guitar, Bobby Watson on Saxophone, Peter Re on Keyboard and Me painting, all inside of a giant rock Fireplace in the Great Room of the Birches. We really appreciated the lift and got on Our swimming suits and went directly to the Hot Tub!
We had a delicious meal in the dining hall of the Birches Resort. I had Baked Haddock, stuffed with Crab and Others had Steak and We all had Corn-on-the-Cobb (except Liz Munster, who had Caesar Salad, even though They were out of it). Around 9:30pm most of the dining crowd cleared out, got after-dinner drinks, or headed out for a smoke (even in Northern Maine there is no smoking indoors). The Gig came off without a hitch, after a slight hic’cup at the very beginning, when the PA System had been left out in the same rain storm We got caught in on Mount Kineo. After a very brief set-up, that took all of 15 minutes, the Band launched into a rocking melody that sounded liked they had been practicing in a Garage nearby for ages! All night long We stayed strong and I got to sing a few rollicking numbers, with dancers and revelers rolling and spinning and flying around the Room. Many numbers and several encores later, We concluded the Night with a lengthy load-out and a walk of 150 feet back to Cabin 5.