Keewaydin Lake Maine...September 1999
A Rare Late September Heat Wave on the Lake
It is very unusual for the temperatures to be in the 80's on the shores of Keewaydin Lake, Oxford, Maine in September, but we got lucky for our first trip to Fred and Kris's lakefront cottage and camp. Their lakefront Cottage looks pretty much like this and I find it hard to believe that our visit there was 10 years ago. It seems like 2 yesterdays ago. We had a magical time, and the small cabin out in back from Fred and Kris's cottage was like camping... without mosquitos.
Where is Keewaydin Lake
Keewaydin Lake is in Oxford, Maine or East Stonham, Maine, depending on where you want to say it is. I guess either way is more or less correct.
It is 15 miles south of the White Mountain National Forest in Bethel, Maine and 20 miles NE from North Conway, New Hampshire. The beautiful and mostly un-riun't Androscoggin
River cuts arcoss Maine, 8 miles to the North of Keewaydin Lake. This majestic river begins in Lake
Umbagog (a Lovecraftian name if I have ever heard one) and ends in the Tidewater of Brunswick Maine, on the coast. The only large town anywhere near here is Lewiston, Maine. It is actually a City, but with a population of 38,000, you make the call. Lewiston is 50 miles ESE of East Stoneham, and I only knew of Lewiston as the site of the Clay-Liston heavyfight fight in 1964. I listened to the fight on the radio in my neighbor's kitchen and I was amazed and ecstatic that Cassius Clay actually won. My neighbor was not happy at all. Back then, there were two kinds of people; those who loved Clay and all that came with it (and that was a lot) and those who hated him, and all that came with it (and that also was a lot).
The Long Weekend in the Cottage behind the Camp
Downtown East Stoneham is just down the road from the Camp on Maine St (which passes along the shoreline of Keewaydin lake) and has a General store and a US Post Office. They supply the local residents and the folks who populate the Summer Camps with the necessities. Fred and Kris's place belong to the latter, and consists of a main house (a cottage that is semi-winterized) and a camp-cabin out back on the edge of the woods. Bug, Jane and I stayed in the camp-cabin, and we were fine with that arrangement. It was the perfect Summer living for us, and absolutely for Bug. He was happy as a clam, especially when the night critters were just outside the door, hooting, scuffling and gathering. Bug would growl, huff and moan about every 20 minutes, warnin' and protectin' us. I loved it. Jane not so much, since it made it impossible to sleep, but Bug was in Heaven, so I was too.
Keewaydin Lake is a smallish Lake in Maine terms and is roughly round, 1 mile across. It is interconnected with Proctor Pond to the SE and Virginia lake to the NW, and for 3 days I would swim in it and canoe on it. As I said, we all lucked out, since the weather was unseasonably warm for September, and great swimming weather.
On the Road
Part of the fun of the road trip is the trip itself. You have a destination of course, and that is the ultimate point of the traveling, but the travel itself is fun. The unfolding of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine before our eyes while traveling North along the Connecticut River and across the White Mountains to Lake Keewaydin was a pleasure. Bug watched the whole way (in these days he didn't rest too much during the travel), looking right out the window as was his style. Occacionally we'd open the window so he could stick his head out and 'Ear Surf', one of his favorite pleasures. One of Bug's earliest memories is a cross country trip from New Mexico to Massachusetts with Heidi, his first mom. Bug loves to travel and ride, and is the best company you could ever imagine.
- Cory and Bug stick wrestling
- Jane and Buck are pretty happy
- Hanging at the shore...no worries...
- Buck talking trash to Cory and Bug from the raft
- Bug and Buck do some power chillin'
- The Lake and Shore
- Fred and Pres get the canoe in
- Cory and Bug share a moment
- Best Buddies
- Buck pitches to Cory and Bug
Real MaineBehind the camp
there are rural hills and barely finished roads like 'Slab City Rd' and 'Butters Hill Rd'; 'unimproved' is how they are referred to. They lead around and up to Harding and Foster Hills and Amos Mountain. One day, Fred, Kris, Bug and I hiked these roads, just to check it out. This is hard land, just like Catamount Mountain in Colrain Massachisetts is. People live here, Mainers. Most of them live poor rural lives in trailors or small hand made houses and earning or making a living here would not be easy. To be honest, the local actual Mainers I ran across were not that friendly or very interesting. I would say the term 'redneck' comes to mind. They probably have cool names for people like me and bug too; like 'Massholes', names like that. I am pretty sure they would have robbed and shot us like the Mormans in Utah used to do to the west-travelling Pioneers heading to California. (see: Mountain Meadows).
Maybe I think too much. Bug tells me that all the time. He says I only hurt the team.
Fred and I took some great canoe trips those 3 days. This was the only activity I couldn't take Bug on. (The one regret I have is that I never took bug out on a boat. I do regret that.) There are some great little camps on the shoreline, and thankfully only a few monstrosities. Of course that was 10 years ago, this being September, 2009 . Again, I can't believe that 10 years has passed, and I can't believe that Bug is gone and that I will never see him again. I only have these memories, and I am sharing them with you.
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