May 23, 2018
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Escaping a hectic home life to an evening concert on the lake

By Jeff Strout, BDN Staff

While concertgoers Thursday evening were being entertained by Ray LaMontagne at the Bangor Waterfront Concert Series, a couple of  friends and I were serenaded by the lilting yodel of a loon pair just off the beach at Gould Landing at Pushaw Lake. Sorry Ray, but I think we got the better deal.

It was, for me, a good way to reconnect with my surroundings this week, having spent the better part of my free time trapping and transporting nuisance squirrels from my yard in Bangor to various locations in the city.

Wasting my time and gasoline doing this is a big enough frustration, but the rodents have been causing damage to my house and shed. I’ve so far resisted the universal advice of killing them (seven so far), but by the time No. 10, 11 and 12 come around maybe I’ll cave in. So far it’s been a ride across the stream or the interstate and a release in the park.

Everyone I’ve talked with says I should be taking them farther away or killing them. I’ll persevere for a few more and see what happens and how I feel. In the meantime anyone with a hankering for fresh gray squirrel should give me a call and I’ll gladly deliver in the greater Bangor area.

My wife and I also have been dog-sitting my daughter’s beagle this week, so my daily routine is far from normal. Ditto for my sleeping pattern, since Bailey (the beagle) feels she needs to sleep on our bed. It’s not that she takes up so much room at about 25 pounds, it’s that there’s one more of us in the bed! A queen-sized bed may sound large, but not so lately.

But this too will change soon when Bailey gets reunited with her “mom.” Maybe by the time summer rolls around (they say that may happen) life may return to normal.

Getting on the water Thursday evening, then, was a mental health issue. My paddling partner was Robert Causey (known in tales of our earlier paddling excursions as the Baron of the Bunny Hutch). We piloted the Old Town Scout canoe that we put together a few years ago from parts Robert bought at the Old Town Canoe spring yard sale. Turns out we should have bought a few more, put them together and sold them, but that’s another story.

Joining us was Karen Francoeur of Orono, owner of Castine Kayak Adventures, who’s been paddling around the world nonstop for months. She opted for her Dagger Meridian Kevlar kayak.

After leaving the beach at Gould Landing and rounding Cunningham Point, I began to wish I was in a kayak. The south winds pushed by an approaching front were kicking up a good chop. Sitting so much higher in a canoe than in a kayak, I couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy. (Not having paddled in a canoe for a while didn’t help either.)

For Robert it was the first time in ages he’d been on the water. We paddled. We joked. We sang. We bobbed over the waves. We saw a muskrat, more loons. We had fun. I didn’t think about squirrels.

At Moose Island, we landed for a quick stretch and Karen caught up with us (she got a later start). It was then that we looked westward and saw the approaching dark clouds. After a quick assessment, we decided that we could circumnavigate Moose and get back to the landing safely.

Turned out we were right. Turned out we had to work a little harder against gusting winds, too.

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