A great weekend in Maine

By Jeff Strout, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 23, 2011, at 5:39 p.m.

If you didn’t get out last weekend and enjoy the crisp clear air, please don’t say I didn’t invite you. Sunday was a day to celebrate life, and 5,000 or more of us did just that — walking and running in the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure.

“Race” was far from my pace, I’ll admit. Kathy and I were walking along in the masses by Shaw’s on Main Street in Bangor, maybe a half-mile into the 3-mile course when the first runners passed us on their way to the finish line. We still had about 2.5 miles more to go.

Ah, to be young again. But the point is that hundreds of survivors are still here (including Kathy, a 15-year survivor) celebrating life, supporting those who face the challenges of breast cancer and the families of those who have lost loved ones to the disease. Not only were there 5,000 walkers, there were thousands of others who turned out to show support. It’s heartening to see a community pull together and raise more than $300,000. Way to go.

The weather Sunday was perfect for the walk and just as good for a paddle, which I vowed to myself I would do since I had the afternoon to myself. I gathered an easy-to-fix side dish, a small stove, water and waterproof bags and threw a boat on the roof of the van. I closed my eyes and pointed to the map.

Green Lake! OK, I’d not been there for an eon or two, so to my way of thinking it would seem like someplace new. Actually, when I got to the launch ramp off Nicolin Road, the road down to the ramp was newly paved so it did have a new feeling. I mapped out a circle route in my head, outfitted my boat and hit the water.

Water temperatures felt like they were in the 70s, the wind was mild and there wasn’t but a ripple on the lake (almost too calm!) What a perfect afternoon it was. I skimmed the shore as I headed southward, then veered eastward to circumnavigate three small islands. Two of the three had camps on them.

Green Lake has some large boulders hidden just below the surface, many of which are not marked, and the lake levels are dropping, by the way. I imagined that someone in a motorboat or sailboat would have to keep a sharp eye out for these monsters. Some are marked with small buoys, but come spring all the hazards will be marked by the state when they are in Pushaw Lake, according to a camp owner I talked with at the launch ramp. He was taking his sailboat out for the season and told me about the state’s upcoming project. The private markers that are here now, it seems, carry some liability for the person who puts them in place, but when the state marks them that liability’s gone, he said.

With the thought of exploring an island dashed by a no trespassing sign I headed toward what appeared to be a beach, at least from about half a mile away. Turns out it was and turns out it was about halfway on my loop. The gravel and sand beach is next to Scott’s Neck Road, and across the road is the northern bay. That part of the neck is too narrow for buildings, so I assumed it was OK to get out there and stretch a bit.

North of the beach the shoreline turned rocky again, with large boulders lining the shore and dotting the water. As I made my way north I kept scanning the distant shore trying to pick out the launch ramp. No luck. The houses I’d passed on the eastern shore were but little specks. But the islands served as good landmarks, and with a little dead reckoning, I veered westward and headed for one of the larger houses I’d passed earlier.

As I approached the middle of the lake the houses and features began to be recognizable, and it wasn’t long before I saw what looked like the ramp. Then a couple of brake lamps from a vehicle backing down the ramp proved my guess correct. As I reached shore I struck up a conversation with the camp owner who was taking his sailboat out for the season. He told be about the marker buoys the state will be installing.

After he left I had the place to myself. Daylight still lingered, I had no schedule to keep, so I fired up the stove and cooked one of those Lipton side dishes, teriyaki noodles, leaned back in my Crazy Creek chair, watched the afternoon sun paint the far shore in brilliance and reflected on how lucky we are to have another day to celebrate life.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/09/23/outdoors/a-great-weekend-in-maine/ printed on July 28, 2014