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by Pete Kallin
We had a bit more rain and a lot of hot weather last week. I enjoyed visits from both my daughters and their families (after negative COVID tests for the MA contingent). For the 4th of July, my younger daughter, Joan, drove up from Brunswick with our newest grandson, while her husband, Taber, pedaled his bicycle. We went for a short cruise to cool off and then headed to the top of The Mountain for a hike to burn some calories and get Bayard ready for a nap. He walked (ran actually) quite a ways and then was ready to ride on Mom's back. It reminded me of hiking with my own kids three or four decades ago. All have been hiking as long as they can remember and are now providing similar experiences for their kids.
Eventually, Taber arrived, and shortly thereafter, my older daughter, Barb, and her family, including three of my eight granddogs and a grandcat. We had an awesome cookout that included hot dogs, venison burgers, and all the fixings including smoked Long Pond pike. After my younger daughter and her family left, Barb and Sandy settled in for the rest of the week.
The next morning, we hiked into Round Pond in the Kennebec Highlands for a picnic with the dogs, while I brought one of my flyrods to do some fishing. I caught some nice bass and watched a Northern water snake hunt frogs. All in all, another relaxing day.
The next day, we decided to kayak the Great Meadow Stream from the Route 225 bridge to Great Pond. It was a bit cloudy, but spectacularly beautiful with the purple pickerel weed and pink swamp milkweed in full bloom. We saw lots of birds (eagles, loons, great blue herons), muskrats, and other wildlife, and I caught a few white perch for some fresh fried perch filets with dinner. Later in the week it was back into the kayaks for a trip to lower Long Pond. Barb and Sandy did a 7- to 8-mile circumnavigation of most of the lower basin including Ingham Stream, while I fished. We met for lunch and a short hike at the 7-Lakes Alliance Fogg Island Preserve on the Mount Vernon shore. It was a full, relaxing day followed by a solid night's sleep, especially for the paddlers.
This area offers some great outdoor recreation, whether you like to hike, bike, birdwatch, fish, sail, or paddle a canoe or kayak. I encourage all parents and grandparents to take advantage of opportunities to get your kids and grandkids out on the lake for fishing or swimming or up in the hills for some hiking. All the experts agree that outside is the safest place you can be these days. Just be considerate of others and get out safely.
Pick up a map of the local trails at Day's Store or from the 7 Lakes Alliance at the Maine Lakes Resource Center. Individual trail maps can be downloaded from the 7 Lakes website. Make sure you take a kid along on your next outdoor adventure, and please also check the 7 LA Facebook page for details on some interesting events scheduled this summer. There are invasive plant paddles planned for most of the lakes in the next few weeks.
Pete Kallin is a past director of the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, which merged with the Maine Lakes Resource Center in December 2017 to form the 7-Lakes Alliance.