July 22 – 28, 2016Vol. 18, No. 7

Out of Town Visitors Abound

On top of French Mountain, Mel Croft (left) explains ice ages and glaciers.

by Pete Kallin

The week began with a little much needed rain and ended hot and humid. I got some fishing in, a little sailing, a couple of hikes, and got to watch a couple of new loon chicks that were born in a nest I helped build, learning to swim.

On one of my fishing trips I met a man named Stuart from Durham, NH. He was renting a camp on Long Pond for the week with his family. When I met him, he was on his standup paddleboard with two fishing poles casting to the shoreline. To top it off, he had his two preteen kids snorkeling nearby, scouting for fish to cast to. Everyone was having a good time and he told me they had enjoyed the whole week and would likely be back next year.

I also met a young man named Sam, from Davis, CA, who was visiting friends in ME. He was fishing with his dad from a canoe near my dock and caught a chain pickerel about a foot long, his first Maine fish. As the picture proves, it's not the size of the fish that counts but the size of the grin on the kid that caught it.

Sam with a chain pickerel.

I also spent a fair amount of time hiking, especially on French Mountain. On Wednesday, Mel Croft and I led a combined geology/successional ecology hike sponsored by the Belgrade Lakes Association. We had about ten people, including Steve and Ann Smith (and dog) from Great Pond, Evelyn Fowler from Tracy Cove, Zach Smith from the Boston Latin School, Andy Cook, a couple of grandmothers and at least one grandson, who learned how the glaciers sculpted the landscape over the past two million years, and how the bare granite and melted ice water evolved over the past 15,000 years to become the lakes and forest we have today.

On Friday morning the BRCA Stewardship committee held a trail work day under the direction of Toni Pied, Stewardship Director. I was on the crew at French Mountain repairing some of the damage from the fire we had in May and subsequent firefighting efforts that brought heavy machinery and pumps up trails meant for hikers on foot. That crew included Toni, Chip Ridsky, Dave Turcotte, and myself. We repaired some of the steps, cleaned water bars and reblazed the trail. These trails don't take care of themselves and a lot of people put in a lot of time trying to make the trails safe and enjoyable for everyone. If you would like to help out with this effort, please call Toni Pied at the BRCA 495-6039) and get on the list to be notified of the next work day. It is a lot of fun and you will meet some interesting people and make new friends.

Sam with a chain pickerel.

While we were working on the trail, my friend, Ed Charles of Rome showed up with his extended family, including a sister from PA, a brother from MD, and assorted in-laws, nieces, and nephews. They had a great hike on a beautiful day.

This is a perfect time to enjoy the outdoors in this area. Now that school's out, it's easy to take a kid fishing or on a hik or paddling in a canoe. French Mountain is a great place to introduce kids to hiking. It's an easy hike (about a mile) with spectacular views of Long Pond, Great Pond, Whittier Pond, Mt. Philip, and North Pond from the top. You won't be sorry.

Pete Kallin is a past director of the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance.