Happy Summer Solstice! June brought the official start of summer and it was a great month for fishing and basking in the sun. It has been warm and sunny in Rangeley, with occasional rain to keep the water cool for the fish. It’s that time of year when the garden salads are plentiful, the days are sunny and warm and the fish are biting.
When the road-side fishing holes are full of fisherman and everyone is vying for the same fish, I reel in my line, pack a bag for the day and get on my bike to find the places that you can’t drive to. With my flyrod in one hand, handlebars in the other and the sun on my back, I take to the woods and follow the rivers along the old woods-roads for the day. Often, the best fishing holes are off the beaten path and take a little effort to get to, but they’re always worth it.
landing a big one!
Whether fishing the rivers, paddling around Quimby Pond, or lying in the hammock, now is the time to be in Rangeley!
early morning fishing
white wood violet
In Rangeley this month the spring ephemeral flowers have been blooming! This group of wildflowers grow on the forest floor of Northern Hardwood Forests and have just a short window of time to sprout, bloom, and be pollinated before the forest canopy shades their habitat. They sprint from the time of the last frost to the time when the leaves block their sunlight. The yard of Red Quill Camp was filled with little white wood violets and sprinkled with painted trilliums this May!
The warblers have also returned from Central and South America, singing with the loons in the early morning and evening, and feeding at the birdfeeder in the backyard. I sit on the porch of camp with an evening cup of tea and listen to the sounds of the Red Eyed Vireo performing his monologue as he tries out each branch of a tree to find his niche, asking “Where are you? Here I am!” over and over again. The Black Throated Green Warbler dominates the evening chorus with his song: “trees-trees-trees!” And my favorite—the Wood Thrush— sings his flute-like spiraling song late into the evening after the others have quieted down. It’s a great time to be in the northeast—it’s a time of spring magic when delicate and colorful woods flowers are blooming and choruses of melodic bird songs surround Red Quill Camp.
Check out the new rock wall and flowerbed in front of camp built by Keith Wehmeyer!
rock wall & flowerbed
radio flyer flowerbed
It’s the first week of April, which means the weasels’ and rabbits’ fur has started to change back to brown from its winter white. It’s still light at 7PM and fishing season has started. Soon Mink and Woodchuck will have their young. But it is still very much winter in Rangeley. Perhaps next week will bring a few patches of bare ground, where the weasels and rabbit will be able to blend in, but for now anything that isn’t white sticks out like a glowing cabin window at night. It’s going to take another week or more of warm sunny spring days to melt the snow.
But spring does come after winter and the days have started warming up. Sap is flowing from the maple trees and steam rolls out of sugar shack roofs and windows as it’s boiled into maple syrup. The smell of sweet sap steam, wet snow, and dirt waiting to be exposed fills the air. It’s April in Rangeley.
The weather report was calling for snow— ridiculous amounts of it, two feet in two days— and knowing it was going to be one of the last big storms of the season, I took a vacation day and headed north to Rangeley with my skis and a good ski buddy. When we arrived the front door of Red Quill was buried in snow and I had to dig my way into camp! We built a fire and settled in with the skis already in the truck waiting for morning.
skiing the glades
In the morning we bee-lined straight for Casablanca Glades at Saddleback Mountain. I dropped into #1 and my knee sank into bottomless powder as I carved turn after turn through the trees. The snow sprayed from our skis as we whooped and hollered, grins stretching endlessly across our faces. I swooshed back and forth through the trees, my skis carving through the snow like a knife in frosting.
End of the day
We lapped the glades, staying in #1 and #2 until our legs were shaking and I could hardly stand up straight, let alone make a tele-turn. We collapse on the slope, laying in the sun and reveling at the March weather and perfect snow conditions. There are only so many days like this in a winter and you’ve got to get out, leave work, and head to the hills to take advantage of them while you can.
Look at all the animal tracks around camp after the storm!
How many animal tracks around camp can you identify?