The ice is out on Quimby Pond, the loons are back and the fish are biting! The black flies aren’t out yet and it’s warm enough to sit on the porch and it’s just about time to start the garden.
In our eagerness for fishing season we went out on opening day April 1st, but the snowbanks were still so high I had to crawl over them in my waders to get to the river! I held my rod high as I sunk up to my waist in soft snow, struggling to make it to the water. Thankfully the snowbanks are gone now and although the water is still a little high from all the rain this spring the fish are here waiting in the riffles! I expect it will only get better!
In a few weeks I’ll bring the canoe down to the pond and plant the garden, but in the mean-time it’s time to go back out fishing….
The ice on Quimby Pond was cracking and popping all day. When I walked outside the camp I could hear it calling to me in a low cracking tone and like a sailor drawn by the sounds of a siren I walked down to the edge of the pond. I stood on the safety of the solid ground listening and watching as the pond quivered and sang through the night until the cold seeped into my bones. Shivering and tempted to test the ice I stayed still, watching the pond roll and rumble at my feet. At last, when I was shivering as much as the ice was shaking, I walked back to camp ducking through the pine bows and weaving through the woods under the light of the moon.
Spring is slow to arrive in Rangeley, but the snow is in fact melting and the rivers are flowing again! A few fish are biting and the snowbanks that I have to climb over to stand in the rivers are quickly diminishing. Last week as I stood in the river, bundled up in layers beneath my waders, three osprey circled overhead fishing with me. None of us caught anything, but it was still good to be out on the water.
The birds are starting to come back and forage on the newly bare ground around camp. As I stood on the porch drinking my morning tea a flock of 150-200 dark eyed juncos flew into the yard and surrounded Red Quill on all sides! I stood on the porch amidst them as they flitted between the ground and tree branches feeding for about 7 minutes and then they all flew away. It was a whirlwind of feathers and chirping announcing the arrival of spring.
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