Thursday, 3 November 2011

USA Today (8) - Moosehead & Monkey Butt

Considering we arrived in the states the day after Hurricane Irene and her trail of New England devastation, to get to day eight without even being drizzled on was pretty amazing. It was like we had our own little sunny micro-climate travelling with us.

Not so this morning – but it didn’t matter because like the Littlest Hobo, we packing up, shipping out and leaving Acadia National Park behind us.

After an obligatory visit to a Maine light house we turned the Hyundai west and headed in land. 

Bass Harbor lighthouse.
Through Bangor the third biggest city in the state of Maine (35,000 people – about the size of Chorley) famous for Stephen King and a water tank. For many reasons we decided not to linger!

On to Dexter on Lake Wassookeag, which would have won the title ‘lake of the day’ had we not been headed for Greenville on Moosehead Lake. Noah’s Landing promised me a ‘Hot chicken sandwich with gravy’. Instead, as we sat amongst seniors discussing the size of their dessert bowls, I was served hot chicken sandwich with thermo-nuclear wallpaper paste. Its gravy Jim – but not as we know it!

Noah's Landing.

Worrying gravy!
By now the weather had cleared up and as we drove on to Greenville, the road signs told us that we were entering a moose accident hot spot. The only road kill we saw was a raccoon, but we knew we were getting close – Bullwinkle was in there somewhere, watching us – waiting.

Our first view of Moosehead Lake (named after a moose head shaped mountain that thrusts it’s bonce out into the lake), was spectacular. Dropping down into the town, this huge lake (117 square miles) and it’s 80 islands elicited my first “WOW!” of the trip.

Moosehead Lake - kinda spectacular!
Our campsite was pretty basic and soggy, but thankfully we’d missed the big storm (by a day). The bathroom block (next to the ‘dump station’ – the smell alone meant no further explanation was required), thanked us for not using powder?? and had long drop toilets. I had the misfortune of inadvertently staring into the abyss later that evening with my head torch. It was the thing of nightmares. 

'A river ran through it'.

It's a good job we were only tenting.
Greenville, at the head of Moosehead Lake, was bookended by The Church of the Open Bible and The Moosehead Taxidermy Centre! Signs along the road advertised ‘worms and crawlers’, while the local supermarket sold ‘Anti Monkey Butt’ powder (I’m not sure whether the two are related). 

And all the while, the mighty steamboat Katahdin watched over the calm waters as float planes landed and took off from the lake. 


 We attempted a short hike that evening, advertised on a tourist information board – ‘Burnt Jacket’ down by Beaver Cove. 

It should have been so easy.

But while we found the starting point, we soon managed to get lost along un-made roads with misleading names like ‘Otter Slide’ – no otters were sliding! And ‘Eagle Flight’ – there were no eagles flying, etc. etc. We did however see red squirrels and a hare! They were part of the Burnt Jacket lake front development so we chose our plot – 3C!

Lost in the back woods.

It was getting dark by the time we got back to the car. The sunset looked spectacular but we still hadn’t managed to get lake side – so we decided to drive. How far could it be? With Tris behind the wheel for a change, we headed off along the un-made road. And we drove, and we drove along the rough track in our Hyundai. 

Before long it was pitch black. When it comes to driving, Tris is usually the passenger, but he pressed on gamely. By now we were well and truly in the depths – we’d driven off the sat nav. But people seemed to live down here! Private dirt driveways lead to remote lake front houses. 

I think I’ve lived in the city for too long.

We’d reached the end of the road – quite literally and with no obvious access to the lake or way out, there was nothing for it but to turn round. 

This is where, I’m sorry to say I failed miserably on my marriage vows. I was neither ‘patient’, nor ‘kind’ when Tris tried to reverse us into a ditch. I was quite ‘honest’ though which led to at least half a dozen cross words (most unlike us) and a ‘You drive then’!

The evening was turning into a bit of a wash out so we looked for somewhere nice for dinner. But we were in the backwoods, it was 8.30pm and everywhere was closed. Beaver Cove – closed. The Rod ‘n’ Reel – closed. The Black Frog – closed.

Our last hope was ‘The Stress Free Moose’!

“I’ll not be very stress free if that’s closed too,” said Tris.

But it was open and it was fabulous.

The bar was in the middle of the room with people sitting all the way around it. There was baseball on the TV and beer came cooled by frozen blueberries which rose and fell like weights in a Galileo Thermometer.

We ate chili dogs and a huge plate of nachos smothered in cheese, sour cream and guacamole. It’s fair to say that we were pretty stress free by the time we left.

It was a bit of a soggy night in the tent – my new shoes had given me blisters, my left knee was rigid, my hair was vertical and despite covering myself in a deluge of insect repellent, I’d collected even more mosquito bites. To top it all I had a strange dream about Kirsty Allsopp - I was chasing her through the woods while she taunted me with “You can’t catch me, because you are stupid, or fat or both!”

Deep Woods - didn't work :-(

I got up and went and sat in the car and had a little cry. That morning I wrote in my diary “I may have to head for a Motel!”

Of course I didn’t. I was just having a moment. I was soon distracted with the promise of a Moose Safari!

Which to choose?

Back up Moose shot - just in case I didn't see one.

1 comment:

  1. Every girl should have a back-up moose!