January 31, 2012

Weekend Cabin

Eight of us set out for Lake Arrowhead in Limerick, ME. We all came from separate directions, most from out of state. We meet once each winter for an ice fishing excursion. This year we picked Southern Maine. First to arrive, I opened the door to the 40 degree camp, unloaded my gear, and quickly sparked a fire in the old cast iron fireplace. Within an hour, the temperature pushed 62 degrees and I was able to sit comfortably without my wool sweater.

I opened the doors to maximize heat output. Kicking my feet up onto the arm of the couch, I brought out a book and evenly devoted time between tending to the fire and reading.

Temperatures hovered around 30 degrees, allowing us to stow our beer on the front porch - easily within reach of the patio glass door. This frees up valuable fridge space for chili, lasagna, steaks, salads, bacon, eggs, and juice. In agreement that alcohol tastes better when cooled by Mother Nature, we raise a glass.

Simple and decorative features of the cabin made us feel as though we could live here full-time.

Wine varieties.

Deer camp and pine cones.

Four chairs fit within my ice shack on the lake. We spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday within the zippered entryway spotting the occasional flag triggered by pickerel. Typically pickerel should be 20+ inches to maximize the fillet size and making it worth the work of removing bones. 

L.L. Bean Signature kept me warm on this blistering afternoon of fishing.

I usually follow up a morning sight such as this by frying up bacon and scrambling eggs within the grease.

Life is enjoyed 100% more when at camp. 

Temperatures falling well below freezing forms a thin layer of ice around one of my five traps.

LLB Signature boots warm beside an early morning fire in preparation for a hike to the firewood pile.

A weekend with old and new friends, in a wooded cabin, is a memorable experience. I can't wait for our next outing. 

January 27, 2012

Getting Cold

Fresh Footprints on a Seasonal Hub.

Treads and Snow.

Summer-filled Wooden Cart.

Traces of Low Tide.
Hand-picked and Ocean-Smoothed Sale Items.


Off the Beaten Path.



Cracked and Peeling. Retired.

Built on Solid Ground.

Mutual Investigation.

Kick up Some Sand.

Tidal Pools and Wind-blown Waves.

Even Dogs Take Time to Reflect.

More Backwoods Plaid:

Previous Adventures:
Ranger Station
Wind Rips About the Sails

January 23, 2012

Island Life

I received an invitation months ago to come to Orr's Island and visit a Maine island that my college buddy calls home. I pulled into the dooryard on a Friday night, grabbed my duffel bag from the back seat and headed up the steps to ring the door bell. I came fully equipped with my Canon T3i, Maine Hunting Shoes, and a good bottle of scotch. 

"Island lifestyle jealousy" set in more each day as I explored the coves, lobster yards, beaches and cottage-lined dead end roads. Meals consisted of pan-fried scallops, baked Maine potatoes, and steamed lobster. The fridge stayed in stock with cold local brews. Every corner was met with smiling and friendly folks and colorful evening sunsets from the back deck. They say Maine is met with a slower pace of life, which is very true, but on an island - things tend to move just a bit slower.

Below are photos from the weekend that was a blur. The images came out a bit more clear.

January 19, 2012

Moon in the Morning

I keep my boots pre-tied with a simple over hand knot on the fourth eyelet down for mornings like this. I woke up a little bit late, slid on my boots and jumped in the car. I'm not sure how I missed my first alarm, but the sun was already beginning to peek above the horizon.

Curiously watching me head out the door.

As a youngster, I never payed visit to the coast. Vacations came in the form of road trips to Tennessee or were spent in a camper in the backwoods. I'm grateful for both.

Kicking my boots off, I find a comfortable block of granite to rest against and enjoy a coastal sunrise. Another benefit of pre-tying.

The clouds begin to form streaks above the sun and I head for higher ground to watch their formation. They'll never leave those exact markings again, guaranteed.


Until you stop to realize the moon has it's own schedule - you assume it disappears during daylight hours. She still hangs, watchful, over the quiet city.

I believe this would count as an upstairs deck. It needs a charcoal grill and lawn chair.

The waters are frigidly cold. I'm essentially wearing my winter jacket. This surfer sends chills down my spine each time he lands in the water. You don't see a lot of surfers where I'm from. It's awesome to admire a talent that I'll probably never have.

January 16, 2012

L.L. Bean 100th

L.L. Bean is launching a series of products to celebrate their 100th Anniversary. These products will stay true to their outdoor heritage and include special edition shotguns, canoes, snowshoes, bamboo fly rods, and of course the Maine Hunting Shoe. As a precursor to the release of their heritage items, they sent me two of their 100th Anniversary edition books.

A lot has changed at L.L. Bean over the last 100 years, but one thing remains true - the customer service. Ironic to the timing of this post, I called the Hunt/Fish store Saturday morning to seek advice on suitable ice fishing lakes in Western Maine. The older gentleman on the line, Mark, ended up being from a neighboring town from where I was born in Northern Maine. Our conversation led from ice conditions, to his daughter, in-laws, and ended up on my blog, which oddly enough he'd seen.

This is what Leon Bean intended. He claimed folks could call up to place an order or simply ask friendly outdoor advice, exactly what I received. And in case you were wondering, the shotgun set, which they made five of, costs $75,000 and they've already sold a couple - one to a dealer out West who is holding for collectible value.

Hunting Fishing and Camping is an update from the 1947 edition, which originally cost $1.00. It offers timeless tips on outdoor activities that hold true today. L.L. sought a publisher for his book and after being turned down, printed it himself. Publishers were soon apologetically knocking on his door.

I now, also, hold record for first photograph with this book and a fresh rainbow trout.

As for the second book, Guaranteed to Last - it will take you a week to get through the content. L.L. Bean dug through the archives to photograph items that have never been seen by the public before, such as many of the founders' personal items.

The book covers early history. Here is the man himself, with my all-time favorite quote.

Advice and gear for telling tall-tales.

The book also talks about the future, which will probably involve the Bean Boot. Sales were up 57% year over year (2011). Incredible. The book is packed with inspiring photography and interesting company history. It's a coffee table book for years to come. Pick up one or both of the 100th Anniversary books on their website

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