Trip Journal 1/30/13
Tentbound. Squapan Lake, Aroostook County, Maine.
After the cold of our first 8 days in the woods, we enjoyed a beautiful walk hauling laden toboggans down the western arm of Squapan Lake. The sleds chattered behind us with minimal effort, a huge difference from hauling them up the hill from the field school. The sun shined in the blue sky, the cold moderated to single positive (F) numbers, and everyone wore a smile.
We set up camp, chiseled a water hole, then fished a bit. The weather was changing – a warm front was approaching from the south. We watched as the sky filled with high cirrus clouds, marking the approaching warm front. We secured camp, then cut firewood to last two full days and nights.
When we went to sleep, it was warming. I awoke in the predawn to hear raindrops hitting the tent fly. Exiting the tent, I noticed the smells; balsam fir, dampness – all of which had been frozen in hours before. We spent the warm, wet, blustery day tent bound. In winter it is far better to stay dry than to get wet and have to get dry. As such we’re thankful for the wood we cut and split while it was dry, as we’d get soaked spending today gathering wood.
As day turned to night, the drizzle turned to a deluge. Rain fell in sheets overnight, and when we woke up there was a pond on top of the lake ice. We listened to the rain on the tent all morning. We had plenty of dry firewood to keep the dampness out of the tent, our food was stashed and covered, and we spent a second day lounging in the tent. We filled the time with food, discussions about future trips, and reading the books people had brought.
Even with the challenges; first the week of bitter cold and now the slush and wet, our group is content and smiles outnumber frowns.
Tonight a lively card game is taking place in our tent. I’m laying on top of several feet of snow, warmed by the heat of the wood stove, and happy for the fellowship of our group.
In the middle of the frozen, then thawed woods of northern Maine, comfortable, contented and living well in the forest.