Tag Archives: fishing

Bear Spring Camps 2017 was a smashing success

Greetings, readers. I am back from Bear Spring Camps and ready to begin work again. I am feeling energized with many ideas for blog entries and personal writing projects. I sat in my cabin every evening listening to the crickets and the loons while I was deep in thought reflecting on the year to come.

First of all let me tell you about my rental car. OMG! The 2017 Hyundai Tucson is that company’s small SUV. It had adequate space, more than enough power and every gadget and readout known to man. With cruise control on the interstates it averaged 31.5 miles per gallon. Not too shabby. Along with the GPS unit I purchased, I was easily able to go on my side trips. I stopped at Portland, Maine on the way up and on the way back, and even spent an hour at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. I used my computer’s webcam to take a few snapshots. Only one turned out very well and I put it up on Facebook.

I used the computer’s webcam to take this photo. I think it really well.

As Rebecca said in her blog entry a couple of weeks ago, I got a late start the Thursday morning I left for camp and was only about 30 miles down the highway at lunchtime. I stopped at the Flying J truck stop for lunch, over ate, and then had to blare music and freeze myself with air conditioning just to stay awake. The Hyundai had Sirius XM radio, which I took advantage of quite a bit. Did I love that car? I put 1,455 miles on it. That should answer the question. I always tell myself I will drive back to Maine during the year but that never seems to happen, nor do I think it will this year. I will have to return to using Zipcars for my driving around town.

Driving down the lane to my cabin for the first time brought back all the wonderful memories of years gone by. I felt Mom with me in the car and in the cabin many times. I had a nice surprise; the tree in front of my front porch was trimmed back a bit, giving me a better view of the lake.

It rained a bit more than usual. When it was raining, I had to go inside and close the door. At night time I don’t mind that. During the day there is not much to do. I tried a couple of times on rainy afternoons to connect to the Dunkin’ Donuts internet in Waterville and I am sorry to say I didn’t have much success. I always got coffee and a doughnut. Not much changed in Waterville or Belgrade Lakes, but not much ever does.

I went early morning fishing just once and it was a truly magical experience. For a short time we were fog bound, then it lifted to be a gorgeous morning. The lake’s water level was higher than it has been in a number of years. That was good for people with pontoon boats like me. I’m already signed up for next year and am eagerly awaiting August 4th.

I had one disposable camera and I think that 25 out of the 27 shots will be good ones. On two occasions the camera was slipping out of my hand when I heard the click, so I will have a beautiful blurry shot of a boat seat and another of my foot. Better to do that then drop the camera and lose all my pictures.

When I came home Sunday afternoon, Keekee was beside herself. She meowed, jumped on me and nuzzled, wanted food and lots of loving. She is a happy kitty cat once again. I am sure her extra affectionate mood will calm down when she realizes that I will not be going anywhere else again soon.

How would I rate this trip? Family and friends: 10 out of 10; the weather: only 7 out of 10 [more rain than usual]; fishing: 8 out of 10 [usual for me, fantastic for others. Both Dave and his nephew Cole caught pickerel and pike.] Food; 10 out of 10 as usual. For an overall score of 8.75 out of 10.

There is a summary of this year’s Maine voyage. As much as I loved being there, it is good to be back so we can get to work. Until tomorrow, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

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Bear Spring Camps opening day 2017

Greetings, readers. Although Bear Spring Camps has a relatively short season of only four and a half months, I do get excited on opening day. I’ve been going to this camp, located in central Maine, since I was five years old, and have truly loved every moment of it. As I get older though, and as my monetary situation changes, it is becoming obvious that my years at camp are numbered. I might only be able to go another three to five years. I have learned through inspirational videos to treasure every moment of life, which is how I am looking at the camp experience.

I saw on the Facebook page for Bear Spring Camps that Peg and Ron are beginning their 34th year of them running the business. The camp opened in 1910. Peg’s grandfather started it, and at some point her father and mother took over the day-to-day running of the camp. At the beginning, it was truly a fishing camp, with quite rudimentary cabins. Now they are quite plush and filled with modern conveniences like small refrigerators, and new wood stoves in some of the cabins. Last year my cabin got an upgrade with new wall insulation and a larger living room area. I really like it. I’m going to keep that cabin as long as I’m able to.

When I was younger, I would buy a calendar at a souvenir shop in Belgrade Lakes and number the days until I would be back at camp again. I was that obsessed with it. I don’t do that any more, but I do keep track of things like the camp’s opening day, closing day, and I still do get very excited about two weeks before I am to arrive for my week at camp in August.

I wanted to take Traci with me this year, and still might if I can talk her into it, as it will feel strange being engaged and not with her for 10 days. We will miss each other of course, and talk to each other every morning and evening on the phone. That is what we did last year and it worked very well.

As a long time Bear Spring Camper, I wish Ron and Peg Churchill and family a successful 2017 camp season, and I can’t wait until August when I will get there for my week at camp. I will fish, swim, go on pontoon rides, visit with family and friends, and have my annual happy hour. As many of you know, I am a man of tradition.

Next week I am expecting a two blog work week. One of them hopefully will be a top ten list. Until then, I bid you a great weekend, take care, enjoy the warmth, and as always, happy reading.

Bear Spring Camps 2016 was one of the best ever

Greetings, readers. I can’t believe I’ve been home almost a week. Time is flying already. In the early morning hours I’ve had time to reflect on this past vacation. I have so many fond memories. Were some things different? Yes, and even though I don’t love change, I must admit, I enjoyed the changes.

For the first time since I’ve been going without Mother to Bear Spring Camps, I traveled up with Dave Trost and family in their minivan. I was still able to take most of the things I always took, and seeing the sights as a passenger again was welcomed. We did leave for Maine, and leave from Maine, early in the morning. So the first few hours were in the dark. We had to pick up David’s daughter Emily’s friend in New York City; that was most interesting. We drove right by Newark International Airport. As some of my regular readers know, I am a flight simulator hobbyist, and have “flown” out of that airport many times. Everything looked so familiar.

As we approached New Hampshire in the daylight, I anticipated seeing the Piscataqua River Bridge and my favorite state of Maine. The Trosts take a different route than I do when I am driving the route to camp, and shoot off from I-95 to I-295. Somehow the Lord must have awakened me at the proper time, for just as I opened my eyes, we were passing Portland and I got to see the baseball stadium, the East Deering Swing Bridge, and the B&M Baked Bean factory. It was like someone plucked me from the vehicle and put me back in my train simulator. What a thrill!

We arrived at camp in time for dinner, the noon meal, and right away I noticed a major change. The wooden dining table chairs, which I had seen since childhood, were replaced with brand new metal chairs. Oh, my. After the shock of “I hate new things” wore off, I accepted Dave’s logic that they will be much easier to clean. Before the vacation was over, I must admit, I actually liked them better.

The first few days were quite routine, picking right off where we left off, visiting friends, taking the boat out, and doing all the things we did 52 weeks before. As I mentioned in my first camp book, it truly feels like you never left. We pushed the play button and continue the movie. An odd but wonderful sensation.

Mid-week brought the heat wave and Thursday’s happy hour. Tallie, a Mosher family relative, came for her annual visit and boat ride. It was a gorgeous day. Tallie and I took many pictures with various views of the lake.

The rain came on Friday. That was fine with me, for we got our morning fishing in before it really came down, and then the afternoon was for packing anyway. I must say, I was grateful for the rain; it was way too dry in New England. Leaves were already turning.

Before departure evening, allow me to share what I consider the highlight of the trip. Dave’s nephew Cole had the fishing day of fishing days. He caught a couple of white perch, several bass, and his prize, a 24 inch pike. He had that for supper, before he ate his lobster, and enjoyed every bite. Cole was using top water lures for the most part and got extremely excited when a good fish was on his line. He’ll even agree that he sounded like a little kid, whooping and cheering, and yes, shaking. After the pike was reeled in, he needed help to get the fish unhooked, not only because the fish was biting the net, but Cole couldn’t control his shaking hands. So yay, Cole, on the best fishing day I have seen in quite a while.

Finally, the last night was bittersweet. Packing preparations were made with the checks and double checks to make sure nothing was left behind. Then it was time to wait. Dave and family leave early in the morning, so I slept from 9:30 until about 2am. I sat patiently until they arrived in a driving rain to pick me up at 3:30. I went back to New Jersey with them, for what they call lobster fest. It was delicious. I then took a bus from Harrisburg back home.

Overall, I consider this one of my finest Maine vacations. It was relaxing, stress-free, I walked a lot, and eat like a horse. I give this vacation a 9 and a half out of 10. Had there been more Yahtzee, it would have been perfect.

Until next week, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

I’m back from Bear Spring Camps and feeling renewed

Greetings, readers. As always, I had a wonderful time at Bear Spring Camps this year. I saw family and friends, partook of all the delicious food, had gallons of coffee, and fished until my heart was content. My biggest fish was a 13 inch bass, but it sure did give me a good fight.

The weather, except for one day, was beautiful. I will admit it was not as warm as it usually is when I’m here. Low to mid 70s was the high all week. I chose to not go into the lake to swim this year. At night it was mid to upper 50s.

During one of the evening suppers, I stood up and made a toast to the family who adopted me all those years ago. It seemed to go over extremely well. Although I hadn’t practiced it per se, I was quite happy that I didn’t stutter or fumble over words. One of the points I made, and I will admit it choked me up a bit, was when I said, “I always go back to Pennsylvania, but when I go to Maine, I come home.”

This Bear Spring Camps season was a wee bit unusual in a good way. Best friend, Dave, had all his family with him, including his nephew Cole, and they chose to come up to breakfast around 8:00. Only I was up at the dining room right at 7:30. It felt a bit odd to sit at that big table all alone until one of the nephews joined me. That was usually Nick Carroll. Starting my breakfast first, meant that I was finished first. Sometimes I would have a third cup of coffee and talk to Dave about morning plans, but more times than not I would excuse myself and go down to the cabin.

On Wednesday, I did get a pontoon boat for three days. I made full use of it, including an early morning fishing trip on Friday. That is something I haven’t done in over 20 years. The scenery was amazingly beautiful. The way the fog and the mist lifted off the lake gave the shoreline, with its trees and houses, an almost otherworldly quality. Next year, if David wishes to go early morning fishing, I might just go with him every time. We’ll see.

After supper was my time. I sat in my cabin, did a lot of thinking about the upcoming year, and hosted story time for all the little nieces and nephews that enjoy that so much. This year I actually sang songs for them. I think they were impressed. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I must admit the kids threw me a curve ball when they did not want to hear camp stories, but instead asked for ghost stories. It took me a while to get into it, but towards the end of the evening, I had Ava and Kennedy on edge. When the propane heater kicked on, everyone jumped. That’s when I knew my stories were effective.

My side trips to Portland, Maine were wonderful. I wanted to drive on Commercial Street in the Casco Bay area of Portland. The reason might sound silly, but there’s a Train Simulator run that goes right down that street. It was a surreal experience passing all of the businesses portrayed in that simulation. Everything was exact. Farther down the road, and purely by chance, I found Benny’s Famous Fried Clams, a seafood shack-type eatery with a delicious lobster roll and tasty clam chowder. It’s going to be my new stop for when I go to Maine. I have to give Rebecca’s father’s GPS back, so I’ve written down all the addresses for next year.

I feel completely recharged with new ideas for writing, which is exactly what I hoped to have accomplished, and there is a slight chance that I will be able to go to camp for two weeks next year. Time will tell.

This blog entry will be linked to my Facebook page and to the Bear Spring Camp page as well. I have decided to make it a policy that only blog entries that deal directly with Bear Spring will be linked there.

Lastly, special thanks go to Rebecca for taking good care of Keekee and to Rebecca’s father for loaning me the all important GPS.

Until Friday, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

Top ten list of things I like about Bear Spring Camps

Greetings, readers. This top ten list will be composed of wonderful experiences that have happened to me at Bear Spring Camps, which is located in central Maine. I’ve been going there for the better part of the last 45 years, and have loved every second of it. If there is a heaven on earth, that is it. And away we go with our countdown.

#10. The trip itself. [From the moment I leave the parking lot of my building to the moment I arrive at camp, I consider it to be part of the yearly experience. I truly savor every second.]

#9. Great Pond. [The lake is eight and a half miles long by three miles wide. There are plenty of great places to catch fish for those who like to do that. It is also very good for taking a pleasure ride in a boat, a kayak or a canoe, to explore all the nooks and crannies of the lake. Campers have lots of fun swimming by the shore, playing King of the Raft, and throwing a tennis ball around.]

#8. The shops in Belgrade Lakes. [Small town shopping in the general store and picking up souvenirs in the Maine Made Shop is a truly delightful experience. Both places have sweatshirts, hats, mugs, and other collectables dealing with the state of Maine. Day’s Store also has several aisles of groceries items.]

#7. Hearing crickets at night. [On the rare hot evening, I will leave the wooden cabin door open and listen to all of nature’s beauty.]

#6. Rain falling on the tin cabin roof. [It is a most relaxing way to sleep, unless you are afraid of storms. The only thing I get upset about is that fishing will be rained out the next morning.]

#5. Morning fishing excursions. [From the days of fishing with Cy Greco and Bob Smarz, to more recent excursions with Dave Trost and his family, I’ve always enjoyed going out to catch the big one, though I rarely do.]

#4. A good land day. [I learned this expression from my mother and it refers to sunny warm conditions, with too much wind over the water to make boating safe. It allows me to listen to music, to go on visits, or to go to town.]

#3. Bonfires. [Even though the wind can make them too smoky, I do like to sit around a good campfire and tell stories. I’ve been told I’m a good storyteller, and my little nephews and nieces just love it.]

#2. All the delicious food. [Since I was a youngster, I’ve looked forward to the delightful and delectable three square meals a day made from scratch. The breakfasts are my favorite and usually I will partake either of eggs or pancakes. The noon meal is what most of us call dinner, and Sunday chicken dinner with all the trimmings is number one with me. The evening meal is supper and consists of hot dogs, burgers, or perhaps yesterday’s dinner left-overs as a casserole. I have never been disappointed with BSC food.]

#1. All the wonderful people. [This is truly a generational place. The original owners’ granddaughter is now in charge and doing a great job. Also, the campers are multi-generational. I’ve known some folks since I was five years old. Others, I’ve known their whole lives.]

Well, that’s our list. I hope you’ve had as pleasant a time on your vacations as I’ve had on mine.

Until Friday, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Here is another excerpt from my first book

Greetings, readers. As I did once before, here is a second story for you all to enjoy from my first book, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories. As mentioned, Bear Spring Camps book 2 is well on the way. And since it’s going to be an easy day here at the office, I thought it might be fun to give you all another small taste of the first book. This is from a chapter I titled “A Basketful of Stories.” One of the smaller ones which wasn’t quite long enough to be its own chapter.

The above title is linked up to the book’s order page on CreateSpace.com. If you are interested, I have a sale going on until the end of May. Two dollars off the $9.99 list price. Hope you all enjoy and a new blog entry will be posted Friday or Saturday. Until then, take care and happy reading.

            Falling Asleep at the Pole – Another humorous story was about the time that I very nearly lost my fishing pole due to my unplanned late morning nap. As in the previous vignette, the weather was quite warm and without a breeze, and the fish weren’t biting, setting the right conditions for me to nod off to sleep. Dave and I were sitting at the stern of the boat in our usual spots, Dave in the left hand seat and me in the right. As time went by without action, I felt myself becoming drowsy, and decided to put my pole in a side compartment next to my seat. I nodded off. I can’t say for certain rather I was completely asleep or not but I was close enough. At a certain point, I was quickly awakened by Dave’s words, which I shall always remember. “Joseph, I highly suggest you pull back on your rod, now!”

            Grabbing my pole with my right hand, still half asleep, I pulled back and by some miracle did manage to set the hook. So here I was trying to fight a fish while fending off the sandman. Dave netted the fish, as he always did. I thanked him for the assist, for had he not spoken when he did, the fish would not only have taken my bait, but my rod and reel as well. From that moment on I vowed never to fall asleep in the boat again.