"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Back in the Dark Ages, before they knew the world was round.... No, I mean to say, when I was a teen and then a young adult, I did canoe..... a lot.  The minister at my church took our youth group on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Maine, starting at the beginning, and going all the way to the end,  28 kids, 14 days.  Now that I am an adult, I am in awe of his bravery.  At the time, I just thought it was a blast.  

In my twenties, another minister from the church started taking some of us veterans on Allagash trips, and those were also a blast.  

Now, I've hung up my canoe paddle, but my 23 year old son has picked one up.  In a crazy coincidence, he has twice now gone on the Allagash on trips led by the guy that was my first canoe partner on a church trip.  Small world, small town, my son is good friends with his daughter.  

Before they left on this year's trip, which was earlier on the calendar than the previous trip, I showed my son a picture of me at our campsite on the old Long Lake dam site on the Allagash:

My son's reaction was understandably "Wow, Mom, looks like you had yourself one heck of a good time."  I explained to him "bugs, Paul, more bugs than you can possibly imagine, more bug bites, more swollen ears and eyes and itching and scratching than you would believe could occur."  Then I remembered, his first trip fell after black fly season, and that this year's trip was scheduled during the height of black fly season, and it's been a very wet year.  

They returned from the Allagash on Sunday, and Paul has told me he now understands the look on my face in this picture.  He and the others described "bugs, more than you can possibly imagine...." and they proudly displayed the hundreds of black fly bites behind their ears, in their scalps.  In spite of that, they had a blast and a safe, successful trip, just like I had a blast on the trip pictured above, although in that one moment it would have been difficult to guess that.  

These pictures better depict the fun to be had on a trip to the wilderness:

Taken out in the middle of a lake, where the bugs can't getcha, although this year's group reported that location did not matter to this year's crop of black flies. 

Taken at a point where I'd stopped pouting about the bugs and had probably gone mental.

Taken in a meadow at the base of Allagash Falls.  Since the water is so swift at this point in the river, the bugs are thin.  It was likely the first time in the trip that I took off my "Ole Woodsman" soaked bandana.  

Now, to wait for Paul to send me some pictures of this group's trip, and see if they were all smiles..... I suspect they were. 


  1. That first picture looks like Anna! If only we could be that skinny again.

  2. It does look like Anna, although you'd never find that girl on the Allagash in Maine! As for the difference size between then and now, I totally enjoy my "reverse anorexia"--When I look in the mirror, I see that body pictured above, and that works for me.

  3. Oh Angela -- such a cute, young 'un you are! Those were the days...nice memories...

  4. I thought of Anna, too, when I saw that picture! how funny. The sourpuss face is a classic!!


Some day, I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one, I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done. I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.