following the bird dog 1/8

This morning was a lovely replay of Wednesday’s fun on Sabattus, with even more boats and skaters in bright-then-hazy sun and slightly more wind than before. (but still not much!) I hope Lloyd or Bill will post the news and pictures. The Press was there again.

but at 1pm, i took off to follow a tip from Lee Spiller, that keenest of bird dogs. He had sent me this picture with the simple caption, “perfection”:

so what’s a poor guy to do?…..but blindly follow….i spotted Androscoggin Lake about a half-hour north of Sabattus, but couldn’t find a way to get on it….there are a number of shabby, almost-abandoned towns around Leeds, Maine, but no roads led to the lake, which looked fabulous in the afternoon sun to the East of the road…..finally, I pulled into Stinchfeld Beach Rd, and after walking across a little snow, found indeed the Holy Grail! the quality and extent of the ice seemed to go beyond anything I had experienced… here is the map:

i was already pretty sore from the morning, but it seemed like a simple question of how many Advil one had to take at bedtime, so i strapped on the skates, chopped thru 5 inches of monolithic black ice, and skated south for a mile until i reached snow ice….then i turned north and tried to do an end run on a pressure ridge running fully across this arm of the lake…at the East end was the unusual estuary which feeds the lake…and has open water…so i ate humble pie, skated back to the launch, took off my skates, walked the woods and re-entered the Northern plate…this too, was absolutely skater’s heaven…I then worked over to the islands, which were blocked by pressure ridges…then, while picnicking, I was surprised to hear human voices, carried by the gentle SW wind, and saw two specks in the hazy sun-path skating my way. They turned out to be two new friends from Sabattus, Mark Brandhorst and his friend. Refusing my food, they easily navigated the island pressure ridge, and disappeared into the darkening eastern horizon….Lee had reported that that Eastern arm of the lake was where the 10+++ ice lay…..Hells bells!….what pizaz those skaters had!….just when i was just feeling Ratty’s longing for his cozy sandbank….or was it Mole?

So I blasted after them, trying to follow their scratches across the pressure ridge and….feeling my meager pizaz leaking away…. alas… headed for the launch….soooo….let’s watch what this ‘mixed aggrivation’ has in store for us, and then sail when it cools again….Our season started late, but….jimminy….what an amazing one….

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7 Responses to following the bird dog 1/8

  1. Bill Hird says:

    will any of you be sailing on Sabattus Pond or Androscoggin Lake this weekend. I was at Sabattus Pond this morning , but didn’t see any ice boats sailing.

  2. Ben Fuller says:

    Bill, Boats were all packed up in anticipation of bad weather, so not sure if anyone will be back. There was little wind today some in the morning but flat in the afternoon.

    Jory, I got up to Sabattus must have been just before you left. Skated the lake except for crossing that big pressure ridge. Mark and his friend got all the way to the bridge at the top of the lake and were headed to Androscoggin which is where you ran into them. Both serious skaters.

    I’m afraid the MIT students from Singapore did not get sailing although they did put boats together and took them apart.
    so it goes.

  3. Will says:

    Folks. The SK8 was specially formulated for this exact circumstance. It is a lightweight skate sail that goes on your back. If you never need it- fine. It slings over the back – no problem.
    If there is even a hint of breeze, it hooks in. Set up? 60 seconds. Same for take down.
    Think ice

  4. mark Brandhorst says:

    Sorry to leave you in the dust Jory. Definitely in a trance with what lay in front of us. Mark B.

  5. Boris Dmitrieff says:

    Hi Folks, I grew up in Wayne, and there’s great access at the Androscoggin Yacht Club in Wayne. It’s been years so it’s probably good to inquire at the Wayne General Store as to Who’s in charge at the YC. See you out there. Rob Dmitrieff


  6. Boris Dmitrieff says:

    Hi , I found the Androscoggin Yacht Club treasurer’s number,(an old friend) and I’m waiting till 7 to call. I will report what I learn. Rob ________________________________

  7. John Haile says:

    Jory–unless I’m mistaken, the skating photo was taken from the shore in front of my camp on Androscoggin Lake, through the woods on the other side of Stinchfield point from the beach. Glad you’ve discovered such great ice. John

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