running with the wolves: Moosehead

I promise this will be short….i’m exhausted….i arrived as The Birches Resort north of Rockwood, Maine about 5PM on Thursday, just as 3 wind-reddened, eyes-glazed fanatics (bill, denis guertin, and his even-wilder partner-in-crime Frank) staggered in….they excitedly showed me a GPS showing 77.45 MPH and talked sketchily of the ruination of Franks new Whizz….that perfect storm….fast ice….strong winds…big unexplored ice….had brought on a collective ice extacy.

i spent a troubled night….did i want to sail with these kooks in the AM?…..maybe just skate?…too windy…..skimbatt?….too windy….I decided just to cruise with Charlie, Rambling Rodger, and any other sane souls….and finally i nodded off to sleep….In the morning, i awoke to a iceboaters heaven….the orange sun was rising above the distant mountains to the SE….i sat in the dining room with a favorite cup of tea….beautiful ice stretched for miles in the eastern half-circle….i sat there quietly sobbing….my senses were completely overloaded.

but i had decided to cast my lot with the crazed core group, but to remember the fundamental lesson from group motorcycling: ride your own ride…..never let the presence of the group blind your own instincts and wisdom….over breakfast Frank gave details of blasting into an unexplored pressure ridge at high speed….being ejected from his Whizz by flying hardware (without decapitation)….the plank being shredded, the cockpit now enlarged….etc….it gave me the what-could-have-happened shivers….

bill oriented us to the lake….i’ve sailed here three times from three different launches….each time i haven’t even connected with the previous area sailed…..its like eating an enormous cookie….you nibble the edges….the big hazard lay between Kineo, the big, brick-shaped island which dominates the entire lake….and the island just to its north….on the south side of that strait lies “hardscrabble” marked by a hazard buoy…otherwise the lake was crisscrossed by randomly changing pressure ridges of varying danger.

maybe later today i’ll tell about the amazing day we had together—6 boats—staying together….finding a ‘group wisdom’…..scouting dangers…then…..turning back onto known ice …..and ……putting the pedal to the metal as never before….

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