By Lenny Ackerman
I returned to camp this week for my June trip. I try to come up North for a week every month through September. The flight from JFK was unremarkable–on time and a smooth hour ride on a large Delta aircraft. Driving down the camp road is always a bit exciting and my heart does a brief skip or two upon reaching 239 Boulder Road. I always jump out of the car to run down to the dock to check out the lake and my fleet. This year I added an East Grand 20-foot canoe that is a bit more stable than my old aluminum Grumman that capsized last year with me in it. Next to it should have been the new-old boat that was an 80th birthday present from Lori and Ted last summer. But it didn’t make it through the season this year, which brings me to the bad news.
A couple of weeks ago, after I had already returned to Florida from my trip in May with my grandson, Greg was off fiddleheading somewhere when a tornado-like storm blew in and tore my new-old fishing boat off its mooring and rammed it into the dock and rocks below it. The boat was shattered, and the engine destroyed beyond repair. Losing the boat was a terrible blow to all of us, especially Greg, as he is the caretaker of the property and was not on-site to get the boat out of the water.
He recounted the day’s events to me as they unfolded on that Sunday morning. The temperature suddenly dropped some 20 degrees. Greg and his friend Jimmy were off in the backwoods to get in the last of the season grab on Fiddlehead Fern, a delicacy of the North country. The guys had set out before daybreak while Katie, Greg’s partner, and Darcy, his daughter, were still asleep in their cabin. There had been no forecast of a storm. It descended suddenly from the northeast, which means Canada and even further north. Waves were reportedly seven feet over the dock. The picnic table was submerged. Greg grew up on East Grand Lake and said he hadn’t seen a storm like that since he was a kid and the waves reached his grandparent’s cabin, which is still there and next door to mine.
Well, it was a grand slam storm as they say up here. And as they say down in East Hampton, it wasn’t arms and legs. Thankfully no one was hurt and the water never made it to my cabin. Anyway, I alluded to the good news at the beginning of this column. Sitting in my front yard like a proper Mainer is a new new-old fishing boat all in red with white vinyl seats and a 30 HP vintage Johnson motor. Seems Darcy found it in New Hampshire on some website. Darcy the trooper went for a ride in her F150 and came back trailering my new new-old boat. Today the threatened rain never materialized and Greg is about to put the new boat in the water. My daughter Kara, her husband Peter and I will go out fishing in Dark Cove where Greg is reporting that the bass is plenty and there are a few trout left. I am eternally hopeful and will report back next week.