It seems like Iâ€™ve been away for quite a while, and I guess I have at that. The old trail has led me back around the hill once again.
In mid November, I was invited on a hunting trip to northern Maine, to the newly acquired camp of my good friend Steve Oakes of Terryville.
Steve and his wife Darlene bought the place last year and have spent some time up there doing a few renovations and improvements.
The cabin sits on about 25 or so acres of land, a few miles down a gravel road. A more peaceful and comfortable home in the woods would be a challenge to find.
Along on the trip were Steveâ€™s dad, Verne, Steve Jr. and another good friend, Art Hensel. We enjoyed some really great food at camp, venison cooked in just about every recipe imaginable. A veritable game dinner, every night.
Steve Jr. is a pretty good bird hunter and bagged a number of ruffed grouse or partridges, as they are called up north. We dined on grouse wrapped in bacon with jalapeno peppers, which were quite tasty indeed.
The deer hunting, on the other hand, proved to be difficult at best. The great north woods are vast, along with bogs and swamps. The woods are fairly dense pines, gray and uninviting, an alien world for a Connecticut deer hunter, who is more accustomed to the open hardwood forests of home.
Although yours truly didnâ€™t see any, the rest of the guys in camp saw at least a dozen moose between them during the week. Even though our group saw so many moose, the locals say that moose numbers are way down, hard to imagine that. Everywhere I wandered, moose tracks and moose poop littered the forest floor.
My daily companions in the woods were little red squirrels. I donâ€™t think they see very many people and were very curious about my presence in their world.
They would approach to within armsâ€™ reach. I didnâ€™t dare try to touch them and risk having fingers bitten, but it was tempting. I enjoyed my time with them very much.
No one in our group was lucky enough to get a deer, but the trip was no less enjoyable. Good food to eat. We laughed about stories of past hunts, shared dreams of future plans and hunting trips yet to be.
When I returned home, I discovered that my computer had somehow malfunctioned so into the shop it went for repairs. My new friends at the computer shop couldnâ€™t seem to find any problem after having it for two weeks. But at least I have it back now and can return to my regular schedule with stories of the outdoors.
Iâ€™m very happy to be back with you all as I begin my seventh year as your outdoor writer. I wish to thank all of you for supporting me over the years.