Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pheasant Hunting..Days Long Past

  The year was 1959 or so..(maybe give or take a bit) and it was bird season. My father and I would often take advantage of those precious weeks of fall, those few days between the closing of fishing season  and the opening of deer season , to enjoy some bird hunting.
We didn't have setters, or pointers, or retrievers. Dad was a beagle man.  We beat the brush to flush out a partridge or woodcock or scoured an old field for pheasant and we did our own retrieving.
Often we would head out for Frye Mountain in search of the noble ring-necked.  The aristocrat of sporting birds.
(Frye Mtn. is now a WMA and now noted for it's grouse hunting.)

    Not only did we love to dine on pheasant  but my father would enjoy using the browns, and reds and florescent green feathers at his fly tying desk. He was always concocting a new, sure-fire fly to out-wit his favorite, finny quarry..the Atlantic Salmon.

    Dad's favorite shotgun for bird hunting was his Remington Model 11. He really loved that shotgun and would even occasionally use it for deer hunting.  Loaded it with deer slugs it was a mighty weapon with awesome stopping power.  Anyways being deemed way too young to tote around a formidable weapon like Dad's, I nevertheless did not leave our house unarmed.   

(Note my trusty BB gun in the porch boot box.)
 So now as the days of September are dying, with a chill in the morning air, and the leaves starting to show some color here on the mid-coast, my thoughts go back to those precious few weeks of those autumn's past. 

Tramping thru field and forest with my father, shotgun cradled in the crook of his arm, puffing on his pipe, sun shining warmly on our faces, thinking how absolutely perfect it all was. I sit here writing this, some 50 plus years removed, I'm not sure if that is what I was thinking at all. Can a 10-year-old boy put his life  in such a perspective? 

But looking back on those Days Long Past.......

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Hike Along The Brooks Esker

Not long ago, during one of those picture perfect weekends that we've, rather infrequently had here on the mid-coast, my faithful companion Ray and I hiked a portion of The Brooks Esker Trail. 

Driving in to the trail head you realize why it was named as it is. The access road actually runs along the top of a long gravel sand bar, the esker, that was formed during a past ice age.

The land that the trail is located on is private property with the accompanying signs of private ownership, meaning locked gates. But don't be deterred, the owner of the property allows public access and your rewards will be many.

The "trail" is actually a gravel road that follows along the shoreline of Ellis Pond.

It's a lovely, shaded walk with easy footing accompanied by the sounds of an occasional loon and the fragrance of evergreens.

 But be alert as this property is a working forest with evidence of that work deposited at various intervals along the trail.

There are plenty of opportunities for a thirsty and hot labrador retriever to get a drink or a quick swim.

It's roughly a 2 mile walk into Halfmoon Pond but Ray and I began to hear the sounds of wood harvesters up ahead. Deciding not to intrude on their operations we stopped at about the half way point, a small, somewhat worn torn, work bridge that spans a small brook.

On the way back to the parking area we took a small trail that shoots off from the woods road. With it's carpet of soft needles dropped by a large gnarly, weathered pine tree, the scene could be ripped from a Robert Frost poem. 

In an open area we came across a small berry patch with a few blackberries still on the vine in various stages of ripening.

A lovely hike and highly recommended..