"Upta Camp" at Loon Lake, Rangeley


There’s no internet, WIFI or otherwise.

In the early days, I wouldn’t even have noticed such a thing. Who cared?

I’ve only set up Facebook and LinkedIn pages in the last couple years, and primarily because I was told I “had to” in order to publish books. Really?

Bummer.

A sidebar to publishing I don’t embrace.

But I’ve found LinkedIn is interesting and Facebook is a ball.

I’m learning good things about people I didn’t expect, fascinated by their posts and their interests. I’m getting to know some unexpected now-close friends due to what they choose to write about. I’m seeing sides of them I had no idea about and aspects I love.

And I’m seeing other surprising things about people I thought I knew. Some people are not at all what I thought. Facebook is a fascinating commentary on our society and I’m embracing and enjoying every bit of it.

But at camp, for one week each summer since my younger son was one (20 years ago), we escape to the woods…where there is no internet.

And it’s WONDERFUL!

My favorite place in the world is our one week at the lake.

My husband and I become ourselves. All pretenses and false selves disappear. We leave them back in the city…with the internet.

Those selves work hard, are responsible, dependable. And what helps sustain that is –

…a week at the lake.

Loon Lake is small, covering 176 acres in Franklin County, in comparison to Rangeley Lake which is a behemoth. Loon Lake is quiet. It’s sparsely populated with lake homes and camps. The lake house we rent is nestled in the trees; we cannot see the camps next door or hear voices.

Loon is at the base of Spotted Mountain, near Kennebago. One of my favorite views is a lake in a valley ringed with mountains. (From Kezar Lake, we could actually see the cog railway inching its way up Mount Washington from our dock.)

What I noticed first about the Rangeley and Oquossoc area was that it looked like the land time forgot. Just 3 hours northwest of Maine’s largest city, Portland, Rangeley is still not built up – there are so many green trees. There are giant boulders along the shore and all across the lakes – bigger than I’ve ever seen before.

We kayak first thing in the morning, when the lake looks like a mirror.

We don’t speak.

The quiet is soothing. We listen to frogs, birds, loons. We deeply breathe in the fresh country air.

Loon Lake is just 57 feet at its deepest point. The depth varies – deep, shallow, deep, giant boulder inches from my kayak.

There was one summer, my husband and I kayaked to the far end of the lake in the early morning sun and summer heat. Except for an occasional fish jumping from the water with a splash or a fly buzzing near my face, there was no sound. No one was nearby. That summer, my older son was doing an internship at Universal Records in New York City. As we coasted near each other in kayaks, we commented how different his view and experience in that moment was versus ours.

Some mornings after breakfast on the front porch, we run or bike. Gotta do that early because it will get hot, scorching mid-summer at the lake. And there are certain times of the day when the bugs are brutal, especially when they smell sweaty bodies.

By late morning, we’re ready for the few hours of massive sunning.

Reading.

Dreaming.

Swimming a bit.

Lying on floats, our fingers dipping into the lake as we sun. Then back on the L.L. Bean beach towels to soak in the rays.

Cocktails and snacks are at 4:00 down on the dock where the breeze has picked up, the lake is wavy and rougher, and the light is something I find hard to describe – the golden hour. I get out of that painful bathing suit, and we sit calmly and chat quietly. Still breathing deeply.

At night, sitting in Adirondacks on the dock, looking at the glorious full moon hanging over the tree line, brings tears to my eyes.

Oh, yes, Virginia, there is a God. How can I be surrounded by this and think possibly there isn’t?

Or sitting around an outdoor fire or indoor wood fire in a massive rough stone fireplace with rustic furnishings.

My favorite place in all the world is the lakes of Maine.

I will forever appreciate the life I’ve led which has included annual summer retreats to the lake all the years my sons have been alive.