Camping With Ian, 2011

The camp launch, before we started loading it

Well the 2011 edition of Camping With Ian is behind me; and I survived.

Adventure follows us wherever we go and none of us can explain why.  Last week it was in the 70s and 80s during the day and the weather was lovely.  On Thursday a cold front came through and dropped the average temp by at least 20 degrees.  It stayed cold until Sunday afternoon, when the temps went back to where they had been.  In the middle of that time, we had a camping trip.

Upon arrival at Umbagog Lake State Park on Friday one thing was clear; the lake was seriously rough.  The camp's boat operator was worried about going out on the lake, especially as far as we were going (R13, almost at the northern most edge of the lake).  Probably against better judgement, we loaded the boat with all our gear and started the trip north.  The lake was rough, but passable.  That was, until we reached the neck of the lake.  This was eerily familiar.  North of the neck the lake came alive.  With a clear stretch of water at least seven miles long the wind had time and space to really build up speed and the waves were terrifying.  Three foot swells with whitecaps.  What were we doing out there?  Oh, right; Camping With Ian.

I hadn't ever seen a pontoon boat get bow splash before, but the three of us on the front of the boat were soaked from the bow spray.  The boat dug in on numerous waves and a few waves came pounding over the bow into us on the platform.  One of our crew mentioned that it reminded him of Ipswich Bay off Massachusetts; on an inland lake?!?  This was a trip for the books, that was for sure.

Normally the tarp goes over the table.

After rather a longer trip to camp than usual we reached our site, R13, at the north end of the lake.  We unloaded, watched the launch leave, then began the process of setting up camp and drying out all the gear which had been soaked during the ride.  There wasn't any rain but the waves had made sure to do the job this time.  The wind was amazing.  Normally we put a tarp over the picnic table to protect from rain, but we figured the tarp would get destroyed this time.  Instead, we put the tarp between and over a tree vertically in the hope that we could protect the campfire.

This trip gave us a number of stories, but the biggest one of the weekend was the wind.  No doubt about that.