Topic: Maine

Grand Lake Stream, ME: Paddling

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Once a summer or so, I paddle my canoe to Leen’s Lodge for dinner. It’s about a half-mile up West Grand Lake from the cove where our camp is located. It takes about 20 minutes, and because I paddle out of a cove into the broad lake and from shadow to sun, I catch up with the day, which lends a fleeting sense that I can roll back time and make the sun rise.

At Leen’s, I hit the beach with a soft and satisfying crunch, then walk up to the lodge. There are a handful of cabins along the lakeshore and set around a pleasantly austere main lodge. The dining room’s oversized windows look out toward a perfect sunset view framed by white pines. Sometimes you catch it out of the corner of your eye and think: That’s a painting.

The camp caters mostly to fishermen. Guests sit quietly at their tables and talk over the day’s catch (or lack thereof) while servers bring the meal out. Nothing fancy: Think spaghetti with tomato sauce. But I always feel as though I’m slipping into a tributary of history here–a stream that flows into a region where the main industry has been recreational fishing for more than a century. I’m connected here to something that once was and, against the odds, still is.

Canoeing home in the dark, I hug the shore and enjoy a sort of sensory deprivation, accompanied only by the soft scrape of paddle shaft against gunwale, echoing back softly from the woods. In the still, dark night, with stars shimmering above and below off the lake’s quiet surface, I’m floating through time and space, blissfully unmoored from the present.

When You Go

Grand Lake Stream Guides Association

Leen’s Lodge
Off Bonney Brook Road. 800-995-3367, 207-796-2929; leenslodge.com

More Travel: 10 New England Weekends


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