At the junction of Routes 16 and 26 in Errol, Northern Waters Outfitters rents canoes. Grab one and put in north of town on Route 16 to find out why Umbagog was named a National Wildlife Refuge.
A short paddle on the Androscoggin River brings you to a deserted island, where atop one dead pine tree is a large nest. Every year since 1989, a family of bald eagles has called this nest home, giving birth in springtime to their young. The eagles arrive in early spring and stay until the Androscoggin freezes over in early January.
We’ve been to Umbagog three times, usually in August when the white heads of the parents guard the nest as their little ones learn to fly. Loons, Canada geese, and herons lounge in the waters of this quiet lake on the Maine border, yet it’s the pair of nesting bald eagles that keeps us coming back.
WHEN YOU GO
Visit The Balsams resort, just 12 miles northwest of Errol. Look up from one of those Adirondack chairs on the veranda and you’ll be rewarded with the same majestic view that has left visitors awestruck for the past 143 years. 1000 Cold Spring Rd., Dixville Notch. 877-225-7267; thebalsams.com