Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: Time marches on, and a chapter may close

By DICK PINNEY November 26. 2017 2:13AM


Sadly, a beloved part of the Dickster's outdoor activities may have come to an end.

Several years ago we got a tip from a friend of a friend that some remote forest land in northern Maine was going to be up for sale. A large timberland holder was selling huge chunks of woodland that they no longer needed also had a few small (by their standards) parcels of land available - just what the Dickster had been waiting for.

On a snowy Sunday morning, my brother-in-law Jim Mackenzie and I were headed north in his sedan that had no snow tread tires in a major snowstorm. We're talking a six- or seven-hour trip to meet a person we've never met who was going to show us the land.

Well, we made it on time and met Jesse McCabe on time. Because of the storm, we didn't get much of a chance to check out the land but the price was right and the Dickster purchased about 50 acres or timberland and Jim picked up a piece twice that large.

On our next trip up to really get a handle on our purchases, we found out that my land had an old cabin on it complete with a well. It didn't have electricity or any plumbing but there was enough decent structure that a few days of work with my gang of friends would put it into living conditions and that's just what we did, along with discovering where a good supply of clean drinking water could be found and developing a remote (about 20 feet from the camp) outdoor toilet that was kind of open-air for a while until we could put up a makeshift shelter over it

We named it "Hootin' Hollow" (stole the name). And since that day and for many years we've been slowly but surely modernizing the land and buildings until we built a new cabin that had electricity and other great features.

Back then we owned a small supermarket in Greenland that handled full-sized kegs of beer along with the regular bottles and cans. Many a 30-gallon keg of Budweiser was hauled up to camp to supply the energy to fix and build a decent place to stay and enjoy the great hunting and fishing in the area.

Jesse was one of our greatest finds! He enjoyed being involved with us crazy "down-country" people and he provided some great labor and had a keen sense of rough carpentry as well as plumbing and electrical wiring. But we still had an outdoor toilet and a hand powered water pump.

Along with the many kegs of "Bud" consumed there, there were quite a few nice deer harvested as well as lots of upland game. And the trout and landlocked salmon fishing was first class. With our ownership of about a quarter-mile of frontage on the Little Madawaska River, we didn't have to worry about asking for permission and we also had access to the Fish River Chain of Lakes that had some great lightly settled water that had plenty of landlocked salmon and wild brook trout. (The salmon came from state stocking but the brookies were native and wild.)

Nothing is forever. All the old friends and relatives that used to travel with us to camp are now gone or too old or out of shape to make that almost daylong trip to camp.

Our local contacts in the area have grown from year to year so although we have to scrounge a bit to get fellow road partners, once we get in the county we're among several friends who form a great support group for us.

The vote at the home front about selling our camp is still out among family.

We'll continue this story in next week's column. In the meantime, please stay in touch.

Dick Pinney 's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.


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