Adventures On Dobsie 



Greetings from the North Woods!

 After 2 months of incessant rain and/or gray days, summer finally kicked in up here around August 1st, accompanied by significant heat and no rain for more than 2 weeks -- 91 degrees in the SHADE (at least 10 degrees higher in the sun).  We know Austin is having these conditions, but remember, there is NO air conditioning up here!  One good thing about the rain was the production of chanterelles (picture 1) -- these were getting a little past, but growing about 50 feet from our kitchen, near our woodshed.  I harvested some earlier, and Bill and I had a luscious feast of them, taking our cue from friends who produced a spectacular meal with them, sockeye salmon cooked over an open fire, steamed clams........ummmmm!!  Recently, we were grateful that Hurricane Bill defied earlier predictions and veered out to sea, sparing us the heavy winds, but bringing much-needed rain at that point.  If we had gotten the edge of it as originally forecast, we would have had to pull our boat from the water and batten things down, which is a lot of work.

 The dry period allowed us to get our house staining done.  Why is it that I am relegated to doing most of the deck posts and railings (drudgery) and the under side of 3 sets of steps (also drudgery, wedged under, in an upside-down position, stain spattering on the face and glasses)?  I even found a recently shed snake skin under the bottom board of one set, and not the set that Jake has been living under.  I have decided we have several Jakes, all garter snakes -- one larger one over by my veggie garden, the usual Jake, and a smaller one that I found under the door mat that I had draped over a log while the deck stain was drying.  When we finished the staining, a reward was in order -- FUN!  We and another lake couple went for a picnic down the lake where there is a nice, cool wooded area at Cranberry Cove....and then went waterskiing (picture 2 shows me cruising along outside the wake).  I have been waterskiing since I was a teenager, and while I used to be able to slalom (run on one ski), I am now content to criss-cross over the wake, enough challenge at my advancing age!  Bill and the other fellow also had turns.  It was one of those hot, slightly hazy days, and the water temperature was warmer than I ever remembered (about 80 on the surface).

 Another wonderful time was a hike up Lombard Mountain with the friends that own it, picnic in hand, with the rewarding view from the top overlooking Lombard Lake and much more (picture 3).  There are so many great adventures up here!  Tomorrow, Bill, I and a lake friend are motorbiking on the miles of gravel back roads to get up Getchell Mountain, and more spectacular views, about 25 miles round trip.  A few days ago, Bill and I traversed for the first time the new road the Passamaquoddy Indians built to go around Porcupine Mountain, a new way to the dam at the bottom of our lake, and now accessible not only by motorbikes, but by vehicles as well.

 Speaking of which........there are dams (like the Hoover)........and there is Sysladobsis (Dobsis) Dam, at the southeast end of our lake, 250 feet long and 9 feet high, which impounds 5400 acres of water from our lake and supports the drainage of approx. 62 square miles.  It has two wooden gates each about 12 feet wide which adjust the flowage into Pocumcus Lake and a fish ladder on the far end to allow salmon and other species to go upstream to spawn.  Vehicles can drive over the top on a one-lane gravel road which allows circumnavigation around our whole lake.  The dam, licensed to Domtar Maine Corporation, must keep the water level in Sysladobsis between 301.04 feet and 305.62 feet above mean sea level; average annual draw is 2 feet, with a possible maximum of 4.6 feet.  This year, with all the rain, the lake had been extremely high, the highest I ever remember, undoubtedly a challenge for Domtar to maintain these heights.  This dam also has a great history connected with the logging industry in these parts.  In the olden days, logs, controlled by chain booms across the lake, were floated (or pulled by boat) down to the dam, where the sluice gates were opened and the logs would flow through.  There would be crews on both sides to keep the logs from jamming up and the logs would eventually end up at Grand Lake Stream (a couple of more lakes down) and the lumber mill.  Hemlock bark destined for the tannery in Grand Lake Stream, stacked in piles 4 feet high, would also make their way by barge to the dam, then be transferred the short distance overland to boats waiting in a trench running alongside the dam stream.  There was a also dam that regulated the water level in this trench to raise the boats on the Pocumcus side to be at land level for the bark transfers.  Now that we have been up here for 20 years, I have started getting really interested in the history of the area, which is fascinating!  By the way, Grand Lake Stream is now a Mecca for fly fishing in particular and promoted by LL Bean.  While the tannery is long gone, there is a state fish hatchery and an active Downeast Lakes Land Trust that, as a small grass-roots organization, has succeeded in preserving from development miles of lake frontage and thousands of acres of sustainable forest, a cause to which we have contributed. 


 One important point about this dam is that it is a pristine place, so on one of the rare warm and sunny days before summer really arrived, Bill and I took the boat down to have a picnic; we had it all to ourselves.  It was a truly gorgeous day -- I couldn't believe we had not taken the camera!  I appealed to lake friends for their pictures, and Kathy Jones responded with, amongst others, this lovely shot from on top of the dam looking toward Pocumcus Lake, showing the flowage through the dam on the left (picture 4).  Granite boulders in the stream, large tree canopies lining the shore, blue sky overhead, and even a bald eagle with its young one learning to fly........well, I've used a bit of literary license as we actually saw the eagle with its young on another day in another location!

 If you would like a fuller view of our area, summer or winter, I would encourage you to visit the website of the Lakeville Camp Owners Assn (LCOA), of which we are members.

      There is even a video of an eagle catching a fish, shots of beautiful sunsets over the water, winter snowmobiling, and the many wildflowers of Lakeville -- ENJOY!

 Best to you,