Along the Natchez Trace

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday at Aroostook NWR

It gets daylight here really early...  by 4:30 am.  We're only about 5 miles from Canada (New Brunswick) to our east, and they are in a different time zone.  In fact, we are so close to Canada that we don't use our cell phone here.  The Canadian towers are close and while we could use the phone, we are charged for an international call. We learned this the hard way, and while we did get reimbursed for those charges, it's just more trouble than it's worth.  So...  friends and family....  if you need to call us, call the Refuge Office ...  207-328-4634.

What we saw from the rig's window last evening.  That's my hummingbird feeder in the foreground...  the bear is less than 400' from us...  Made me remember that I have to take down my feeders at night.

I was surprised at the many comments from my recent blogs.  The ones about volunteering I'll try to get more information and answer soon.  Thank you all for your interest....  I know, I'm biased about this place, but believe me, it's a perfect fit for me and Bill.

My blog yesterday was actually kind of misleading.  The entire refuge is NOT off limits.   There are 5 separate parcels of land that add up to over 5,000 acres.  Only a small portion of this is closed to the public.

Chapman Pond

Today, Bill & I took a drive to 4 of those 5 parts of the refuge.  Above is Chapman Pond...  while no fishing, boating, swimming, camping or motorized vehicles are permitted, there are several trails that are great for hiking.  During the winter months crosscountry skiing is a popular sport.  There is also a photo blind overlooking the pond.  

While there I remembered to look for this beautiful flower..
Yellow Lady Slipper

I was thrilled to find a whole area of them blooming profusely.  Most years we arrive here too late to enjoy them.

On our drive over to the Ouellette parcel, we spotted this guy...
As you can see, he was as curious about us as we were about him.

The Ouellette area was the site where someone dumped several barrels of roofing tar last year.  We watched the hazardous waste clean-up crew clean it up.  Quite a fascinating experience...
This is what that site looks like now...  that crew did a great job in cleaning up that mess.  Too bad the people who dumped the waste were never caught....

That area is rather remote...  maybe 10 miles from the Refuge Headquarters.  It is a fairly new acquisition, and slowly, but surely, it is being cleaned up...
There are still areas that were used to dump trash.  Not pretty, is it?

Well, that's only part of the picture....
That very nice (and expensive) sign showing the entrance to this area is riddled by bullet holes.  What can I say?

On our way home, this guy ran out in the road in front of us...
We were on the refuge and going very slow... he came running out of the woods and down the road.  Look at those antlers he's sprouting!  What a rack that will be!

Each morning I take a drive through the refuge.  I was excited to check my game cameras this morning, but was disappointed that all I got was photos of us putting them up and me checking them.  Maybe tomorrow...

But...  even better...
These 2 guys were ambling down the road towards me.  They were well over 100' in front, and I was in my car....  no danger there.  They looked to be 3 years old or older.

I came across some Upland sandpipers this morning...
They like grassy fields ...  their nest is on the ground.  That's why mowing (or even walking) is not allowed in these fields until mid July.

Upland sandpiper.... in flight.

Our rig is parked at the old maintenance shop.  It's not really an RV site, as such, as we run an extension cord into the shop for our electric and move the rig about 50' to dump.  But we're the only resident volunteers here and it's really no inconvenience for us.
Can you see us?  Taking this picture, I'm standing at the entrance to the bunker area about 1/4 mile away.  The white building is the old maintenance building, that little black dot on it is one of the garage doors, and we're parked next to that.  Hmmm...  maybe I'll take a closer picture and post it soon....

So, you ask...  what does Bill do here?
Well, Bill gets to play with the big toys.  He is an equipment operator and is certified with FWS to operate about any piece of equipment they have.  I just asked him what he likes the best...  he said the end-loader with the excavator coming in second.  Here he is using the backhoe.  Some guys ran their truck through a brushy area right beside a locked gate.  Today Bill loaded up a pile of logs and made a barricade.  It's temporary, but will work for a while.

We generally start work at 6am here....  work until 4:30 pm.  That's for a 4 day workweek.  Bill loves playing with those toys so much he works a "few" other hours as well.  

Today I think the temps got up to 60 degrees F.....  the mosquitoes are bad...  the black flies are worse...  and the no-see-ums are horrible.  Yes, we're wimps...  we wear veils to keep the darned things off what little bit of exposed skin we have.

And on that note...

That's All for Today...


  1. The Minnesota State flower is the pink and white lady slipper. I didn't know there were yellow ones. It seems like much of the Maine flora and fauna is like that in Northern Minnesota. It sounds like paradise--except for the bugs!

  2. What a beautiful area!


  3. Are the mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums there all at the same time? Egad! :)

  4. Ha, ha,....Sounds like you are telling us all of the things you don't like there, to keep us all away, and to keep it all for yourself.

  5. How exciting to see the natural wildlife and such a variety. Enjoyed your pictures.

  6. What fun what fun! that bear looking at you! sooooooo cute! wow! I bet he does like your hummingbird feeder! All along everywhere I've camped! do NOT leave anything with any kind of smell outside of your vehicle.... and that meant toothpaste - shampoo ... whatever.

    And here you are an expert... leaving sugar water out.... HAHAaaaa

    jeeez I love reading your daily ventures....

  7. Now I remember. Of course it's black fly season. When I was in college, we would go camping at the end of the semester... just in time for black fly season. Ugh! I'm allergic to bee stings (they can kill me) and insect bites (they just itch and swells for weeks). My springs and summers in New England were spent stinking of Deep Woods OFF. But, your stories and photos still make me miss it!

  8. We were told that in the winter you can hear the black flys moving under the snow! Yuck!
    Have the Warblers showed up yet?