|This family friend (with his wool crusher hat) shared so many interests with my father, including fly fishing, shooting, Glenfiddich, snake proof boots, pipes, and Hemingway.|
Northern Maine's wildness has been both starkly beautiful and a little scary to me. It is where each of us saw our first bear in the wild. Moose sightings became an everyday experience. I used to "swim with them" although they took more notice of the enormous swarms of flies around their heads. Eagles were always spectacular, but my favorite animals were probably the loons.
And seemingly everyone had a wool crusher hat. These doubled as oven mitts, emergency water buckets, animal traps, and storage containers. Each also soon became seasoned by personalized combinations of smells, including human; bug dope; wood smoke; pipe smoke; wet dog; pine pitch; coffee; whisky; and occasionally, pemmican.
Here are some photos taken by my father:
There continues to be great debates over the future of norther Maine (paper companies own millions of acres). It is heartening to me on so many levels that the strange bedfellows of sportsmen and environmentalists have come together to keep it as wild as possible.