Loon Memories

Loon with baby on her back.

From Wild About Wildlife and Nature.

We used to camp on Pleasant River Lake in northern Maine. It was cabin camping, so we had screens on the windows. We had propane tanks: a gas-powered refrigerator and range, plus a wood stove if it got chilly.

We drank water directly from the lake and we brought water up from the lake in glass bottles and when we needed to bathe, we went down to the lake with a bar of soap.

An outhouse exterior

An outhouse exterior (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then there was the outhouse. It was a chemical toilet in a wood building. I hated that outhouse. The chemicals burned those sensitive areas … and there were always spiders in there.

In exchange for that little bit of unpleasantness, in the evening, we would build a bonfire on the shore of the lake. It was a big lake, deep, surrounded by pine woods. There were several beaver dams and it was not unusual to see moose swimming across, just their giant heads visible above the waterline as they sought their favorite snack food: water lilies. There were bears too.

Loons on Wolfe Lake (Ontario, Canada)

Loons on Wolfe Lake (Ontario, Canada) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Best of all, there were about a dozen loons nesting on the various parts of the shore. As evening came on, they would start to call to one another. Warbling and calling, a sound so haunting and beautiful as it echoes across lake.

I will never forget the song of the loons, the voice of the northern lakes. I miss them.

8 thoughts on “Loon Memories

  1. Pingback: Loon Memories « catnipoflife

  2. Pingback: Loon Memories | Road Tripping | Scoop.it

    • You don’t see loons south of upstate New York and unless you spend quiet time along a lake where they live, you may hear them, but never see them. When we camped in Maine, there wasn’t a lot to do. You could sit and watch the lake. Row. Swim. Or fish. There were bass in the lake, if you didn’t mind the dying fish flopping in the bottom of the canoe. I was willing to eat fish, but I couldn’t deal with the death scene and cleaning a fish was never part of my skill set. So I sat on the shore and laughed as loons attempted to fly. They fly well. They swim well. They are great divers. It’s the taking off and getting airborne with which they have serious (and hilarious) issues.


  3. See… and what I remember about those Loons was, despite their superb gracefulness in the air, the landings on, and take off from, the water, were quite something else again. We might say that here is where God screwed up a bit. These beautiful birds were, possibly by mistake, meant to stay in the air all the time. Watching them take off or land was a study in clumsiness. I was doubled up with laughter the first time I watched these events. It didn’t seem to bother the Loons though.., or at least there was no way to tell if they even cared…, or let out a little cry of “shit!” as they tumbled to a halt, or struggled to get airborne. Ain’t nature grand..?


    • I remember. They needed the better part of the whole lake to get that running start. Funny, because swans, beautiful graceful swans, have the same problem. Kaitlin and I almost fell over watching a group of adolescent swans try to get airborne. They kept running out of lake and had to paddle back and start over. BUT once they are in the air, they are gorgeous flyers. Go figure!


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