THE ALMANACK "OUTPOST" | 2012 ››› An outpost for history, travel photography, verse, musings & random scraps of substance ›
Friday June 22, 2012 : SUMMER VACATION, TRANSCENDENT BY-CHANCE (Camping in White Mtn Nat'l Forest)
(Originally published June 23, 2011, a start-of-summer outpost deserving an encore)
Summer vacation time, a time when we start thinking over great trips past. Sometimes definitive plans deliver up a destination that lands itself in the 'vacation honor roll.' Others occur by-chance. One—if not the single greatest—of our by-chance finds was: Crocker Pond campground / White Mountain Nat'l Forest (near Bethel, Maine). Having been in 2002 & 2007 (and again very soon), this place is more than just a great outdoors escape: it is a transcendent setting. Here are two road-journal entries from our August 2002 trip and visual evidence to back it up ...
The cool to cold air breeds no haze, the night sky laid out as a perfect crystalline sheet of white points. Wavering and luminescent, the stars shine. Colored planets glisten. Patterns are irregular and marked by the brightest. It's an uncommon view anymore. It dwarfs, rendering you insignificant and making you feel twenty-feet tall all at once. Smears of the Milky Way spread out long gaseous trails, distant vapor clear to the naked eye. A shooting star parts the night, its tail fading like a wake. An owl's haunting call echoes through the night, the stars so numerous as to outline the hills as black voids. The stars reflect in the pond, the brightest dancing in the shallows of black water.
Morning mist curls off the watertop, sunlight creeping slowly over the crest of firs to the east. Ducks ride along a glasslike surface, short ripples on a mirror of dawn. A heron glides in. Ducks burst from a stand of reeds. Bullfrogs and birdcalls, but mostly silence and cool air. A hawk stirs, flies off. Golden light lights up birch limbs like silver streaks. A red squirrel claws and clatters his way up white pine. The light blue sky lines itself with high clouds. They spread like a spray, the coming of day.
CAMP IN A NAT'L FOREST ... http://www.recreation.gov/
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