Growing up in Multnomah County near things with the names Willamette, Clackamas and Skamania, I thought I was used to fun Native American-rooted names. Maine continues to surprise.

Last weekend P and I took a one night canoe trip on Umbagog Lake to a remote site on one of the lake’s many inlets. Straddling the New Hampshire/Maine border, Umbagog is pretty accessible, and therefore pretty developed, but gorgeous nonetheless.

We paddled in three miles on a still and calm water, a treat after a series of hiccups getting started (I thought you brought the water? I told you to buy coffee! Where’s my sleeping pad??!! Lesson: make lists).

umbagog 1

After arriving and setting up camp, we paddled further into an inlet and got up close to three great herons, a bald eagle, a beaver/muskrat (jury’s out) and the ever-exotic mallard.

Sitting by the fire cooking dinner that night, after a swim in the late summer water, I kept thinking how incredible it is to live in nature.

It’s something I’ve always inherently known about myself, but haven’t had the resources to test – that I’m really more at home outside. Don’t get me wrong, I miss the sushi, Indian, Thai, [insert ethic food here], public transit, good bars, concerts and general activity of urban life, but I wouldn’t trade what I have right now.

This summer was like running the best bed-and-breakfast ever as my friends filled our lakeside home, as P and I paddled after work or read dockside, camping with friends or exploring the ever-expanding list of oddities in our small town.

Looking towards a fall full of PhD applications and contemplating moves across the country, most likely back to a city center, this moment in time is becoming more special – or I’m just starting to recognize it for what it has always been.


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