Nahmakanta Lake from the south looking north–the campsite is on the point far left
The airplane settled onto the water as the floats slowed and came off the step, now the weight of the Super Cub was completely supported by the floats and the wings were lifeless at these speeds. With no wind the plane idled along slowly towards the shoreline as if drawn there by some unseen force, a force that said “Steady as she goes…come see what secrets lie hidden in the darkness of my spruce lined shore.”
The water was flat calm. There didn’t appear to be a single ripple on the entire lake making it appear as though the mountains surrounding the large body of water were reflected perfectly on its surface only upside down. Even during times like this with absolutely no wind it is prudent to lower the water rudders, this would allow me to steer the plane much more effectively should I see a rock, sandbar or other obstacle in my path.
Reaching over with my right hand and lowering the water rudders I instinctively reached back and to right, opening the door on the side of the Cub. I can’t help but notice the cool, sweet-smelling dampness of the air as the propeller blows it back through the cockpit. Even when the prop is turning at a leisurely six hundred rpm or so the breeze is very noticeable. Had there been anyone in the back they would have been pretty cold with that breeze blowing in on them. However, sitting up front like I am, I’m pretty well protected by the majority of the prop blast; only feeling the remnants of the air as it moves throughout the interior of the craft.
As I near the beach on this remote lake I shut down the engine and slow my forward progress over the water by pulling the mixture control and watch as the prop quickly comes to a stop. The only sounds I hear are the steady ticking from the cooling engine and the water passing slowly by the floats–even that water sound stops and is replaced by the sound of the aluminum floats as they gently meet the coarse gravel of the beach.
Not needing to rush with no wind or current affecting my plane, I prepare to disembark and explore the shoreline. I’ve already unbuckled my seat-belt so I climb out onto the float and step off onto the deserted beach to see if this location is suitable for pitching a tent and spending a night or two. Prior to any further exploration I must at least pull the plane further up onto the beach; lest it floats away. With my weight out of the plane it rides higher on the floats and the immediate increase in buoyancy threatens to take my plane “out to sea.” Finally, with the plane secure on the shoreline it is time to see what the beckoning spruce shore has to offer.
At first glance it appears I found the perfect place for a campsite with all the favorable amenities once could ask for in a remote location such as this. Truth be known this is one of hundreds of potential camp sites in this part of Maine, and I’m just trying to narrow down a few spots for my next outing with my friends or family.
As I stand on the beach looking around assessing the sites potential, I hear the soothing call of two loons communicating–one close and one quite far away. Right then and there my mind is made up…this location has made the cut and is on my short-list of half a dozen sites. Sometimes I feel that exploration of these woods and forests for any reason is oftentimes more fun and rewarding than the final mission itself–this is one of those days.