After a test of my RAV4’s tires and suspension coming down a 4.5 mile stretch of rocks and pits, Amelia and I stood on the perhaps manufactured beach along the Debsconeag Deadwater at Omaha Beach. We were swarmed immediately by Maine’s patent cocktail of black flies and mosquitoes, in spite of our best efforts with bug spray. The nearby campground was filled with loud people. I try not to be terrifically negative about “car campers,” as I’ve been one, but I find their presence in the wilderness intrusive, since they merely trade tent for house and drag along generators and radios. Attempting to duplicate the comforts of home in a wilderness setting is, to me, ridiculous. I’m not sure what bothered me more: the insects or the blaring country music. I could understand this at a trashy trailer lot “campground,” but given the inaccessibility of this serene locale off of the Golden Road, it was horribly out of place and diminished the character of the wilderness.
This part of the West Branch of the Penobscot barely had a discernible current (hence “Deadwater?”). As we put in and paddled away from shore, the bugs subsided. We headed west towards the inlet into First Debsconeag Lake, the alternating depths affording Amelia an opportunity for some wading. The water was so still, and in the distance, the clouds cleared and we could see the lingering rivulets of ice in the spurs on Mt. Katahdin in the distance. Once we got away from the din of the campground, the quiet was only broken by our conversation and our wooden paddles breaking the water.