28 February 2010

Who Uses a Guide?

First picture: one of the most successful bass fishermen I've ever had the pleasure to spend a day with - (I wish he'd come again).

I'm the guy behind the kids on the foot bridge. I'm also the guy in the vest posing with a bass, and the one standing beyond the yellow kayak as I prepared to take a young customer out, and I'm the one with an arm around my daughter in front of the locomotive wheels (where two steam locomotives have been abandoned in the northern Maine forest).

The rest of the faces shall remain anonymous, including the lady wearing a live damselfly who has come with her family to Eagle Lodge for many years to relax and fish.

Then there's the young couple who like target practicing in the dead of winter, a challenge to my enthusiasm but worth the glass of brandy by the fireplace afterward.

These are some of the people who have used my services in recent years. We've collected animal bones, photographed eagles and turtles, found bear tracks and fossils, hiked in to remote sites, fished until we've caught 100 bass in a day or sometimes until we've caught only one.

We've hunted ducks and grouse and large game. We've come home empty-handed more often than not, but that's OK because the freezer has plenty of road-kill moose and road-kill deer in it, (a benefit of being a Guide and being called by the State Police when there's a fresh game animal that needs to be removed from the highway).

I specialize in guiding people who have serious physical challenges to getting out in the wilderness. There are hazards, of course, and one of the hazards is the lack of cell phone service in much of northern and eastern Maine. But someone who is medically stable but has only cognitive or mobility limitations can find a world of pleasure and fun in the forests and on the waters here.

This is a "job" that doesn't lend itself to neckties and electronic personal data assistants. I've come home from some trips with mud in the springs of my Dodge Ram diesel 3500 and over my ankles as well, with a finger laceration needing sutures or a fish hook in the root of my thumbnail, with a gunpowder burn on my hand and with ticks in my hair. It's a job I wouldn't trade for something in a glass-and-concrete tower paying ten times as much.

A hunting knife on my belt is part of my standard wardrobe and no one around here gives it a thought. If I alight from the truck in downtown Lincoln with a holstered revolver on my hip after a day in the woods it causes no more of a stir than someone would showing up at a city office in shorts.

The Maine forest is my office and I wear the tools of my profession. And I'd like to see you here. Check out my web site, DamnYankee.com, for more information.

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