Life at the Lake
I'm spending the first half of August at Gillian's ancestral
vacation spot on Lake Winnipesaukee. I say 'spot' for it's not
really a house or a single cabin, but a series of small cottages;
some designed for sleeping and some for writing. There is even
n artist's studio. The locus of all family events is a larger
cabin which has three large rooms –kitchen, living room, and
bedroom – and a small bath. The buildings are charming and rustic;
the living is almost primitive. Imagine tent camping under wood
instead of nylon or canvas. Little has changed since the camp was
started by my mother-in-law's great grandparents at the turn of the
last century. Or was it her great, great grandparents? Hmmm...I'm
not sure. Anyway, in a time when the complications of life extend
even to vacation spots, at a place where vacation 'homes' run to
seven figures and power boats and jet skis rule the lake, Gillian's
family has chosen to keep their existence on the Lake as unchanged
from the early 1900's as possible. They like it that way. So do I.
By Dave Pearson, PA
I get up with the sun to either put in a few miles on my bike, or
go fishing. I'm most comfortable with running water and have found
several good mountain streams a little less than an hour away. I'm
out of the camp early and on the stream by six. I drive from the
northern section of the lakes region to the southernmost section
of the White Mountain region.
The streams are much deeper than they first appear. They primarily
flow over granite, so the beds are mostly sand and the rocks are
large and round. Lots of places for fish to hide. The water rushes
over a steep grade. Even in the low water of August, there is some
white water. This gives the streams a good shot of oxygen. Where
he water is not white, it is crystal clear.
I greet the day thigh-deep in a New Hampshire trout stream. I catch
some fish and restore my soul. After a few hours I'm back in the car
and headed to camp.
In my absence, most everyone remains in bed save for my father-in-law,
who is up early cooking breakfast for the clan. Breakfast is either
oatmeal or sourdough blueberry pancakes. Both these dishes are
augmented with grains, fruit, and tofu (!) and are far and away
better table fare than their names would suggest. Breakfast can
go on until noon. No one rushes at the lake. Each and everyone
find his own gentle pace and everything unfolds in its own good
We spend our time reading and conversing, cooking and eating, and
swimming. Mostly swimming...and canoeing. Everyone here is a powerful
swimmer. It's part of the lake culture. They all interact with water
by getting into it and moving through the medium; or by getting on
top of it (in a canoe) and gliding on the surface.
I prefer to remain still in moving water. The rest of the family
prefers to move in still water.
There are two fishermen in the clan besides myself. Both are kids,
both fish the lake for bass, and both use spinning rods. Next year,
they will come with me and begin to learn the ways of trout in
moving water. And they will try their hands at fly fishing. The
older of the two owns a fly rod and will bring it with him next
season. The younger of the two needs his own fly rod. Looks like
I'll have to build him one. It'll make a good Christmas present.
Here is a picture of the younger fisherman, Reuben, with a nice
smallmouth bass he caught in the lake. ~ Dave (black gnat)
Dave Pearson lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania with his
loving wife, Gillian, and two dogs, Casey and Booboo.
His passion is small mountain streams. He teaches guitar
for a living. You may contact Dave at:
Hemlock Headwaters Archives