Posted by: Sally Ingraham | February 18, 2009

Long Pond Camping

I went camping over my weekend with my boyfriend. Dragging two sleds and carrying backpacks, we trekked across Spring River Lake, tromped through the woods, skid across Tilden’s Pond, tromped through more woods, and arrived finally at Little Long Pond – the one in T10 SD, not to be confused with Little (Horseshoe) Pond in Franklin, nor Long Pond in Seal Harbor, nor Long Pond in Sullivan, nor Long (sometimes called Great) Pond in Southwest Harbor, nor the Long Pond in Bucksport, etc.

Covered with ice and surrounded by snowy forested hills, the pond, I imagine, looked very much like all the other Long Ponds that were snoozing that day beneath soft gray skies. We found the perfect camping spot down at the other end in a small cove that was protected from the sun – always preferable when you’re dealing with frozen water. A wall of granite rose up 80 ft. or so, and a thick fall of ice poured down.
Winter Camping
We had been stopped by some fishermen on our way out, who wondered “Where the heck are you headed?” Seated upon a snowmobile, happy to return to their ice hut with it’s stove and coffee pot, these hardy Mainers shook their heads in wonder over our sleds and backpacks. “Sure hope you brought a tent,” one of them said, and they shrugged with good humor over our stubborn refusal to let them pull our sleds out to the Pond with the snowmobile.

Once we reached the camp site, we made quick work of setting up the tent and laying out several layers of thermal rests and sleeping bags. Then we gathered wood – dead and down – and dug out a fire pit on the shore. I, the apprentice fire-master, spent 45 minutes getting the fire going, but once the snowy wood had caught it blazed all evening.

One of ManyEating, sleeping, and tending the fire was what I did for the entire rest of the trip. It is marvelous to me how such simple activities can fill a day, and be so satisfying. Keeping warm, fed, and rested, and devoting yourself to little beyond fetching more wood, not letting the fire go out, breathing fresh air, and taking in the scenery – such things bring to me a peace of mind that is quite exquisite. Over the course of the two days we were camped on Little Long Pond, I felt good, happy, content, untouched by any type of worry or stress.

I always take delight in camping trips, but winter camping has it’s own extra benefits. I always get a little nervous before going, but am at the same time so excited. It’s harder, and takes more planning, more precautions, more clothing. Once you get out there though, once the tent is set up and the fire is crackling, there’s coffee brewing in the French Press, and tiny snowflakes are falling, that sense of well-being descends over me.

I suppose if you haven’t done it, it’s hard to explain. Why would you want to spend a couple of days outside in 20 degree weather, sinking up to your knees in snow, skidding around on ice, singeing your eyelashes on sparks from the fire, and a couple of nights curled in a ball trying to keep your nose warm and your toes touching the hot water bottle at the bottom of your sleeping bag, hoping you can hold your bladder for a couple more hours, at least until it stops snowing…?

I can’t really explain WHY anyone would want to do that. I can only report that I sure had a fun time doing it, and I can’t wait to go again. I’ve already started planning my March camping trip. Hmm, maybe I’ll head for Long Pond – the one in Aurora!


  1. You sure do make it sound like a lot of fun.

  2. My favorite part of winter camping is waking up in the middle of the night and realizing I’m warm. I understand that my sleeping is almost wholly responsible, but somehow it always makes me feel triumphant. Take that winter!

  3. Ha! This entry got quoted on this blog: I feel flattered. 🙂

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