I awoke early this morning, made a pot of coffee and headed down to the dock. It was just starting to get light as I cast off and headed toward the east side of the island.
Today was going to be the last day of my summer in Maine and I wanted to enjoy every moment. As I rounded the northern point of the island, I could see the first rays of sun breaking through the clouds. I shut off the engine and let the boat drift, enjoying the sound of the lake and the birds.
As I sipped my coffee, I thought back on all the great times I had enjoyed over the summer. I remembered fishing on Moosehead Lake with my son, William, our first trip to Montreal, meeting new friends and, of course, lots of great food.
After the sunrise, I started up the motor and headed back toward the dock. It was time to make breakfast and get ready for my last day of work.
When I arrived at the island, the ducks were already at the kitchen house waiting to be fed. I tossed them a few scraps and set about cleaning and packing up the kitchen for winter.
When I was finished, I took one last look around the island. I was going to miss it here but I was excited to head south to the island in Florida and to visit my good friend in Seattle soon for his wedding.
I took one last look at the pencil forest and the spectacular view of Mt. Kineo before heading back to camp to pack for my flight home.
I was already looking forward to my next summer on Moosehead Lake.
I had the great fortune to leave work today just as the glorious steamship Katahdin passed the eastern shore of the island. She gave a hearty bellow from her great horn as she passed by in all her splendor. I followed in her wake for a short time enjoying the magnificence of this, one of the last great steamships, here or anywhere in this beautiful country.
The Kathadin or, “The Kate,” as she is affectionately called was built just over 100 years ago, in 1914, at The Bath Iron Works. She is the oldest vessel still afloat built at Bath and one of only a few surviving early lake boats in Maine. After a full restoration by The Moosehead Marine Museum, she still proudly tours Moosehead Lake in the summer months, delighting all who see her and offering cruises to passengers several times each week.
As we headed toward Mt. Kineo, I marveled at the passing of time. Here we were, over 100 years later, and Katahdin was still making the same trek she was built for in 1914. It is a testament to the character of the people inhabiting these great North Woods of Maine. They are truly stewards of this land they call “God’s Country,” and of all it’s wonderful history and tradition.
According to the National Register of Historic Places:
“Katahdin is a bluff-bowed steamer, 102 feet long, with a beam of 28 feet and a hull depth of 9 feet. Her hull is steel, with two wooden decks. Her typical draft is 3 feet 9 inches. Her original configuration included enclosed passenger spaces on two decks, with an open area at the stern on the lower deck, and surrounding the enclosed area on the upper deck. The pilot house is located at the front of the upper deck enclosure. The main passenger entryways are located on the lower deck on either side of the pilot house. She was shipped in sections to Greenville, where final assembly took place. Her primary use when launched was to deliver tourists and supplies to the Mount Kineo Resort from Greenville Junction, but she also offered cruises on the lake.”
For more information about the Moosehead Marine Museum or to book a cruise or private event, visit Katahdincruises.com.