Sabbathday Lake Paddle
Michael Fralich, September 6, 2023
We have many communities that are important to us in our life in New Gloucester. We have our church community which has been a part of our lives for as long as we have lived in New Gloucester. We have our neighbors in the Lower Village which form a close knit community that is very important to us. A newer community within our town that has made a huge difference to us is our weekly walking group started by our dear friend, Anne Maurice. Every Wednesday we gather at a new trail head in our area and hike for about an hour. We have met some new folks from our town and have explored wonderful natural place that we oftentimes did not know existed.
Sabbathday Lake Reflection
Once a year we trade in our walking shoes for paddles and head to Sabbathday Lake to join our fellow walkers for a lake experience. Yesterday was our annual lake paddle. We were given instructions to meet up at Loon Point on the lake at 10:30. We rode our e-bikes to Ann Maurice’s lake house where she had two kayaks ready for our use. The morning was dead calm. The surface of the lake was as smooth as glass. We got in our boats with as much grace as possible and headed out for Loon Point. There was no one else on the lake that we could see. It did not take very long to realize just how magical this morning already was. This gem of a small lake is home to not only loons but also a breeding pair of bald eagles. The Shakers own a major portion of the lake front. This land will never be developed. Other sections of the shoreline have camps and year round homes that in some cases have been in same families for generations.
As we made our way deeper into the lake we began to hear voices of other paddlers also making their way to Loon Point. The hulls of brightly colored kayaks stood in contrast to the blue of the lake. Folks were coming from all points of the compass to converge at the point. We passed the eagle’s nest but saw no eagles. As we neared the point we saw the flotilla contained not only kayaks but people on paddle boards as well. Snatches of conversation and laughter filled the air as we all gathered at the point. Attempts were made to take a group picture. This was a challenge with so many boats and boards in the water. Folks who had made their way on foot to the point appeared swelling our number to beyond twenty, a new record for attendance for our weekly gatherings. Several of us decided this would be a great opportunity for perhaps our last swim of the summer. I beached my boat and waded out to dive into deeper water. It felt like a warm, wet velvet glove enclosing me in its embrace. I was in heaven.
We hung out for a good half hour at the point before we said our good-byes and paddled back to Ann’s dock at the other end of the lake. We all know that we had shared in something very special, deepening our love for where we live and strengthening our sense of community with these wonderful folks…Michael Fralich