Gazing out the window at the falling snow I reflect back to last days of summer at Umbagog Lake State Park. One of my favorite places in the New Hampshire Umbagog Lake is shared by the State of Maine, the state line running down the middle of the lake. We travel here each year on Labor Day Weekend, the perfect way to wrap up the summer months.
Umbagog is a popular destination for paddlers, kayakers and canoers alike. We travel to our remote site by powerboat, in our trusty bass boat “The Two-Stroke Smoke.” First, we check in at the state park offices where we also purchase our firewood, as outside timber is forbidden to prevent the transfer of invasive insects. We load up the boat and head across the lake, twelve miles to Sunday Cove. The lake is shallow and is known for high winds, so depending on the weather the crossing can be difficult.
This camping trip is not like all others. The site is located within the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. Our ultimate destination is remote site 14, wilderness all around. It is a small landmass in a vast lake that we have affectionately named “Spider Island.” This is a truly remote site, no electricity, no drinkable water and no restroom. Most remote sites have a commode comprised of a barrel with a toilet seat, however our commode is luxurious by wilderness standards, raised with a nice deck built around it. The site sleeps six and has room for two tents. The loon call all night, the most eerie and beautiful sound. We swim, fish, hike and relax. We unplug.
There are a variety of sites available at Umbagog Lake State Park. Some on mainland near to the camp store, showers and yes- working restrooms. If remote sounds great but twelve miles too far (especially for those who are paddling) there are nearer remote sites and group sites as well. You can access several rivers from Umbagog Lake- the Androscoggin, the Magalloway and the Rapid River. All are known for great fishing. Be mindful though, a New Hampshire fishing license is invalid on Maine lands, though fishing from one’s vessel is permitted.
Be sure to adhere to the policies of Umbagog Lake State Park, the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge and the New Hampshire Fish and Game. Be respectful of the wilderness and the wildlife and please, enjoy!