My outdoors bucket list remains painfully long, but all hope is not lost

By Pete Warner, Bangor Daily News Staff

I came into this year with high hopes. I had lots of plans for the many outdoor adventures I hoped to pursue.

Let’s just say things haven’t come together as I would have liked — at least not yet.

The truth is, a handful of my bucket list items have pretty much gone by the boards for this year.

Bangor Daily News photo/Pete Warner
PENOBSCOT LAKE TRIP — In this June photo, Bangor Daily News Outdoors Editor Pete Warner checks off a 2023 bucket list item during a fishing and camping trip to Penobscot Lake in Somerset County.

June salmon fishing at Long Lake in St. Agatha didn’t happen, but there still might be an outside chance to sneak down to the coast for some striped bass fishing. It sounds as though it has been another great season for anglers, especially in southern Maine.

Despite finally getting a new (to me) boat and trailer, I didn’t do so in time to target shad on the Kennebec River. A planned drift boat trip on the Kennebec got washed away by rain and high water levels. Whitewater rafting also will have to wait for another year.

And there has been no “video game” fishing at Sebago, primarily because I don’t have $3,000 to invest in high-tech electronics to make that happen.

I never got on a snowmobile last winter, nor have I jumped on an ATV for a ride along some of Maine’s extensive trail system. The heavy rains this year appear to have created some issues for those folks doing the latter.

Trying to maintain a bear baiting site, while intriguing, also didn’t come to fruition. The time commitment needed for that, not to mention having a place to do it conveniently, forced me to put it on the shelf for now.

Anyone who knows me well might blame my penchant for procrastination for foiling my plans, but that really isn’t it. OK, it might be a small factor.

But it has been a busy year keeping the outdoors content flowing — both mine and that of our talented Bangor Daily News contributors — and attending to the usual responsibilities that unfortunately kept me tethered to the home front.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to pick off a few items! Maybe.

I did manage to go on a weekend camping and fishing excursion in the North Maine Woods with the boys — John Holyoke, Chris Lander and Bill Lander. And we’ve gone on a moose scouting trip.

The nostalgic thought of doing a remote moose hunt in a wall tent ended when I didn’t receive a permit (again). And we were able to procure a camp for Chris’ hunt in October.

One of the few items I have been able to check off the list so far this year is learning to tie flies. The folks at Penobscot Fly Fishers were friendly and patient with us students, even though I was sometimes frustrated by the process.

I came out of the beginner class with several flies in my box, but have yet to land a fish on any of them. Then again, I have only cast a fly a handful of times since taking the class.

I’m hoping to end that streak in September with a trip up to the West Branch of the Penobscot.

Come November, I hope to be able to have the opportunity to try tracking a buck in the snow, whether it be in western Maine, or up in the North Maine Woods. Watching the tremendously entertaining and informative offerings of Rodney Elmer and the Mountain Deer crew on YouTube have helped make that an itch that I need to scratch.

Sometimes, I think the only way I’m going to be able to carve out enough time to embark on these outdoor adventures is to retire. Then again, something always seems to come up that throws a wrench into the works.

Here’s to hoping we all have the chance to get out and have some fun this fall!

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