Every Labor Day, my entire extended family on my mother’s side goes to this remote campsite in the middle of the woods in the West Forks of Maine. There is nothing of particular note that would draw tourists there to camp. There are no mountains to hike, no cutesy towns nearby, not snack shack to get food at.
It’s literally a dirt area next to a stream about twenty minutes away from any paved road, surrounded by small ponds and lakes. And while there is nothing striking about the area, it is probably one of the most beautiful places I know of.
Usually there are three or four nuclear families that come, and we all spend evenings cooking, and nights around the fire listening to my grandfather play the harmonica, and telling the same stories we tell every year. And every year, a family member seems to be added by way of the younger generation growing their own families.
It is worked out in our custody arrangement that William goes with me every year, and I’m proud to say he has never missed a year, even in utero. He loves it. There are puddles to stomp in, lakes in which to catch frogs, canoes to go out in, junk food (which he rarely gets) to eat, and late nights around the campfire.
Scott goes fishing with my dad early in the morning, comes in for food, then goes back out. I get to take photographs, and be around my great friend and cousin, Lisa, and her family. It is just one of the most special times for me. A tradition I hope never goes away.