Boy howdy – camping is a whole lot of work but the EXPERIENCE outweighs everything else.

11" Brook trout - YUM!

  • We were a convoy of 3 vehicles – we couldn’t fit everything into 2.
  • Carrying 2 canoes with motors.
  • 5 – 5 gallon jugs of gas tied on the roof for the trip out.
  • Water & food for 6 people & 5 days.
  • Camping & Fishing gear.

We survived 10 hours on dirt logging roads, 5 Flat tires, went through 3 cans of Insect repellent & had a blast – nothing like adversity to increase the bonding experience!

All packed up & ready to go

I think most will agree it takes more time to pack & unpack from the camping trip than the actual experience lasts. Especially when camping takes place in the middle of nowhere and you can drive on dirt roads for hours without seeing another car & second guess yourself on whether you are indeed on the right road!

The MOST important thing we brought with us (besides the beer) was the Tire Plug Kit -  just on the off chance we might have a flat.

We packed 12 plugs for the excursion & we used everyone of them! The first flat came in the 2nd hour of the trip.

1st Flat

Some of the roads had just been graded so there was a layer of loose rock – miserable stuff.  Now the kids have never seen a tire plugged so Dave became the teacher. Check out the video of Dave teaching the kids this vital lesson – really funny! 

He is imitating Julia Childs! The kids really got the hang of it by the 5th & final flat. Some of the flats were huge – 3 pluggers!

Cheap enertainment!

Oh yeah – you also need to bring a mini air compressor that works off of your cigarette lighter – tres important.


  • I go into a manic state when the fishing is good – turn into a crazy lady!
  • For my Pilot friends – we camped at Red Pine Grove on the St. John River. Red Pine was a private 2200′ runway (built by the Paper Company). We used to fly into Red Pine in the “old days” until the Nature Conservancy bought the property & closed down the runway.
  • The bean bag game is extremely frustrating – the weight of the beans shifts & the  wind conditions vary the results. ( Competitive – WHO ME?)
  • Lots of Wildlife: Moose, Deer, ducks, birds like; the Gorbie (The Canadian Blue Jay), hummingbirds, grosbeaks, partridge drumming.
  • Found 4 Moosehorn sheds!
  • NO TICKS in the NMW.

Playing bean bag toss on the runway

  • The Most heavy duty of Insect Repellents  (also called “FLY DOPE” in the County) is needed in the NMW.
    • Our oldest daughter Laura’s claim to camping fame is that she never has put  insect repellent on her skin. FOR the NMW trip she started out by spraying her hat and a bandanna. The rest of us are spraying & slathering 40% deet all over our exposed skin. Our Laura points out that the directions state that the repellent we have is not to be sprayed on the skin. LOL. By the end of the weekend Laura too is spraying clothes, exposed skin, has the new Off Fan clipped to her collar & has  insect repellent coils burning all around her – those pesky insects loved our Laura.

We really did have fun, no one else around &  a beautiful night sky with the full moon as  our night light & nothing like sitting around the campfire swapping stories….

Well gotta go – still have unpacking to do & a zillion loads of laundry…

2 Comments on Camping in the Northern Maine Woods (NMW) during PRIME Black Fly season

  1. Dick Gallimore says:

    Been there done that(Plugging tires).

    Great write up! We spend our summers here in Grand Falls NB. Was
    stationed at Loring in the early 50s and again in the 60′s Fell in love with the location, married a local girl. We have been vacationing in this part of God’s good land ever since. We own a cottage on the little river here in Grand Falls NB.
    We have tried about everything on the little bas#@&$@ around here. This year we have been using Listrine mouth wash with good results.

    If you ever have the chance fish the Tobic and or the St John rivers for small mouth Bass (before 20 May). There is nothing like it half day fishing with fly rod and poppers will net in excess of 100 2 to 2-1/2 lb bass. As you know the brook trout fishing around here is the best in the world.

    Again enjoyed your artical very much. Keep the Kids fishing the husband plugging tires and you keep the stories comming.


  2. Heather says:

    Thanks Dick for the great Info. Some of my best fishing experiences have been in the NMW, my husband has been bringing me up there for 28 years & it was fun showing our kids the vast beautiful area.

    The boys wanted to do some Muskie fishing & had considerable luck one morning. We have 2 in the family who like to Bass fish so I will pass on your info.

    Thanks for the comments, it is always great to hear others stories.

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