Page 12 - WCM 2022 Winter
P. 12

 Ron Fournier
   Introducing friends to the hardships and adventures in Western Maine is as enjoyable as experiencing it for yourself.Thomas Ruttan enjoys the success of a nice catch on a remote and secretive pond on a day that most would be curled up with a good book next to a fire.
I’m fortunate to have raised my family in the backwoods. Living without power, running water, or any amenities in the western mountains has taught us many lessons. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been pushed to the edge many times, but I now
see how this has impacted each one of my kids. It’s built resilience, self-confidence, and it’s made for one hell of a story. And in the end, it’s all about the story. I look back on the days of waking the kids up for school in our small “mini cabin,” and getting the woodstove fired up so that they could get dressed without freezing. They would then circle up around the outdoors woodstove eating their oatmeal and warming up, while sitting on a stump placed in front of the stove, a wall of snow behind them to help capture some heat. Then they would trudge down the long driveway to the truck that was parked in the small shoveled turnout off of
the dirt road we live on. Groceries would be pulled up to the house on a sled throughout the entire winter, and my youngest was almost always on my shoulders on those trips.
One night in particular stands out as a real test of wills, and a marriage. We were coming home from
a weekend visit to my parents, and we returned in a snow storm. The unplowed road stood to be too much for my truck, and we got stuck over a half mile from the house. It was about 5 degrees out, and blowing absolutely sideways with fine powdery snow. We had no choice than to leave the truck there and go for it. We bundled all four kids up, and not having the sled or snowshoes, we trudged through the drifts. We finally got to the bottom of our driveway and started uphill, directly into the wind, to find a huge spruce tree blocking our path. We had to work through
the branches, tripping on the tangled mess without so much as the light from my cell phone. When we reached the cabin, everyone was rosy cheeked and sweating, but before long we had the fire going and lanterns lit. There was little more to do than laugh about it. The next morning, my wife was still there, so I knew things were OK, not that there was much of an option to leave at that point!
So, my advice to those that may be calling Maine home for their first wintah’, is this: Buckle up! Put your wood up early, and make sure it’s dry. Plan ahead, and expect that you will be without power more than once, and maybe for days at a time. Check on your neighbors. Always keep a bit of sand, a shovel, and a tow strap in your car. Find ways to beat cabin fever, such as snowshoeing, ice fishing, or exploring Maine’s beautiful landscape. And never shy away from being cold, wet, and uncomfortable. Life is hard, but it’s how you react to difficulty that defines your character. ✲
 Ron Fournier
 Above: Late December muzzleloader season for deer provides a last opportunity to fill the freezer with fresh venison. Frigid days spent on stand provide countless hours to think and reflect on life, and on lessons learned.
Below: Ron Fournier wraps up a long day on the ice, angling for hungry brook trout as the winter snows fade, and the days grow ever so slowly longer.
    Arts, Entertainment, Adventure and More in Western Maine
 Ron Fournier

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