Last year Down East Books published my book, Maine Sporting Camps, a bit of history, lots of information about each camp, and great stories from longtime guests and customers. One of my favorite stories came from Dick Mosher, a master guide for 54 years. I had a fascinating telephone conversation with Dick, and he followed up by sending me a great story which I will share with you today, with one request. Please visit a Maine sporting camp this year!
Bulldog Camps – By Dick Mosher
At 81 years of age, Bulldog Camps at Enchanted Pond bring back many memories – all good. Even though I have spent my whole life in the Maine backwoods, and as a native Mainer and master guide for 54 years, when asked about experiences at Bulldog Camps, I think back to 1952 when my best friend Gil Gilpatric and I graduated from high school in Fairfield.
Gil and I have been together as youngsters and spent our adult lives guiding and hunting – so it was only natural that as a graduation present to ourselves we headed to the woods. Gil had flown with an older friend into Enchanted Pond earlier and had fishing off the sandbar on the southwest end of the pond. He’d had a great time catching trout with worms and bobbers.
We could not fly so decided to hike in on an old logging trail that had been used in the early 1900s. The trail at that time went from Mile 4 on the Hardscabble Road to the northeast end of Enchanted Pond. This was about an 8 mile hike and I remember seeing Grace Pond on the way in.
We arrived at Enchanted at what is now Bulldog Camps. At that time the camps were abandoned. However, we were greeted there by an old timer and his German Shepherd dog. They were keeping an eye on the camps for the owners and said game wardens flew in occasionally to check on him and drop off supplies. He had a signal system if he needed help.
He offered us one of the cabins to say in, but we declined as Gil and his friend had caught all their fish off the Sandbar at the south end of the pond. So off we went around the north end of the pond, wading across the inlet stream with our clothes over our heads to keep them dry. Then down the west side of the pond climbing over a rock slide and under alder bushes, until we finally got to the sandbar with our light pack, blankets, and fish poles.
We ate fish and canned beans and slept in our home-made lean-to for 3 days. We had hiked 10 miles to get there. Today it seems impossible, but for us it was the trip of a lifetime that set up my love for the best place in the state.
Bulldog Camps is now a premier traditional sporting camp which maintains a strong support of Maine culture for Mainers, and as I have learned through years of guiding people from all over the world, a place of equal value to them who join us for this age-old traditional experience.
My wife Judy and I were married at Bulldog Camps in 1986 and so was our daughter Jesse and her husband Andrew in 2014. Judy and I, with family and friends, have fished and hunted bear, moose, birds, coyotes, and rabbits from the camps. We have also enjoyed ATVing, bicycling, horseback riding, and relaxing in Mother Nature’s beautiful wilderness – and these days, it’s good that we don’t have to hike 10 miles to do it!