The things you find in the woods, Part 1

You never know what you’re going to find in the Maine woods. Most of the time, that’s a good thing. Sometimes, it’s downright depressing.

It doesn’t take much to keep me entertained on those frequent trips afield. Spying various critters is always a highlight. So, too, is finding a path I was formerly unaware of, and following it to find out where it leads. Even the massive boulders that were dropped deep in the woods by the receding glacier thousands of years ago can be worth a second glance.

Unfortunately, there’s plenty of other stuff out there, too. Many of our neighbors don’t look at the woods as a resource, or a playground. Instead, they choose to treat the woods (which are owned by someone else, by the way) as their personal town dump.

Chair in the woods

On a recent hunting trip, I happened upon this recliner, which someone decided to discard off a woods road several years ago.

Why several years ago? How do I know?

Well, my hunting buddy and I first spotted the chair three or four autumns ago. We fumed about the fact that some slob had left it there, and had we been driving pickup trucks, we would have loaded it up and hauled it to our own town transfer station as a show of good will toward the landowner, who allows open recreational access to guys like us.

We didn’t have pickups. And we didn’t pick up the chair. But a few weeks — or maybe it was the next year — the chair was gone. I felt good about that, and figured someone who shared our frustration did stop, was driving a pickup, and had hauled the chair away.

This year, I found out differently.

While hunting a ridge not far from my tree stand, I spotted the chair not far from where it had originally been dumped. It had been dragged away from the road, placed at the top of the ridge with an expansive view of the hillside, and — this is presumption on my part — was used by at least one hunter as a comfy seat from which to wait for deer.

The area is full of deer sign, and the spot the chair now sits would be a pretty good place for a hunter to set up shop.

An indoor piece of furniture sitting on a seldom-traveled wooded hillside was certainly odd, and I couldn’t resist snapping a photo that I thought serves as an apt illustration of the rampant illegal dumping of household goods in Maine’s forests.

The problem is so bad, in fact, that it’s one of the biggest threats to our continued free access to land owned by others.

And one of these days (if I even wind up buying a pickup), I look forward to finally hauling that chair to the real dump, where it belongs. I’ve spent so many enjoyable hours in that piece of woods, after all, I figure it’s the least I can do.






John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.