Making it count

Summer vacation is screaming an end. School starts on Friday for William, and many other kids in the area. It seems to me school never started until after Labor Day back in the 70’s, and 80’s.

We have been doing all we could this summer to make sure William has had a memorable vacation. He is a country kid. His nearest school buddies are more than 2 miles away. There are no kids his age on our road. We are a 1 car family, and my wife Jen, does live in shifts for her job as a direct support professional, so William and I are home alone from Thursday until Saturday afternoon, and sometimes Sunday morning.

This summer has gone by in a blur! We started with a scenic plane ride along the Kennebec River in Bath, then William spent a week at Fairhaven camp in Brooks. We’ve spent sunny days at Sebasticook Lake, and have taken road trips to the coast for mackerel fishing, and icy dips…I fished for mackerel, William swam, and caught little green crabs. We spent opening day at The Bangor State Fair, and last week we took a trip to Brunswick to camp out over night to get an early start at Splastown USA in Saco.

Monday was a trip to Small’s Falls up in Mercer. When we left Stetson, it was rainy, and super muggy, but up toward Wilton the weather cleared, and the sun came out. There were very few bugs when we reached the falls, and we had a great time playing in the deep pools at each level of the falls. Jen and William swam, I stayed on the rocks and watched.  Between each level of the falls we feasted on teaberries, and wild blueberries that grew in abundance along the trail.  I was amazed that there were so many!  Nobody else even seemed to notice they were there…I guess when you are a big dude like me, you take the time to notice your surroundings… ESPECIALLY when you are walking along trails with gnarled roots, and wet slippery rocks!

At one point I caught something out of the corner of my eye, and saw somebody leap from a cliff to the deep hole below! I had NO idea how deep the water was there, and somebody obviously thought such stunts could be dangerous, because there was a fence along the entire edge of that portion of the falls.

I shouted to the woman who was at the fence with a terrified smile on her face…”HOLY COW! Is he still alive???” I needn’t have asked! Because the young man was scaling the nearly sheer embankment like it wasn’t there!

I went over to meet this daredevil. Turns out he came home from Colorado to spend some time with his mom, who was the lady with the terrified smile. He had made this jump before with some friends in a younger day, he had wanted to do it when he was 17, and his mom forbade it, so like the well mannered young man he appeared to be, he waited until he was 18, and living on his own.

As he told me stories of his friend’s attempts that had not been as graceful as the one he had just pulled off, I made it a point to tell my 10 year old he better not even CONSIDER a stunt like that until he is own his own, and even then, I didn’t want to know about it!

“Mark B” if you are reading this, be safe in your adventures, and have a safe journey back home to Colorado! Thanks for making an already memorable trip to the falls, even MORE exciting! Now stop scaring you poor mother!


The pool where “Mark B” made his dive…Trust me, it is bigger than it looks! (Photo credit Jen Alley)


Jen and William enjoying the icy waters of Small’s Falls

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Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.