Cupsuptic Campground

With an unseasonably warm October finally giving way to frost, I knew that I would have one last weekend to enjoy the Little Guy before the nights became cold enough to freeze it up. I found a campground still open near Rangeley, Maine, with the added bonus of a golf course still open nearby. And so it is that I find myself at Cupsuptic Campground on beautiful Cupsuptic Lake in the western mountains of Maine.

And I am pushing my luck — this morning the temperature was 37*F when I made it out to the truck, and tonight is forecast to go down below freezing. I am told (and I hope that whoever said it knew what they were talking about!) that a camper’s water systems can tolerate a night of freezing temperatures without taking special measures, so long as the thermometer goes back above freezing in the daytime. I have not connected the water hoses to the campground water supply, and so am using the onboard tank for fresh water; I will keep the cupboard and bathroom doors open tonight so the warm air from the propane furnace can circulate. As I write, with the temperature a balmy 41*F outside, I am using my (highly recommended!) Mr. Heater Buddy portable propane heater with a small Coleman propane can, so as to save the Little Guy’s propane tank for tonight when it’s really cold. With it set on low, my Buddy has the camper at 63*F and warming, so things are at the moment very comfortable. I unmade the bed to avoid setting the blankets on fire!

Rangeley itself is a quaint and lovely small town on the shore of beautiful Rangeley Lake. A Mecca for fishermen, the town has been revived by the recent purchase and re-opening of nearby Saddleback Mountain, one of the biggest and best ski areas in Maine. A true four-season resort town, Rangeley hosts canoeists, campers and fishermen spring through fall, and skiers and snowmobilers in the winter — so there’s never a bad time to come to Rangeley.

Nearby Cupsuptic Lake has long been one of my favorites. In actuality the northern bay of much larger Mooselookmeguntic Lake to the south, Cupsuptic is both remote and largely undeveloped. The campground is on a peninsula at the northern end of the lake, accessible on ME-16 between lovely Oquossoc, Maine and Errol, New Hampshire. Here’s a photo of beautiful Haines Landing, just north of Oquossoc:

The campground is best described from its website:

In 2006 Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust purchased 125 acres of land including over 2 miles of frontage on Cupsuptic Lake with generous support from its membership and the Land For Maine’s Future program. In October 2010 RLHT took over the management of Cupsuptic Campground which was a part of that acquisition. We re-named our campground…Cupsuptic Lake Park and Campground. Major improvements have been made to the campground including a brand new state of the art bath house facility (2011), a completely remodeled camp store and welcome center (2011) and new last season; a state of the art pavilion with fireplace and we installed full sewer hook-ups on 26 RV sites . We added all new picnic tables, fire pits and underground utilities (2011). Significant grant funding and design services from the PARC Foundation have contributed to this effort. The campground has received an extensive make over with great effort made to ensure that you and your family have the best camping experience possible! The Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust is proud to share this 65 site waterfront campground with our guests.

As a result, the campground is modern and attractive, with its sites adequately spaced (although not really “private”).

I was fortunate to snag a full hook-up campsite in view of the lake. Here’s the view out my front window:

Here is a photo of the pavilion, which would be a great place for a group cookout:

The very helpful and enthusiastic campground host told me that the lake is drawn down a foot each month after ice-out, so that the winter snowmelt will not create floods when it melts in the spring. As a result the gently-sloping beach in front of my campsite extends well out into the lake, making it evident that this would be an outstanding spot to bring young children to swim.

One of the interesting features of the campground is these fully-furnished tents available for rent. The back part of the tent is supplied with sleeping cots, while the entrance is a kitchen. I can’t believe that people are staying in them tonight given the freezing forecast, but that is in fact the case.

In summary, Cupsuptic Campground is modern and attractive, with amenities (including a beautiful new bath/shower house) which make it well worth the drive here. In fact, having now visited once, I plan to bring the family here next summer for an extended stay.

Lakeshore gathering place

So what could possibly spoil my lakeside October idyll? I was awakened at midnight by a phone call from the company which provides my home security, telling me that the motion sensor in the kitchen had been tripped and a break-in was in progress. They told me they would contact the police and get back to me once they had more information. I therefore spent a sleepless night wondering what I would find when I got home, and wondering whether I should abort the planned weekend and head home first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, the security company did not call me back, so I finally phoned them early today to be told that the police had visited the house and found it secure. Not satisfied, I texted Miguel, who graciously agreed to drive out to the place and check it out. He soon reported that all was well, so I decided to complete my stay here as planned.

Consequently, I took the opportunity for a leisurely breakfast (to give the greens time to thaw) and then drove the fifteen miles to Evergreen Golf Club in nearby Rangeley. I found this course to be both lovely and odd, and cannot decide how I feel about it. On the one hand, this nine-hole course is possessed of gorgeous views (much like Rangeley itself, with mountain vistas stretching from every hilltop), as it is built in such a way that the holes traverse down across a hillside, giving you beautiful mountain scenery from every hole.

But the course is set up very strangely, with long walks (sometimes across adjacent fairways) between the greens and the next tees. Making matters worse for me, as I approached the second tee a guy drove up in a golf cart with a screwdriver and took down the tee marker sign, adding it to all the rest of them in his cart — the result being that I had no idea where I was going and whether I was on the correct tee box (I actually played the fourth hole twice, mistaking it for the ninth!). And strangest of all is the ninth hole, which climbs 165 feet to recover ALL of the altitude lost on the previous eight holes! I regret that my phone died before I could take a photo of the view from the ninth green, which is truly spectacular. Apparently the designer/owner first built two holes for golf instruction, and then (randomly, in my view) added the rest wherever he could fit them in. The course is in great shape with excellent greens, but there is also an extreme amount of ditching around the course, with the result that many greens, and almost all of the holes, have obtrusive drainage ditches around (or across) them — annoying ball traps which add unnecessary strokes to your score. So, a beautiful course with fabulous scenery but of questionable design — that’s my take on Evergreen Golf Club. That said, I would not hesitate to play here again as it was certainly worth the money; I got the “twilight” rate owing to the lateness of the season, and played eighteen holes for just $20. If I had a week to spend in the Rangeley area, I would certainly play here again.

So, I am hoping that my home is secure, my propane holds out and my camper doesn’t freeze, so that tomorrow morning I can dump the tanks and head for home. I suspect that this will be the last post of 2021, unless I can manage a late-season scooter trip somewhere — but the Little Guy will be winterized next week, washed and cleaned, and covered to await the coming snow. I hope you have enjoyed following my “adventures” and I thank you sincerely for your interest and support.

a frosty fire

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