Ma (our mother, Maxine June King, maiden name McLean (1927-2010), Ricky (1948-1963), Me (Robert King Jr.(1948- ) and my brother Bruce McClean King (1946- ), in front of the backdrop of Mt. Abraham, Salem, Maine about 1952. I am sure that Dad (Robert Lee King Sr. (1926-2008) took this picture. I am so grateful for the images that my Father and his Father took. These are little glimpses of the family history that become so valuable as the decades passed and with the advent of the internet they become an archive of the family. They could not have imagined what they started by picking up those cameras back then.
My Grandparents (Dad's parents) owned the log cabin on the Lovejoy Road, just up from Rte 142 and on the left as you mount the first knoll.
As a teenager I twice climbed to the very top of Abraham on sudden notions, once I remember with Gramp's black and tan hound, Sammy. It was not with Ricky; for Ricky passed when I and the dog were 15 years of age and that was one of the saddest days of my life and still is. On one of those trips up the mountain, Sammy took off after a deer and I was concerned that I had lost him. Once it started there was no turning Sammy back. It happened near the base of the mountain, just at the toe of the slopes, in a small, open pocket, just above Clark's Field, off the end of the Lovejoy Road and to the left. It was the first time I experienced just how inconspicuous a deer can be while being right in the open. That deer was bedded in moss, right in the open and it stayed frozen in that moss bed, literally right up until my next step was going to be put right on top of it. Sammy was right next to me but neither of us detected that deer until the instant it jumped off the moss bed and took off......with Sammy in pursuit and wailing away. As I recollect that day, Sammy and I never saw each other again that morning. He was back at the cabin when I got back.
It seemed to me that when I was at the top of Mt. Abraham I had to be careful not to "cross over" onto the other side of the mountain, for I might end up finding myself in another township, north of Salem and with the mountain between us! I recall being able to look down into the village of Salem and seeing the chimney smoke rising from the wood fires in a few of the houses.
And the round trip really did not take as long as you might think. I could leave the log cabin shortly after daybreak and be back at the cabin before lunch, proudly telling Gram and Gramp that I had been to the top of the mountain!
At about 3500 feet is a plateau of solid American Basswood. Higher than that, as I approached the very top, the vegetation became super thick with very short spruce trees. I was very surprised to see a snowshoe hare that far up the mountain, in that short, thick spruce growth. From Rte142 in Salem (which is right in front of us in this image), after leaf fall and in Spring, the vertical sluiceway scar is still visible today (in 2013) from when the mountain was logged back in the late 19th century. That is easily 120 years ago and the sluiceway still shows from Rte 142! In reality the scar has long since healed and the vertical line is the change in vegetation that is showing, i.e. in the sluiceway scar it is pure hardwood while the surrounding mountain is the darker softwood/hardwood mix.
The sluiceway was a log-lined trough straight down a very steep slope and onto a plateau below. You can go there now and see the trough; the logs are long since rotted away. I had and image of Dad and I at the top of the sluice, looking straight down the trough. But it was lost in divorce, like many other images I had. Here is a Wiki link to read about Mt. Abraham:
In that link there is an account of a USAF jet crashing up on the mountain back in 1967. My cousin Kerry King found the ejection seat from that crash when we were way up on the mountain bear hunting in the late 70's. My point? We spent a lot of time on Mt. Abraham.
My days in Salem became the happiest of my entire life.....by far! Of course I was a teenager at the time and was unmarried and could roam those woods wherever I wanted, and Gramp would never question me at all. Those days even surpassed the joy of traversing most of the North Maine Woods while working for Maine Fish and Game back in the 70's. I absolutely loved my "short life" in Salem with Gram and Gramp. Little did I realize that when I got married..........all of that would end.
Robert Lee King Jr.