A Review By Bill Bushnell As Seen On CentralMaine.com:
Mainers love to write memoirs about their lives, work, hobbies and careers. Most are pretty ordinary, some are quite interesting and a few are even extraordinary. Jake Morrel’s is one of those last few.
“Hardscrabble Lodge” is Morrel’s very entertaining memoir of his career as a commercial floatplane pilot and owner of the Hardscrabble Lodge, a hunting and fishing sporting camp on Spencer Lake in the remote wilderness of northern Maine.
Early chapters describe Morrel’s exciting job flying a floatplane for Folsom’s Air Service in Greenville, ferrying hunters and fishermen to remote lakes and ponds, flying in supplies to sporting camps and flying rescues of the injured, the sick and the stupid long before the days of the LifeFlight helicopters.
Later chapters vividly tell how he and his wife, Beth, bought a rundown sport camp, rebuilt it themselves, and opened the Hardscrabble Lodge. She cooked and ran the business, he maintained the lodge and cabins, guided the sports and flew his floatplane.
In “Plane Lift-Off,” he tells of bush flying in all types of weather, in all four seasons, with floats or skis on his plane. In “A Floatplane Can Transport Anything,” he describes how he figured out how his floatplane could haul food, building materials, refrigerators, even dead bodies.
In the fascinating chapter “Scientists Like to Look Down,” Morrel tells of charters carrying scientists, geologists and foresters on scientific flights to check wildlife surveys (eagles, ducks, deer), as well as changes in forest growth and signs of insect infestation.
Other stories include how a guest’s St. Bernard dog discovered a forest fire, how he caught two propane thieves in a tense woodland confrontation, and how every Sunday he had to teach novice sportsmen basic firearm safety and land navigation.
Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell. To read the original review (as well as other reviews by Bill go to: http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/03/16/bushnell-on-books-head-of-falls-and-hardscrabble-lodge/