Crystal Lake and Manning Lake

"Back Porch Tales"

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"Back Porch Tales" was written by Karl M. Frost with some assistance by Evelyn M. Ellingson in 1974. Mr. Frost summered on Crystal Lake all of his life before moving there upon his retirement. Many of the vignettes in this fascinating little book are about Crystal Lake some of which are repeated below....ENJOY!!!!

Come Fish in a Canoe
by K. M. Frost
"A neighboring kid went with me on a fishing trip down the river. We used the family canoe which at this point leaded badly, but being in our bathing suits and both good swimmers, we couldn't care less. Our luck was excellent for a change and we caught several bass, plus white and red perch. Just for ducks, we unhooked the fish from our lines as we caught them and let them loose to swim in the water in our canoe, By this time it was nearly gunwale high. As we paddled home we passed the Pines Hotel and decided to give the guests a thrill. We paddled into the hotel pier and called up to those on the piazza to come and see the fish. Many had tried fishing without any luck and when they saw fifteen to eighteen big bass and pickerel swimming in our canoe, their eyes nearly popped out of their heads. Answering their many questions, we gave them a story about the river being so full of fish they just about jumped into the canoe. Guess it was a sight to see so many fish swimming back and forth alive. A little kid took one look, ran up to the hotel, got his fish pole and wate to catch our fish out of our canoe. We later cleaned the fish and sold them to the hotel."

"A Caveman's Story"
by K M Frost
"Another time six of of kids climbed Mt. Belknap to sleep out. As we climbed it started to rain and kept getting worse. We reached the top and ate our supper in the rain. We thought of going to sleep as we were dead tired after eight miles to the Mt. and a long hard climb over the ledges. We had blankets but nowhere to put them where it was dry. My five friends went down to the tree line and slept under trees. I thought I was lucky when in the darkness I found a cave. I threw my blankets in and found it quite dry and comfortable, In the morning, when my friends came back to the summit, the rain had stopped and I was starting a fire. They took one look at me and started to laugh. It seems I had crawled into someone's old fire and I was covered with black soot from head to toe. At least I was dry - they and their blankets were soaked through. Breakfast of fried bacon and eggs never tasted so good. the beautiful sunrise alone was worth all the trouble we had been through."
 
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"Off to the Party"
by K. M. Frost
"A big party at the Crystal Lake Pines Hotel was being held. My mother and a lady house guest were invited. I wass elected to paddle the ladies to the party. It was dark, no moon at all, and I mean it was dark. The lights from the hotel threw shadows on the shore. I thought we had reached the hotel landing - what a mistake that was. I told the ladies to step out. I should have looked more carefully. It turned out we were still fifty or so feet from the shore in deep water. Well, as you have guessed, the canoe tipped over and threw us all out, the ladies in their fancy clothes. The lady guest could not swim a stroke which wasn't any help, so I had to grab her and tow her ashore amid much vocal concern on her part. My mother was no problem - she could swim like a duck. She could also blast me out pretty good and did as she and the guest walked home via the beach. That's the last time either of them ever went out in a canoe with me. I wonder why women make much to do over minor things like that?"

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SPEAKING of HORSES
by K. M. Frost
"A friend of my Father's wanted to know if we would like to have a nice American Express horse for a couple of months in the summer. Our answer was yes. Seems the company wanted to rest him. They shipped him up to Alton in a box car and we drove over and got him and tied him, by halter, to the back of our wagon. He was loads of fun, very good natured, loved to swim in the lake, roll in the sand and play tricks on me. One was, I would go into his stall and he would swell up his stomach pressing me tight against the wall. He thought it was great fun to hear me squeal. Another trick he had was when I was feeding him and bent over putting in his pail of oats, corn, etc. he would nip my hair. (I had hair back then.) While swimming he would let me climb up on his back and dive off. We were sorry when his vacation was over and we had to send him back."

.....TO BE CONTINUED.....

Crystal Lake and Manning Lake are located in the foothills of the Belknap Mountains in beautiful Gilmanton Iron Works

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