Roy Dudley’s Chimney Pond tales are great

Roy Dudley was a real Maine character who hung out at Chimney Pond just below Mount Katahdin from 1890 to 1942. And Roy was well known for his very entertaining stories, many of them focused on a very strange character called Pamola.

Pamola was a giant with wings and antlers and the illustration showing him on the front of the book, Chimney Pond Tales, is amazing. The book is a collection of Roy’s tall tales, and it has a very interesting history.

Having spent lots of time over the last 36 years at our camp on the edge of Baxter Park, I especially enjoyed this book. I actually first read it many years ago upta camp, because Roy’s stories were first published in 1991. To celebrate its more than 20 years in print, Jane Thomas and Elizabeth Hall Harmon issued this new revised edition with the help of Maine Authors Publishing.

Elizabeth’s uncle Clayton Hall originally wrote Roy’s stories. And when her Uncle Edmund Hall died, Elizabeth and her cousin Jon found all the stories in a box of papers in his North Yarmouth home. One of my all-time favorite Maine writers, Bill Caldwell, gave them a lot of good advice for editing and publishing the book, which Bill wrote about in the Portland Press Herald.

Amazingly, at the same time, Jane was writing Roy’s stories which she remembered from her many visits as a kid to Chimney Pond. Jane and Elizabeth quickly linked up to work on this book, and spent several years on it before it was first published.

I found the collection of photos of Roy, Clayton, to be very interesting. Wait to see Roy dressed up as Sukey Gildersleeves. I even recognized a photo of the very narrow gravel woods road to be the very same road we now drive to get to our camp. But thankfully the road is much wider and paved today. There is even a photo of Pamola’s cave/home.

If you love Baxter Park as we do, you will really enjoy this book, but even if you’ve never been to Baxter you will find the stories entertaining. And I’ll predict you will put Baxter Park on your list for a visit this year. If you see that amazing creature Pamola, let me know!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.