In which we meet adventure and Julie ponders imminent death.
Part 2 of Penobscot Bay, Maine, kayak-camping trip. Part 1 is here.
In 1614, when Virginia colonist Captain John Smith traveled up the Maine coast, he wrote of the Penobscot Islands: “It is a countrie to affright rather than delight one. And how to describe more plaine spectacle of desolation or more barren I knowe not.” To make them attractive to potential English settlers, Smith gave the islands English names. (For example, “Pond,” our Day 1 camp destination…pleasantly vague and admittedly cheerier than “Rock-Strewn Salt Marsh.”)
Below, alle packed up and under waye. Hen, Nick, and State of Maine (the training ship of the Maine Maritime Academy) beside the hardworking docks of Castine.
At midday, we skirted the east side of Nautilus Island (good one, Captain!) and stopped to make lunch at Holbrook Island. Below: Thistles, berries, and delightful colors of September.
Relaunching, we headed to the reversing falls of Goose Pond. Fun… except for those dark clouds over there, which in about 30 seconds were over here—rain, wind gusts, hail and all. Proof that Maine’s weather can change very quickly.
We hunkered down and held our positions (and hats). Ten minutes later, the squall passed, leaving us cold and glad we’d ponied up for that pricey Kokatat storm cag. Next stop, Cape Rosier (Brooksville), by way of quartering and following seas. We arrived at low tide. Below: Nick, Karen (the Maine native, barefoot) and Julie.
Clambering up slippery rocks, we found ourselves at The Good Life Center. Its mission: To perpetuate the philosophies and lifeways of Helen and Scott Nearing, two of America’s most inspirational practitioners of simple, frugal and purposeful living.
Building on the Nearing legacy, The Good Life Center encourages and supports individual and collective efforts to live sustainably. Guided by the principles of kindness, respect and compassion in relationships with natural and human communities, The Good Life Center promotes active participation in the advancement of social justice, creative integration of the life of the mind, body and spirit, and deliberate choice in living responsibly and harmoniously.
Which way to the yurt? (You know there’s a yurt!) We already look like spacefolk in our drysuits… coming out of this thing, it’s totally “take me to your leader.”
Time to make tracks to Pond Island, our first night’s camp. We launched into a silvery afternoon that turned wonderfully golden.
Pond Island. Aptly named, as the tide rises to create a pond in the center of the island.
We pitched our tents on higher ground, under a grove of trees.
The moon kept us company.
Dinnertime! We set up our campstove on the other side of the island—tens of feet, actually—from our tents. A rather stark (and delicious) contrast to yesterday’s B&B.
Back in our tents, we settled in for the night. Air temps c. 40F (water mid-50s)… and windy. VERY windy! Those who’d set up camp under a grove of pines experienced an “earthquake” — trees shaking to the roots, the earth beneath them humming like a harmonica. Julie (from Alaska) lay wide awake, waiting for the inevitable tsunami. “At least we won’t suffer for long,” she consoled herself… Several feet away, we 2geeks shivered, snuggling to keep warm. And far, far away, Captain John Smith was laughing his foole heade off.