It was the first sunny, clear day we’d had in who knows how long, and I was spending it at my desk at work. I kept thinking “I should get out in the kayak,” but things kept coming up and the day went by like they all do, with me wondering where all the time went. At lunch though, I picked up the mail and found my new 2011 Maine Island Trail Association guide. I had put off renewing my membership... since it required money that I hardly had, but I knew it was worth it.
My trip in the Keys helped me appreciate the importance of MITA. Florida is developing The Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, but it is far from a reality. I camped in some not-so-legit spots, and at one I had to clear away the garbage to make room for my tent. And then I wasn’t so sure the surf at high tide wouldn’t force me to climb a mangrove tree to stay dry.
I flipped through the guide book without any expectation of discovering anything new. But there in the Deer Isle section I discovered two additions: small islands, each with a campsite. One is state-owned, one on private land. I won’t divulge their location- you’ll have to get your MITA membership- after all, that’s what makes it possible. In Florida I would have gladly paid the membership price for a couple of dependable places to camp, especially out on some pristine island.
At the end of the day, I rounded-up my gear and headed-out to the nearest new island. I arrived near sunset and set-up my tent in the trees, just above an expanse of granite ledge. I cooked my dinner as the sky grew dark, and watched the lights of Stonington turn bright as I ate. On a distant shore, a campfire flared-up. The air was cool and clear, but it felt like someone had flipped the switch from winter to summer.
In the morning, since I was already out there, I would have a whole other adventure as the fog rolled back in. For the moment though, it was enough to be out on this island. If I’d stayed at home, the evening would have gone predictably enough- probably dominated by a screen with images, words and sound, connecting me to the rest of the world to the point of not knowing where to focus. Instead, I had taken just a small step away- enough for a fresh perspective. Our town looked small and festive against the night. I watched the stars and listened to the waves lap against the granite.
My other living room is a MITA island.