Wednesday, December 26, 2012


We've continued to explore the northern end of Penobscot Bay. One day we launched in Orland and paddled-up the Narramissic River. We carried our boats around a small dam and kept going, on into Alamoosook Lake, where ice covered the outlet of the Dead River. Great Pond Mountain rose in the background- hinting at the surrounding 4300 acres of the Great Pond Mountain Wildlands.

On another day I launched in Bucksport, following the Eastern Channel down to the Orland River, then up to Orland, connecting the dots from previous trips.

This connecting the dots is weirdly obsessive, but it is satisfying to return again and again and understand the place a bit more each time. At home in Stonington, we mostly just walked- on days when it was too cold or windy to paddle.

That's Dow Ledges (above)- just a stroll beyond our usual walking route on Indian Point. In the summer, I often pause there when I'm guiding, just before we cross over to Russ Island. On 99% of those trips, someone probably asks what it's like in the winter. Well, there it is.

I took another trip around Verona Island. Maybe I'm hoping to get it just right, with the current pushing me the whole way. Not this time; I paddled up the Eastern Channel against the current as the water turned shallow, dipping my paddle tips in the mud as I searched for deep water. Deconstruction on the old bridge continues.

It can be a lot of driving around, but I enjoy getting back in the car, warming my hands on a cup of Circle K coffee from the Irving station in Bucksport, and listening to tunes as I follow winding roads home, catching glimpses of the places I paddled, or perhaps noticing spots I haven't been yet.

But all that driving took its toll on our car. Actually, it's probably just from living right beside the ocean, parking where we get a lot of salt. It became a crisis last week, and we had to replace the old car. High on priorities was the kayak-hauling potential- and I like to sit in the open hatch to get my gear on and off. So last week, on a gorgeous thirty-ish day with fresh snow on the spruces- we went car shopping.  That shot below is a self-portrait, driving off the island when I still figured the car had a few more (thousand) miles to go.

Aside from squeezing-in a few paddles between a couple weeks of visiting family, I did manage to join the Island Heritage Trust's trail-building crew for a morning on the new Backbone Trail. We've almost made it to George's Pond. It skirts the inner reaches of Holt Pond- so this is actually providing public access you can get to in a kayak. And for me it also just adds to that obsession of connecting all these dots, adding to the big atlas in my head.


Caroline said...

I've been seriously thinking that is was time for another paddling post from you. This was good - I like connecting the dots, too. The self-portrait is cool - you got it just right.

PenobscotPaddles said...

Let me know if you solve the mystery of a free ride around Verona. I think the backside fills from the top and bottom. Probably the best bet is to do the backside first, starting mid ebbing tide, then ride up the narrows. But much more Fujitsu to stick to the narrows side!

PenobscotPaddles said...

"Fujitsu" should be " fun just to".

Michael Daugherty said...

I prefer "Fujitsu." Sounds to me like some sort of kayaking route feng-shui. I think your strategy is indeed, very Fujitsu. I'll keep you posted...