Monday, December 14, 2015

Around Mountainville & Stinson Neck


From the window, we look down across a hillside meadow, over a screen of shore side trees, and on out to a stretch of water and islands: the west end of Eggemoggin Reach. But just beyond those trees, maybe a couple hundred yards from shore, lies a ledge that, at high tide is probably not much larger than most living rooms, furnished with a collection of erratic boulders that gleam with light particular to the angle of the sun. When the sun comes up they burn with a rosy orange glow, cooling to gray and white tones as the light turns stark. It’s funny how, despite the breadth of the view, my eyes are so often drawn to those rocks. It’s a bit like how some art grabs you and some doesn’t. or why you want to look into some people’s eyes more than others; you find a thereness that makes your eyes want to linger.

We paddled past those rocks, Barb, Rebecca and I, as we started a route that would circle Stinson Neck and Mountainville; a longer paddle than any of us had done in awhile. Lately Rebecca and I had been getting out mostly for one or two, maybe three hours- what we could fit-in at the day’s end, after our work, usually returning after dark.


But Saturday promised to be a little warmer – in the high forties – and we decided to take a day off and make the most of it. Barb joined us and off we went, paddling against a little wind as we followed the shores of Bear and Campbell Islands. Both islands are open to the public and free from development, with boulder-strewn granite ledge shores. Campbell is for sale and we fantasized about buying it- preserving the MITA campsites and public access, of course… but a yurt inland of one of those little coves would sure be a nice spot to hang-out for the summer.

That’s become a bit of a joke. We look around and comment about what a nice place it is, and then “Yeah, I bet it would be really nice in the summer.” We’ve been saying this for a few winters now. It not that it isn’t nice in the winter. It’s just, gee, wouldn’t it be nice to have this leisure time when it's a little warmer and we could stretch out on those rocks or that beach without developing hypothermia.

We paddled up to the head of Greenlaw Cove at high tide and carried over to Long Cove, where we explored a pretty little inlet that we often drive past. A black plastic culvert pipe led beneath the road, and naturally I headed right for it and went in. 

I got about half-way through before my hull started dragging, and I backed-out. Maybe we’d had enough pretty scenery and needed a challenge.

We caught the current draining out of Long Cove, out through Brays Narrows and into Southeast Harbor. We ate our lunch on Polypod Island and followed the granite shore around the Tennis Preserve - both IHT properties – and wound our way through the Freese Islands.

The west wind gave us a spirited push along Stinson Neck’s southwest shore, past the Haystack School of Crafts and on out to the Lazygut Islands. We stopped for a cup of tea and admired the scenery. Rimmed with steep, sculpted granite, the Lazyguts are a chain of islands, three of them connected at lower tides by sandbars, with boulders and ledges littering the nearby shallows- fun places to meander through, and exposed enough to get a bit splashy when seas are running. 

We don’t get there much when we’re launching from Stonington, usually drawn out to the archipelago instead, but from Stinson Neck, they’re an obvious destination. It’s worth mentioning that both Lazygut and Little Lazygut are private, with houses on them, but one of the Thrumcaps is (in 2015) accessible to MITA members. As far as we’re concerned right now though, one of the best things about these islands is that they’re less than an hour’s paddle from home. We arrived back just before sunset.

Thanks to Rebecca Daugherty for the photos.

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