This is day 16, the 15th day during which I've been reminded I should maintain a blog of this adventure. This, then, now that Elaine has done the mechanics of setting it up, is the beginning.
PHOTOS ARE ZOOMABLE.
I undertook this journey because, as an obssessive, marginally compulsive person, the idea of walking around the island, ending on any given day at one point and beginning precisely there again the next time was irresistable. Having begun it though I've enjoyed discovering, again and again, these new perspectives of my island every time I clamber over a boulder or round a peninsula. I've seen Vinalhaven from the inside out nearly all my life. I am now seeing it from the outside in.
The walks are not daily events. Day one was on October 6, 2009; today is December 30.
Neither have they been particularly arduous. Each is between two and three hours. Most of the walk is done right on the shore, below the high tide mark although now and then, when terrain renders that route impassible, I take to the woods but stay as close to the shore as is possible. More often than not I find a convenient animal trail right at that area of transition although I sometimes have to crawl along on my hands and knees because the clear path only extends up to about four feet, the height of a deer, one bent a little to avoid getting its antlers tangled in overgrowth. The trail pictured is through a rare open area and is not as close to the shore as is usual but the trail is clear and distinctive.
Today's leg, number 16, was from Hall Island, where it connects (at low tide) to Conway Point (it will come as no surprise to islanders I found Conways there - working on the Rhinelander house), then eastward through Leadbetter Narrows and around the point to the entrance to Crockett River. The peninsula is now traversed by nicely maintained footpaths, each path marked by flotsham buoys, their spindles stuck in the ground. When I was a kid my grandparents worked for the Rhinelanders, a very gracious bunch who included my brother and I and a lot of other island kids in summer games and activities. The first memory I have of digging clams is as maybe a ten year old on these flats in front of their boathouse with the Rhinelander kids. Often there'd be string laboriously threaded through the trees all over the point leading and intentionally exhausting us all on wild treasure hunts just before dark.
I should get this bit of business done with right away; perhaps it will keep me from obssessing over it. There is more trash on the shore and in the woods near the shore than I would have thought possible. After 16 days of being overwhelmed by it I came across this tiny nook, maybe twenty five feet wide. The arrangement of rubbish gathered so perfectly by the driftwood was startlingly, well, beautiful. It is, however, a singular exception.
Vinalhaven does have beaches, lovely beaches. They'll probably never attract a boardwalk and I doubt you'll be able to get a Margarita nearby but don't let anyone tell you we don't have beaches. I could easily imagine three, maybe four, sun worshippers snuggling into this lovely, inviting and secluded oasis. This is one of several I've visited so far. The last, an expanse of perfect red sand about the same size, was on Hall Island looking out at Fiddlehead and, beyond, to Wharff Quarry.
The windmills have been visible more often than not on each day of this journey. This view is from Leadbetter Narrows.
I took my first fall today, the first of any consequence. Not bad, a little bruise, but here is a sweet vertical version of that which, lying beneath the seaweed, upended me.
Leg 17, expected to get underway next week will take me north along the eastern shore of Crocket River.