Friday, February 25, 2011

Leg 49, from Vinal Falls to the Trotting Park

For twenty six years, ever since we rented a houseboat on Lake Erie, I have been fixated on the little lagoon that forms between this little island and the east shore of Vinal Falls inlet, just off Leo Lane's camp. Every time I drive by and look out there at that spot I remind whoever is with me that I'd like to put a houseboat there. Some have heard that enough. I should just do it.

Walking south I cover a lot of shore that parallels the North Haven Road. It's sometimes a few hundred feet between the two, often much less and has always been thus. Still it's all new to me. I see summer houses I never knew existed. How can that be? Just offshore is Penobscot Island. I think I can walk out there on ice cakes at low tide. I'm looking foreard to it.

It didn't look like Spring underfoot and it wasn't apparent that the snow was doing anything but piling up but it certainly sounded otherwise. This brook and others like it were fully occupied and the primary source was melting snow.

The Boondoggle Culvert invited me to crawl through but I thought better of it, too deep, and went up and over. I shed my vest and hat and left them on the bridge. I'd been struggling to stay upright and, while avoided falling overboard had overheated.

It was easy going out on the Inlet which was nearly empty of water but covered with a fairly level field of ice. I walked comfortably, hatless and without a coat even though it was way below freezing.

These streams, draining the wetland between the Trotting Park and Carver's Pond, were as busy as the one's I'd come across in the woods but all the action was under the ice.

The great Boondoggle orchestrated by the Corps of Engineers
has swallowed up a lot of shoreland. Healthy trees that once were a barrier between homes on Vinal Cove Inlet and the water are now skeletal sticks. Still, some argue persuasively that the goal of re-creating an environment where a good exchange of water tiwce has made for better conditions overall.

Next Let, #50, from the Trotting park to Penobscot Island.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Leg 48, from the mouth of the Privilege to Vinal Falls.
I was eager to get off Calderwood Neck, not because I didn't enjoy it; I certainly did, but because there are spots along this journey that feel like milestones, important junctures. The first was Brown's Head when, as I rounded the point, Dogfish & the White Islands disappeared, not to be seen again for another year or so, and North Haven came into view.
The next was Hopkins Point because it marked the end of the Thorofare proper.

The third was the Carrying Place Bridge simply because it meant I was leaving Vinalhaven Island for a while. The fourth was Calderwood Point and the emergence of the beautiful seascape that introduces Stonington.

Starboard Rock was the fifth just because it is what it is and the last was the Carrying Place Bridge again because it marked my return to Vinalhaven Island. Of course the bridge was a heartbreaking disappointment on this, its southern side, just as its northern facade was such a shock a few months ago. The thought that we could have done such a thing to this invaluable piece of craftsmanship is, if nothing else, a reminder that we must be mindful of what remains of our heritage going forward.

The Ospreys are still maintaining the home they built for themselves decades ago at the top of the derrick at the old Vinal Quarry. A leftover piece of machinery gives their homestead a nicely landscaped look.

I took a couple of exciting falls along here, sliding down an ice covered ledge and into a couple feet of cold water. I always go when the tide is nearly low but still receding. Tht gives my rescuers the maximum time to retrieve my remains if I get seriously fetched up along the way.

This will be a familliar vehicle to some of us.

Next leg,, 49, from Vinal Falls to that place where Vinalhaven comes closest to being divided in two by water- the Old Trotting Park.