Saturday, October 23, 2010

Partridge Island


[August 2o1o]

morning came in just about as soggy as the evening did, once again the tent is packed away wet. last night's sleep was amazing. finally a cozy flat spot covered in moss, and no hurry to pack our gear away to avoid being seen. while shawn reorganizes his pack, i mosey around the site zip lock baggy in hand, collecting super tasty ripe blueberries for our trek.

last night's feast scored us a filling left-over breakfast of potato skins and onion rings to eat with our fruits. we come across a perfect spot in the town center to re-feast. a man in suit and tie takes a moment from his morning to come and talk us up about our travels. he gives us pointers on where to camp for the evening, and reassures that no one will bother us.

what a friendly place. everyone we have met here so far in Parrsboro is so relaxed, so happy. everyone is eager to hear our story and share theirs, and so willing to help out a couple of perfect strangers. we feel perfectly at home.

we're still pretty stocked up for food, and now have blueberries to go with our gooseberries and oatmeal. we hit up the info center to grab a town map and some info on the tides, where we are further bombarded with friendliness and helpful people. our interest this evening lies in camping out on partridge island. we're warned not to climb down the slippery cliffs of course, and reminded of how quickly the tide turns around.

finally, the sun! the weather turns for the better and we finally get to dry out on our journey to the island. we follow the signs to the Ottawa house, the next stop before we set out to the trail head. about mid way on our walk we come across the rock and fossil museum/ gift shop. this store, the town and the entire area is like a dream come true to anyone who loves rocks and fossils and minerals. there's a little bit of just about everything to be found. the world's smallest in tact fossilized dinosaur footprint was found here not too long ago.

The Ottawa House, now a museum, is a goldmine of historical artifacts and information outlining the birth of our country. we find a photo on the wall of Conrad, the historian that gave us a lift into town. each room has a different collection, one for early technology like the telephone, a room that was made into a classroom, one for different tools you would use to build a ship, and so on. we pay our respects, leave a donation and move on.

between the Ottawa House and Partridge island is a long stretch of smooth pebble beach. we put our packs down on a rock close to the water, and follow the tide outward to the sea. the water is constantly flowing past us between the rocks as it quickly leaches out of the ground and back into the bay. every time the tide goes out, the beach is never the same. the placement of each tiny rock influences the water flow, we make a game out of channeling the flow in different directions, building tiny dams to watch the ocean's force slowly wear them away.

before long we turn around and realize we're almost a hundred feet away from where we put our packs down. the tide's retreat was gradual, yet quick enough for us to wander far from where we started. we stand in awe of the ocean's power, and burn a herbal session in the sun. what a beautiful day.

a smallish strip of gravel connects the island to the mainland, the ocean on one side, and salt water wetlands on the other. as we approach the trail head on the island, we notice the fog rolling off the land across the bay. it looks like a giant cloud waterfall that goes on forever along the horizon. beautiful, i can't get enough of the sight.
the sign at the trail head warns that the path is only for seasoned hikers, though short it is a challenging ascent. we're thrilled to have made it here well before sunset, we have plenty of time to enjoy the climb. just over half way up the hill is a 'second wind' bench and lookout. a clear break in the trees reveals a spectacular view of the bay, and the Ottawa House back down on the beach. it really puts into perspective how far we have come today on foot, and how far we make it very day.

the main trail skirts along the outside edge of the island, but we find that there are many paths to follow, some more challenging and overgrown than the others. our minds revert to video game mode, opening up all the areas on the map starting with paths on the left, and working our way around. lots of wild food, berries and even peas to be found, and more amazing views.

a wooden rail leads us out of the trees and to the lookout, we have arrived at the other side of the island. good timing too, we've worked up quite an appetite after a solid day of wandering. we bust out the camp stove, some uncle ben's rice mix and the snacks. behind the lookout is a picnic table, a nice concrete fire pit, and a pile of scrap wood. behind that is a flattened out spot in a patch of long grass, just big enough for one tent. we discover a classic outhouse adorned with the crescent moon... but we prefer the cat-hole method over the toilet turned spider nest.

wet wood. of course the wood is wet, everything is wet out here, all the time. hence the moss all over everything. persistence pays off, after stacking and smoking the soggy logs, we finally have enough dry wood for the best and warmest fire yet. so many stars... so peaceful and quiet. i could stay out here forever. after melting away a couple hours by the fire, it's time to settle into our nest in the cozy long grass. consciousness leaves us as soon as we lay our heads.

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