Standing on the pier in Portland, I watched the ferry disappear into the fog. Aboard were 32 Voyageurs and bicycles, all departing on their journey around Nova Scotia. It seemed the perfect moment to reflect upon the journeys that all Four Trails campers were about to undertake. All the memories they were about to make. All the stories that were about to be created. As the fog enveloped the boat, I wondered why none of the Merrowvista passengers were on the outdoor deck, waving goodbye. A part of me was upset because I wanted them to see us eating their box of cookies that they had forgotten in the van. Perhaps they were already asleep on the benches inside. More likely however, they were simply focused on the journey ahead of them. That has been the theme of the Four Trails program so far this session – nobody is looking back. Each village is heading out on their own unique adventures, and despite the rain and storms, the villages are headed full steam ahead. Their focus is upon creating these new stories and memories.
Madison and Flag just completed their 5-day backpacking treks in the Mahoosuc Mountains, on the border of Maine and New Hampshire. Both groups were slowed by the weather and wet rocks along this difficult section of the Appalachian Trail. However, they were both able to enjoy at least a day of sunshine to end the trip, and have returned with tales of trail games and challenges overcome.
Chocorua spent the past 6 days on paddling canoes in northern Maine, along Aziscohos Lake, Lake Umbagog, and the Androscoggin River. On their first day the group faced tough head winds and large waves, forcing them to pull over early and set up an early camp along the shoreline. However, with calmer wind and fairer weather the next day, they made up for their lost time, making it to their next campsite in impressive time. With sunnier weather these last couple days, they have spent plenty of time swimming, playing in the water, and reading Harry Potter along the shoreline.
Katahdin spent the first days here in camp preparing for their bike trip, prepping gear, practicing riding techniques, and then testing themselves on the local roads. They are currently biking around Lake Winnipesaukee, with beautiful views of the lake and local mountains.
Shaw is in the midst of a 10 day bike trip winding their way along the Maine coast. When a scheduled ferry ride was cancelled due to foul weather, the group rallied and decided to bike the extra distance instead. After spending a rest day in Boothbay Harbor yesterday, they are now headed up towards Camden Hills State Park, where in a couple days they will have another day out of the saddle to do some local hiking.
Nesuntabunt is hiking miles in the Saddleback Range of Maine. With many long days and lots of mountains to climb over, they are finding time to enjoy their hammocks, eat well, and make friends with thru-hikers along the trail!
Since the ferry, those Voyageur groups are making impressive time along the coast of Nova Scotia. Voyageur A and B are working their way along the northern coast, both currently in the area of Wolfville and Windsor. Voyageur C is biking the southern coast first, and already quickly approaching Halifax.
Odyssey campers arrived today, met their leaders, and are now preparing to depart after breakfast tomorrow!