We recently traveled to Acadia National Park in Maine and enjoyed some hiking; we also biked several carriage trails. But there is so much inviting water in this area, both the ocean and fresh water ponds. We were staying at Somes Sound, so we watched daily as the tides went out, came back in, then headed back out again. We had avoided kayaking for the past year or two because of injury, but there was something about being away from home, in a new environment, that pushed us to give it another try.
One of the challenges of paddling in bodies of water with tidal influence in Maine (and farther north) is that water levels drop precipitously as the tide goes out. Somes Sound is quite deep, and the exposed shoreline becomes very steep as the water rushes back to the sea. We headed out into the Sound in our rented tandem kayak, surfing through the waves, splashing and bumping along as we paddled. I so enjoy the different perspective on the world that comes when sitting atop a kayak, right at the surface of the water.
It was a glorious paddle, but when we came to shore, I faced a very steep shoreline, and my weak right leg made extricating myself from the craft almost impossible. With great effort, support, and little grace, I finally got of the boat, but was not anxious to repeat that experience.
The next morning we headed out to find a friendlier boating spot, and found the perfect place at the north end of Long Pond.
The shallow, sandy beach made getting in and out much easier for me. The mountains on either side of the narrow pond offered stunning views during our entire ride. The wind was brisk, keeping me cool. It was a perfect day.
Two kayaking outings were enough for me for this vacation. Once we returned home, we talked about dusting off our own boats, and on a recent bright, sunny day we headed out before the sun got too warm for me. Rather than spend time driving to a favorite biking spot, we chose to stay quite close to home, and explored a pond we’d never paddled on, Arcand Park in South Bellingham.
We arrived at the park only minutes after we’d set out, and found a convenient boat ramp that sloped gently into the pond. We stayed close to the edge of the shore, taking advantage of what shade we could find, circumnavigating the entire pond.
Our outing lasted less than an hour, but it was a real pleasure for me; not the least of the pleasure was the relative ease with which I was able to get in and out of my little craft. When I’m paddling in my little red kayak, I am enveloped in the sensation of floating; well, in fact, that’s what I’m doing! But I’ve always had the sense of being cradled, gently rocking along with the rhythm of the waves, as my small boat carries me atop the surface of the water.
I was grateful that our trip to Maine pushed us to try using kayaks again. I was not thrilled with how difficult it was to get out from the steep shoreline of Somes Sound. But we found another place that was workable, wonderfully so. And now that we’re home, I’m hopeful we will be able to make time to get out and explore some more. Sometimes it’s the change in scenery that pushes us to try new things, to gain a different perspective, and find the courage to enjoy what is in our own back yards.
Marjorie Turner Hollman
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed two guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, Easy Walks in Massachusetts, and More Easy Walks in Massachusetts. A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow! New England Regional Chair for the Association of Personal Historians, she is a Certified Legacy Planner with LegacyStories.org, and is the producer of numerous veterans interviews for the Bellingham/Mendon Veteran’s History Project. http://www.marjorieturner.com