“I odor the ocean,” my pal Kim stated as she hiked behind me by means of a fern-filled forest.
“I see the ocean,” I replied, glancing up at blue water that peeked by means of tree trunks forward of us.
“Oh! I haven’t been wanting up,” Kim stated. “I’m attempting to not journey on these roots.”
It was a very root-filled path.
Only a minute extra of cautious strolling and we reached the Daring Coast of Cutler. There, atop towering cliffs, we seemed out over a clean expanse of water that stretched to the horizon, damaged solely by just a few lobster buoys and the tender blue type of Canada’s Grand Manan Island.
We had been mountaineering in Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land, a state-owned swath of wilderness in jap Maine. The property covers 12,334 acres and consists of about 4.5 miles of rocky shoreline that overlooks the Bay of Fundy. The favored outside vacation spot options greater than 10 miles of mountaineering trails that result in 5 backcountry tent websites.
I first visited Cutler Coast as a novice hiker within the early summer time of 2009. On the time, I used to be visiting trails all through the state to assemble materials to jot down a thesis for the College of Maine Honors School. My objective was to craft a artistic nonfiction piece concerning the Maine outside within the model of John McPhee, one in every of my favourite writers.
The undertaking turned out to be extra private and prophetic than I anticipated. It launched me to the fun and well being advantages of tromping by means of the wilderness, and it later influenced the trajectory of my profession.
Now, greater than 10 years later, a lot of my skilled writing has revolved round mountaineering. And simply final fall, I handed the examination to turn out to be a Registered Maine Information, so I may lead others down the paths I really like.
This June, as I walked alongside the dramatic cliffs of Cutler with my pal Kim, I used to be reminded of that journey from college pupil to outside skilled. Stepping rigorously over twisted tree roots, I remembered myself as a younger, unsure hiker, carrying a backpack that was far too heavy and carrying boots that had but to be damaged in.
Because the path traced the coast, it traveled up and down, up and down, over rocky hills and thru shaded forests. In lots of locations, the bottom was coated with a carpet of low-lying bunchberry vegetation, every dotted with a single white flower. Different areas had been crammed with ferns that had been so tall and quite a few that I felt like we had been within the jungle.
About 2.8 miles into our hike, sweating beneath the burden of full backpacks, we arrived at a cobblestone seashore at Black Level Cove. The stones, rounded and smoothed by waves, rolled underfoot as we trudged from one finish of the seashore to the opposite, the place a knotted rope served as a handhold to assist us up one more steep hill.
Simply previous the seashore, we reached the primary tent web site, which was already occupied. So we hiked on, hoping to achieve a spot to relaxation earlier than sundown. (We carried headlamps, simply in case)
We had began our hike within the afternoon due to our work schedules and my insistence that we camp on a Thursday. I’d made my determination primarily based on a good climate report and the data that the path system turns into crowded on the weekends.
The tent websites are first come, first served. Guests signal a sheet on the trailhead and share their plans (day hike or tenting) in order that anybody heading into the woods may have a good suggestion whether or not they’ll be capable of discover a spot to pitch a tent. So, from the sign-in sheet, we knew there have been at the very least two different events tenting that night time.
Persevering with alongside the coast, over quite a few rocky hills, we hiked rather less than a mile to achieve a cobblestone seashore at Lengthy Level Cove.
The seashore jogged my memory of my second time visiting Cutler Coast, which was in August 2013. I camped for one night time there with my husband, Derek, and our canine, Oreo, who has since handed away. On that seashore, we sat on an extended piece of driftwood and arrange the digital camera behind us to take a household picture. I cherish that picture. In truth, my mother-in-law enlarged it and framed it for us.
Practically 10 years later, the piece of driftwood is lengthy gone, however the reminiscence stays cocooned in my thoughts.
The second campsite was simply previous that seashore. And that, too, was spoken for.
By then, our legs and shoulders had been aching. We hiked a bit farther, then plunked down on a rock shelf overlooking the ocean to snack on beef jerky. I can’t fairly describe the majesty of that panorama, with plunging cliffs and blocks of rock that appear long-established by giants. Surrounded by that magnificence, it was unimaginable to be in low spirits.
Recharged — at the very least a bit of — we continued on to Fairy Head, house to the ultimate three campsites. About 5 miles into the hike, Fairy Head is on the far finish of the path community. From there, a path heads inland, touring by means of the woods and previous wetlands to kind a giant loop.
To our delight, we discovered the primary campsite vacant and shortly arrange our tent. We completed simply in time to observe the sundown whereas cooking macaroni and cheese with a tiny backpacking range. Then, to flee the mosquitoes, we ducked into our tent and performed playing cards till mattress.
The following morning, we hiked by means of fog till the solar was shining as soon as extra. Taking the Inland Path, we managed to get rotated as a consequence of a path reroute that wasn’t on the map and no intersection indicators (so watch out about that in the event you go to any time quickly). Utilizing my GPS system and customary sense, we managed to get again on monitor and out of the woods.
Right here’s to a different profitable journey, crammed with just a few challenges and plenty of moments of pleasure.