June 8, 2010
Blowing the red Old Country canoe off course, the wind skipped across Great Pond. Paddling towards a distant point on the wooded shore, I dug deep, as if avoiding a violent waterfall in some rain forest jungle. Slowly and with much effort, the canoe’s bow ticked back on course. As my shoulders burned, I reevaluated my course and headed towards the protection of the saw-like shoreline. Protected from the wind by tree covered points, I made my way towards a dock and my waiting friends.
“What took you so long?” Dan asked as I got to the dock.
“The wind, Dude. Do you see those white caps?” I responded as I caught my breath. “It feels like you’re paddling upstream.”
Quickly we packed the remaining sleeping bags, food and fishing poles into the canoe and pushed off the dock. With the help of two more paddlers and a stiff tailwind, we made it back to Oak Island in a third of the time.
Stashing the canoe between two trees, we set up camp in proper Huck Finn fashion, and headed out to explore the island. With a few hours of sun remaining in the early summer evening, we set off across the island in search for fishing holes, traces of other campers and the highest point on the island.
Spencer searching for the source of a distant loon call.
Pack out all trash. Extinguish all fires. Cut only dead trees. Bury human waste 100 feet from water.
Crawling around the shoreline, we hopped from rock to rock avoiding the tepid water. Dropping towards the hills to the west, the sun cast an orange hue on the trees and rocks. Consecrating the first days of summer, I rolled up my jeans to below the knee and liberated my feet, going barefoot on the rocks and pine needles.
Isolated by a half mile of water on each side and claimed by a thin pillar of smoke from a lone campfire, the island was ours. As if aware of the potential pranks and horseplay offered by a half dozen twenty year olds, the occasional boat gave the island a wide birth.
Walking to our camp and the promise of freshly cooked sausages, I murmured out loud, “This is the perfect place for a fort.”