Thursday, June 18, 2015

Settling in to the Maine way of life

I moved to Maine.

I never thought I'd live on the East Coast again, but things change and people do to.  Change is good and I'm embracing this one.

After a five-day cross-country drive listening to a Short History of Nearly Everything, sleeping in the backseat of my Subaru at truck stops with everything I own and toting 5 standup paddleboards and a bike on a trailer behind me I arrived in Maine only to find out I still had another hour and a half to go.  Trish surprised me by renting a cabin for the week on a little lake chain in central state.  I quickly unloaded my crap into a small storage unit, dropped the trailer and headed Northwest to Belgrade Lakes with bikes and sups for a week of unwinding on the lake.  Northwest?  Yes, Northwest.  I have to get used to that again.  If I'm looking north the ocean is to the East, not the West.  And I just spent the last ten years learning it the other way.  Whatever - by the end of the day I was paddling with loved ones and was off to a good start settling in to the Maine way of life.

In the next week I relaxed, read a book, visited family, got some mountain biking in and paddled just about everyday.  I canoe commuted to the market to pickup groceries for dinner and to the post office to mail some work.  I paddled in a downpour when I ventured too far across the lake (it rains here!).  I portaged Main street in order to explore another lake in the chain.  There is water everywhere and coming from a California drought, this is a huge treat.  I've renewed my love of canoeing and I'm excited to undertake some downeast adventure.

scouting some streams.  Site of a canoe poling competition.

dock life is the good life

mountain biking the Bigelow range

exploring Great Pond

freshwater & a borrowed canoe

training on Long Pond

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Last paddle on San Francisco Bay

I'm leaving town soon so when I got the call from Gretchen to do one more paddle before I left, there was one particular paddle I had in mind.  Looking at currents and weather, everything appeared perfect for a trip going west and then east.  I'd always wanted to paddle to Angel Island and hike to the top so it seemed the perfect day to give it a try.

We met in Berkeley at 5:45am with Shanna surrounded by fisherman and power boats.  By 6:50am we paddled out of Berkeley Marina right into a quartering chop.  Winds weren't strong yet, but were showing signs and it was the chop that slowed our progress.  What I predicted as a two-hour crossing turned into three hours.  Not big deal though, because we still made the island before the wind turned on.

Taking our time on the beach, we changed into dry clothes and proceeded to hike to the top of Mt. Livermore, 781ft above sea level in the middle of San Francisco Bay.  It was my first time to to the top of Angel Island and on a great day with great company.  It really couldn't have been better for my last paddle in the area.  But wait, it got better.  While we ate and relaxed, the wind did pick up and was blowing about 20mph when we re-launched on the east side of Pt. Blunt.  This was exactly what I wanted, although the wind didn't line up for perfect straight downwind rides.  It lined up well enough that we could catch some bumps, paddle south and repeat.  We zigged and zagged right back to Berkeley in ninety minutes with a bumpy mix of 2ft wind chop and swell.  We spent about 8 hours on the trip and covered 16.7 miles of paddling and hiking.  So fun to mix paddling and hiking!