Talmadge (Map 45) Canoes, a Kayak and Camping

Taylor, our youngest daughter, is an outdoors woman through and through. She’s home from Unity College (America’s Environmental College) where she double majors in Wildlife Biology and Biology for part of the summer, but is leaving next week for a six week internship. With little time to spare, she and her friends had their first canoe and kayak trip planned for Sunday. Before the truck was loaded the trip turned from an afternoon of crossing West Musquash Lake to cook supper on an island and coming back before dark, to camping overnight. Holliann (another writer!), Felicia, Laura, Asia and Gilman were already here. Felicia had a tent. Maybe they should stay overnight? What would they do for breakfast if they stayed? I gave them a loaf of bread, a package of moose breakfast sausage, cheese, butter and fruit, and away they went.

Later, Taylor called from the landing to say they were on shore and did I have an ax they could take back with them? <sigh> Taylor and Gilman paddled Asia across the lake as it was getting dark. I knew they were bringing her back to shore because she had to work Monday but when Taylor said “8 or 8:30″ I mistakenly thought she mean AM, not PM. She’s almost 19 but if I’d said “Oh no you’re not, that’s not safe!” she wouldn’t have done it. They’d have made plans to bring Asia back and return to the island before dark. Mothering kicked in. I was not happy with myself not making sure Taylor meant in the morning, not in the dark. I think I sprouted three new gray hairs in the hour I knew she and Gilman were on the water in the dark without a lot of light. They had headlamps and another light but that wasn’t enough as far as I was concerned. A beacon from an airport runway might have made me feel better… They had an uneventful trip back to the island, watching loons and some sort of bird skimming the top of the water for bugs in the dark. While I sat here sprouting gray hairs, watching the clock and waiting for the text message saying they’d made it back, they had a great time. The trip over took 90 minutes with three people in the canoe. It took them 60 minutes to get back. I was grateful for the call that came 30 minutes earlier than expected. It’s a mother’s prerogative to worry no matter how old or young our kids are. Last night, when Steve said she had a lot of courage she shrugged it off and said, “It’s what had to be done.” That’s a standard answer for Taylor. You just do what has to be done.

The “kids” built their fire using deadwood from the ground, cooked supper and breakfast on the Coleman Steve, and had leftovers for lunch. They didn’t come back until almost 6 pm yesterday. It was a great impromptu camping trip that came together well because everyone pitched in. Laura drove out to West Musquash on an ATV ahead of time to be sure a washout that closed the road had been repaired. Felicia brought a tent. Everyone brought food and supplies. Gilman did a lot of cooking (he’s a great cook). Everyone pitched in to get firewood. At the last moment, Taylor pulled down her stash of sleeping bags (I think we have six) and the breakfast food, and off they went. When they got home they left extra supplies in the bin. I think it will get a lot of use over the summer.

If you keep your gear ready to go and replenish supplies when you get back, trips like this are easy to pull together. We keep a bin with a propane tank for the Coleman stove, silverware, napkins, utensils, matches, paper plates, etc. in the cellar, ready to go when needed.

These are some of the girls we took camping for three days in Baxter State Park when they were in high school. Teenaged girls in the woods? People thought we were nuts. We had an excellent time and this year we’re making another trip. If you ever want to talk about “kids these days” let’s talk about these young adults. I could go on about them for a long time.

Steve went on his first canoe trip of 2012 over the weekend too. His wasn’t quite as uneventful. Dry bags are a wonderful thing, and I’ll leave it at that til I write about it.