I woke up before sunrise this morning to a rainy drizzle, but it wasn’t cold. Rolled over and went back to sleep. I was startled awake by a noise down by the boat. Those old mom instincts kicked in and I went from a sound sleep to instant alertness. I jumped up, prepared to wrestle Sparky away from a bear if necessary. (Not really) Well it wasn’t a bear, thank goodness, but a female moose breakfasting on the opposite shore. We startled each other a little; she backed into the woods but kept a wary eye on me as I prepared my morning cup of coffee. She was back down at the water’s edge before steam started to rise from my little pot. I broke out my camera. The light was low and she did not like me pointing the camera at her so, unwilling to spoil the moment, I put the camera down. We ate breakfast together in quite companionship.
The rest of the Penobscot was beautiful. The weather was cloudy but the rain stopped and later in the afternoon the sun came out. It was a little shallow in spots but I only had to get out of the boat twice. Some baby rapids helped speed me along to Chesuncook, then it was a short paddle to Umbazooksus Stream. As I was entering Chesuncook a beaver, I think, chirped at me from the water. I had stopped to look at the map and it was as if he was saying, “Move on, let’s go!” He yelled at me five or six times, rising up out of the water each time in an effort to look threatening. I laughed out loud, meaning no disrespect, this little guy was gutsy!
For some reason I felt tired today. Still think I did about 14 miles which is not bad. Found the last campsite on Umbazooksus Stream, it was kind of far from the shore but very nice. A covered picnic table, a fire pit, wood and a small, grassy sunlit field alongside the tent site. I took off my wet things and lay down on my mat in the warmth and sunshine for a little while before the tent even went up. That was very pleasant.
A couple of hours later the group that I had camped upstream of last night came along looking for a place to stay. There was another small site adjacent to my bigger site. I offered to switch but Paul, a group leader, politely declined. They were from Outward Bound. Leaders Beth, Paul and six, maybe seven young adults. Soon the twittering of birds and humming of insects was replaced by the bustling human sounds of camp going up. Ironically, here I am in the middle of this remote wilderness, sharing a site with 9 people. As I write this by lantern light, I can just barely hear low talk and muffled laughter. The kids are obviously having a good time and I swear I can feel their positive, youthful energy spilling over into my site. Good night.
I was really impressed with these campers, especially the leaders. Paul and Beth seemed to do a great job. Quietly hanging back and letting the kids seek their own way and make decisions as a group, and yet they were never completely out of sight.