Announcing the story category winner of our 2017 Tales of the Trail contest! Four-year member Judy Owen, avid Trail adventurer, submitted this fun account of how an unexpected weather delay led to a beautiful demonstration of MITA spirit.
I appointed myself the Mayor of Merritt Island (New Meadows River), as the weather had anchored me to the island for a few extra days in early September.
First and only proclamation as Mayor was to establish island cleanup times at or around low tide. It was short of
amazing how much junk I found!
The cleanup ended up being a community effort. First was the provision of garbage bags by a couple who had sailed in from Alaska. I met them with a hello from down in the water near the west side of the perimeter trail. They saw me in my kayak with the deck so full of garbage that I was having trouble paddling. We exchanged pleasant conversation, including that the garbage piles along the trail were mine.
They asked how I planned to transport the garbage from the island. I was going to haul it little by little to the MITA signpost and call MITA for a pickup. Instead, they offered garbage bags: “Come on over to our boat!” I unburdened my kayak and then paddled over to a beautiful sailboat. Three garbage bags came down from above. They were filled and transported to the MITA signpost.
A small group from the mainland arrived in time to see the last ‘bag drag’ to the signpost. I set the bag down and and bowed. “Welcome! I am the Mayor of Merritt Island and would be pleased to help you with anything you need.” Chuckles all around. The best bit was the question about the full garbage bag. I explained that it, along with two others, were part of the Mayor’s cleanup duties. They offered to haul the bags off the island for me. There ya go. Merritt Island was cared for by a true community effort!
Judy out on the Trail. Photo: Dan Carr