To celebrate MITA’s 30th anniversary in 2018, we asked our Granite Society (folks with 20+ years of MITA membership) to submit their favorite stories and memories. Every other month we’re sharing a few here on the Tales of the Trail blog, edited for length and clarity.
Member #2023 Otis, ME
From Little Snow Island to MDI, we camped, paddled, and explored as much as we dared with our limited ‘local knowledge,’ our boats atop a Chevy Blazer.
In the early years, before MITA, we ventured afield with reckless optimism. After joining MITA, we found new riches and greater confidence on islands that we always wanted to visit, but didn’t really feel we should.
We have watched my Uncle Brian turtle in Stonington Harbor and exclaim that his “balls are frozen” and we have visited tidal pools off Prospect Harbor with literally thousands of sand dollars visible. The minivan has been stuck on a launch beach in Brooklin, and layered with salty spray skirts. Every trip has been memorable.
Member #2726 Castine, ME
My son and I were off on a three-day sailing adventure aboard my 15 foot Drascombe rowing/sailing boat out of Castine. We headed for the MITA campsite on Pond Island near Deer Isle for our first night. The day was foggy with the visibility coming and going as we sailed south along the Brooksville shore to Cape Rosier toward Pond Island, located about a mile south of the cape. We intended to land on the beach on the north side of the island, where we would camp for the night.
I remember remarking that even though we could see nothing, my GPS plots on the chart showed that we should be at the island’s shore. Just then the centerboard hit bottom. I have been a fan of GPS ever since! I love navigating with a chart and compass, but it sure is nice to have the reassurance of knowing where I am in foggy conditions on the coast of Maine.
Member #5029 Harpswell, ME
He made a soft knock on the wall of my cubicle in L.L.Bean’s catalog copy department – shuffling feet, a charming stammer, and an invitation for our first date. But before the proposed after work bike ride, we had a chance evening encounter at MITA’s spring auction. Maybe at Handy Boat?
I gave a timid wave and made furtive observations over my beer glass (long before cans of MITAle). By choosing a MITA event for his Saturday night, did that mean he was philanthropic, liked the outdoors, and was interested in protecting Maine’s wild places? This guy had potential! So, when he placed the winning bid on a private trip aboard Portland’s fireboat, I clapped enthusiastically.
We left without saying goodbye, but the bike ride was fun, as was our second date canoeing down the Sheepscot. And when we paddled to the Goslings on a Wednesday evening, I knew I was smitten. I won his heart by peeling back the rockweed to reveal a tangle of blue mussels. I dropped them into the pot of spaghetti to add local flavor to our Whisperlite meal.
Twelve years and 7 boats later, we took that fireboat cruise for our son’s 6th birthday party, and we are still overnighting on Maine’s wild islands. With over 200 sites on the Trail, I’m sure there will be plenty to keep this adventurous relationship going, even if mussels are harder to find.