This was our easiest return to the trail, despite it being our longest time away. There are likely a number of reasons for that, among them that it was a mere two and half hour drive instead of the ten to fourteen hours of our previous off-trail excursions. Also, we spent our days away living outside, sleeping in tents, swimming in the ocean , and generally subsisting in the absence of electricity. Mostly though, it’s because we were at home.
For the week away we were at home on the island where Mama Bear’s grandfather bought property that her uncles found in the fifties while driving around midcoast Maine in a VW bus with a skiff strapped to the roof. The property has now passed through a couple generations and serves as a land-based anchor for Mama Bear’s extended family as life’s oceans spread them far and wide. We’re lucky that this anchor holds fast and regularly pulls them all back near our home in Maine frequently enough for us to be good friends with her large extended family.
Back on the trail we’re at home in the Maine woods: It’s granite ledges speckled with wild blueberry plants overlooking glacial ponds left from millennia past; it’s winding trails weaving through hemlock groves, birch and beach glades, and forest bogs; it’s remote peaks and lakes with trails that go straight up, then straight back down it’s many mountains.
Orion bounds up steep ledges where humans require climbing aides, then waits impatiently for his bipedal friends to lumber up behind him. The kids ponder near and distant ponds and peaks. And we all focus on each other as we head into the last few weeks of our journey.