May 14, 2009 by Bethany
We are in Essex today waiting out some more bad weather. Thanks to Anna. my sister’s college suite-mate, we have a beautiful place to stay here. It’s crazy how you can get connected with people and find places to stay along the way. The family we are staying with is unbelievably thoughtful and is taking really good care of us. They live in a refurbished barn and i have fallen in love with this house.
The last time we posted, we were in Wells, Maine. When we finally left there we had one of the WORST paddling days on the trip to date. It was windy and rough and both of us were completely exhausted when we stopped right past Cape Neddick. We stayed in our boats for 5 hours and we only were able to accomplish 8 miles in all that time. There was no good place to land because of either really big surf on the beach, or tall rocky cliffs. We called a cab from our landing spot and we stayed the night in the Kathadin Inn in York Beach and were refreshed for another day on the water. The innkeepers even gave us a ride back at 6 in the morning for our next day of paddling.
From that day on, the weather has been dandy. York to Kittery was a nice day and we arrived at Fort Foster with time to spare for the rest of the day. Lynn from the Harborside Inn and Spa came to pick us up and was our host for our few days here in Kittery/Portsmouth. We stayed in their neighbors backyard for two nights while we waited for the winds to pass through. Portsmouth was a really fun place to be and we even got to enjoy the Inn’s wonderful breakfasts both mornings.
We left from Fort Foster and crossed the border into New Hampshire in the company of a really really friendlyharbor seal. This little guy must have known that we were having a monumental moment and wanted to share in it. He followed us, popping up all around us along the way. He even came up to our boats a nuzzled the sterns. It was one of the most fun wildlife experiences that we have ever had. Seals areso cute and cuddly!! He reminded me of a river otter.
While we were playing with our new seal friend, we paddled right past our next destination, of Hoyt’s Lodges. We checked every beach we paddled past in NH other than the right one. Everyone that we stopped to ask, didn’t know and we couldn’t get in touch with the lodges to double check. Finally, after we paddled all the way to Rye Beach, we realized how far we had missed it by. Luckily John was willing to drive the 4.5 miles down to pick us up and take us back to his lodges, which he let us stay in, rather than camping like we had planned. He has irish setters. Beautiful.
The next day we paddled again with very calm seas. I think the waves were a mere 1 foot or less. By the afternoon we had paddled across another state line into Massachusetts. We arrived at the Salisbury Beach State park and had a lot of work to do to get settled. Sometimes the work that we still have to do after we finally get to where we are going is overwhelming. We had to walk over the dunes, and then down the road to the campground to get information, then to the front entrance of the park to make sure we could camp there. Next we had to walk back over the dunes (on the provided walkways of course), talk to curious people, unpack our boats, change out of our dry suits, move and lock the boats, then carry our three HEAVY mesh bags back over the dunes, down the road to the campsite. Next I stayed and set everything up while dan walked all the way back to the front entrance and paid for our night there. The prospect of cooking dinner was impossible so we ordered a pizza and a greek salad to have delivered to the site. By the time it arrived, we were famished and ate as if we had only eaten granola bars for days… which was almost a reality. When we got in the tent to go to sleep (at 6:00 pm by the way), dan’s therm-a-rest sleeping pad decided to delaminate and turned into a long bubble. grrrrrrrreat right? Needless to say it was a tough nights sleep, or should i say lack of sleep(?) since i took the bubble for the night since dan can barely sleep on a good therm-a-rest. The morning couldnt come soon enough.
When the sun rose, we were up and outta there. Packed up and got on the water in an hours time… The paddle to Essex was one of my most memorable thus far. The water was the glassiest i have ever seen it in my life. It reminded me of those summer days on Pea Island in the Pamlico Sound. There were no waves and no wind and we were paddling almost 5mph with the current from the Merrimack river. It was heaven. It was hard to believe we were on the open ocean. Near the end of our paddling time however, we began to focus on out tiredness and our achy bodies and our discomfort, all beacuse we didnt have anything else to focus on since the ocean was being completely mundane and calm. We got grumpy and tired and by the time we stopped, we were finished physically. It was so nice to know that we were going to be staying in a house for the night with a really nice family and get to enjoy a home for a day or so.
Tomorrow we leave for Glouchester and then to Salem hopefully. Heading south and chipping away at the miles is ALWAYS a great feeling. Thanks for keeping up with us along the way.