Expedition Runner-Up
Sarah Weber

My favourite adventure this year didn’t include glorious mountains that were thousands of feet tall or canyons that were miles wide. No, it was a simpler east coast type of adventure, but it was no less amazing than the wonders of out west. My feet never carried me more than a hundred feet above sea level, but with the sea right there, why would I want to?

Over the summer, I spent a few wonderful days on an island miles off the coast of Maine. Accessible only by boat, the island is quiet and has a beautiful untouched feeling. In the mornings we would wake up, throw fresh mint leaves in a pot to make tea while we went out and forged for wild berries in the woods. The later mornings were spent swinging in a hammock beside the bay watching the tide roll in and out.

Afternoons brought more adventure, where I learned how to pilot the fishing boat that would take us to Calderwood, a small island set aside as a nature preserve. We skipped across the waves for an hour until I brought us to shore in a rocky cove. There was no one around for miles, just the waves crashing against the rocks. Calderwood had a small path that ran around it, but we didn’t follow that for long. We chose our own path, following the perimeter of the island instead. We climbed over rocks and found washed-up shells, sea creatures, and old buoys. At one moment, we looked up to see one of Calderwood’s nesting Bald Eagles fly over us as we hiked back to the boat. The wind blew in our faces as we watched the sun set over the water as I steered the boat back to home.

The next morning, we woke up before dawn so we could watch the sunrise from a kayak. Wild seals could be seen basking on rocks and popping their heads out of the ocean. The waters were quiet, misty, and all too beautiful as the sun rose above them. In the afternoon, we headed out with only a map and made our way to Tip-Toe Mountain. A short but sweet hike brought us from sea-level to one of the highest points on the island (only about 70 feet). We watched three Ospreys soaring high above us and we weaved wild flowers into flower crowns. Our evenings were spent around a fire enjoying good company of friends and the days passed all too quickly.

The morning we got back on the ferry was foggy and quiet. As we waved goodbye to friends on the shore, the town was just beginning to wake up. Only the lobstermen were awake, heading out to check their traps in the fog. As the ferry puttered back across the ocean to the mainland, I knew I would come back to this place. Vinalhaven stole a bit of my heart this year, and I will be back next summer to find it.

By Sarah Weber