“Do you have grands?” The tall, tan woman was holding a baby in her arms. Huh? It took me a moment. Me? I’m too young to have grandkids!
“Nope. My kids are only 9 and 12.” Her kids (late 20s, early 30s tops) were cooking dinner over a campfire, and when the baby gurgled and reached his arms out, I took him, thinking, well, yes.. grands might be nice…someday.
The LobStar rode low in the water on our crossing to Warren Island, a dot of land that is a state park in the Penobscot Bay, fire wood competing with waterskis for space. Ethan, on some sudden health kick, had decided not to bring any beer with us (who doesn’t bring beer on a camping trip?) but I’d snuck two into the cooler just in case. After unloading on the rocky beach, schlepping gear, setting up camp, waterskiing (Ado’s first time up on a slalom ski!), making a fire, cooking dinner, roasting marshmallows, and cleaning up, I was grateful I had. A cold IPA can make such a difference.
It made no difference in how I slept. The night was spent tossing and turning and pondering existential questions like, “Why had the air in my blow up mattress turned to concrete? How could a tree root possibly have grown underneath it so quickly? What makes boys fart so much more than girls?” Blue, who’d eaten a fishhook the day before and had needed anesthesia to get it out of her tongue, hogged my sleeping bag and I didn’t have the heart to kick her off. Around 2 a.m. I traded dog, boys, and tent for a world of pine trees and quiet stars, the ocean sparkling silver under a low crescent moon. This was my moment, the one that made the memory.
We woke to a pouring rainstorm. Lying in our sleeping bags, Ethan and I tried to will coffee into being. We’d forgotten the eggs–all we had to eat were cherries and a package of sausage–but who wants to cook in the rain anyway? “If we pack up and get out of here now,” I said to our soggy little crew, “we can have breakfast at The Hoot!” The Hoot is warm and dry and makes awesome breakfast burritos. The reverse of the day before happened almost magically, a dozen trips back down to the beach while I brought the LobStar in from its anchor as the tide rushed out. We were wet and cold, but civilization was only a 40 minute ride away.
Boat camping on a remote island in bad weather is what Ethan calls “a long run for a short slide.” After just one night, I actually felt old enough to have great-grandkids. But that evening, under clearing skies, we hiked two miles up to Bald Rock with friends. Gary and Ethan switched off carrying a 50-pound log on their shoulders–a Maine kind of workout!–and when we reached the top, Gary pulled four ice-cold Peak IPA’s out of his backpack. And yes, that made all the difference!