Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle

Fall 2014

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine

Issue link: http://read.dreamscapes.ca/i/375781

Contents of this Issue


Page 10 of 47

I had been paddling for 90 kilo- metres, others more than 400. Rounding the final corner toward Indian Island along the Penobscot River, members of the Penobscot nation continued to drum and sing our canoes all the way back to land. The first day of June marked the 16 th and final day of a 150 th anniversary expedition through the Maine Woods, retracing the route taken by classic american author henry david Thoreau, his companion and their Penobscot guide joseph Polis. Their journey, as well as other trips Thoreau took through the Maine Woods, was preserved in Thoreau's The maine Woods, published in 1864. More than 40 people (myself included) paddled, camped and portaged segments of Thoreau's original 1857 journey. The paddlers consisted of schol- ars, writers, photographers, guides, Maine tourism professionals and members of the Penobscot nation (who call the river we pad- dled home). of these paddlers, eight brave adventurers travelled the entire 520-kilometre route, which included 400 kilometres of pad- dling. Their journey was at times rigorous, as their bodies and minds battled 30-plus-kilome- tre days of paddling, intense rapids, powerful thunderstorms and long portages. WIld and FREE The Maine Woods are lush, green and strik- ing. "nature must have cooperated with art here," Thoreau observed. The vast forest, the calm blue lake are something out of a fairy- tale. somehow, 150 years later, this landscape still remains relatively untouched. When Thoreau passed through the woods in the mid-1800s, he described it as such: What a wilderness walk for a man to take alone! none of your half-mile swamps, none of your mile- wide woods merely, as on the skirts of our towns . . . Here was traveling of the old heroic kind over the unaltered face of nature. This isn't your typical vision of cottage country: throughout my 90-kilometre paddle, we very rarely saw any signs of civilization. The vast "unaltered face of nature" stretches on. The river is home to one deserted island after the next. Many times it felt like we were the only people on the river. Peace and quiet took over, and the only sounds were birds singing and soaring above us; and the rhythm of our paddles all hitting and gliding through the water. Even in the mid-1800s Thoreau recognized that this kind of wilderness was rare. cities have historically developed along riverbanks, like the hudson and the seine. yet, today, almost 4.5 million hectares of for- est in Maine still remain wild and free. we paddled Hard, tHe Hot Sun beatinG down on our SHoulderS. witH eacH Stroke, tHe beat of tHe druM Grew louder. background: Throughout my 90-kilometre paddling excursion, we often felt we were the only people on the river. top right: I savoured my time in the Maine Woods, using the sun as my clock and the ground as my bed. jennifer Foden Wilson Fa l l 2 0 1 4 11

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle - Fall 2014