Friends and visitors often ask us about getting to and from the road, which requires crossing the bay at the right tide level, or hiking up around the bay. We avoid the latter for numerous reasons: it more than doubles the time for crossing; bears and moose frequent the upper bay grass lands; it’s full of stinky mud, and the creek must always be crossed, usually with hip boots.
We’ve been so successful at avoiding it that it’s been more than a year at least since I’ve done it. Until Friday, when we did it twice.
We hiked out to pick up Aly from her work at the field school to bring her home for a weekend visit. (It’s only a visit, because her job has been extended by at least a week.) Because of the state of the tide, we would have needed to canoe across the bay, or hike over about 3 hours before Aly’s work day ended, then wait around about as long afterward before going home. We planned to canoe, but wind-driven seas rose to about 5 feet by crossing time. Since the bay is shallow, those seas would hump up dangerously there. We had to hike around.
We grabbed walking sticks and our packs, picked up our hip boots at the trail head, and set off. We’d heard from neighbors on that part of the bay that they had seen more bear activity on the flats than they could remember. Although the flats appear . . . well, flat, the creek bed is deep enough to hide a full grown moose. We chatted far more loudly than we normally care to, in order to let any wild neighbors that might be out and about know we were coming. We used our sticks to probe the depth of crossings and to push aside devil’s club and any other plants we didn’t care to come in contact with.
Other than that, and a close call going too deep for my waders, we had a pleasant outing. While the grass grows more than head high out there in many places, in other stretches it’s hardly more than ankle high. It was windy, but the breeze was warm, and we didn’t see the clouds of biting bugs that can gather out there. We found wild raspberries to pick along the way. We accepted it as a pleasant stroll, and did it again with Aly on the way home. It’s still something we want to avoid when we can, for the sake of time, but when we need to, we can make the most of it.