Up Around the Bay

By , August 8, 2011

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.

top of Mud Bay

The view from the top of Mud Bay (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger.)

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.


7 Responses to “Up Around the Bay”

  1. Joe says:

    How great! My commute may be shorter, but it is a LOT less interesting and scenic. I keep wishing and hoping that one of these days I’ll have the guts to do what you guys are already doing. I need a homesteading intervention. 🙂

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Actually, Joe, i shouldn’t tell you this, but your loved ones have hired us to do a homestead intervention on you. The problem is, we’re hiking to your house, so it won’t happen anytime soon!

  3. Don says:

    Mark, does y’all’s property back up to Mud bay, or are y’all crossing somebody elses property or public property? The reason I ask, if y’all own the shore line there, why not put in a small boat house or something and put Selkie or a similar craft there you could take out for those trips? Seems that it would be a bit more convenient, and probably not take any more time than the hike (and it gives you the excuse you need to get her back in ship-shape and start using her again – recently noted that you sometimes longed for some time on the water).

    Added advantage, you wouldn’t have to carry supply packs as far.

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Don, our property is across the ridge from Mud Bay, so we traverse private (on easements, technically) and public property to get to the road. We do keep a canoe on Mud Bay for high water crossings, but as I pointed out in the article, in certain sea conditions it’s too dangerous to cross by water. As for a boat house on our property, if you check our main page and scroll down toward the bottom you can see our beach at different tide levels. We hope to create a boat pull out here someday, but it involves a skid ramp to get heavier boats over the rocks. That ramp needs to be light enough to be retracted or otherwise moved to safety between uses, as the high tide ranges and rough seas will destroy anything that attempts to be permanent. We do haul loads around by sea when the weather and tide serves, but the conditions don’t often make it worthwhile.

    It’s all far from ideal, as you can see. And yet, we love it!

  5. Don says:

    Perfection is rarely fun. Yes, you’ve discussed the difficulty about putting the boats in/out of the water on the Canal, that’s why asked about the bay.

    Oh well, take care of yourselves.

  6. Holly says:

    Ah, I often dream of a life like yours. Thank you for letting me live my dream through your blog.
    Have you ever thought of inviting paid guests for a few weekends a year? Would be a great source for extra income.

  7. Mark Zeiger says:

    Holly, funny you should mention that! Michelle and I spent a couple of hours yesterday brainstorming just such a plan, which we’ve been bouncing back and forth since we decided to buy the homestead. Now that Aly’s about to go off to college, we’re talking more seriously about it. Stay tuned!


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