Update from Emma Carlson, Program Director of Summer Wilderness Trips I looked at my calendar today and jumped: we’re in our last week of 2014 Chewonki Wilderness Trips! The days have been rolling by (never a dull moment!)–resupplies, schedules, maps, and check-ins weaving together with stories and photos from the travelers in the field. I am fortunate to have been to most of the places that our Wilderness Trippers are exploring so I take great pleasure in picturing them where they are. Last week I even left my desk (with an able crew in charge) to resupply four trips: Allagash Canoe, Debsconeag Explorers, Penobscot Whitewater Kayak, and North Woods Canoe. Seeing some of your children in action was wonderful; they are terrific! I met up with the North Woods Canoers at Indian Stream. After not seeing any moose for most of the trip, they’d recently encountered four in 24 hours! They spotted one quite close, standing in some tall grass, calmly munching. Speaking of munching, I brought the canoers two watermelons. After devouring one, they were ready to move on to #2, but their wise leaders prevailed: they were going to save the second for the next day. The group traveled Chase Rapids over the weekend and they’re now moving down the Allagash. The group traveled Chase Rapids over the weekend and they’re now moving down the Allagash. Greg Shute brought supplies to the Umbagog Whitewater Kayakers and their level of organization awed him (“Really together!” is how he described this kayak group.) When not plunging through the Rapid River, they’ve been improving the Sunday Cove site on Umbagog Lake. They’ll be stepping up to the most difficult rapids during their last few days, sure to be a challenge. Up at Big Eddy, the Penobscot Whitewater Kayakers and I had aspirited philosophical discussion about what the “real world” is: Chewonki? The place they live? The realm of their computers? Or the river pushing against their paddles, kayaks, muscles, and imagination? They enjoyed pizzas baked in an outdoor oven and were preparing for their trip to Seboomook, where they’ll enjoy a unique run of 14 rapids with great pool drops. Maine Appalachian Trail Backpackers A (northbound) picked upfresh suppliesat Nahmakanta Lake, a beautiful, big, deep lake with a shoreline marked by boulders and beaches of granite gravel and sand. They’re on the final stretch of the 100-mile Wilderness and are really looking forward to hiking regal Mount Katahdin at the end of the week. Meanwhile, Maine Appalachian Trail Backpackers B (southbound) have topped Baldpate Mountain and, across Grafton Notch, reached the summit of Old Speck (apparently named for its speckled rock). Old Speck stands at the northeastern corner of the Mahoosuc Range, and is the highest peak in that range. The group’s now are heading toward Mahoosuc Notch, which most climbers consider to be the hardest mile of the entire 2,179-mile Appalachian Trail because of its many big boulders. They can do it! The Mariners spent Sunday night on Hurricane Island, for many years a summer base for Outward Bound and now home to the Center for Science and Leadership, a new endeavor to engage students of all ages in field-based science study. The sailors have since visited Russ and Tinker islands and spent two nights on remote and roughly beautiful Matinicus. On Saturday, the Maine Coast Kayakers undertook their longest crossing, paddling through Penobscot Bay from Monroe Island to North Haven. After meeting this challenge, they took time out to rest on Butter Island. On Monday they stopped at Russ Island, which Chewonki is lucky enough to own, and I’m guessing they paddled from there to nearby Green Island for a swim in the fresh water in the old quarry there. Nothing feels better after days on the ocean than a dunk in fresh water. After six days of backpacking through the spectacular Parc National de la Gaspesie, and work at the Ferme de Gerard Matha, the Northeast High Peakers are coming home to Maine. They will begin the last chapter of their expedition in the northern section of Baxter State Park. They’ve seen a variety of mountain ranges now, each with its own personality, and it’s fun to have them back in our home state.The Boatbuilders returned to Chewonki last Thursday and everybody here got a big kick out of their high spirits and recollections of adventures. They spent the last days of their trip hiking on Kimball Island, a beautiful, quiet spot right next to Isle au Haut; and visiting the granite “beach” on Hell’s Half Acre, an island in Merchant Row. The water is a gorgeous clear blue there, and the paddlers played tag in kayaks and practiced their flips. On their last day, they visited the famous WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, getting a tour from Bill Thomas, the boatbuilder who “launched” their learning here at Chewonki back in late June. A great, full circle. Congratulations, Boatbuilders!