It’s time. For the past couple of years my calendar has sort of organized around twice annual trips out to the edge and back. For reasons I don’t really know, they come in the fall and the spring. It’s spring now and that means it’s time to go again. The Edge Trek has become a sort of balm for me — a set of experiences that make things alright, that re-center and, oddly, re-locate me around what is important. Being away, alone in new places, both re-kindles my love and appreciation of all things home, and satisfies my need for new experiences. As I’ve said before, the edge — the place and the process — is making me better. Perhaps more than previous trips, I need to be better now. So, in a week, it’s off we go.
I will head north to Cuyahoga National Park before picking up the edge on the southern shore of Lake Erie. From thence, it’s up to the Great Falls at Niagara and along Lake Ontario to Oswego. Then the St. Lawrence River guides me to Massena where I find, again, the 49th parallel for the final time, east to Canaan, Vt. From there it will be a wander — after a brief crossing of the stovepipe of New Hampshire, I will be in the wilds of Western Maine. I have no idea how, but I will eventually get to St. Francis, Maine on the northern edge, and from there begin the long route around to the coast and down on Highway 1. I will visit Acadia National Park, make my way down to Cape May, NJ for a ferry ride to Maryland, see some relatives around Assateaque Island, re-visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina and eventually make it to Savannah, GA.
I find it difficult not to pre-suppose what all these trips will be like. To imagine these places and what I will do and where I will stay and what I will see. But with some experience and some practice, I have gotten to where I just don’t do it. Mostly that is because my imagination has proved a poor substitute for the real thing. And, the real thing shows up more readily when I run into it with no pre-conceptions. So, I go now with some recognition of the fur trade, the odd little in-between War of 1812, the earliest real European settlements, and the wild windswept guardian islands of the eastern shore. But, it is only a vague sense of the these things. There will be other things, other impressions wholly unrelated and unexpected. I will be in wild places (western Maine is likely the least populated place I will have been on the edge) and some of the greatest urban geographies in America. I will be lost, and I will find my way. I will learn things about myself and about others. And I will endeavor to take good notes and capture some imagery of my experience. I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I do.