I joke all the time that my paddling business killed my paddling. But it is no joke. My paddling-related travel has been severely curtailed in summer. So, my friend Michelle and I picked three days we could sneak away. Made a list of the states that needed to be paddled in summer and cross-referenced it with a list of places Southwest Airlines flies. And we booked (and changed and rebooked three times, thanks Southwest for the no change fees!) a trip flying into Portland, Maine and out of Manchester, N.H. with a side trip to Vermont. Three states. Three days. We packed two Hala inflatables (the Playa and the Nass), and off we went.
I felt guilty about not paddling Maine with my friend Emily who used to live in Nashville moved to Maine, but had to grab the day when I could.
A life-long Mainer (Mainiac?) entertained us on the plane and suggested we see the pier and the beach life at Old Orchard Beach, which we did. We ate delicious seaside fries with malt vinegar for breakfast and then north to Rangeley Lakes. The views were spectacular and the water not nearly as cold as our airline companion suggested (although it was as crystal clear as promised). Sea planes landed and took off as we paddled, which was a first for us. But the water was choppy and the wind intense and I made the mistake of not turning off my phone (first time we had service in hours), so I got distracted. Still, that was state No. 35. As we drove on the scenic byways, we looked for another lake where we could paddle, because why not paddle twice in one day? We did some offroading near the AT (unless you are reading this from the rental car company, in which case, we never left the pavement), and pulled over at somewhere that may or may not have been named Beaver Pond and had the perfect dusk paddle. Call it No. 35A.