By Richard Dorsett/Posted at;thesubtimes.com –
When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
– Ben E King
Weeks ago, a new moon put dazzling constellations in the late night sky when I camped next to the beach at Prince Edward Island. Now a Farmer’s Moon lights the night clouds in Amherst, Massachusetts. According to Alistair MacLeod’s novel No Great Mischief, a full moon is the Gaelic lochran àigh nam bochd, the “lamp of the poor.” I enjoy learning such expressions.
Portland, Maine, is a beautiful harbor and city into which one can arrive. The CAT ferry from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, slowed as it neared the harbor. The few of us bicyclists were waved through before even the motorcycles, and not having a plan, I rode to a local bicycle shop for some route guidance.
This east coast Portland seems a miniature Portland, Oregon; hip with hippies and hipsters, a bicycle trail that courses along the harbor, a panache that many cities strive to achieve. I crossed the Casco Bay Bridge to South Portland, ate a lobster, bargained for a good price at a roadside motel, and studied my map. I was far less certain where this stage of the trip would take me.
Firewood, of all things, stood out as a difference between Canada and Maine. I’d gotten used to seeing a dozen or more cords of cut wood piled in small mountains, ready for winter. Not so in Maine, where the winter’s wood had been neatly and precisely stacked. Along the Maine trail, small, striped chipmunks are abundant. As I pedaled south, squirrels are predominant, as are the oak trees that drop acorns as if they were raindrops. I am surprised to find that autumn has arrived more fully in New England than Canada’s Maritime provinces.
The Eastern Trail out of South Portland is what bicyclists dream about. Views of tidal marshes set the stage for a well-maintained couple of dozen miles through the forests. Signs for the on-road Eastern Trail continued, and I placed my bets on them, rather than Google. It was a good bet. So long as I was headed to the south, it would work its way out.
The first ten miles of a day’s pedaling can be so perfect. They sure have been this last week; perfect weather, no wind, long stretches with no substantial hill work. Best are the days with only a vague sense of destination and surprises waiting. Like the day out of South Portland, when I found a few dozen miles along the Eastern Trail. The trail finished abruptly with a small sign that said “End.” A nice conversation with Moira and Elizabeth, two local cyclists, and on I rode. Perfect signage took me along local roads and I figured I’d scope out spots for a stealth camp before dark….
Continued via… Source: Biking Nova Scotia & New England – The Lamp of the Poor