Alyssa Leong

Coastal Camping: A Photo Tour Along the Coast of Maine

WISHFUL THINKING
Camper Cat Valencia admires the campus of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Bowdoin is a liberal arts college that originated in 1794 and now has 1,800 students.

Editor’s note: The printing of the October 2018 issue of Via Verde was funded by the advertisements and sponsors found below.

Driving through Maine, I was struck by the picturesque scenery, the lushness of the landscape and the peaceful towns we passed by. I had never been to Maine, and wasn’t quite sure what to expect apart from lobster rolls, but I was able to explore the state in a week-long photo camp in which two counselors, seven other students and I learned about photography. The forested areas, lakes and beaches on the Atlantic coast only miles away from each other allowed us to sea kayak to small islands, hike through forests, beaches and islands, visit local attractions such as lighthouses, climb on weather-worn rocks and swim in the ocean, which was much colder than the Pacific. I’d never been to a place where you could experience so many different terrains within an hour or so of each other.

AT WATER’S EDGE
Camper Miguel Reid walks to the water’s edge at Pemaquid Point to snap a photo. Maine has 3,478 miles of coastline (51 more than California) or 5,000 counting its islands.

As I further explored Maine, I was struck by the friendliness of everyone. The few towns I visited were small and the communities we visited felt more tight-knit than in a bigger city. The people living there were mostly retired or young families, used to tourists and groups like ours, so it was common to strike up conversations with strangers.

Although we were not allowed to use our phones during camp, I didn’t miss it at all; we were kept busy editing the hundreds of photos we took, playing cards and chores such as cooking and cleaning. The lack of internet allowed me to bond more closely with the other students and counselors without having a screen between us. It also reminded me to stay present in the moment; for instance, I saw and appreciated the views from car rides more than I would have with a phone.

With a small group staying together for the duration of the trip, we became good friends. Most people were from the East Coast, and even though we were from the same country, it was fun discussing geographical differences, such as snow.

Prior to this summer, Maine was not a state I planned on visiting. But the scenery, the quaint towns, the kind people and the delicious ice cream made it a place I definitely want to go back to soon. If you’re planning a trip to somewhere new, the easternmost state is the place to go.