Mastering "Leave No Trace"
Water the color of green sea glass gently laps the rocky shoreline, a salty breeze whistles through the trees, and Margaret is screaming. "That wottah is wicked friggin' cauld!" she shouts, dripping wet after successfully demonstrating a self-rescue from her overturned kayak. She sloshes to the shore and accepts a towel from Thor (yes, Thor), a fair-haired kayaking instructor with Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) in Rockland, Maine.
"Well done, dee-ah," Thor says in a thick downeast Maine mock accent. Margaret doesn't seem to notice. She walks by with a self-satisfied smile and heads to HIOBS's new staff building to change out of her wet suit. The rest of us, meanwhile, wait patiently for our turn to prove that we, too, are capable of surviving a mistaken capsizing.
We have come to Rockland to become masters. Really. Over the next five days, twelve of us will kayak Maine's mid-coast isles and learn the ins and outs of minimum-impact camping and wilderness travel. This course will enable us to lead two-day trainer courses to promote and teach Leave No Trace principles to outdoor professionals, public lands employees, and other folks who value the outdoors. In essence, we are here to learn how to teach the teachers, thereby earning the honorable title of Master Educator. As for our instructor, Peggy, who has been commissioned to train uswe refer to her as the Jedi Master.
After completing our wet exits, we are just about ready to head out. First, however, we repackage our food, check out navigational charts, and receive enough Leave No Trace (LNT) literature to build a roaring fire (but only in an established fire ring, below the high tide line, or in a portable fire pan).
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication