Have you ever been to a deserted island? Did you know that PEI has its own?
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Boughton Island is located in the Georgetown Harbour, between Georgetown and Launching in Eastern PEI. It is a relatively small island, a few kilometres across. Seventy years ago it was covered in rich farmland and lobster canneries. Several families lived there. It had its own post office, it's own schoolhouse. You could ride a horse and buggy over the sandbar to get to the mainland at low tide, or take a dory across at high tide. Those who visited recall a happy, peaceful, beautiful place, full of life and energy.
Today it is covered in thick forest. Its beaches are deserted. The only trace of human habitation is the infrequent clearings, full of thistles now, and the odd foundation stone to mark where houses and barns once stood. How could so much change occur over this period of time? Nature has almost completely reclaimed this (literally) deserted island.
We made it our mission to go on an adventure to Boughton Island, to explore and discover this almost forgotten island. We left bright and early Monday morning to catch the 7'o'clock low tide. We crossed the sandbar and, leaving our gear at the edge of the forest, plunged into its depths, following the remnants of the old road and discovering "clearings" of tall grass and thistles, rosebushes and various less painful flora, where sometimes we found a basement complete with chimney and rusted skillet, sometimes various forgotten farm equipment, sometimes only the remnants of foundation stones. The mosquitos were relentless but we battled on, hacking with axes at the branches in our path. We were only in there a few hours but it still felt like we'd reached the promised land (at least to me) when we saw the glimmer of daylight through the trees that promised we had made it across to another edge of the island... and beach.
We hiked along the beach, which was rapidly receding due to high tide, to retrieve our gear and then returned, among perilous rocks and dead trees, seeking the far tip of the island to make our camp. Quick ocean dips refreshed us in the searing sun, and gave us the strength to continue. Farther and farther we went, until at last we could see the island's tip, and the wide, promising stretch of beach that would become our permanent campsite. Afternoon catnaps lent energy for the evening, as we explored a bit farther, to the very tip of the island and the lone pond in the centre of its thinnest point. The boys built things- a clothesline, a "fridge", a fire - and we set up the tents. The island was ours, and ours alone. We heated canned food in the fire and fed on hotdogs and beer. We could swim, we could lie in the sun, we could rest in the shade. We could explore. We could sit and ponder. We could watch the herons at their fishing. It was quite possibly paradise. It was peace.
Check out pics from our adventures here and here.