Carey Kish: It’s time to step up to the 1,000-mile challenge | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

As part of a regimen for the 1,000-mile goal, include hiking time in Acadia National Park. With views like this, you’ll be invigorated in both body and mind. Carey Kish Photo

As part of a regimen for the 1,000-mile goal, include hiking time in Acadia National Park. With views like this, you’ll be invigorated in both body and mind.
Carey Kish Photo

Carey Kish’s idea is superb. I like the idea of setting a long term goal that requires bit of a stretch. Totally in the right direction, which is getting outside. It’s also Maine-based.

Hey, Carey, I’m on this bus! Maybe we can hike together sometime in this 2014 campaign. I vowed to stay close to home this year, and your plan is making me look forward to the next few months.
I’d like a third hike of the Hundred. Carey’s thru-hike of Baxter state park inspired me to do the same this coming August. And yes to Grafton Loop. Definitely will do a thru hike of the George’s Highland Path and all of Camden Hills State Park

Readers click here—>>Carey Kish: It’s time to step up to the 1,000-mile challenge | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Day 3 Moose River Walk

Day 3 Moose River Walk
Early morning rising is easy when the lights are out at 7 PM.     Hard to believe but it was even colder last night.

Sunrise over the freeze

Sunrise over the freeze

Pat was up first – his coffee Jones propelling him to head down to the open lead and fetch water, and then kindle the wood stove and start the coffee percolating.
By 8:30 AM, the bacon was ready, and the rime frost that lined the acreage of the 9 x 12 Egyptian cotton tent had already thawed, so the thin fabric was dry again.  The double whammy of bacon and coffee fragrances makes the heart want to reach out again and embrace the frozen world around us.
Who knows what adventures the day may bring?   There are no set plans.  We have a big pile of firewood that we worked up yesterday so I might just hang out and stoke the fire and eat, read, and write. Or I could head back to Attean Pond and explore along the shore, or pack a track partway back to the car in order to make our exit easier.  Or we could move back up river over the superhighway that we laid down yesterday and set up there.

In the end, I spent a few hours stoking the stove while finishing up Journal of A Trapper: A Hunter’s Rambles Among the Wild Regions of the Rocky Mountains, 1834-1843.

Diary of a Trapper

Diary of a Trapper

If you feel like it is a big deal to be out and live in the cold for a few days, read this.  Nine years of wandering around the Yellowstone region trapping beavers, eating basically nothing but meat, and befriending or, if that fails, getting Indian arrows stuck into you.  Unbelievable.  I was reading from this book and came up with a passage that had Osborne eating pemmican.  IMG_2574  I had some  with me made by my friend Craig and we snacked on that .

Pat and Matt went back up the river for a six mile walk.  Bad Influence and I walked across the frozen river to a small bog where we sawed down three dead, standing spruce, delimbed them with the axe, and then hauled them back to our firewood processing yard.

Bad Influence sawing our fuel

Bad Influence sawing our fuel

We worked quickly with two saws and then I split up the larger pieces while BI stacked them inside and more outside the tent.

We then did some architectural renovations to the heating system, adding extra crib work under the stove, shoveled more chunks of ice and snow into the pit that had melted under the stove, and secured some of the two foot sections of 4″ stove pipe that had come loose during the day’s wind and stove’s settling into the pit.

Pat was on for supper tonight, which we put off as long as possible yet commenced at 4:40 PM. Carr’s Crackers with cheddar cheese and pepper salami made up the appetizer, with chili and cornbread, and home made chocolate cookies for dessert.

The cold doesn’t seem so formidable to me tonight.  I must be getting used to it.

Liking Little Lyford Cabins

I  left the house at 9 AM and rolled into Greenville down past the Indian Hill trading post exactly at 11. No matter how many times I’ve seen it, the view of Moosehead Lake unfolding downhill stuns me.  Today, the surface of the lake is covered in standing water, with the temperatures above freezing after some 5 inches of rain and a unexpected thaw. It’s eerie.

I grabbed a quick lunch of corn chowder and a hot dog, then drove out of town past the airport along the Katahdin Iron Works ( or “KI road”) for ten miles or so toward increasing wilderness and the Little Lyford Lodge and Cabins winter parking lot at Hedgehog Gate.  It didn’t take long for me to become terrified. It was steadily raining now, and any sand that had been spread over the thick ice on the road had long been washed away.  The roadway is essentially a lubricated, smooth ice-rink. But ice rinks are flat, and this goes up and down and pitches from side to side.  The only reason I didn’t skid off was 4 newly studded winter snow tires on my 2000 Plymouth Voyager.  Even so, I was so anxious and hyped up that I settled myself by “pranayama-ing” along, with one hand up on my nose, alternating yogic nostril closures while the other hand gingerly worked the steering wheel at 20 miles an hour. I knew that one mistake would skid me into the deeper snow on the side of the road, and so far there was no one else dumb enough to be out here. There were also no ” rescue me” Verizon bars showing on my iPhone.  I was definitely on my own, creeping and sliding.

Toward the end of the road, I saw my first and only vehicle- a white 4 wheeled drive pickup traveling in the same direction way up ahead. I thought that if I could catch it, they would see me behind them, and rescue me if they watched my head lights flash sideways if and when I skidded off.

I knew I was in trouble as I advanced up the last long uphill.  I was coming up the hill faster than they were to the point where I had to start slowing dow or I would run into them- uphill!   Why were they going so slowly?  Momentum was the only way I could make it up.  If I had to stop on the hill, I would not be able to start uphill again, and would likely have to back all of the way down to a flat spot and try again. Miraculously, I crept to the top behind them, and there was the sanctuary of the parking lot.

The lot itself was so icy that I had to put on my traction devices just to unload my gear, including my Pugsley.  The three guys in the truck were also headed into Little Lyford. You unload your gear here into a little kiosk where a snowmobile trailers it into LL at 2 pm every day, allowing the unfettered guest to ski or snowshoe 6.2 miles into camp.

The driver of the truck was shocked to hear that my vehicle was not all wheel drive. They were experienced outdoorsmen, and worked in the military- aviation mechanics. I learned why they were moving so slowly. This was their second attempt at coming in this morning. The first time, they actually turned around and went back to Greenville where they bought  chains to attach to the wheels. The slow speed was necessary to prevent centrifugal force from stretching the newly-installed chains.  Slow and steady worked for them, as it did for me.

I am definitely an oddity with my bike here.  In fact, I had to get permission to ride to LL this winter season.  Yes, I’m the first fat-tired bike rider to cruise the winter road to LLC.  I gambled that the surface would hold me up and won. The other three Bangor guys walked in with the aid of traction devices, taking them two hours and 45 minutes, an average time for foot travel.  I, on the bike, clocked in at 1 hour and 3 minutes.  All my practice with recent ice riding trips in midcoast Maine for the past two weeks paid off.  Using my studded 45N tires made a fall-free entrance possible, running 3.5 psi front and rear.  I had a blast.

I’m here at the invitation of my new Triple Crown backpacking friend Bonelady, who is the head cook this winter, her third in a row. We had been Facebook CDT 2013 Group acquaintances until we met face to face on the Continental Divide Trail this season.  I have wanted to stay here for a few years now, but it has never materialized.  Turns out, the guest count is nonexistent at mid-week , and I promised to be no bother.

I’m staying in Little Lyford’s littlest cabin tonight.

My cabin

My cabin

I overheated it.  Bonelady warned me that it would probably be too warm, but even with a one stick stoke at 4 pm, by my bedtime after 9, it must have been over 80 degrees inside. The log walls and metal roof hold the heat.

A wood stove and a water basin are just fine

A wood stove and a water basin are just fine

One bed- propane lights illuminate ( and heat up)  the spaceOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s a coupe of propane lights on the wall with an ancient outhouse out back.

My very own outhouse

My very own outhouse

Little Lyford camps have been in this exact location since it was started up as a lumbering camp in 1870. The Appalachian Mountain Club has owned it for the past 10 years. It is a thrill to experience this setting.

Main lodge- dining room and library

Main lodge- dining room and library

And yes, the food is superb, and plenty of it.

To read more about Little Lyford check out Village in the Woods from the January 2014 issue of Downeast Magazine.

Tim Smith at Snow Walker’s Rendezvous

The 2013 edition of the Snow Walkers’ Rendezvous in Fairlee, VT was a superb.  Many tents were set up with wood smoke puffing out of 4″  stovepipes. Over 100 people attended the sold out weekend.

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We opted for a heated bunk room, took in the displays at the vendor tables, and scored up front row seats in the big room for Friday night’s  program.

Willem Lange kicked off the program with a reading of a couple of his highly entertaining Vermont- based stories. Will’s vitae includes 8 books, numerous careers, and founding the Geriatric Adventure Society.

For me, the highlight of the evening was Tim Smith‘s talk-  “Nature as Wallpaper” .  Tim is a nationally known bushcraft and survival skills instructor, with his Jack Mountain Bushcraft School running courses out of Marsadis, Maine.  He posted an entry about his talk on his blog.

Tim  told attendees that his talk would be on the web, soon.   Here is the podcast of that presentation-  it’s short, but drives right to the point.  Tim is an authentic voice connecting people to the natural world.  I hope to take a course with him.

iTunes Link | Play, Download Or Subscribe In iTunes
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 13:45 — 15.7MB)

My Favorite Outdoors/Adventure book of 2013- Plus!

Here’s the best book I’ve read this year, by Timothy Eagan:

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Eagan

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Eagan

Readers in doubt can check out the book on Goodreads, where there are 325 reviews,  with a rating of 4.16 of 5 stars from 1,304 raters.

”   Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous portrait photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. But when he was thirty-two years old, in 1900, he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared.
Curtis spent the next three decades documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty North American tribes. It took tremendous perseverance — ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him to observe their Snake Dance ceremony. And the undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. Curtis would amass more than 40,000 photographs and 10,000 audio recordings, and he is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian.”- from Goodreads.

Now the PLUS- I thank my subscriber and sometimes transcriber, John Clark, for forwarding me the following information:    “In case you did not know, the entire 20 volumes are archived on-line and with free access by Northwestern University.  The photos are of excellent resolution and much better than the printed ones in Egan’s book.”

20 volume set?  Can your local library get copies? I doubt it.–>

“A rare complete set of Edward S. Curtis’ The North American Indian was sold at auction for 1.44 million on October 4, 2012. The price was solidly in the expected range, which as previously reported was 1.25 million to 1.75 million. It was also a record high for the auction house, Swann Galleries, which held the first photobook auction in the United States in 1952. Read more.

And the background   ……From Wikipedia–>

“In 1906 J. P. Morgan provided Curtis with $75,000 to produce a series on the North American Indian.[9] This work was to be in 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs. Morgan’s funds were to be disbursed over five years and were earmarked to support only fieldwork for the books not for writing, editing, or production of the volumes. Curtis himself would receive no salary for the project[ my emphasis T.J.),[10] which was to last more than 20 years. Under the terms of the arrangement, Morgan was to receive 25 sets and 500 original prints as his method of repayment.    Only 222 complete sets were eventually published.”

So- track down a copy, fire up the wood stove ( I hope) and settle into a most incredible story- superbly written.  And then, read the original ( online) and view ( photographs) of  the passing of the Native cultures of America from your armchair- most amazing!

Wind River Range behind, Yellowstone ahead

Aug 3
Campsite below Gunsight Pass/ road walk/ to Rt 26, then hitch to Dubois,WY
29 miles

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’ “-Muhammed Ali

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Thank God we’ve finally completed this section to route 26/Togwotee Pass.
Our meager supply of remaining food was parsed out in the end and we followed our Ley map, walking out to the highway and hitching a ride to a much needed break and resupply in Dubois.
These types of obstacles (this time- unexpected glitches with logistics) present themselves daily out here and are part of the norm. This one takes the cake.
Coming over Gunsight Pass at 10,110 feet elevation early this very cold morning , we realized the game has changed again. Where we have been viewing more and more mountains ahead from the high passes this past week of backpacking, this time it was different.
The mountains that I expected are gone. Ahead of us are much lower, rolling hills, broad swaths of meadows, and large numbers of cattle peppering those huge green expanses and water courses threading through the greenery.
It reminds me of experience of the Colorado mountains petering out as we began to enter eastern Wyoming.
It will be easier walking for a while. A little while.
As we approached Togwotee I was astounded to see initial evidence of the Absaroka Mountains, a massive cluster of spires that will stretch all the way up into Montana, above Yellowstone. The Pass receives heavy winter snowfall and is a top destination for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Snowfall at the pass often exceeds 25 feet, with reports of over 50 feet.
We’re here at the hiker- friendly Branding Iron motel, where we scored a discounted room in a cabin for $76. We plan to take a much needed day off tomorrow.
Everything is within easy walking distance here – laundry across the street, supermarket within sight, and numerous restaurants 5 minutes down the street.
Alarmed, but also pleased to see my “new” body as I stepped out of the shower tonight. No middle gut or love handles anymore. My arms are skinny- my reduced size 34 pants are now needing a belt to keep from sliding off my vanishing butt.
I had a snack from the Conoco of a pint of chocolate milk, bag of roasted almonds, and a home made candy – a huge cluster of roasted almonds covered with dark chocolate.
Then I had a real meal at the Cowboy Cafe- a Fat Tire ale, salad, bowl of chili with cheese/ onions, then full rack of ribs, cornbread, and cowboy beans. Train and Wizard were surprised I ate it all.
We sat up and talked and talked when we got back to the room. How can you process all that we go through every day out here?
I love these two guys- Train and Wizard. We all depend on each other for safety and sanity and we manage to hold on to just enough of both as we lay our exhausted heads down on our makeshift pillows each night.
While we go through this stuff every day, we remind ourselves often that, ” This is the life we have chosen”.
Lately, I wonder if this life has chosen us.

Day 61-Rt 24 to Copper Mountain,CO-24 miles

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A surely stunning, mostly immensely satisfying day of slack packing made possible by Bird Dawg’s generous gift of his car, while he was working.
We started early today, after dropping BD off at 6:30 am. We had until 4:40 to make the miles, so there was no fooling around. Our benefactor asked to be retrieved at 5 PM.
It’s easy to hike fast with nothing on your back. Train volunteered to carry my water bottle and snacks for the day. The guy is a mountaineering saint.
The first part was dealing with relatively flat gravel roads around the old 10th Mountain Division training area. Then we went up, some 2,500 feet of elevation, all the way to 12,200′ to Kokomo Pass, where the trail stayed smack dab high the whole three miles to Searle Pass, where the long descent to the base of the Copper Mountain ski area began.
I hiked north with Train all day, with Lee and Louis walking the same section from Copper Mountain south.
The hiking went really well. Train and I were able to ascend 1,200 feet, of course without real loads in a pack, in a 45 minute period.
My friend Ben asked me how my respiration was at 12,000 feet. It was surprisingly normal. There have been days when I had to gulp air up that high, with little steps on the uphills. But not today, when I’ve eaten plenty, and hydrated well, correcting my mistakes in those areas from yesterday. I was able to fly along today. Maybe the little bottle of Five Hour Energy helped?
There was snow up high, but it was not a significant impediment. The trail was easy to follow, even dealing with snow fields.
I had one fall today, on a greasy little section of ledge. Results were a cut palm. Not bad. I fell right on my left side, and my whole back and left thigh and ass were coated in mud, which thankfully dried quickly on there synthetic fabrics I am wearing.

I loved hiking today.
It is finally a pure big world of joy up on the ridge in the sky today.

Follow the adventure via
My Trailjournal site http://www.trailjournals.com/tjamrogCDT/

‘North Pond Hermit’ a ‘model prisoner,’ bail set at $5,000 — Augusta — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

I’ve received numerous comments from my post about the arrest of Christopher Knight, now dubbed “The North Pond Hermit”. Here’s an update on his continued resistance to connecting to a society he walked away from decades ago.

Photo courtesy of Maine State Police

Photo courtesy of Maine State Police

The link brings you to additional new stories about this most unusual situation.

‘North Pond Hermit’ a ‘model prisoner,’ bail set at $5,000 — Augusta — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.