New Year’s Day 2008


My romance with the outdoors continues. Last night, as part of our own private New Year’s Eve celebration, Marcia and I lay out on the couch and watched the AT classic video “Walking With Freedom” documentary that tracks the Lion King on his 2003 thru hike. Satisfying stuff, not too wild. Definitely a movie about another romantic, walking just to save his soul .

Tonight it is the real Jan. 1, and we sit here in the illuminated darkness on 8 PM on snowy winter’s night in Maine. Another 12 inches of snow predicted by daybreak. Don’t think we’ll be going too far tomorrow, unless we do a lot of shoveling between now and then. We get to wear our headlamps around our necks tonight, too, because the heaviness of this type of snow is probably going to break tree limbs ( big ones) , which tend to wipe out the power lines around here. We’ll be ready to see what is going on, these trusted light sources our secret allies. ( We did lose power!-Ed)
Marcia and I got to hike together today at just at the start of the storm. We both strapped on the snowshoes and slogged to the top of Moody Mountain. It is about a 600 foot elevation gain, and we were out there moving steadily for an hour and a half.  It is easy to be in the outdoors for us.  We just walk a bit down the road and then head on up, or down, one of the trails .

First,  we move through a pasture that rises high enough so that that at the top you can look back and see the great big Atlantic, our part called  Penobscot Bay. After that, we enter some recently cut woods , following a tractor path up over some fairly thick hardwoods , walking until that trail ends. So then we go on our own , up more steeply, following a narrow trail that I have established here over the past couple of years. We eventually reached the top, a long ridge that we cover in a half-mile before we reach the summit. It is now snowing so hard we can’t see squat for views.

I like walking in woods like this with snowshoes. You are forced to walk about half as fast as you can on solid ground. There are quite a few mini-slips that you deal with , and the whole process is not too far removed from another winter sport up here, ice skating. Walking gets much tougher when the elevation is steep, mostly because of the constant struggle with slipping backwards that you have to overcome in order to actually move higher up the slope. The best news is that it is much easier than regular walking on the descents , as the character of the deep snow allows you to take the opportunity to “ski” down the slopes on your snowshoes. I take the extra precaution of keeping my knees flexed a bit, just in case my body heads in a direction my knees know nothing about.
It is so hopeful , this year upcoming . My six months walk north along the spine of the seaboard set me straight. It keeps at me every day. Today was as fine a start to have one foot in the wilderness as there can be.

6 thoughts on “New Year’s Day 2008

  1. John (from St Pete Beach)

    OK, Uncle Tom, I’m with you, but with the precaution that past performance does not guarantee future results. This blog is a good idea. There are less than two months before Auntie Mame and V8 begin their AT thru-hike. I applaud their enthusiasm, wish them success, and plan to be right here at my computer watching their endeavor progress. They have already proven their writing ability. Meanwhile, you were fading into the role of support. No need to fade. Let there be blog…Despite the common misconception, this is a big world. There are lots of trails. Don’t limit yourself to the AT. You, Mame and V8 should all go down to Springer together. While they hike the AT, you do the Benton MacKaye. What do you think of that? Wow, would we have reading material then!


  2. Clarkie

    Uncle Tom,
    So happy to have you sharing so eloquently with us again.
    What type of snowshoes are you and Marcia using? They sound like the old wood and gut type with all the slipping and sliding. We have a couple of pairs that we haven’t used in ages since we upgraded to Denali-MSR’s. I do miss the “romance” of the old teniis raquets!


  3. tjamrog

    Thanks for logging in, Clarkie.
    Snowshoes. I have two pairs.
    For travel in conditions that require climbing on uneven terrain on a trail that twists and turns, (most of what I do), I use a pair of LL Bean ( Tubbs) White Mountain 30’s . They are modern types, with aluminum/ plastic composition, claws on the bottom, and with quick release bindings. I wear then with Trailrunners and knee-high gaiters . They are at least 10 years old.
    For travel on frozen rivers where the footpath is level I use the traditional wooden snowshoes ( Maine, or Michigan shaped) about 4 feet long and 14″ wide. I use cloth lamp wick bindings and walk in Steger mukluks when I use these shoes. You need a huge snowshoe to support your weight when the snow is deep, and the more modern one’s just don’t cut it in those situations.


  4. Heidi Snead

    Hey Tom,
    Love your blog, your photos out the bathroom window of the icicles and the great descriptions of snow shoeing.These are tender visualizations for the now california girl who once snow shoed with my sister at night, full moon and stars twinkling from the 2 room cabin on the Carrabassett River up to the Holloway’s, our closest neighbor to play board games by kerosene lamp. Thank you for continuing your writing here, we ar all loving it a lot.


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