I am into a fresh appreciation for walking outside again. My friend Clarkie came up from Portsmouth, NH for Friday night and Saturday morning as part of a visit where we went to see the Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile at the Strand in Rockland. If you like music that is sort of bluegrass, sort of oceanic, with very dramatic range from super soft to crescendo, then check it out. I am a big fan of Chris Thile, and consider him the premiere mandolin player on the scene right now.
Anyway, the show was sold out, I may or may not buy the new album. I really miss the beat sometimes in his extended pieces, but he is a musical genius, and who am I to judge his direction?
Clarkie requested just one thing when he was communicating with me about coming up here- “Would you and Marcia be interested in dragging me along for some not too strenuous snowshoeing Saturday morning? I’d love to hike the “U.T.” (Uncle Tom Trail) you carved out. I’ll likely be like Bill Bryson’s (imaginary) friend, [Katz] huffing and puffing along behind; except I promise NOT to strew the trail with Snicker’s wrappers.”
So, it was just Clarkie and me up and over on the sunny very cold ( 15 degrees) morning, with me in the lead with my bigger set of snow shoes breaking trail up to the ridge walk. Just as we were setting out to walk up High St. a bit to get on the tril , we watched a Bald Eagle soaring in the blue sky, but we were fighting to see it silhouetted against the blinding sun, and it vanished somewhere. It was such a freshness for me to be outside walking in the woods again. I have only had one other person walk the UT trail , Marcia , and she has only done it once. Maybe it is too steep?
Clarkie did real well, he was a steady Eddie out there. In one of his comments back to me that was listed under another photo, Clarkie wrote, “Carol had asked that Tom not kill me, and as you can see from the steep ascent, he tried!”
Here is a shot I took of him coming over the last steep section, making it to the flatter ridge:
I consider Clarkie a true outdoors person. He regularly sends me photos he takes of sunrises, and he knows many of the trails in the White Mountains . He sent me an awesome Christmas card of a photo he took near Evans Notch where the Appalachian Trail moves its way up to Katahdin.
I went up the UT Trail again yesterday accompanied by my trusty sidekick Jody dog. We did well. Today it is raining out, and tonight my friend and fellow AT long distance backpacker Bad Influence is heading over from Vermont. We are joining Rangoon and 4 others for 5 days of winter camping in the western section of Maine. I am attaching a JPG of our route that one of the campers, Roger, sent us . We will likely walk over Canada Lake to reach a vehicle we would spot at Pittston Farms. Click on the photo to get a readable map/ route.
I plan to bring my Pocketmail and do daily trip reports that I’ll post to this site when I get back on the 25th or so.
My title quote was from Helen Mirren, playing the lead role of Queen Elizabeth II in the movie “The Queen.” I highly recommend the movie to all that walk outside. I was moved beyond words at the scenery and the surprising role that walking in the wilderness had in bringing the Queen to her senses. The film 2007 won the Academy Award for Best Actress.