We got whacked again on Friday with another snow storm that canceled all local schools and meetings for the eighth time this winter. The good news is that the bare ground is now warmed up to the point that the snow that lands there is usually gone in a few days.
Today I finally pulled myself out of the house and into the cold and am so pleased that I did it. I did a 7 mile loop hike in Camden Hills State Park. I parked at the Stevens Corner lot, walked up the Ski Lodge Trail, then veered onto the Cameron Mountain Trail, where I went all of the way to the end. I then linked up to Zeke’s Trail, which eventually returned to the Ski Lodge Trail that I followed all the way back to the car. It was a great day to be alive. I had my beloved ULA Pack, my Leki poles, and took along Tiki Mon as my water bottle. I had the iPod filled with my AT sound track selection, and for lunch I packed a few prunes mixed in with Walmart Cajun Trail Mix. I brought along my snow shoes, that I strapped on the back on my pack. Jody came with me for companionship.
The trail was well packed from the parking lot all the way up past the 1.2 mile mark. It was a long time to go uphill. When I turned onto the start of the Cameron Mountain trail, I saw some ski tracks, but they only went in about 50 feet where the human on top of the skis sized up the narrow uphill ascent and quit. I had to put on the snow shoes for the bulk of the afternoon, but never did sink down very far. There were no flat places to put my feet on today; all of it was uneven, even sections of bare ground and also numerous stream crossings. I had to take of my gloves, and jacket, and hat. I was hiking in just a t-shirt and long sleeved polypro turtleneck. It was really sunny and very bright out. I was pleased I packed some sun glasess or else I’d be snow blind tonight.
I have heard from so many fellow backpackers these past few days. Radar, Paddy-O, General Lee, Rockdawg, Marvin, v8, Peter, Auntie Mame, and Lifetraveler either called me or emailed me. I am also working on some AT thru hikers who don’t know they will be thru-hikers just yet. I have kept it a secret.
One of my e-mails was from Chronic, a two time thru-hiker of the AT , who has invited me ( No, I think I invited myself!) to do Trail maintenance. His section is from Black Brook Notch (South Arm Road) UP to Old Blue, here in Maine. There’s a lot of snow up there, so he’s probably going to do a reconnaisance around June 4-5, without equipment, and then set a specific time to go up with chainsaws and the rest of the equipment after that. Here is a picture of the two of us from last fall:
I have also received a phone call today from Troutbum, a man who approached me at Trail Days last year and asked me if I’d mind talking to him about the AT. I remember spending about 45 minutes with him, and now he is on his own AT thru-hike, and doing really well. he sends me emails and calls me. He will be at Fontana Dam in 2 days.
I also have received a paniced e-mail from a woman named Kristin, who is set to soon depart on her own AT thru-hike. She is confused, scared, worried, and petrified of going on her hike.
What I told her is what I’d tell anyone who would be on the verge of a similar great adventure:
“Of course you should be scared. Anyone who sets off on such an adventure as yours has to have what appear to be unbearable feelings of fright, loathing, doubt and dread. These are all the genuine feelings that adventurers have had since the dawn of travel. We are so trained to be shoe horned into this world that it takes a superhuman effort to shed it, to turn our backs on it, and go to Springer Mountain.
I think you are correct in thinking you are dying, because you are. You are dying for change, yet you have no idea what will come to replace the parts of you that you will shed on the trail. The person your now are that leaves in a few days may bear little resemblance to the individual that will emerge from the top of the big K .
So I guess you can leave with huge feelings welling up inside you and lean on the part of you that knows this is what you need to do right now to enter your true life.
Take a bunch of Kleenex with you.”