Snow walk week: Day 1, 2008

Things are pretty different here this past week or so. My Powerbook G4 is dead as a doornail. I am waiting for a new lap top to arrive, there is another ice storm here that cancelled everything today, and my wife Auntie Mame has been sick and hunkered down in a hiker hostel near Springer Mountain, GA awaiting her first step on her own thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

The good news is that I had a great time on a 5 day winter hiking/ snow shoeing trip up in the Maine North Woods two weeks ago, and my notes are somewhere lost in digital space right now, but I’ll do my best at reconstructing the event.

Feb. 19, 2008 Our route is on map 48 of The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer. We started on the far left edge near letter “D”, where we put in at Penobscot Brook, then connected with the South Branch of the Penobscot River, walking on that frozen watercourse, then walking the 5 or so miles over Canada Falls Lake, back onto the South Branch again, and finally arriving at our vehicles at Pittston Farm at the western end of Seboomook Lake. There were 7 of us. Other than second degree burns on Bad Influence’s leg that was due to boiling coffee, it went without too many hitches.
We started Tuesday night in a old log cabin at The Birches, where there were enough beds for all.

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A woodstove kept us warm. The orange sunrise was awesome, and had us looking right over the edge of Mt. Kineo up toward Mt. Katahdin.

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We were the only people staying at the Birches who were not snowmobilers. There was four feet of snow on the ground. This trip was a special one for me, as I was introducing Bad Influence and Rangoon, two of my AT mates, to the pleasures of warm winter camping. We would need snowshoes to haul long, home-made toboggans over the frozen waterways during the day, stopping early enough in the afternoon to set up two 3-man tents , and cut and split sufficient dry fire wood to keep us warm as we prepared supper and breakfasts, letting the stove go out when we went to sleep. Here’s a shot of me, ready to ward off the winter winds:

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The Birches is a throwback to old times; rustic, worn, but welcoming. We ate supper and breakfast in the dining room, before shuttling vehicles and gear over ice covered desolate logging roads on Wednesday morning.

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