Spent the evening engaged in my typical tossing and turning on the first night out. I heard rain hitting the tarp in the night and was none too eager to launch out into the day, so when V8 told me it was just 6 A.M., I slid down and zzzd out for another hour.
It was warm out today, much above freezing, which brought to our doorstep an unseasonably warm day. It’s gonna be slush-walking. I was going to have a problem; I forgot to pack my rubber boots. All I had with me for footwear were my mukluks, which are superb in the real cold, but are virtual sponges at any temps above 25 degrees. Solution: plastic bags and a mess of hope. Birdlegs gave an extra plastic food bag, which I added to the one I had pulled out of my pack. I put them on over my inner socks, then slid my tall fleece over socks over them and on went the mukluks. At least I’d be able to dry everything on the line overhead tonight.
V8 whipped up a giant of a breakfast: super-grain hot cereal with dried cherries, bacon, and rich, real coffee.
Our plan was to head back down the mile to the car, walk south on Rt. 3 for a little bit, cross the road to pick up a the 4 mile trail that climbs to the top of Cadillac Mountain and return. On our way down Route 3 I saw a deer cross the road ahead and head out toward Cadillac. I was convinced it was a portent that we were meant to climb Cadillac today. But we soon realized that we had walked way too far down Route 3 and missed the opening of the trail to Cadillac. Now I did what I don’t normally do. I went along with group’s alternative to hike along the gentler, kinder, Acadia Loop Road. V8 headed up a bushwhack down to the Loop Road which passed through a tunnel underneath Route 3.
I still had on my snowshoes, which I wore in the hope of sustaining dry feet above the ever softening crust.
Here’s a video of our group strolling along the unplowed surface of what is unquestionably one of the most heavily traveled roads on Mt. Desert Island, except that today, we saw no other hikers, just three cross country skiers, a half a dozen snowmobilers, but no other hikers.
We followed the Loop Road past stony beaches littered with flotsam from the ocean. Some beaches had access via winding wooden stairs. Birdlegs and I explored one of them. I climbed back up to the road with a souvenir bait bag drawstring pouch, plus a decent photo of a half eaten sea urchin.
V8 and Auntie Mame hung a left when we reached the trail that went back to Blackwoods campground. I have some walk left in me, so Birdlegs, Cody and I decided to march on to where we would eventually reach Otter Cliffs, a popular climbing spot up toward Thunder Hole and Sand Beach. One of the high points of the trip was Birdlegs spotting of what appeared to be an albino Red Squirrel. These little guys do exist. The wind increased as the day came on, as a cold front was advancing from the west. Back at the campsite, we came in on a restfully napping V8 and Auntie Mame, a scene presented in soft focus in the waning afternoon light.
Despite our campsite nestled within a grove of spruce, the increasing wind was threatening a potential mini-disaster in the vicinity of the stove. The wind was now emitting a dull roar in velocity, and was threatening to push the 8 eave side of the tent into the glowing stove. I needed to brace the leading 2 corners of the tent out, pulling it as far from the stove as I could. I was eventually successful in tying out the lower edges of the tent, packing two sleeper lengths of firewood deep into the snow.
V8’s turn for supper was an outstanding version of her chicken curry, preceded by hummus, pita crisps, kettle chips, and Snake Bites. A massive slice of some superb type of dense bundt cake set up the dessert session. The rest of the evening was punctuated by laughter, once the clean up essentials were taken care of. I awakened twice in the night for some bladder action, and each time ingested deeply the smell of the night, the black sky shimmering with February lights.