I am getting a big present today and it is not in a box. It’s everywhere. It’s being alive, still married, still doing decent work at a level I can handle. It’s seeing my two children, my wife and mother and brother doing well. It’s being able to read play music, ride bikes, live in rural America, and have unimagined blessings unfold each day.

Ragged Mountain Hike

Sitting on top of Ragged Mountain after grunting up the ski trails. Somehow found out that my friend Mike was headed up here today so we made it up together.

Mike Gundel walking in ski boots
I am not sure Mike was able to ski down. We encountered a lift attendant at the top of the mountain that informed me it was against the rules for someone to just walk up the slopes to the summit and ski down. I’m heading down the 2.5 mile trail to Rt. 17. Got to be careful. I forgot my Stabilicers. The summit of ragged is 1260 feet, and starting at the parking lot, you gain 1,000 feet of elevation in just a mile.
Summit View of Penobscot Bay behind frozen Mirror Lake

Note: The text only initial post was accomplished from the top of Ragged via connecting with Verizon Mi-Fi through an iPod Touch. The post was dictated into the iPod’s regular earbuds/mike with the free Dragon Dictate app that converted the audio voice into text, which was then copied and pasted into the WordPress mobile app.

Backpacking the Maine Coast

Right now it’s great. The Ski Shelter here in Camden Hills state park is warm enough that I’m sitting without my coat and soaking up the heat from the big woodstove. My brother Roy and my friend Clarkie are here with me. The rangers have stocked this building with dry split oak, which is now glowing away behind the glass door of the massive wood stove at one end of the place.
We walked eight miles from one end of town to the other. We walked through muck, mud, streams, and suckholes of crumbling, refrozen snow. We started walking right out the door of our house, and walked the first half of the over discontinued town roads and parts of the so called center of town.
It started raining before we entered the Drake Corner variety store and we didn’t have raingear with us. We only got a bit wet and dried out over coffee and a Chunky candy bar. After leaving the store we started a long uphill slog, eventually reaching the high point at the intersection of the Cameron Mountain Trail and Zeke’s.
After a quick and sometimes steep 1 mile descent back to the main Multiuse trail through the park, wemtarrived at the shelter.
As Clarkie stated in his own excellent report, the $32.10 fee for up to 7 has to be the best facility deal in New England that is clean, easy to heat, with a trash can outside, as we as a a well- serviced outhouse. My share of the cost was taken care of by the $5 bill I found lying on top of the snowmobile trail on the way out.
Later, the Speedy Sister,. AKA Auntie Mame and V8, rolled in with Jody (the dog ) to join the party. Pat Hurley made it just before dark, filling up all 6 bunks.
Great meal, grilled steaks, baked potatoes, wine , salad, homemade carrot cake muffins, all taste much better away from the house in a cabin in the middle of the woods but this event was more enjoyable than most.
Clarkie’s recent e-mail reflects the group’s satisfaction with our experience. He wants to reserve two nights next February right on the full moon to get together and do a full moon night hike up the the top of Mt. Megunticook. Done deal.