I’m so blasted tired that it’s only 7:30 and I’m in my sleeping bag fighting the inevitable act of falling asleep. It’s all part of day one on this third annual “Trek Across Lincolnville To The Sea” hiking challenge. I haven’t had as intense day of backpacking in the snow for at least 15 years! Not only was the snow wicked deep, I also walked several additional miles in order to assist my hiking comrades.
Our first test was struggling with the depths of the actual snow. My brother Roy, Tenzing Clarkie, and I set off from my house across snowy fields to the snowmobile trail running part way down the abandoned end of the Proctor Road.
Without backpacks, we initially found firm footing on the snow-packed trail. Unfortunately, the trail veered off from our direction, and we were without snowshoes. After wallowing up to our crotches for a few hundred feet, trailblazer Clarkie swam, rolled and eventually even crawled his way through the ridiculously deep powder until we reached actual pavement.
For the next mile we wound our way along a snowmobile trail through the woods, across Norton’s Pond, and up to Drake’s Corner Store, where we found an inspiring display if brown, yellow, red, and chocolate varieties of Whoopie Pies.
They also have a killer $3.89 chicken salad submarine sandwich which I polished off at the picnic table and washed down with a cup of hot coffee.
Up the Thurlow Road we went. A short climb to Dave and Kristi’s house found us reunited with our backpacks and snowshoes. The real walking was about to begin. But first, grief strikes- in the form of a verbally distressed Roy, now doubled over and clutching his back. We had just walked up to start an untrammeled section of abandoned road and started strapping snowshoes and grunting up backpacks. Despite our best efforts at medicating, resting, and relieving him of his backpack Roy was done for, or so it seemed. We called Dave up to request a personal ambulance transport. The hope was that resting up with Dave and Kristi for a couple of hours would fix Roy’s back.
Undaunted by the apparent physical risk of just putting on, and not even walking with, a backpack Tenzing Clarkie and I trudged due south heading straight into the welcoming arms of this winter’s edition of Camden Hills State Park.
After another half-mile we had steadily ascended 350 vertical feet, reaching the other side of Cameron Mountain and the start of the unbroken one mile final uphill section of the Cameron Mountain Trail. Despite the sub freezing temperatures, we were overheating. It was tough walking even with snow shoes, as we were pitched to, fro, and partially backwards with each lumbering step.
A phone call from the top to Roy astounded us that he was back in the action, and that he, Dave, and Kristi were about to depart the parking area at Steven’s Corner. Dave had volunteered to add Roy’s pack to the gear that he was hauling in a large black plastic sled.
Encouraged by the impending rendezvous with our companions Tenzing and I plummeted down the half-mile steep Zeke’s Trail, eventually reaching the Ski Lodge Trail (SLT). Tenzing, in true mountaineering spirit, dropped his backpack and headed north on the SLT. Mission: rescue and relieve. He instructed me to proceed a half-mile south and drop my pack at our destination at the Ski Lodge then come back and ferry his pack likewise.
And then head back out again, hiking over a mile, when I finally reached Tenzing and Roy, who were making steady progress. The unselfish Tenzing was now in full rope harness, pulling uphill a top-heavy and voluminous pallet of gear supporting three people. I shared the tow rope with him, encouraged by the much improved and ambulatory version of what had appeared to be the wincing, immobile Roy.
Dave and Kristi were holding steady behind.
Eventually we all reached the Ski Shelter, which was still warm, thanks to someone who had earlier in the day kindled and stoked a fire in the massive airtight wood stove. Continuing to set an example that would have impressed even Hillary, Tenzing slid and skidded his way down a dangerous slope to fetch water for the group.
The details on this relatively new shelter can be reviewed on my previous post.
Later Pat arrived to join us for the evening. He was instrumental in locating the barbecue grill which was indistinguishable below the sea of snow outside the door. Pat is famous for all things coffee.
We needed that grill. Roy was packing steaks. Tezing was Sherpa for a half- dozen baked potatoes ( with all the fixings), me the appetizers and salad, and Dave the apple pie that he had made especially for this well- earned feast, which leads me to this horizontal position and soon asleep.
It’s 7:30 PM.