What a difference it makes to spend a night in the woods, especially when the overnight accommodations are just 10 minutes from the house. Last night Auntie Mame, V8, Jody, and I hiked into Camden Hills State park, where we experienced a mostly comfortable evening in most dilapidated of the two crumbing lean-tos up at the top of Bald Rock mountain.
We were met in the Stevens Corner parking lot by none other than the Guthook family, which included Pappa and Momma as well as the Guthook himself.
Guthook writes an excellent bog on ultralight backpacking, and we have hiked together, off and on, in the Midcoast Maine area since we both connected around hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010.
Once on top, we set up at the lower shelter, after we spotted a serious skull and crossbones flag guarding the encampment in the upper lean-to. There was a green tent inside that housed a young couple up from Massachusetts who were taking a low cost, no frills, three-day vacation in Camden town.
The ‘Hooks went back home, but we had supper to cook and bedrolls to unfurl.
The impetus for the camp out was April’s full moon, which popped up over Penobscot Bay at 7:30 PM. We couldn’t have been a better night, or found a better encampment to view the moonrise.
In summer, you can’t see much of the Bay from the lower shelter, due to the leaf cover, but with no foliage yet appearing on the bare brushy sticks in front of the shelter, we were able to lay in our sleeping bags and view the incredibly bright orb climbing across the chilly sky.
The moon increased in brightness as it rose.
Mame and I enjoyed juicy cheeseburgers that she grilled up on the fire pit in front of the lean-to. It was remarkable how much really dry wood was so close to the shelter, primarily due to the fact that so few people camp there.
I was concerned that the Red Flag open burning warning for coastal Maine would negate the campfire, but the Park ranger assured me that a reasonable fire in the provided pit would be allowed.
In the morning, we brewed up a quick coffee, before we headed up to the Hide Away Diner for breakfast.
So, for a grand total of $6, we had the lean-to and the whole top of Bald Rock to ourselves, to view a glorious light show that can’t be duplicated by man.