Birthday present: Walking eight miles in the rain over snow

In the wee hours of the morning ( 4:12 AM), I realized that the weather would not compel many friends to accompany me on my birthday walk in the Park today:

First This !

First This !

I don’t work on my birthday. At least one day of my life should be scheduled to be free of responsibilities to the economic machine!   Tonight will also feature a  full moon, plus today is the anniversary of my setting foot on my first National Scenic Trail thru- hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2007.

Marcia got up to make me a birthday breakfast, along with providing a few cards and gifts.  She’s the best.

Double espresso, eggs, croissant, presents!

Double espresso, eggs, croissant, presents!

I knew that I would be going it alone today, but hoped that I’d have some company in the Ski Shelter that I rented for tonight in the Camden Hills.

I’m fortunate to live here, where I can look out two big glass windows and take in a view of the valley and assess my destination today, up and over the sloping back side of the Camden Hills.  After breakfast, I put on my Patagonia Specter rain jacket, shouldered my loaded pack, slide my hands into the rain mitts and under the straps of my Leki poles, and  proceeded to walk across town, my own march to the sea.

I started walking on the crumbling snow coating the abandoned Proctor Road. It’s slippery underfoot, but I tried walking without traction devices on my feet and it seemed good. I’m getting used to walking again with a full pack. It feels familiar, but a bit uncomfortable, like a draft horse in a dry old harness that both need to loosen up a bit.

screenshotAfter I walked through some mud at the other end of the Proctor Road I wind my way down through Lincolnville Center. It’s been easy going so far, mostly downhill. Now the climb starts, first up the Thurlow Road, where it gets sketchier on an abandoned section that eventually crosses Youngtown Road, where it  dumps me onto a snowmobile trail that heads up the back side of Cameron Mtn.  This time of the year the terrain appears foreign, primarily due to the lack of leaves, so the tunnels seem lighter, longer, and more desolate. It’s cold, spitting light rain from the sky, and as long as I’m moving,  I’m comfortable but I’m getting tired.  I’ve been moving steady and at a good clip for two hours straight.

I forgot to pack snacks. I  turned left at the base of Cameron and planned to take the downhill to link onto the Multipurpose trail. If you are following the map, I am right at the “4” mark.   I take a brief rest,  reach into the pack,  eat one of the lemon-filled cupcakes that Marcia made me for my birthday, and drink a pint of water from Tiki-man. My lower abdomen still is uncomfortable, residual healing from the hernia surgery from 5 weeks ago. The doctor tells me to walk through it, and assured me that I am healing well.

I really hope that more healing is done by the time I leave for the CDT in 16 days.

Two of my friends, Karl Gottshalk and Pat Hurley came by after 4 PM to  spend the night in the shelter with me.  Pat and I  grilled up steaks out in one of the grill stations, and then we ate cake, provided by Karl. !

La, La, la!

La, La, la!

I plan to put in 9 more days of hiking, alternated with 9 rest days. I’m following the conditioning program favored by Ray Jardine, where I hope to culminate on a 12 mile day over these hills with 35 pounds in my pack. That should do it.

About tjamrog

I'm sixty-seven and live in the Maine woods. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2007, the Pacific Crest Trail in 2010, Vermont's Long Trail in 2011, and the Continental Divide Trail in 2013 . I am outdoors every day. I offer guided backpacking trips and classes in Maine, through "Uncle Tom's Guided Adventures".
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9 Responses to Birthday present: Walking eight miles in the rain over snow

  1. Clarkie says:

    Count me in for next year
    Tenzing

    Like

  2. Doug Sensenig says:

    Sorry I missed it, Tom! I’m still on the mend myself and was super fatigued. I’m trying to not sleep during the day so I don’t feel logy but that means very early nights. So far so good. Out today for a good 10 or 12 miles up in the Park with all my gear, including spikes for the ice. I’m not sure I’m going to need them for the Sierra at this point, but at least I’ll have the tags off!

    Base weight is right around 16 – hoping to keep that steady as I lighten up on some things and throw more in. If I’m at 18 when I leave I’ll be happy. The Hyperlight pack (I traded in for a 4400 Windrider with the mesh side pockets) feels good here in the house!

    Want to go for a hike one of these days? I’m pretty open this coming week, busy the week of the 7th and, so far, open on the 13th, 14th and 15th. I’m not sure what day you fly out. I go to Portland late on the 16th, fly to SD early on the 17th and start the trail on the 18th. Can’t. Frikkin’. Wait.

    3Cats

    Like

    • tjamrog says:

      OK, I can hike starting at 1:30 PM wed. April 3. Early AM Friday April 5. Open to hike 4/13 and 4/15. Where to meet for first one? I will be coming from Rockland.

      Like

  3. Dennis says:

    Uncle Tom – YOU are the man!

    Like

  4. Running Bear says:

    Another well written and engaging post!

    Like

  5. Chip says:

    Birthday wishes all the way from Virginia from a retired School Psychologist and novice backpacker! I enjoy your weblog.

    Like

  6. Liz says:

    Happy, happy Birthday Tom.

    Like

  7. Pat Burglar says:

    Happy Birthday UT! So much to do to be ready!

    Like

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