After several days of now-we-have-it-now-we-don’t electricity due to one ice, and two snow storms I’m here tonight in a stone-floored, enclosed shelter with no electricity or cell service, but…. there are three bunk beds, two chairs, a wood stove, an an outhouse.
I backpacked about 7.9 miles to get here- out the door of my house, on with the snow shoes, and down a snowmobile track on the abandoned Proctor Road.
Then off with the show shoes, for two miles of road walking through the center of Lincolnville, where I was made to wait by professional sign holder while two utility crews had a couple of guys way up over the road in a boom-bucket trimming ice coated branches over the power lines.
Snow shoes back on for the Thurlow Road where the abandoned upper half frustrated me with major blockage due to ice and snow-coated tree branches that often were right down to the ground, blocking the trail. More aggravation! Cascades of freezing snow fell down my neck as I pushed my way through the ice-prison bars.
After crossing Youngtown Road I connected with another snowmobile track heading up toward Cameron Mountain. It was inconceivable the going would be even more difficult, but it was at the start. At one point the woods were so thick and the limbs so interlocked and frozen in ice that I had to get down on all fours, then get on my stomach and squirm like a worm over the snow and press myself under the tangled mess. I made it through where a snowmobile stopped and turned around.
Then it got better, but now was getting dark and I still had at least an hour to go. When I reached the intersection of the Cameron Mountain Trail up to Zeke’s it was untraveled. I was running out of steam, so I took a hard left, continuing on the Cameron Mountain Trail that ran on a snowmobile track for 1.4 miles where it reached the Ski Lodge (Multiuse) Trail. This would add an extra 1.1 mile to reach the Ski Shelter, but I did not want to head up the 600 extra vertical feet to Zeke’s, in snowshoes, in the dark and increasing cold.
I made the right decision. Traversing the much wider road, any downed trees were easily skirted.
My hands were painfully cold. Once again, I could have taken mittens and even some chemical hand warmer’s but no, my thru-hiker mentality sometimes has me so vigilant about keeping it as simple as possible that I over scrimp. I ended up shoving a hand down my crotch, easing the pain after fifteen minutes when my other hand cries out for a warmth.
I turned on my headlamp when it became unsafe for walking, within a half mile, made it into the shelter.
Two dark departing figures beneath a couple of headlamps told me that the shelter was still warm, with coals in the firebox.
I stoked the wood stove, stripped off my set socks and shirt, and settled in- reading, listening to music on my iPhone, and watching the cowboy TV through the glass doors of the wood stove while I waited for my bunkhouse buddies to arrive.
Here’s the map that I recorded on the way back the next day:
Check out Carey Kish’s blog entry about my Q&A session last month: “Embrace the Brutality” of the Continental Divide Trail | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.
Hopeful news for the holiday.
“I have been enjoying American chestnuts for several years now, harvested from some trees that are now part of my forest of 600 acres in western Maine…”
Revitalizing Our Forests – NYTimes.com.By BERND HEINRICH
We’ve had a rare two feet or powder snow drop here on the Maine coast this past pre-Christmas week. I am nursing my sore body after two short but steep snowshoe hikes in the past three days. I have to remember to bring a headlamp with me- came back in the dark last night. I usually hike from here with nothing extra.
I am fortunate enough to be able to walk just a 1/4 mile up the street and then strap on my MSR Lightening Axis snowshoes and hit the trail, most of it on a neighbor’s land. David doesn’t mind me keeping up the trail. Before the snow came, I gave back to him a huge wrench that I found in the grass that he had lost this logging season. Here’s a picture of the elevation profile.
On the walk I saw a spruce grouse explode from the snow into the sky and even better, watched a little white weasel streak across the trail ahead of me. It was only the second white weasel I’ve seen in my life. Fresh paths made by deer, rabbits, and even a moose were all over the ridge.
Back home, the same deer have not feared to come right up against the foundation and eat the greenery of some yew shrubs. They do that every year now, when the food is scarce for them. This patch of land we live on is known as having a previous history as a top notch bean field. Two cemeteries flanking the house have signs of “c. 1830” on them. My wife suggests that the deer feeding here may have been passing on old wisdom for close to 200 years.
Unfortunately, this two feet of snow is not going to stay. Here’s the weather report for the weekend.
Now appears it is not all about numbers.
And another quick addition from NYT about this breaking news->
Lists, lists, lists…
This time of year, it’s easy to scan countless columns of the best movies, best books.
I haven’t seen “Best Meals I’ve Cooked in 2013”, but there is a list for that, for sure.
I am tired of going to such lists online and then experiencing ads popping up in the middle. Outside mag. is the worst offender, their content is generally great but they are killing me with their creeping advertising campaign.
Here are my one dozen best reads from 2013. No ads.
Disclaimer: I’m shooting you over to my Goodreads bookshelves via my blog. You can see what I like, and then you can click on each book and get more details. I have reviewed most of them. You can also friend me on Goodreads and then I can also see what you like to read and get more recommendations for like-minded folks. Thanks to my hiker buddy Birdlegs for turning me on to Goodreads!
I take notice when Malcom Gladwell writes about this so-called “Ten-Thousand-Hour Rule”. Here’s a August 2013 update from Gladwell, responding to some critiques of his points. ( From the New Yorker)
One should expect a lot of challenges over the course of a six-month backpacking journey, yes. But on the 3,200-mile long Continental Divide Trail, challenge takes on a whole new meaning.
Just ask Tom Jamrog of Lincolnville, who recently completed this epic five-month hike from Mexico to Canada through four states along the sinuous spine of the Rocky Mountains. With the AT and the PCT already under his hip belt, Jamrog has now joined a rather elite group of hikers who have achieved this Triple Crown feat.
Kish’s complete article here –> Continental-sized challenges on the Continental Divide Trail | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.
The 2013 edition of the Snow Walkers’ Rendezvous in Fairlee, VT was a superb. Many tents were set up with wood smoke puffing out of 4″ stovepipes. Over 100 people attended the sold out weekend.
Willem Lange kicked off the program with a reading of a couple of his highly entertaining Vermont- based stories. Will’s vitae includes 8 books, numerous careers, and founding the Geriatric Adventure Society.
For me, the highlight of the evening was Tim Smith‘s talk- “Nature as Wallpaper” . Tim is a nationally known bushcraft and survival skills instructor, with his Jack Mountain Bushcraft School running courses out of Marsadis, Maine. He posted an entry about his talk on his blog.
Tim told attendees that his talk would be on the web, soon. Here is the podcast of that presentation- it’s short, but drives right to the point. Tim is an authentic voice connecting people to the natural world. I hope to take a course with him.