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: