Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Color Has Arrived

Almost overnight the color has exceeded expectations.
The leaves descend like huge snowflakes, building up a carpet on trails and campsites.

Hiking the Gulf Hagas is like taking a walk in my own back yard. The logs over bogs make a sweet walkway, unless it's wet! Then its slick as ice.

Bear season, deer, grouse and turkey arrives soon. I've got my orange hat, though with all this color, can it even be seen?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Its Cold in These Here Hills!

Its time for the orange vests and hot cider. Colors are changing, crossing the river is a warm jacket and gloves affair.

The Mountain, Katahdin, closes October 15, so my focus now is to encourage hikers to make tracks and get it done.

Actually, Baxter State Park officials can close the Mountain any time they please, but chances are, if you get there before the posted date of 10/15, you'll be good to go.

Aches and pains are adding up for thru hikers. There are services and vendors for the 100 mile wilderness trek. Ask me, when you cross this river, if you have any concerns. One poor gal hiked up 5 miles, then retraced back to the river. Possible diagnosis? Stress fractures in her right foot.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

News From the Hundred Mile Wilderness

Its getting cold out there. I'm building a rock hop across the West Pleasant so that, come October, those of us still on the Trail have some relief from the near freezing water. Its usable now, with any amount of hopping talent, or two good hiking poles. You might get your feet a tad wet in the middle. Its still deep and flowing strong. Hard to get big rocks this time of year. Its like stacking ice cubes. One Mainer told me that slimy stuff on the river rocks is called Rock Snot. I thought he was pulling my leg. Not so. For real!

I'm still stationed in the Gulf. I sit at the crossing at various times of the day, listening to those treading the water. Usually they start off o.k. But then, a shriek comes, and low grunts of heavy displeasure. I wipe the grin off my face. They're numb, every last crosser.

Just the other day, I met a group of 5 from Vermont's Green Mountain Club hiking the 100. They told me they had started with ten members in Monson. Two dropped out after the first day. They were now sitting in Chairback Lean-to, waiting for three to catch up. Well, I said, going over Barren, Fourth, No name, Third, and Columbus was no easy feat.
They agreed, and a bit concerned, I headed back north, to my Gulf Hagas home, expecting to see them at the crossing before dark.

By that afternoon, I met one in the parking lot who was driving somewhere to get cell service. I told him the best place, then crossed the river.

Next morning, four of their party came through. The rest baled. I know, knees and feet.
But basically, its really cold and you need alot of food and determination.

I have one month left on this much coveted job.
On my days off, I catch up with the journal of this rewarding experience. The book Of Moose and Men,---Maine Ridgerunner, will be my compilation of true stories of thru hikers, section hikers, beaten down hikers, gear lists and wish lists, daily adventures and mishaps, Leave No Trace ethics and downright shameful behaviors, plus...drum-roll,  an embedded horror story straight from the Gulf.

I expect to have it completed before Christmas.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Let Us Remember

This is a day all old enough to remember, will. 
Where were you when you first heard the news?
I was 89 miles from the Canadian Border, in the little town of Stehican, heading to a breakfast buffet.
I remember we were starving. Everything closes early in that last little town on the Pacific Crest Trail.
A fellow hiker met us. Told us. It seemed a joke. Surely not, surely not.
Both towers had been hit. The Pentagon had been hit. A fourth landed in a field, the Ranger told him, in Pennsylvanian.

A thought crossed my mind. Yeah, War of the Worlds, the fake alien invasion broadcast like it was happening in a play by play scenario. People actually believed that fiction in those days.

Once inside the Lodge, we paid our $12, lined up, got coffee. No cell phones back in those days, not on the PCT. No t-vs, no wifi.

Pretty remote. But the radio in the little store was on. It was true. 

We cleaned out the buffet, along with other starving hikers. They brought more scrambled eggs. Those became history.
The border is closed. No planes are flying. We didn't have our passports on us. Of course not.
But I'm heading to Canada. I've been on the trail 5 months. My hiking partner joined me at Crater Lake. He is determined to see this to the end, if it means walking back.

We are not leaving the trail. No one is.

Back in the store, we listen to live reports. People are jumping out of windows. New York City is bedlam. I feel the lump in my throat growing to unmanageable proportions. Nauseated, I leave. Its too much to grasp.

The next day, we headed north. As you can see, despite the terrorist attack, we kept on with our lives, finished the trail and made it back into the United States.

May we always remember, regardless of which political ideology  we embrace.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Base Camp Basics

I've been in camp, off the grid for three months now. My camp is quite comfortable. This video shows how I live on location as a ridgerunner. Sorry, it is a little long. Thanks for watching.