Thursday, August 31, 2017

It's All Downhill From Maine: Part 1 - Trying To Remember Why We Do This

This was  a trip that Paul really wanted to do. He wanted to find a place where no phone call could find him, no work emergency could stop him and where all he had to worry about was his new sleeping bag. Oh yes, backpacking is not really about taking less stuff, it is about taking more really expensive lightweight stuff. This was the trial time for Paul's new ultralight backpack, that weighed less than my Android tablet. Of course, that new backpack required a new smaller, super expensive sleeping bag, but it was all worth it if he felt better while hiking. Me? My plan was to have ULTRA-LIGHT stitched on the back of my pack so the other hikers would think I was cool. My real problem was not my pack but the sixpack of muffins that was stuffed in my gear.

We flew straight through to Bangor, ME from Florida and in 3 hours went  from the land of flat and hot to the land of hiking.
Our shuttle driver picked us up at the airport and we began the 2 hour journey to the small town of Stratton where we would hit the trail. The ride was mostly in silence but slowly our driver opened to us with tales of hiking the local trails. I was really pumped up about getting out there with my pack. We finally reached the trailhead, which was actually a small gravel area off a deserted two lane road in the middle of nowhere. We grabbed our packs out of the back of the SUV, cinched everything up tight and took one last look at something approaching civilization.
As our driver turned to leave us, he remarked "So you're going to challenge the Bigelows right off the bat?"
The only thing more disconcerting than that phrase  was my brother, the expert hiker's response: "whaaaat?"

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