Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Maine

Alright, I'm way behind. I wrote this almost a week ago and hadn't added pictures so haven't gotten around to posting it. I'm in Woodstock, VT right now, I'll get up to date soon hopefully, but here's my Maine post:


Let's see... So the rest of my stay with the Dunn family was great, relaxing and productive. Eric Dunn helped me clean and fix up my bike a bit which was a huge help as I still have so much to learn about bike maintenance.



Kalie and Eric Dunn


I then rode north along the coast to Acadia National Park. The ride was enjoyable, nice roads mostly with a big shoulder through small towns along the coast. Just before going into the park I stopped at an info center and ended up talking with a woman there who is a big tourer and going on a trip to Europe this summer with two women from Washington. As I was about to leave, she mentioned, "Brynn Stevens wasn't your doctor as a kid was she?" The comment was totally off-hand and she didn't expect any recognition (Seattle is a big city), but guess what, she was! Some times the world is just so small.


Riding into Acadia was glorious! I took some of the Carriage Roads (gravel roads all through the park reserved for bikers and hikers) passing by marshes and lakes, it was absolutely gorgeous. I found a nice spot to base camp for the next few days by a lake where I was told loons hung around. I saw them a few times and heard them calling at night, one of my favorite sounds and one I haven't heard in years. I took a day to ride and hike around the island. I walked up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the east coast north of Brazil and where some people swear is the first place the sun hits in the US. It gave a great overview of the island and surrounding waters. Riding along the coast and talking walks to explore the tide pools and fabulous rocky shoreline was wonderful. Acadia is such a diverse and scenic place. I spent another day just relaxing, spending time in Bar Harbor and getting things done, it was nice to rest a bit as I always seem to be in great need of it. After spending so much time with friends and family the past few weeks it was harder them I expected to be so alone again, I hadn't realized just how much I'd gotten used to and enjoyed so much good company. Getting to Acadia signified the farthest northeast corner of my ride; from there I turned west and now feel like I really am headed back to Seattle.



Eagle Lake in Acadia NP


Bubble Lake, along the Carriage Road



View from up high


Coast

My next stop was Rangeley, Maine. Back in 2003, I spent a month in this area working on the Appalachian Trail with a trail crew from the Student Conservation Association. This area held great memories for me and I was excited to see it again. Also, being a total trail-dork, I wanted to check out the work we'd done to see how it was holding up. I was amazed at how much I remembered of the area, and especially of the trail. All I could remember was that we were around Bemis Mt., didn't know if we worked north or south of there and didn't know how far in it was from the nearest road. So, I set up base camp near the trail and set out on a cold and rainy day to find our work. I'd forgotten how different the AT is compared to the PCT or any western trail; there is no grade to the trail, it's straight up and down, rooty and rocky as all heck, and dangerous when wet. After 4 miles I suddenly recognized the area and from there on was amazed to remember near every part of that trail: the rock slabs we climbed up day after day, the ups and downs, favorite lunch spots where we read The Alchemist aloud; it was a good feeling. Each time I came across work my crew had done I exclaimed at how beautiful it was and took pictures like a proud mother. I know this sounds ridiculous to most of you, but although I'd been doing trail work for a few years at that time, this was the first work I'd been really proud of, and truly solidified my passion for trail work. I was so happy to see that our rock work was as sturdy as ever, only one wobble and I remember having trouble with that rock when we put it in, never could get it right, but it was still there doing it's job just fine.





Smalls Falls






Mooselookmeguntic Lake


Out hiking I was very nostalgic, not only because of the area, but because it's that time of year, log-out season, maybe my very favorite part of working with the Forest Service. There's no satisfaction like logging out a trail by hand. I was fortunate that a crew had logged out the first 4.5 miles of trail, I realized I'd never have made it if they didn't. But those next two miles were mine; I couldn't resist. Trees were down everywhere, so I threw, kicked, and drug branches and trees to clear the trail. Fleece gloves are not ideal and I was soon sopping wet and filthy, I couldn't have been happier! For the trees that were too big or stuck, I longed for my hand saw and a double-bit ax. (Cle Elum trail crew I miss you guys!). Once I reached the summit and end of work my crew had done back in the day, I trudged back down the ridge, now wet and cold and only thinking of getting home (to my tent) to get warm and dry, hoping the puddle that always formed at the foot of my tent hadn't grown too big.


Trail up Bemis Range



Great weather up high



Sample of my trail crew's rock work


More






Rumford, ME


Western Maine is beautiful, the trees and lakes are everywhere. The roads quiet, though the pavement is mostly terrible. I saw a moose, a number of loons, gorgeous waterfalls and rivers. It's a magical area. From here in Rumford, ME I head down to New Hampshire.

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