We all have things that we avoid… Responsibility, emotions, situations. It’s only a matter of time before things catch up to us. If only for a day, I can head into the woods and just… Be. This morning, the alarm went off at 2am (I had woken up at 1am and was laying there) and my ultimate destination was back to Caribou Valley Road in the Carrabassett Valley of Maine. I was going to attempt Mt. Redington. A trail less hike through a maze of logging roads and heard paths and I was going solo with Isis. A week’s worth of research and after some discussion with myself, I was underway. The ride up was mostly quiet and subdued. As the sun came up, I realized that it was going to be a very wet day. A great day for a bucket hat. I also knew that I would have friends in the area today. I had hoped to run into them.
Isis and I get going after a few fits and stops concerning life below 4 thousand feet. Once that was neatly tucked back into avoidance, we were heading down the CRV. I stopped briefly at my old campsite from back in July. Just long enough to remember the good. As we walked, the mist was intermittent and I took my raingear on and off several times. I seemed to miss the AT crossing and as I continued on, I looked for the first landmark… The fire pit. The road walk made this hike easy and Isis had plenty of room to move. It was the mist that was making it difficult to judge what gear was needed. As I came to the fire pit, the gear went back on. I took the left at the fire pit. Over a few more rustic bridges, we came to the end of the road.
Instructions told us to go right at the end of the road. This logging road was intermittent grasses and rocks. The mist was steadier and I could feel it soaking through my gear at this point but I kept moving. Isis was looking a little waterlogged too. And this was only the beginning. We kept climbing and stopped at each cairn to see if we needed to turn. I was looking for stick arrows on the ground as I went. It was very hard to let life creep in when you were looking for landmarks and counting mileage. So, we kept going and came to the first arrow pointing us to the right again, we continued to climb. IT was particularly grassy section which also soaked us because it was tall grass. This was just going to be a wet hike no matter what. Shortly after, we came to another arrow and this one pointed us left.
For the most part, the logging road was grassy and wet or rocky and wet. Isis and I maneuvered this with little issue except for the rain that was become steadier and less mist like. Regardless, we enjoyed the walk and soon came to the heard paths. The trail immediately formed and the openness of the logging road slipped away. Isis and I were climbing now and we were getting wetter. It seemed like every time I moved, water was running down my back or running down the front of me sending a shiver. We kept going and soon I was faced with a memory.
June, I was on the Beaver Brook Trail with Scott and our friend Chris heading to s summit social for an internet group and we were surrounded by branches. So much so that I could not see Isis on the trail. Today, I was in the same situation and I let out a laugh for the memory. That was a great day and today was really turning out to be nice in spite of the weather. I was grateful for the brief distraction for the wet and cold chill. I smiled through all the branches.
Isis and I came up to the summit opening and found the surveyors tape. Following this, we found the summit canister. In the mist and the rain, we proudly signed in got our pictures. I took out my ice cream and wine. Who cared if it was before noon? Not me. I earned them. This hike, while well marked, was still a challenge for me having done all the research and trusted that I would fund my way. Isis and I made our way back to the car which was what seemed like a very quick trip. As we retraced our steps, the sun began coming out and that provided a much needed mood lifter and clothes dryer. We were back the car by a little after noon and hopefully onto our second destination.
As we loaded into the car, a surprise calling card from my friend fell at my feet. I snatched up the business card for Silver fox and quickly left him one of mine to let him know that I had gotten his. Too bad we didn’t run into one another and perhaps at the next peak we would. Isis and I got underway and found the trailhead for Mt. Abraham. She was looking rather tired and I was concerned from the start as it was a lot on her little legs. Two bridges were out and the water crossings were significant. I carried her across one and immediately dropped down to the second water crossing which was significantly higher. I was considering my options while seeming to drag Isis around the banks. We’d start across and she’d fall in and be taken by the current (thank goodness for a leash!). I could not see myself doing this today. I was getting a bad feeling about a return trip and both of us being extra tired. I hit the wall… I’d had enough and at that wall, my worlds above and below 4K collided and I was done. Not defeated. Just done. I was tired from not sleeping and tired from over thinking and waiting and wondering about several aspects that made up my weekly existence both personally and professionally. On the banks of that second water crossing, I threw it all in and turned around. NO summit would be enjoyable if I was banging my head against the wall to get there. The mountains will be there next weekend and maybe I would be in a better frame of mind to tackle the water crossings or maybe they would be lower than waist deep. Isis and I made our way carefully back to the car and all those things that we had been avoiding, would surly catch up and I would fight them off by keeping my eye on next weekend and my eventual finish of the NE67.