Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hiking into Rangeley, Maine

Last night, we never did see a moose. The wind blew steadily all night, and it dropped into the 40's, which was actually perfect, because our sleeping bags were finally comfortable and not too warm!

At one point, I thought I heard a mouse in our tent! I heard some zip lock bags behind my head that were rustling, and I sat up and dug my headlamp out of my pack, prepared to freak out if I was going to have to somehow get a mouse out of the tent in the middle of the night. I searched and searched, and finally convinced myself that we were mouse-free, and that the wind was just blowing the side of the tent so hard, that it was rustling the plastic bags.

We woke up and packed up quickly, knowing that it was just under 10 miles into Rangeley, and that we had a burger and fries in our near future - and if we hiked fast enough, possibly for lunch!

The trail was kind to us- lots of level, not too much steep uphill, and nice and soft - mostly dirt - mostly NOT rock - yay!

We flew! It didn't hurt that it was probably about 50 degrees the whole time. After 2 hours we found ourselves at Little Swift Pond, and there were three canoes on the bank just for thru-hikers to use. I have no idea how anyone got them here - its in the middle of nowhere! I got in and paddled around. The seat was broken, so the guys opted not to join me. The wind had also picked up and it was getting colder! Not the best time for canoeing, but I was not going to miss out. We had heard the ponds here were shallow and warm, and I felt the water to test it. Sure enough. Nice and warm! The wind was way too cool for swimming though.

We hiked on, and made it to the road to Rangeley by 11:30! A nice man stopped to pick us up. He had hiked the trail when he was just 16. He shared with us that his son and dog had just passed away, and he was out here trying to recover. His name was John, and we tried to comfort him and assured him we'd pray for him. He had just adopted this huge dog named Clyde. He was only 9 months old, but huge! I sat next to Clyde, and by the time we got out, Clyde had laid his head in my lap, and was my newest best friend. I bet he'd love to hike with us.

We had lunch at the Red Onion, which had - wait for it - wait for it - gluten-free pizza!!! I love the northeast! We then split up - the boys hitched a ride with a nice couple who stopped to visit because they saw our packs. He had started the trail a week after us, but had to go home when a good friend died, and then his mom died! Pretty sad stories from both of our Good Samaritans today. They are both in our prayers. He took us all to the laundromat, where I did the laundry and watched the packs while he then took them to the grocery store.

This town is really beautiful. Everything on Main Street backs up to Rangeley Lake. There are sea planes out on the lake. We don't see that everyday. We found a room at the Town & Lake Motel, which is on Rangeley Lake as well. I don't think it's changed since 1955, but because of its location, that's just fine. There's adirondack chairs on the lawn out back - perfect. Sit and relax, and chill, as ducks wander over. There's a full moon over the lake right now - well, over the mountain which is over the lake - so pretty!

We walked down to the hotel from the laundromat. There's nothing like walking with a backpack and carrying stuff in plastic bags to make you appear truly homeless. There's a lot of younger hikers staying at the same hotel, but for some reason they appear much more scraggly than us. Their beards and hair look more like Tom Hanks in Castway - kind of scary, if you don't know they are thru-hikers, I suppose. At least I don't think we look that way. I could be wrong. Haha!

After showers and repacking, and relaxing around the lake, we walked down to Sarge's Pub, because they were having a twin lobster roll special. Both of the guys had that. It looked sooo good! The people in the pub were watching the Patriots play the Giants on TV, and they were yelling loudly at the screen. It was quite entertaining, and it felt good to be in civilization, even if for a short while.

The nice couple who took us to the grocery store and laundromat also offered to take us back to the trail in the morning, so that's one less worry. Right now, I can hear the loons out by the lake- a perfect end to a lovely day.

- Steady and F100

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