Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"On the Trail?" Says I

"Not Just Yet..." says my body.

We were hoping to be back on the trail this morning. Now we are hoping to be back on the trail either tomorrow morning (unlikely) or Thursday morning. Amid our fun this past weekend, something happened to my foot Saturday afternoon and we are now eagerly awaiting x-ray results that should be in sometime tomorrow morning. I'm not really sure what's going on with it, I only know that the problems started after walking on nice soft sand and putting my foot back into my shoes for the walk back to the car. With the way that it feels and is swollen, there may be fractures inside my foot but I'm really hoping it's only bruised. Only time will tell. On a happy note, Jess's shoulder is no longer in pain and the bump seems to be receeding back from whence it came, so that's really exciting!

I would now like to speak of my new found love for the state of Maine. Saturday morning we left for the coast along Brunswick, only a 2.5 hour drive. We arrived at the parking lot and had to hike 2 miles from there to the beach, as we were in a preserved area. They didn't allow umbrellas, balls, frisbees or any kind of noise making machines at this beach. It was very serene and uncrowded when we arrived. The weather forecast said that there was a 50 percent chance of rain, but we got nothing but sun with a light spotting of clouds. Perfect beach weather. Boldly I stode into the waves, intent on getting a good swim in and also testing the water-proofness of my camera. Both were very satisfying. The bay we were at actually got some good waves (I love diving through them) and I was able to catch a few and body surf a little. Our only complaint was the horse flies, I killed around 36 of them while hanging out on the beach and started my own fly cemetery in the sand beside my towel.

Couldn't find any white blazes...
After spending a good amount of time on the beach, we next headed to an old army fort south of our beach. About 1/4 mile into the walk back my foot felt as if it had started cramping. I figured at this point that it just needed a good walk and to stretch it out. Never stepped on anything but soft sand and the inside of my shoes I've been hiking in. The road back to the car was flat and mostly paved. The fort was as excellent as the beach. There was no park service or anything of the sort to impede total curiosity, and we explored the whole thing. Though it was a little in ruin, most of it was intact and I even searched dark rooms with the flashlight app on my phone. Through the hallways the surf echoed and the windows varied from being completely open, to having one shutter closed or both shutters closed. Being there was surreal, imagining the men who slept and worked inside these stone walls when we had been living completely free inside wooden shelters and our tent for the past month.

We then headed to a new friends house. Shiloh, his trail name, thru-hiked the trail NoBo in 2008 and was very happy to have us there. He had come from Baxter State Park earlier in the day and had summited Katahdin the day previous. After a meal, lots of excellent tips on gear and the mentality of hiking we hit the hay. Sunday came and the four of us headed into Freeport to see the L.L. Bean Super Store. This thing was massive. The only way I can really describe it is to imagine a full sized REI consumed a full size Cabela's and ate a JC Penny's for dessert. The building we went into was monstrous and there were 2 smaller buildings we didn't visit. From L.L. Bean we did some damage to an all you can eat Chinese restaurant and split ways. Dawn headed back north to get fresh blueberries she had ordered, and we went with Shiloh south to Portland. 

See the McDonald's logo? This magnificent house on the left of the photo was the compromise that the people of Freeport and McDonald's came to after denying their request to build a traditional McDonald's building in their town. 
Before getting into Portland we got to see the Portland Headlight Lighthouse. Since the weather was as poor as it was, both the light and the two fog horns were actively communicating with the boats. We didn't pay the fee to enter the museum and climb to the top, but we did learn that a ship had crashed on these rocks long ago and got to see some pictures of it in the gift shop. 

Portland was another awesome city. We went into EMS (East Mountain Sports) so Shiloh could grab some Aquamira and I could try and look for a lighter alternative to my Nalgene. One of the salesmen looks at my headband and says, "Is that a Left Hand Patch?" I had sewn one on to my headband and my pack to represent my trail name (and favorite brewery) and was surprised to learn that he was out here for law school and originally from Boulder. In Old Town Portland Shiloh treated us to some Ice cream treats, and as we headed down the street we saw a massive schooner we decided to go take a look at. As we passed the gates where it was docked, we thought that we wouldn't be able to get any closer as there was a big sign that read "Secure Area" and a guard standing outside. We soon realized it was open to the public, and as we walked up to it realized also that we would be able to go aboard. What luck!

After a little more exploring the cobble stone streets and Maine-accented shops my foot was really fuming, and we decided to head back to Brunswick. About a 10 minute drive from Shiloh's house there's a movie theater and Jess and I borrowed his car to go see the new Batman. As enthralling as the movie was, I checked the emergency exit more than a few times. My heart goes out to those people and their families in Aurora.

Monday morning we took another walk (I had borrowed Shiloh's bike to stay off my foot) to another beautiful bay in Maine. I got pretty sunburned on the beach Saturday and only that stopped me from plunging into the ocean once again. Back at the house we enjoyed a full pan of nacho's, said a fond farewell and made the drive back to Rangeley. We also found out that Shiloh and Dawn may be able to hike a section with us after labor day and Shiloh will be in Georgia about the time we (still) plan to finish our own hike. The prospect of being able to meet them again on our journey is truly exciting!

Jess and I had always wanted to see the coast of Maine, and this weekend we got to do just that plus a whole lot more. It was an amazing experience we didn't think we would get on our thru-hike. Another reason to be grateful! Now, we're sitting at the closing Rangeley library and about to be kicked out. Just can't type fast enough sometimes to get it all out. Wish me luck with my foot, hopefully our next post will be from on the trail or New Hampshire! 

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are making the most of your time in Maine! Brunswick was SO close to where I used to live, and I spent lots of time in Freeport and Portland during college too. It's fun to see you both explore my favorite places!!

    Feel better soon, and can't wait till you get to Massachusetts!!