Walked a big fat ZERO miles
My dad came to pick me up from the Hamburg Microtel on Friday morning, fresh off his own personal pilgrimage to the Martin guitar factory in Nazareth, then he and I took one more quick tour of the Cabela's before leaving town. Via Swarthmore, where we lunched, he got me to the Philly airport around 12:30 whereupon I wrote emails and played a lot of backgammon on my phone and then departed for Portland, ME at 4. When I landed, Coyote (from the AT in 2011, a lifelong Mainer), picked me up and took me to his house in central Maine. Spent a fairly raucous evening with him and his family in Jay, eating a lot of good food and drinking Shipyard Pumpkinhead and shooting the shit around the fire. Coyote and his family are good people, fantastic people, and they also live in a completely different world from mine and I was extremely thankful to have experienced all of those things.
Stayed on the couch in his pad, which he shares with his girlfriend Bri, for the night and in the morning we got a champion's breakfast at the Mill St. Cafe in Jay before setting out for Monson, maybe two hours away. On the way, I got a personal tour of a part of the country that I'd probably never visit otherwise, and that few people besides the locals and the more adventurous set of Boston tourists probably ever do. We talked a lot about Maine, and the trail, and Coyote wanting to do the PCT sometime. When we finally got to Shaw's in Monson we were both in more than a little disbelief, happy disbelief. For me, it was another "How the hell did I actually end up back here?" moment; Coyote texted me later and said standing at Shaw's he realized exactly how much he missed the trail. He started talking to Dawn, the proprietress, who remembered him and Bronza and Fishhead and their bizarre conclusion to their 2011 hike, which revolved around Fishhead quitting after 2000+ miles in Caratunk because his girlfriend back in Michigan had waited until then to dump him (and now they're getting married this coming week). We posed for some pictures in front of the building and then that was that; Coyote went back to Jay to work in the evening, I set about killing an afternoon and meeting hikers, even though there are only about a half-dozen around, much fewer than I was expecting at this time of the thru-hiking season. Three of us did trek over to an outstanding barbecue dinner at what must be a newish place in Monson, then I came back and set up my tent and reorganized/thinned down my food bag (bought a little too much on a grocery run earlier today). That brings us to now, writing this in the Shaw's common room. Tomorrow morning, the well-known Shaw's breakfast and then out into the Wilderness.
Side thought: Maine, even the more decrepit areas, is a place that has left such an overwhelmingly positive impression on me that it can almost do no wrong now. I have had universally good experiences in Maine with Maine people. I will have a residence either here or on the North Shore of Minnesota one day.
More pictures on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/scrubhiker