August 31, 2015 · 9:48 pm
Katahdin – June 1978
Before the Appalachian Trail became too darned famous for its own good, in June 1978 my buddy Bob and I hatched a plan to take the overnight train from Montreal to Portland and get off in Greenville, Maine. From there we could get to Monson on the Appalachian Trail and hike north about 100 miles to Mt. Katahdin, where it was possible to return on the homeward bound train. A nice simple plan to go for a long hike in the woods, and with no need for a car or a ride to get there.
logs, bogs, and frogs
The only real difficulty here was hiking the 100 miles through the woods, carrying 10 days supplies. The food bag was so big it was astounding to see, and I think we even had extra food; however we ate it all and still lost a fair bit of weight during the trip. Later on I heard from various “authorities” that the Monson to Katahdin section is the absolute toughest part of the entire AT. When we arrived, worn out, at Baxter State Park, it was raining to beat hell, and freezing cold. This after a week of sweltering heat and horse flies as big as horses. At least there were no flies on Katahdin.
We existed on the remains of the food for two days, and when we finally got a break in the weather we had nothing left to eat but the crumbs of trail mix down at the bottom of the baggie. But off we went to bag the peak. We’d heard it was a tough climb, but it was ridiculous in the wintry conditions. We got to the upper bits, half frozen and weak from hunger, only to have a swirling fog blow in and obscure everything. Plus it was snowing lightly. Considering our weakened state, and the prospect of having to negotiate an infamous knife edge ridge to reach the peak, we regretfully called it a day. We saw no one that I can remember. It was beautiful.
starved and frozen in June
Recently Katahdin has been in the news due to a minor uproar over the fact that some self righteous AT speed running “hero” got a $200 fine for creating a disturbance and drinking champagne with a party of friends to celebrate his conquest of the entire AT by the act of running it in record time. All I can say is, I’m glad I didn’t see him when we were there. Lucky for him too, or he would have got a Royal Canadian ass kicking before being tossed down a cliff.
the warning sign at the north end. we started at the south end, no sign there.
August 30, 2015 · 9:39 pm
Remember when you could smoke and type on a plane? Two things you could be arrested for these days! But which typewriter did Higgins use? We know what she was smoking, however I doubt she actually wrote the quote about why she smoked Camels; the grammar and sentence structure are much too dumb to have come from a Pulitzer Prize winner.
This LIFE ad popped up in a search I did for a totally unrelated thing! I’d never heard of Higgins but it turns out she was a very interesting person. Random!!
I bet she had a beer down on the seat.
August 23, 2015 · 9:36 pm
I stole the title of this from a great old movie with Paul Newman and Orson Welles called The Long Hot Summer. But now we know for certain that 2015 is the hottest of all summers, globally speaking. Fortunately Canada has about half the freshwater on the planet, and we got to sample a fair bit of it this summer. For example, you can raft down this river and drink the water as you’re floating along. It tastes especially good going down class 1 rapids in 29C heat.
drink this, it’s delicious
Not all the rivers are like this, some are smaller and have swimming holes that we always hit when we pass through town.
heading to the old swimmin’ hole
While out traveling around BC and enjoying the waters we found some out of the way antique shops with old and interesting typewriters, too. This was the best of the lot:
3 bank portable Underwood
This little old gem was sitting on an Olympia Sm3, but sadly was too expensive for my budget.
While away I managed to do a few watercolour sketches.
lake at Marble Canyon
The lake beside this one, Pavilion Lake, has extremely rare freshwater coral growing in it.
in the ferry lineup
The above sketch is of an oyster operation. However, due to the warmth of the ocean water hereabouts, the local oysters developed a toxic bacterial infection and cannot be consumed raw.
visitor centre, Clearwater BC
At the risk of turning it into another world-beauty-spot-ruined-by-tourists I will reveal that the above sketch and the wild river of drinking water is in the aptly named Clearwater, BC. Please do not go there, this is for information only!