Category Archives: Great Hikes

Memories of Katahdin

Katahdin - June 1978

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

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.

moose alert

moose alert

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

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.

the warning sign at the north end. we started at the south end, no sign there.

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The End of Summer

Things end, like summer, and jobs. Summer’s not quite over, but it soon will be. The job, it’s over, for now they say…

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Soon ducks will be heading off, but not this duck: I found it today in a thrift shop for $2. It’s nothing special but I’m always looking for one, it’s an item I collect for some reason unknown. No typewriters of late – except common ones like Smith Corona Classic 12’s.IMGP9221

This summer saw us back in the Canadian Rockies, a place dear to my heart. Once again we went to look at Lake Louise. Of course it never changes, or rather it changes at a glacial pace. This time I took a picture, but also took the time to do a small watercolour sketch. Note how realistic it is! Quiz: which is the sketch, and which one is the photograph?sk001-001IMGP1308

If you ever have a chance to see this place, be sure to go for tea at one of the two teahouses that can be reached by hiking for several hours. Tea never tasted better.

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Adirondack Dreams

on the summit of Mt Marcy, NY

on the summit of Mt Marcy, NY

1-adirondack

Adirondack chairs

Adirondack chairs

 

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Reality & Plan B

A further word here about the latest typewriter: a Commodore. Wow, what a great machine! It is in fact a rebranded Consul 221. Czechoslovakian made. Oddly enough I’m also working on a wonderful old Czechoslovakian viola I picked up on my vacation at an “antique” mall (aka large junk shop). Those Czechs know how to make stuff. I have decided to call this typewriter “The Honorary Consul”,  which is fitting in view of the 25 or so Graham Greene novels that have appeared around the house since January when my wife decided to read all the books Mr. Greene wrote. She has done so, I have gamely attempted to follow suit but have so far read only 4 or 5. Well, I never planned to read them all anyhow.

the ‘Honorary Consul’ (typewriter)

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Candy Apple Kodak

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