Hey, it’s me. Princess posted for me yesterday and I had planned to head out this morning to hike from Rangeley about 20 miles over several high mountains, including Saddleback and Saddleback Junior to the Spaulding Shelter. As Princess said we had a big thunderstorm last night and the forecast is for severe weather with thunderstorms and possible hail today. I had arranged for a lady to pick me up at 7:30 this morning but she didn’t show up until 8:15. I had a feeling that I was getting a ‘sign’ not to hike today so while I was waiting for the lady I called Princess and told her I felt like a wimp but that I should take a zero today. She agreed so I rescheduled the shuttle for tomorrow morning and arranged to stay at the Town and Lake Motel again tonight for $45. The room really is decent and I can’t figure out why the price is so low. Maybe my standards have changed but compared to the Doyle Hotel in Duncannon, PA the Town and Lake is like the Ritz-Carlton.
So I felt like a wimp and somewhat guilty for taking a zero but definitely felt a sense of relief that I would not have to encounter thunderstorms on the mountain peaks. So after I talked to Princess and booked my room for another night I headed to the BMC Diner for breakfast. Who should I find there but Postman and two southbounders, all of whom are also taking zeros because of the weather. So I feel much less like a wimp now and I think I made the right decision. I only have about twelve days of hiking left and there’s no sense in taking a chance with bad weather, especially if lightning is involved. The forecast for tomorrow is for the cold front to arrive and bring temperatures down by about ten degrees and the skies will be clear and and the air will be crisp. I’m looking forward to it.
Rangeley is a really cute little town. The Schultheis family from Lexington has a place here and Steve has told me how nice the area is. I’m glad I have a chance to see it. I’ve mentioned before that I was in the area years ago (1982) for Navy SERE School but we did not come into the town. I saw a map that showed where the SERE training is conducted and the AT goes right by it so it’s possible I will see some poor young Navy pilots going through the training. When I was there years ago I used Saddleback Mountain as a navigation landmark and all was going well until thick clouds rolled in and obscured the mountain. Things went down hill (not literally) from there and I ended up in a ‘concentration camp’ for interrogation and continued training. It was not fun but after all these years I can look back on it with a sense of nostalgia and a little self-deprecating humor.
As Princess mentioned my latest pair of Vasque Mindbender trail running shoes, which I had been using since July 4th when I started New Hampshire, started to fall apart two days ago after fourteen days of use. A seam on the upper side of the left shoes split and the rubber toe piece on the right shoe started to separate. I know the rocks, roots and mud are tough on the shoes but this is the third pair of Mindbenders I’ve worn on the trail and this pair should have lasted at least to Katahdin. So this morning I went to the post office here in town and mailed the damaged shoes back home to exchange at REI. I really like the Mindbender shoes I just think that this pair was faulty.
I’m taking advantage of this zero to do lots of chores. I took my hiking poles to a store called Ecolpelalogicon (what the heck?) and they had materials there to clean them up good and make sure they were in good condition. I think I mentioned that I broke a pole in the White Mountains and am now using one I picked up at Lakes of the Clouds Hut. I need for these two mismatched poles to get me another 220 miles – that’s all I’m asking of them – and I think they’re going to make it.
I’m at the library now writing this post and checking e-mail and then I’m going back to my room to work on my rain gear. It doesn’t repel water like it used to, which is normal after being used for several months, and I picked up some NikWax water repellant restorer. So I’m going to treat my rain jacket and pants this afternoon. I am also going to eat a lot…like it’s my job…and rest and read my latest book on the Nook that Jackie gave me. I broke down and downloaded “A Walk in the Woods”, a book about hiking the AT by Bill Bryson. I have read it before but am enjoying it much more now that can relate to it better. Plus I enjoy his humor so much that it really makes me laugh out loud. Apparently the book is being made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte and is due to be released in early December 2013. Princess and I will definitely have to go see it!
One interesting fact about Rangeley is that you can ride your ATV right through town. No kidding…they don’t have license plates and the riders don’t have to wear helmets. My brother-in-law Buzzy would like that a lot. He rides his ATV on his property and the gravel roads around his home near the Shenandoah National Park and I know that he would love to buzz into town. But sadly Virginia laws aren’t so ATV friendly.
That’s about all from the beautiful town of Rangeley, Maine. I’ll continue to try to update the blog when I stop in trail towns. I think there will be a couple more opportunities to stop in towns before I hit the “100 mile wilderness” just before reaching Mount Katahdin. I can’t wait to get there, see the Princess and hike Katahdin.