I was seranaded three times this morning, first by my guy, then my friend Marita (well, her family cut her short and maybe I helped by quickly thanking her), and finally by Gracie the beagle. The latter was the funniest of all and she managed to get through all the verses. But really, what Gracie wanted was to butter me up in hopes of joining Marita and me for a hike. Sorry Gracie. Maybe next time.
We crossed the state boundary a few times as I drove up into Evans Notch. Our plan was to start the day at The Roost, though we weren’t sure we could get there as we didn’t know if the gate on Route 113 had been closed. As we approached the “Welcome to Beautiful Maine” sign, we saw that the gate was open and so on we continued. Until . . . we hit ice. For those who know the road, and the steep ravines to the left as you travel north, you’ll understand why we decided to back up and turn around.
Back to the sign and gate we went, pulling off for photos because we love the sign and because the field across the way offered an array of colors and more ice.
It was a case of bad ice and good ice, much like the witches in the Wizard of Oz and WICKED.
And the good ice sparkled like winter flowers.
The curious thing was that along Cold Brook, which flowed beside the field, there was barely any ice.
After a few minutes, we headed down the road to the parking lot for the Baldfaces and Deer Hill. The latter was our choice for today. And it turned out to be the perfect choice for early on the trail we found rather fresh bear scat. How sweet is that?
The trail is flat to begin as it follows the course of a dry river beside the Cold. Evidence of high water from fall storms was everywhere and it was obvious that the dry section of the river hadn’t always been so. Left behind were displays floral in nature–this one reminded us of a stacked bouquet.
Again we reached the real deal–Cold Brook.
And stopped to admire the view.
And more good ice.
Then it was time to make the crossing. Marita went first and when she got to the other side of the green planks she looked back and said, “You can do this.” She knows me well and that my brain kicks into “No, I can’t,” gear every once in a while. It seemed so simple and yet, at her encouragement, I kept taking deep breathes and finally after what seemed like hours but was only minutes, I put mind over matter and made my way across. And it wasn’t difficult at all.
The climb up was moderate and we were glad we’d donned our blaze orange on this last day of hunting season. In the parking lot, a hiker had laughed at me and asked if I thought I was going to see a moose. On the trail, we met a hunter who was out with his two sons. And at the summit we heard shots, though coming from a different direction. Yup, we were glad to be wearing blaze orange.
We paused briefly on the climb, and noted that we weren’t alone. At first we both saw a whale, but then I noted a frog–a stone cold frog at that.
We were only following one of the trails on this mountain today, and it wasn’t a long one. Within the hour we reached the summit.
Years ago, the signage was confusing, but it seemed much improved. Then again, we only hiked to Little Deer and don’t know about the others.
From our snack spot, we enjoyed the view of the Baldfaces across the way.
And Mount Meader to the right.
At our feet were biotite (black mica) plates that reminded me of script lichen.
And in the ladies room I always find the coolest sights when I pause and look around. Today it was a downy feather.
In what seemed like no time, we were back at the dam. Again, Marita went first.
She turned back, grinned at me and then watched as I quickly followed. “Yes, I can.”
When I arrived home, I discovered cards from family and friends in the mail, as well as a copy of the Bethel Citizen. Thanks to writer Amy Wight Chapman, Marita and I were both mentioned in an article she wrote about Long Mountain in Greenwood.
A few minutes ago, my sister and brother-in-law also called to serenade me.
It’s my birthday and I’ve enjoyed gifts a many–from ice crystals to bear scat to feathers, mixed in with songs and calls and cards and comments from family and friends near and far. I am blessed. Thank you all.