mountain climbing day

Dad and Diane rented a car due to the Maine rain, and I took the opportunity to make today a full hiking, no bike commute, experience. They dropped me a couple miles north of Northeast Harbor. From there I hiked up Bald Peak, then Parkman Mountain, then Sargent Mountain. I was going to make Penobscot Mountain my fourth peak, but the rain really picked up as I descended to Sargent Mtn’s pond, so I decided to head for the lowlands where there was better tree cover. I was glad I did. Sargent is Mount Desert Island’s second tallest peak (about 150 ft behind Cadillac Mountain, which I rode up Friday on morning), and it was a long descent to Jordan Pond, nearly a mile of it accompanied by a dramatically falling stream: one long chain of tiny waterfalls. Not an easy path in the rain, but I imagine the increased waterflow heightened the drama. So I felt blessed anyway.

The upper reaches of a lot (most? all?) of the mountains on the Island are pretty bare: scrawny connifers, lonely grasses, and wildly patterned mosses or fungii or something; but mostly boulders–dropped by a glacier I suppose–and knots, lumps, and veins of pink granite. Which is how the Island got its name, ‘Mount Desert’, with a French accent, bare mountains. In the rain, the water has no soil to hide in, so it either pools or finds a downward path. Since it rained all day, I watched the mountains being torn down as I hiked them. It was exciting. Everything seemed alive and engaged in its life cycle, myself included.

It was refreshing to be moving at an even slower pace, though I know bicycling is already slower than the average human going rate these days. I think I’d like to do it again tomorrow. But only if I can get a ride with dad and Diane again, because I have to admit I really would not have wanted to ride the 17 miles back to the RV park at the end of today’s climb. I was very wet, and a little sore and cold. Instead I ended today at Jordan Pond House, drying out, with some coffee and a cup of seafood chowder. Very life-affirming. Whereas I fear the bike riding would have devolved into drudgery.

Another small comfort to be looked into for tomorrow’s rain: a hat with a bill on it. My bangs become brooks that pour into my eyes as the rain beats them down. I momentarily considered digging out my pocket knife and getting rid of them today. But then I was worried that my bread would get wet as I fumbled around in the bag, and so they were saved.

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One Response to “mountain climbing day”

  1. Mudslide Slim Says:

    These men are the new cowboys
    And when these bridgers pass away
    “Take the westbound” as they say
    Their offspring will safeguard the cannonball secrets
    Carry the tradition,
    To a land far far away
    And no matter which vice they stop to please
    They will always know their place—
    In the trees
    Out of sight

    A whisper below the breeze

    –Eddy Joe Cotton

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