Random observation: After not having driven for almost four months (with a few low-key errands around home to stretch my road legs), suddenly doing a massive road trip in an unfamiliar car on crazy I-95 is surreal. Not bad surreal; in fact, kind of interesting surreal. The intriguing thing is that after all those years of driving to Maine (for grad school) and Michigan, my brain remembered all the tricks of distance driving much more easily than it remembered… oh… how to turn on the water in my shower or where I keep the paper towels and what’s my usual order of business in the morning.
I returned the rental car with no trouble and mailed home my GPS. Then I got a taxi to the bus station. My cab driver thru-hiked 35 years ago and gave me a lot of great information. Then I killed seven hours waiting for the bus from Bangor to Little Town #1. Interesting fact: The bus station in Bangor is about the size of the waiting room at my ophthalmologist’s office. Actually, they’re kind of similar except that the bus station has an actual pay phone on the wall. A pay phone! No Superman, though. And no Doctor Who. But the bus station has carpeting! You’d never see that in Philly.
When I said I had no magical thinking about Katahdin, I meant as a hiking destination. In fact, the idea of climbing a mountain inhabited by an ancient god of storms (Pamola) thrills my crazy pagan heart. Kind of like climbing Mount Olympus. How cool is that?
I’m at the AT lodge in Millinocket. Nice hostel! Cute trail town! There are four other hikers here, none of whom has any experience. One came from the Netherlands! One guy is quitting already because of a medical issue; he’ll try NOBO in a year or two. None of them have trail names yet.
Sparkles, the proprietess, said they’re seeing flippers now; the big wave of southbounders will be starting a bit later. I’m also told that while the skeeters and black flies are bad, they’re nothing like they were two weeks ago.
I’m changing my plans just a little, I think. I’m here, Katahdin’s here, the weather tomorrow’s going to be outstanding… what the hell. Tomorrow, I think I’m climbing a mountain. 🙂