Katahdin Lodge to Jack Mountain Bushcraft School
In the middle of the night I woke up with a terrible stomach ache and I knew the pre made grocery store salad would have its way with me. I was already naked from the waist down in my sleeping bag with my fresh bike shorts beside me ready for the morning so it was only a matter of unzipping the mosquito net, half putting on my shoes and finding a somewhat out of the way place to squat. Thank god Will sent me out of Boston with a handful of individually packaged wipes!
The one nice part of waking up ill in the middle of the night was the incredible night sky above. It was perfectly clear and just about as dark as you could ever hope it would be. Millions of stars sparkled from the blanket of pitch black abyss. Not too shabby, Maine, not too shabby.
I woke up in the 5 o'clock hour and although I only had 40 miles to go and no where to be until 4 p.m. I figured I had better not out stay my welcome , break camp and be on my way. Perhaps I could find this Walmart that was allegedly near the camp or a nice cup of coffee to sip and a place to hang out until Bushcraft School began. Like any good student I was feeling a bit nervous, wondering who the other students would be, how we'd get along and how rigorous the course work would be.
I found the first of two rest area camp sites ten miles up the road and the other ten miles after that. The guy at the grocery store did know what he was talking about he just underestimated how far away they were. I ate a pop tart at the first one and read about the Aroostook Scenic road and the Fish Road as winter arteries in and out of Fort Kent and the boarder disputes with the British.
I rolled into Masardis around 10 am and would have missed it had I not needed to stop for some bridge construction just before the town. I pulled over to check he map. Yep this was Masardis. No stores. No coffee shops. Certainly no Walmart. I saw a sign for the public boat dock which turned out to be little more than a slab of concrete and a gravel area. Not even a picnic bench. I had made it but it felt very anti climatic and very desolate. I heard a lawn mower but otherwise didn't see any sign of life. Where had I come? I called my mother.
She suggested looking for a church since it was Sunday morning and I had 5 hours to kill before the scheduled arrival time of 4 p.m. I realized why no one in coastal Maine had heard of this town and why those farther north who had kept asking me if I had family up there or looked at me squinty. The look said, "what the hell would you want to go there for?"
Google maps told me there was a Pentacostal church north of town on the way to the school. I decided to give myself a proper tour of Masardis since I very much doubted I would intentionally be back this way. There's a fire station that doubles as a town hall two days a week, the aforementioned public boat dock, Blackwater hunting lodge and a train station that's really just a "Masardis" sign next to the tracks. A big lumbar mill north of town turns the forest into wood from early morning until night and the Pentacostal church lies just north of that.
Church was in session and while the door was unlocked I was nervous to enter in my biking garb. I wanted to kill some time and refill my water. I decided to knock on the door of the house on the property. Cindy answered and graciously offered to refill my water bottle and invited me in. She knew of school and had met the instructor Tim. She said she had seen me riding in the morning. I was hungry. I only had a snickers bar and pop tart left in my bag but I was too proud to ask for a piece of the just baked lasagna that was cooling on the stove. I met Cindy's daughter Grace and lingered as long as seemed reasonable before heading back out.
It was only a short while until I arrived at 1058 Garfield road.