Medway to 10 miles north of Patten, ME
How did it come to this? That I'm eating cold spaghetti out of a can and drinking a warm cider? Both are the same temperature mind you and I don't have a fork so I'm using two flimsy wooden coffee stirs as chopsticks sitting on the porch of Cozy Cabin 2, which was created for platonic travelers as it has two outdoor chairs, a screen door that doesn't lock, a shelf and two bunk beds. I upgraded from a tent site for $4 more dollars and it's a good thing I did because unbeknownst to me it's going to pour something fierce tonight. I just figured since it's likely the last bed I'll sleep in for months why not splurge?
I left Big Moose in a haste at 4 pm thinking if I didn't leave I'd have to stay another right and prolong the next two days' journeys. Plus it would have been such a waste tearing down my tent just to set it up again. I didn't even change into bike shorts and shoes or shower or anything. The spirit moved me and I got on my bike in my dirty hiking clothes and headed back toward Millinocket. It was farther than I remembered but I knew that if google had anything honest to say about it, Katahdin Shadows camp site was right on route 11, which would eventually take me straight to Masardis.
I struck up a conversation with the people in front of me at the check in who were going to try to hike Katahdin the next day (I doubt very seriously they made it.) I just figure the more the front desk person can overhear the more pity they'll take on me should the camp ground be full. Luckily it wasn't, even thought it was a NASCAR race weekend and a Shriners fundraiser weekend. I'm fairly certain that I was THE only single woman in her 30s unaccompanied by children or family in the entire camp ground. I'm also pretty sure I was the only non-NASCAR fan and the only person to arrive to the campsite by bicycle.
I skipped the BINGO and the karaoke and went to bed at 8 p.m. The next morning I put $5 in the pot for the all-donation Shriners fundraiser breakfast. My plate had a blueberry pancake, a regular pancake, coffee, orange juice, bacon and sausage links. I asked some people about camping farther north and no one, the camp owner included could tell me with any certainty if there was a campsite between Medway and Masardis. I'm been facing uncertainty head on like a champ lately so I figured I'd wild camp if worse came to worst.
Bushcraft school starts tomorrow and I'm sort of wistful about this portion of the trip ending. I have 78 miles to the school, one long or two easy days of biking. Since I have the time I decided to stretch it out. Route 11 is Maine's Scenic Highway and boy did it live up to its name. I started the day cycling next to the east branch of the Penobscot River. I stopped to watch the water roar over the rocks. I saw an empty canoe truck that later passed me filled with boats. I saw a heron. Then he saw me and took off in flight.
The northern entrance to Baxter State Park is somewhere up this way and I was biking on a ridge that overlooked the forest, Katahdin and the park. I stopped at a view point and met a family from Pennsylvania on vacation.
There are a lot of Amish in these parts and I saw a sign for fresh donuts so I made a slight detour down a side street. I paid $2.50 for four glazed donuts to a young mother or older sister with three young children. The boys had Paige boy haircuts and none of them could stop staring. I wanted to tell them that I recently read a book about a Mennonite hiking the Appalachian Trail. I wanted to say that there are a lot of Amish and Mennonite in Ohio, that I stayed with a Mennonite family who owned a bakery once and made donuts which is why I even bothered to stop here in the first place. I did say any of that. I just admitted that my legs were very tired when the mom or older sister said "your legs must be tired," after I told them I biked from Boston. I ate one of the donuts standing right there. I ate the other three donuts for dinner.
I'm scared of fast down hills but I know that if I don't build momentum the uphill is that much harder. I had to walk the bike twice up never ending steep hills. I stopped at the grocery store in Patten for a mediocre salad and strawberry lemonade. It got cold and the clouds rolled in but they thankfully didn't open. A guy at the grocery store said there was a primitive (ie no water) campsite about ten miles up the road.
I didn't find any camping but after 10 miles I came to Katahdin Lodge for hunting and ATV users. I walked in and met Chris a woman in her 60s who's lived in Maine for 22 years. I asked her if there was anywhere to camp nearby she didn't think so. She asked her son in law and he didn't think so either. We talked about will camping and I told her about my hammock tent. Eventually I just asked her if I could camp on the property. She said I could have a look around. I'm amazed she didn't try to sell me a room.
I found a three-leggedjungle gym with Olympic gymnast-esque rings hanging from it. From Cleveland. Lived in Maine 22 years. Told her about Bushcraft school. You have some guts. I wouldn't sleep in these woods. Thanks chris. Jungle gym set up