Sunday, April 21, 2013

Social Animals -- Part Two -- Winter at Baxter.

(Below is a partial transcript of a hand written journal from the previously mentioned visit to South Branch Pond/Baxter State Park in February 2013.)
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I have been tasked with being Wake-Up Person tomorrow.  I volunteered; I like being awake first and being a waker-upper.  As at Friends Camp, I shall sing.  But what?  Once Again, Let's Jump, Makedonsko Devoche, Jovano...?
This was still up....from last fall.
After a not-particularly-sleep-filled night -- but earplugs are awesome -- the shoutings of coffee addicts were flung lustily about the cabin by incoming lean-to-folk...Up eventually, and with some undisclosed amount of groaning, I eventually nommed some homemade bread and hummus while others created impressive fried-egg sandwiches on the giant Coleman stove.  There is pretty wild backcounty food creation at all meals.  And at snacks.  So basically nonstop.  And everyone is enlisted to help eat.  "I'm not carrying this out!" is the oft-heard excuse.

MountainPa
Arms still wasn't up and MEB was getting antsy to hike.  (Anyone who hasn't seen MEB being antsy...well...think hurricane in a fishbowl.)  I took a long time readying my gear; meanwhile the decision had been made by some to ski and snowshoe up the Fowler Brook Trail.   Others followed.  I hoped to see the long, open ridge that Unc and I had ogled two Junes ago.

Most of my pics seem to be from during non-snow times...
I started with a pretty heavy day pack, not really knowing what the day would bring.  Having had enough skiing for a while after yesterday, I grabbed an ice ax, one ski pole, and snowshoes, decisions I was glad I'd made due to eventual steep terrain.

I traveled alone, soon catching up to Donna, Christine, and MountainPa, and ending up ahead of them.  The others were further along already, except Arm who was still at the bunkhouse, probably "giving birth" and doing a "safety check."

Snow began to softly fall and the trail was easy to follow, a transverse approach sloping steeply down on one side and up on the other.  Fantastic lichen on all varieties of birches could have consumed my entire camera battery.  I tried to conserve it for Travelers Loop tomorrow.

The Doubtful Guest?  This little creature made me think of Scout.
The snow picked up as I ascended.  The silence and winter scenery on the peaks across the valley filled me with sheer love. With each step, I felt more and more awash with love for this incredible place, Maine, my home...

Continuing up and up, I soon realized the group's path had become a bushwhack.  Still easy to follow.  Though not sore, the body was tired from the previous day of the relatively unfamiliar task of xc skiing and pulk hauling...

Viewpoints opened up and the clouds stayed high even with increasingly heavy snow.  Soon I saw the trail drop into a ravine, and it appeared to hit a summit shortly thereafter.  I was close enough to the lead group at the point, who had abandoned their skis trailside a while back, to hear them chatting and laughing as they paused ahead.  But I wasn't sure I wanted to continue.

Pausing, snowing harder, higher up, colder wind.  I turned back with what I'll imagine was the squall's blessing.  My surroundings were ridiculously beautiful.  I seem have a postcard in my brain of this particular spot.  I was thankful not to feel summit fever.

Soon I encountered the great Arm, face to face, ascending as I was descending.  He looked completely and totally in his element, quietly hiking along, covered in snow, crowned by tawny wolf-gray hair.  Such a peaceful presence, he is.  We didn't linger long.  There seemed little that needed saying.  In a good way.

The snow stopped, started, and stopped again.  I ended up with the perfect day/duration of snowshoeage, about 5 miles, for my tired physique.

And someone even made a cock-n-balls scupture.  Talented crew...
I cannot get enough of South Branch Pond...
Shizzy just arrived.  Everyone's been talking about him and most had given up on his arrival.  Now he is being fed soup, M&Ms, pizza and meatballs, as have most of us. So much food here.  Music.  Woodstove.  People Having Conversations.  Novel!

Love.


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