Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Life's Not Always Rainbows and Butterflies, Except for Sometimes

The remainder of southern Maine before the 100 mile wilderness was amazing.  We climbed some big mountains- Saddleback, Sugarloaf, and the Bigelows.  We crossed the 2000-mile mark.  We took a day off in Stratton, ME to weather out the rain of Hurricane Earl.  The weather cooled. We ate lunch in a canoe in a lake, we swam near sand beaches, and we saw another moose.  We ate flapjacks at a remote camp and then rode across the Kennebec River in one of the the country's last man-powered ferrys.  We began to truly enjoy ourselves in a way we hadn't since Virginia.

Oddly enough, even after the difficulties of the beginning of Maine, this was my favorite section of trail.   The Bigelow Mountains in particular were are favorite mountain range there. It had a lot to do with the fact that it was such a beautiful day when we were there.  It was raining in the morning, and as we reached treeline we saw one of the most beautiful views of the trail complete with double rainbows.  This sounds corny, but it was really magical and in that moment I realized that it was all worth it.  All of the miles were worth it for little moments like that.

The Bigelows were the last 4000+ ft mountains before the 100 mile wilderness, which also added to our elation.  I think that is where it really, truly sunk in that I was going to make it to Katahdin.  Supposedly there is a view of Katahdin from Avery Peak in the Bigelows.  There were so many mountains visible to the north that we had no clue which one it was, but that is where I realized that it was actually there.  It was not some imaginary peak of trail lore.  It didn't exist only in my dreams- it was there, and we were going to climb it. My faith in myself was restored and I realized that was what I was missing all along. 

Take-home point? Life is beautiful and so is Maine. Sometimes you just have to endure difficulties to be awed.


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