Day 156: Into the Wild
Northstar dropped me off at the ME 6 trailhead just outside Monson at 7:30 with PBJ and Just Try. JW needed to retrieve a package containing his new shoes from Shaw’s but they wouldn’t get it for him until they’d finished serving breakfast. He’d catch up later.
A few steps from the trailhead, a sign warned us that we were entering the 100 Mile Wilderness and that we should carry a minimum of 10 days supplies. I had one dinner, one breakfast, and two lunches in my pack. We’ll see how this turns out.
A Bare in the Woods
I passed Just Try at the 100 Mile Wilderness warning sign, where she was shooting a YouTube video, and PBJ just after that. Then, despite the hordes of hikers in Monson who should be heading north today, I hiked alone for most of the morning.
Around 10:30, on the descent to Little Wilson Stream, I saw a pantless woman crouched along the trail ahead me. As protocol demands, I quickly turned my back and waited for her to finish. And waited. And waited. Finally, hearing no “It’s okay!” I took a peek and saw her walking away, so I continued down the trail.
When we met at the riverbank, she pointed upstream at a shelf of rock that stretched across the stream and said, “I think most people cross up there. You have long legs and can probably get across without getting wet.” To avoid prolonging the awkward moment, I immediately headed upstream.
A Presbyterian Baptism
I found the crossing and stepped out on to the first slab of rock. The wet, first slab of rock. A tilted, slippery, wet slab of rock. My feet went out from under me, I fell flat on my back, and started sliding into the flowing water. My ear pod popped out on impact, splooped into the water, and disappeared. I rolled as I slid, sticking my left arm into the water just in time to stop myself from a full swim.
Nothing was broken, and I’d only gotten one arm, one foot, and part of one leg wet. It could have been worse. My ear pod floated up a foot away, so I grabbed at it, but dropped my trekking pole into the stream, fell forward, but caught myself with my other arm. I was still okay. I only had two arms, one shoe, and one leg wet.
Just a sprinkling, as it were, and I didn’t lose my ear bud or my trekking pole. I was destined for success.
A Wesleyan Baptism
I got up, balanced on the slick rock, took the next step, and fell flat on my face. But I didn’t get any wetter. I got the same sprinkling I’d just gotten, but done one more time. I picked myself up, changed my path, and waded across to the promised land on the other side.
I climbed out of the stream and looked for the next white blaze. I found none. So, I pulled out my FarOut app and discovered that the trail never crossed the stream. It turned right along the other bank, following it downstream for a thousand feet.
I waded back across the stream, avoiding the wayward woman who had sent me down the wrong path, and got back on the straight and narrow way.
A Baptist Baptism
I reached the real stream crossing a few minutes later. I looked in vain for a dry route across, but the chasm was too wide and deep. The only way was across was through the water, so I plunged in, doing my best to keep myself upright.
I’m pretty good at river crossings, so I made it most of the way over, stepping up on the last rock … and slipped again, this time backsliding into the stream. A full immersion. Head, shoulders, knees, and toes. And backpack.
The Baptisms Didn’t Take
I’d like to say I emerged clean and refreshed, but my baptisms didn’t take. And I’m afraid there may have been some notching. My notching clothes were soaked. I had to pour water out of my notching backpack. And I’d somehow torn notching three-inch gashes in my notching shoe uppers.
I wrung out my clothes, shivering and goose-fleshed in the cold, and then shouldered my pack and started the climb away from the creek. As I reached the top, PBJ appeared behind me and shouted across, “Where’s the best place to get across?”
PBJ’s notching sense of humor.
- Start: Monson (Mile 2083.7)
- End: Long Pond Stream Lean-To (Mile 2098.8)
- Weather: Clear skies. Cool. Mist on the lakes and ponds.
- Earworm: I Write the Songs (Barry Manilow). Shoot me now.
- Meditation: Jn 15:14-15
- Plant of the Day: Face
- Best Thing: Mist on the ponds
- Worst Thing: Multiple baptisms
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