Evening on Moxie Bald (August 23)

Left town (Caratunk) this morning and started hiking alone.  I figured the little group I’ve been hiking with would go separate ways now- the Western Brothers joke about hiking 30 mile days from here on out, so they can finish earlier!  It was a nice surprise, then, to catch up to them right where I was planning to stop.  They told me they were planning to climb up the next mountain to camp and watch the sunset.  I decided I wanted to come too, so we all climbed up Moxie Bald together.

You couldn’t ask for better weather today.  Cool enough to hike comfortably, and still sunny.  I think we all felt kind of exuberant when we finally got up to the summit.  We took in the view.  I could see the Bigelows, a notable set of mountains we had climbed a couple days before, in the distance.  We just basked in the sun and the view for a moment.  For some reason we got to talking about a man who had died recently, and death, and heaven.  I said, “Well, he’s in a better place now, even better than this”.  At this the brothers expounded on the imagined delights of heaven, “A place where you don’t have to hike up mountains, you can just wish yourself up there…a place where you’re never hungry, you always have enough to eat, where your thirst is eternally quenched!”  They laughed and laughed, tailoring this heaven to fit what we would wish for as hikers!  I said to Ling Ding, “Just think, you won’t even be thirsty for beer anymore”!  (He really likes beer!)  He turned to me with a twinkle in his eyes and said, “But I will drink it, because I can!”  And then he turned and walked away.  It was a very funny moment.

We noticed bunches of ripe blueberries all over the summit.  It seems we’re getting to the end of the season for blueberries, so this was a great surprise, and we all started picking the blueberries and exclaiming how great they tasted.  The brothers were in such a good mood, they were picking berries and singing out snatches of songs, and generally being silly.  Ling Ding sang out some jubilant tune and leaned back on a rock in the position of a god, and dangled the berries towards his mouth, while we laughed.  Then he even got out his disposable camera and took a picture of Big Friendly Giant and me picking berries and laughing.  It was a neat evening, the kind of evening where everything just seemed to fit together and go right: good weather, scenic views, an unexpected treat, everyone in a good mood!

We tried to spot Katahdin from our spot, but I think maybe it was just out of the reach of our eyes.  To think that soon we’ll be within sight distance!

I’m so thankful for my times with these new friends.  As I’ve said again and again, it’s been good to round out my trip with some fun times with other hikers.  The views and natural beauty are a big part of it, but the many people you meet out here are a big part of the adventure too.

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