It all happened so very fast. We were cruising along the Maine Appalachian Trail at a three MPH pace, a refreshing breeze in our face, and favorable terrain below our feet. Then we came around a bend and there was a large bear in our path. At first it remained calm, but as soon as I took the below picture, the bear reared up.
As it turns out, I’m a half step faster than Brad in the 20-yard dash. It also helps that I tripped him. Fortunately, Brad had Walker and Texas Ranger on his side.
Brad was able to escape with merely a flesh wound. The bear wasn’t so lucky.
Obviously I’m kidding, the bear photo is actually from the Maine Game Farm. Got that Mom, no bear. I repeat, no bear. We are fine. As in A.O.K. No need to call the warden service, the state police, Airwolf, Olympia Snow’s office or the department of homeland security. Just put the phone down. Deep breaths.
I know, I know, the hiker that falsely cries bear is going to get mauled in his sleep and nobody will believe him. Whatever.
As for the hiking, we started the day with a relatively easy hike up Moxie Bald Mountain. For a smaller-scale mountain, the views were pretty good. Once off the mountain the trail mostly leveled out. There was one section along the West Branch of the Piscataquis River with a bunch of sequential up and down bursts that Brad aptly named the Excite Bike portion of the trail. That’s a video game reference for anyone who wasn’t part of the Nintendo generation. For the rest of us, I’m sorry I felt the need to explain.
Our plan for the day was to log about 15 miles, which would have left us with a short hike the following day into Monson where we were planning to stay at Shaw’s hostel. We tried to stick to the plan, taking a couple of long breaks during the day to go swimming. But we were covering too much ground too fast, and eventually just decided to head to Monson for an extra night at Shaw’s. In doing so we logged our first 20-mile day, which didn’t come without some new blisters.
More on Monson and Shaw’s to come in the next post.
It’s nice of the aliens to leave rock formations along the trail. Someone remind me to send Alf a thank you note when we’re done.
Another day, another mountain top. At least my trail beard is starting to fill in. The going joke right now whenever someone asks us if we’ve seen a particular person is to respond: “Is he a skinny white guy with a beard that smells? Yeah, we’ve seen him. Lots of hims.”