Monthly Archives: July 2014

Monson, Maine

I have to take a minute to acknowledge the great experience I had back in Monson nursing my heel blisters. I found it more challenging to sit around waiting than I did hiking on painful heels, but I’m in it for the long haul and didn’t want to exacerbate the problem further. So I waited it out and had fun getting to know a lot about Monson.

I stayed at Shaw’s Lodging, a well-known hiker hostel with shuttle service, resupply, great breakfasts, and an overall hiker-friendly attitude. Dawn, Sue (owners) and Dick and Gary were great hosts and made my stay enjoyable. I also spent quite a bit of time with Neal and Colleen at their brand new restaurant/resupply shop called Pete’s Place on the main street in town, a few doors down from the post office. Talk about adventurous- these two undertook a cross country trip on horseback some years ago, including a six week stay with old order Mennonites in Pennsylvania while they built themselves a wagon!

Over the weekend, Monson hosted a summer festival with an informal jam session comprised of local residents on Friday night (who played one of my folk favorites: All Around This World),

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Monson jammers: base, guitar, mandolin, dobro, harmonica, fiddle, clarinet and trumpet

live music and fireworks on Saturday night (the band played some Dead favorites including Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad and Bertha!), the grand opening of a new AT information center, a cribbage tournament, jugglers, guest speakers at the historical center, and so on.

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Speechifying at local history center

The mountains notwithstanding, northern Maine reminds me a lot of northern Minnesota and I felt right at home.

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Per this last picture, the local mission house may have been short on spelling, but they were long on giveaways to desperate hikers. One could do a lot worse than spending downtime in Monson and though I was anxious to get back to the trail, I left there with fond memories of a cool local vibe.

Open Invitation

One thing I should have mentioned already- if anyone reading this will be in proximity of the AT later this year and is interested in hiking a bit with me or just meeting me on the trail with a captain and coke, pringles or industrial strength deodorant, ping me via the site and we’ll arrange. I’m already anticipating hiking with Wendy, Emily and Hamid in New Jersey if schedules work out and would love to connect with others along the way if your plans put you anywhere near the trail, even if but for a few hours.

A Day of Rest

Waiting on my shoes to arrive and my feet to heal, made the rounds today in Monson. My morning shopping list from some of the informal hiker resupply places that line the AT:

  • nylon paracord, 50 ft (for bear bag)
  • 6 aaa batteries (for headlamp)
  • epson salt (to soak my feet)
  • 1 tube of dr. sheffield’s antibiotic ointment
  • 1 role electrical tape (adheres better than moleskin for foot sores)
  • moleskin
  • small tube of 100% deet (minnesota has no exclusive claim to worst mosquitos)
  • ziplock bags (6 individual bags of assorted sizes for various waterproof packaging)
  • small container of gold bond medicated foot powder (nothing feels better at the end of the day!)
  • small ziplock bag of TP

After shopping, I sat soaking my feet in epson salt while watching a film on netflix via my cell phone, recommened to me by Doc, a northbound hiker I stayed with a couple of nights ago. I’m very happy to now recommend it to others. The film is called The Way and was written, directed and produced by Emilio Estevez and stars his dad, Martin Sheen, among others. It’s about the famous European/Christian walking pilgrimage called el camino¬†and definitely resonates with an AT hike…worth the watch.

These pictures are some snaps from my room at Shaw’s.

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