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