Of course there were delays, but what was most important was getting all the way across the country without getting hung up in the throng of summer travelers. I kept texting Hilary:
“I’m boarding the flight!”
“Oh no, some mechanical problem…they say an hour delay?”
“People are getting off the plane now, maybe 3 hours?”
“Oh, boarding again! Lets see if this actually happens!”
And finally, I arrive in Portland, Maine…weary and bleary-eyed, and I find Hilary outside the airport with her handsome new puppy, Dill.
We pile into her car and try to catch up on 10 years of happenings, or is it eight? We can’t exactly remember how long it has been…but I guess that will be the theme for this reunion hike….not quite remembering all the details and pulling out vague recollections of places and faces…or just letting go of all that and being present to the now as it unfolds.
After a fabulous time touring her little pocket of paradise near the coastal fingers of the Maine coast, we eat good food and remember our time as roommates in the other Portland about 17 years ago. We lived in an old craftsman near Hawthorne Ave with a few other roomates: the bartender at a fancy Peruvian restaurant, and a bike mechanic with about 30 bike frames in various states of disrepair in the damp basement.
Hilary and I drank a lot of tall boy PBRs on the porch of that house, and played a lot of pool at our neighborhood hangout, the Goodfoot. Ah, Portland, Oregon in the mid 2000’s was quirky and fun.
After waking up to rain the next day we make our plan: shop for the last few items I needed for the hike, stock up on groceries for the few nights we’d be camping at Baxter State Park, and driving up the 3.5ish hours to Katahdin and the start of my Sobo Appalachian Trail hike.
When we pulled out of Hilary’s house early afternoon, we decided to take the scenic route….stopping for a lobster roll on the way (when in Maine…!)
Turned out we made a wrong turn, not having noticed the error as we belted out Ray LaMontaine songs into the sunny afternoon with the windows rolled down. So the long drive took longer, but it really didn’t matter….we were on a road trip, and had all day to get to our campsite at Katahdin Steam Campground.
The evening consisted of tacos, campfire and stories of hiking injuries. I wonder what my AT hiking injuries will be this year? There are always a few…
We went to bed too late; I don’t think I’ll sleep tonight.