Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Near Misses on Whitecap, June 19


Storm coming through the valley past Sunday River and
moving just south of Whitecap's summit. 

After driving back from Stacey's celebration, I switched clothes and headed up to Whitecap for a quick hike. The radar showed thunderstorms coming in later at night, but that was not the case. I got hit with a light rain, big winds, and dark clouds; however, the storms whisked south just off the summit and I survived to climb another day. 

Storm clouds bubble up and disintegrate after the initial rain. 

Old Speck in the distance

Old Speck in the Mahoosucs. 

Bailey's Carin on Whitecap
at the peak of the Yellow Trail

I'm wearing my brown tail moth caterpillar neck wear.  

Sweltering Heat on Glassface..... #98

Looking toward Mt Zircon & the Androscoggin

At 4pm, I zipped up Glassface Mountain to get some exercise.  Round trip is less than an hour, but such a hike is great for my mental wellbeing on a sweltering summer's day.     

Brent and Peter's pups checking me out
as I drive to my hike. 

Thursday, June 17, 2021



Bailey's at Sharon's for 3 days while I drive The Rig over to Mount Desert Island to attend the funeral of Stacey Gray, my niece Kim's husband. Stacey's been ill with kidney disease for years and he battled like crazy. Kim even donated a kidney to him, but no luck. Over the past decade he lost his job, both legs, and his beloved pick-up truck. He kept his sense of humor and humility, his love of dogs and his good-man moniker. He also had a wife who loved and admired him dearly. 

I visited Stacey in a Bangor hospital one late evening after his second leg amputation. High on morphine, or another medication, he talked about his life. He was depressed and who couldn't understand that. During the evening, I told him he had a right to be sad... but also talked about his dogs, his friends, and Kim. 

Throughout the evening, Stacey asked good questions. We laughed about this-n-that. He was kind to his nurses. 

The first time Stacey came to visit the Kent family at camp with Kim and the boys, he drove a huge pick-up truck and never came down to the beach. He spent his time in the Kent camp cleaning the porch windows--he might have done some painting, too. He also waxed his shiny truck. Stacey worked for the Bar Harbor Town Garage as a mechanic and snowplow driver. His stepson Jordan landed his job when Stacey went out on disability. When I told him that Jordan made more money than I did as a professor, he smiled. He liked that.   

When I picture Stacey cleaning up camp and polishing his truck, I think about these words from Kahlil Gibran's book The Prophet: "Work is love made visible." 

That's Stacey Gray.  

Kim and Stacey at Mark's wedding. 

Driving Denny's tractor. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Black/White Trail on Black Mountain

Ski area summit. Click photos to enlarge

Bailey's feeling his age, so today, for my hike of Black Mountain, I left him at home. After hikes on Whitecap, he tends to limp favoring his left leg. A couple of times before packing for a hike, I noticed him limping up to me. Thing is, I'm pretty sure he's faking it because just before he'd been prancing around the yard. I suspect he has arthritis or tendonitis, but even when we hike straight up Whitecap's Yellow trail, he powers on. My gut says he's uncomfortable but not injured. I'll keep an eye on it and may get him some anti-inflamatories.  

On this hike, I worried about bugs and especially ticks in the high grass on the ski slopes. They never materialized. I think the dry conditions have killed off these creatures for the time being. The Black/White trail is grown over in places, but it's in pretty good shape otherwise. As you'll see from the map below, I summited the ski area and then headed down one of the ski slopes. A good day... and when I got home after 2 hours away, Bailey whined and cried as he bounced around. I took him down to the Swift River park for a 20 minute walk with all of its glorious smells.  

First section of switchbacks

View of the town/mill from a ski trail

Carins on a ski trail

Good trail about half way up.

New wind towers in Roxbury's farm

Carins marking the Black/White trail

Looking south west

Heading down a ski slope

AllTrails cover

AllTrails map of the hike. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Hikes 91, 92, 93: Step Falls, Joe Pond Trails, Whitecap

From Whitecap Mountain
Click on photo to enlarge

I have driven by Step Falls, just before Screw Auger falls, many times over the years. Often, the parking lot is jam packed. This weekday, 3 other cars dotted the parking lot, so in I went. The water is so low there are few falls, but I could imagine the river in spring time or after heavy rains. We also stopped off at Screw Auger Falls, Moose Cave, and Mother Walker Falls––tourist spots, but fun, nonetheless.     

Joe Pond Trail off Isthmus Road near the ski area is a series of back-country roads that summit at a friend's cabin. The views of Whitecap, White Mountains, and Sunday River are fun. I used to run, hike, or bike from my house to Joe Pond and these roads. It might take 40 minutes to run to the pong from Prospect Avenue.