By 10 AM on Day 3, Cole and I have completed our run in Massachusetts.
Making it the 41st state where he and I have been trail running. Only difference this year is that we have an entourage.
I'm extremely proud of my green mushing team. They're staying in sync and avoiding wrapping themselves around trees, most of the time. Cole is a seasoned traveler, but I can't deny that I had reservations about taking the two farm dogs. Pete is willful, mighty powers of persuasion are often necessary. From Garrett's knobbly scars all around his neck, we think he was a bait dog used to train pit bulls and from his lack of knowledge of the outside world, it's suspected that he was chained up in a backyard until he escaped. So, everything is new to him. Every day on this trip, I've been privileged to watch him get that look of wonderment in his face. With no rocks at all back home and clear trails, I've had to teach him how to scamper over rocks, show him that a half fallen log isn't a barrier, you can either go over it, or under it. Plainly put, I had worries about taking a dingbat Garrett and pigheaded Pete. After 3 days together 24/7, all apprehensions evaporate. In it's place, the same feeling I had when I went from this:
The more the merrier.
Onward ho! To Maine or bust.
So, you're waiting for obligatory pictures of coastline and lighthouses.
Be patient. I make a run for the hills instead. Our campground in Pownal, Maine is inland. The coast will be busier, more tourists and I'm seeking solitude. Studies show that 75% North Americans are extroverts. The remaining 25% of us spend our lives trying to convince the majority of you that being an introvert doesn't mean we're antisocial. There's a reason I don't have TV, don't want to talk on the phone after I get off from work, don't listen to the radio at home-- I need quiet down time to balance the socializing needed to function at work. Sadly, I've been out of kilter for two years and sorely in need of the restorative powers of alone time.
Ask and you shall receive. When I cross into Maine, this is what my phone does:
My contact list goes blank, I try to restore it from my cloud storage-- it's mysteriously empty. I try to access it from my tablet and realize it's frozen. Standing ovation for my guardian angels for coming up with this one. Bravo!
Nothing left to do but run trails.
Scaling the summit at Bradbury State Park. Given a choice, a vertical ascent trail is always my pick!
Much to Garrett's chagrin.
Example of Pete's obstinate nature. The train came to a stop because somebody wanted to cool down in a stream.
Gracing us with the permission to continue, we ultimately reach the top.
Oh yeah, here's your picture of the ocean. Happy?
Me? Ecstatic. Thank you very much for asking.
We return to our campground, where we're tucked away in the very back, totally isolated from the other campers up front (preplanned mastermind).
It's lunch time.
I'm out foraging. Apples are falling everywhere.
Elderberries are in season.
Miss Piggy even finds her childhood favorite: wintergreen.
Chewing the leaves releases the aromatic oil. This is the original wintergreen flavor. Over harvesting at the turn of the 20th century forced manufacturers to look elsewhere. Synthetic flavor is now used or distilled from birch trees (natural, but not authentic!).
Hike. Forage. Eat. Repeat.
I find a gem off the beaten path: Pineland Public Reserved Land.
We're the only car at the trailhead. 600 acres all to ourselves... now we're talkin'!
Next stop: Old Town House Park on the shores of the Royal River.
A meadow park boasting a variety of Fall wildflowers.
Deserted, it becomes our personal playground.
National Parks are our crown jewels, majestic, awe inspiring, alas usually crowded. Must see places. But my smaller state parks and hidden private preserves are my must stay places. I'll keep the smaller gems, thank you.