By about the third day at Red River Camps it hits me: I am not feeling useful. I endeavor to pester Jen and Gloria until I'm given a job.
The rope to the dinner bell broke in the bell tower, so the woman who's terrified of ladders offers to fix it. That's desperation. That repair work was my foot in the door... of their tool shed!
I run around fixing screens...damages caused by vandals: squirrels... Cole's fixation. One thing leads to another. We go hunting in Maine!
Does it get better than this? Uhhhh, no.
However, Cole did decline the bear hunt.
After half a day of productivity, we settle back into hiking mode.
Deboullie is renowned for these geological features: talus slopes.
Entire mountainsides of cubes all the way down to the lakes. For a rock fanatic, this is my playground!
I mean, look at this lichen!!!
Evidence everywhere of the vitality and yet the fragility of this place.
From a microcosmic view to macro... all in one hike:
Ohhh, you betcha I'm climbing it.
Majestic. I can see Canada from here.
Now get me down!!!
Where's my knight in shining armor with his bucket truck?
Knight in neon orange vest always present.
And flanked by two other muskateers.
We log mile after mile, day after day.
Pete gets an uncanny sense of deja vu.
I, on the other hand, believe one can never see enough rocks.
Except for this one:
This sheer rock face with a smattering of foot holds is our trail.
I kid you not.
I took this picture after our crossing... which was intense.
All three nimrods attempt to cross on their own over rain soaked rock. All three get stuck at different points making it an all hands on deck rescue effort. Only a 100 foot drop to the base, not a big deal.
80 lb Garrett was the least willing to be saved. Not like we could have turned around either. We were already over half way on a hike that we'd begun too late in the morning.
Gardner Trail. 8.4 miles, no backtracking, especially after seeing a lot of this:
Fresh moose tracks. I have zero desire to run into a bull in rut with a gaggle of dogs.
Moose evidence everywhere.
Cole knows how to mess with well laid plans. He barrels over a crest and returns with eyes as big as saucers. I hear crashing through the woods. I get over the rise to see a pond so beautiful, it's surreal.
The ripples on the water from the vacating moose are not lost on me. We don't hang around, but for precious few more moments.
Gardner Trail is sensory overload.
Cole scouts far afield, while slower Pete and I negotiate the steep terrain.
On one foray, Cole is nowhere to be found. You missed a 45 year old on the cusp of a meltdown in the middle of the woods. Agonizing minutes go by, Cole isn't responding.
Pete finds him underground.
Pete--"Hey Stupid, get out of the bear den!"
His total lack of common sense blows me away sometimes.
Like when he won't come out.
Or when he turns around to go back in.
After a blissful day alone in the woods, my soul is replenished, we come down from the mountain and head back to camp.
Back to camp, where for nearly a week, I imbibed in the rejuvenating effect of hearty, fresh, all homemade food every day...
... and stellar camaraderie.
Being late for meal could spell disaster: missing a Dick and Ted story. Two Maine fly fishermen who make me laugh so much my cheeks hurt. And who, they themselves, can take a joke.
Dick settles in to dine on my Squirrel a la Jamie.
Ted is beyond relieved to learn that he can drop the politeness, he will not be subjected to boiled squirrel.
Red River Camps is an uncommon place where you can find serenity, adventure and forge friendships to last for years to come. A gem.
The morning of Day 12 of my trip, with a very heavy heart, I take leave of Deboullie. In 1931, Grey Owl of Canada penned this about northern forests: "There is silence. Intense, absolute and all embracing". In 2016, in a crowded world, there still exists quiet havens. May we never lose them.