Wednesday, September 22

Tripod on the AT in Maine

Fall foliage starting in Rangeley Maine

This was a re-supply trip and my last chance to camp out in the woods with Spoon and friends. I arrived at the trailhead at 2pm on Sunday to find Spoon a bit muddy, waiting with friends. We passed out some home made cookies and loaded up for the trip into Rangeley. The original plan was to do a grocery shop to augment the supplies I brought up and then head out to the shelter, but Timothy was ready for a night off, so we found a motel in Rangeley for the night. As it turned out one of his hiking friends, Zamboni, was also staying in the same place having taken a couple of days off to recover from a bout of the flu. Then we drove back out to the trailhead and picked up his 2 other friends, Joker and Watermelon, who we took to a hostel. I did a lot of shuffling on this trip, moving 4 guys around with gear, from our motel, their hostel, which was outside of town, and the town of Rangeley.

Rangeley Maine
 When we headed out for dinner that evening at a Thai restaurant  we added another hiker Connecticut Bob, who actually was from Boston and we had mutual friends from the Blue Hills. On Monday morning Tim did laundry in the morning and we packed up, did some gear shopping, picked up more food at the local IGA and headed to the trailhead with Zamboni for our 1.8 mile hike to the Piazza Rock leanto. Watermelon, who was waiting for a mail drop at the Post Office, and Joker who was waiting for a FedEx from his bank, were to join up with us later on.

Bridge on Trail
Spoon under Piazza Rock
At the trail head we ran into the Barbarian Utopia, whom I have been hearing stories about for a while and who were headed into the IGA for a quick re-supply. The Barbarian Utopia consists of a father, Tecolote and his 8 year old son, Venado, who Tim has run into on a number of occasions as they have been working their way north. Passed out some more much appreciated cookies and then it was an easy hike for the 3 of us out to the shelter. Just one small hill and then a nice stroll thru the woods. We set up our hammocks, got a fire started, and waited for the others to show up and then went up to explore Piazza Rock.We were on the top of the rock, where I took some pictures that really did not show anything. Afterwards we discovered this view and I tried to convince Spoon & Zamboni to climb back up and sit on the edge, but I couldn't get any takers. Back in camp Watermelon came in first followed by Joker and a little while later the Barbarian Utopia. Set up the grill for some Bratwurst which Joker had brought out, and washed them down with some peppermint Schnaps which Spoon lugged out.
Venado and Tecolote logging their stay

The Piazza Rock shelter had a caretaker who was paid by the Maine Appalachian Mountain Club. He worked 40 hours per week, 10 days on 4 days off and was responsible for the trail from RT 17 to the top of Saddleback. He recorded visitors to the shelter, did trail maintenance, gave us information on the local wildlife, ( he expected a moose and her 2 calves to show up), made sure the privy was clean, walked the trail daily and slept in a large tent up in the woods. His term of stay was coming to a close. Caretakers are not in residence in the winter.

Exactly as listed in the Guide Book
The privy is listed in the Guide Book as a 2 seater with a cribbage board in between. We all agreed that it would be hard to find someone to play cribbage with. No cards and missing one peg,( which would be easy to find). I have some friends who are really big into cribbage and whom I would be happy to give directions to find this location.

We got up around 7 am after a cold night in the woods, ( the temperature dropped into the low thirties), and discovered that the Barbarian Utopia had already been up,  had breakfast and left. They walk slow, they leave early, I was told. After breakfast and packing up, I was off for home and they for 17 miles to the next shelter on the other side of Saddleback Mountain.   They are having a hard time coming to the realization that this adventure is going to be over in 2 weeks. We wish them the best of luck and that the weather improves for them for the rest of their journey. Too much rain, mud, cold, slippery rocks so far in Maine. Looks like we will be heading to Katahdin in early October for the final climb.
Watermelon, Joker, Spoon, Zamboni