NECE 3 – Maine edition
So after a multiple month hiatus (as nearly directly after my trip to the Fort Ticonderoga area with my friend John at the end of August 2013, I had shoulder surgery), I am no longer the One-Armed Man. Now, I can do things like tie shoes, and carry goods with both arms! As such, I knew as early as Christmas that I was going to have to POWER through camping trips over this spring, if I wanted to properly reach my goal of at least one trip to each New England state prior to departing (escaping) Yale.
So, having done winter camping while in Scouts, and due to loving the snow and cold, I realized that going the farthest distance (to Maine) for the coldest trip of this spring might make for a memorable trip.
I was quite right, in so many ways! Check out the later posts (I decided to split the trip into one post per day, to keep them of a manageable length) to see what I mean.
After helping to lead a class discussion in my course on civil rights, I jumped into the car and drove more than 7 hours north, all the way to Acadia National Park.
Setting up in the cold, dark cold and dark!
After a long drive north, I came to the parking lot for Acadia’s Blackwoods Campground… which had space for approximately 5 cars, and then a locked gate and a saw horse with this sign (in short, “Abandon all hope ye who winter camp here”).
The temperature is not something I know for certain, but it was COLD. I actually left the car running (do not worry, TDIs burn less than .4 liters of fuel per hour while idling, and my car is a fraction of a percent parts per million particulates), in the event of an emergency – I didn’t want to struggle to start the car in such a case. Also, I needed as much light as I could get, because it was *dark* up there and I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget anything in the car!
I loaded the sled up and began to trudge along the unplowed path – between my LED headlamp, my LED lantern, and the red LED-covered safety vest I had on, I was able to see some of the path… some. Some. I didn’t actually know where I was going, so I sort of just went forward!
Evenually, I found a VERY small, non-reflective, partially snow-encrusted sign saying “CAMPING THIS WAY —>” and followed it through the woods. Again, I was doing this alone: what could go wrong!!
Got to a site with a “B” marking (the A loop of the campground is closed for the winter, due to proximity to the sea), and began to set up. It is amazing to me, how much extreme cold affects the ability of durable goods (tent poles, for instance) to properly move and be set up. The fire I started, using a chemical log (it was so windy I was barely able to get the matches to stay lit long at all, so I knew a proper fire wasn’t going to be started) was not nearly warm enough… but -10 before windchill means that any and all warmth was much appreciated. I eventually crawled into my sleeping bag (rated to -20) after stargazing the amazingly clear skies, and tried to sleep (rather unsuccessfully, it was *COLD*).
All told, a VERY chilly start to the week’s experience.