It’s 4pm and I’m set up at my campsite in an area of Maine called the KI Jo-Mary Multiple Use Forest. This is a large section of private land in northern Maine that allows anyone to camp, hike or hunt (during season) for a small use fee. There are dozens of campsites set up with fire pits, privies and some have canopies with a picnic table. The site I chose this night is near Gauntlet Falls on the East Branch of the Pleasant River.
I entered the forest through the Jo-Mary checkpoint at 12:30 today and plan to stay in the woods until Wednesday morning. That’s 4 nights, 3 full days and 2 half days away from all things modern. Nothing but the wind in the trees, the rush of water over rocks and the grace of solitude. I’ve had some very trying moments of late and this is the best way for me to recover the strength to continue forging ahead to my ultimate goal.
After walking around disgusted with all the stupid references to past or present girlfriends and other such immature vandalism, I stumbled upon this name carved into the stone. There were no roads at that time so he must have been following the river as a trapper or explorer. History abounds in the deep woods of Maine.
When I return to Bangor to get ready for another week of driving the northeast corridor, the let down will be palpable. The joy of my vacation destroyed by the reality of working a job that drains me. Each day I drive through the maddening traffic, endure the onslaught of inconsiderate drivers of 4 wheel vehicles, I feel like 2 days of my life have been wasted. Each morning I open the privacy curtains in my truck I feel a small part of my soul die.
I know that sounds a little dramatic, maybe a touch over the top, but I can’t ignore the way I feel. Alone in the woods brings forth a sense of peace, the solitude with no one but my furry friend beside me pushes me into a dream state of sorts. All thoughts of daily life resort to the most simple level. Food, clothing and shelter. These 3 things are quite easy to attain if one understands how simple things can bring the greatest pleasure. Simple as the dinner I prepared this evening.
On the trip in 4 eggs broke because of the rough roads. Should I waste them by tossing them out, or should I just make an omelette? If you want to live as simply and economically as possible, you roll with what comes. It’s not what I planned for dinner, but I’m OK with the results.
The sun is setting behind the trees now, the “Black Russian” drink has done it’s work, and I feel completely at ease. My best friend Vinny sits in my lap sleeping and I can’t think of another place I’d rather be. The sound of the water tumbling over Gauntlet Falls will lull me into a deep sleep not encountered by those who slumber to the sounds of traffic, those who relinquish their peace to the sounds of man. Tonight I slumber as the pioneers did, tonight I feel at home.