While this was going on, Tim, Brett, Martin and Nate had parked the truck down a small dirt road in the woods of Maine and we started up the hill. Everyone was very polite to Tim and no-one walked too incredibly fast so that he was able to puff his way up the hill quietly heaving, coughing, spluttering and dripping sweat at the back of the line of 4
. At the first rest stop, everyone else in the group had delicate beads of sweat on their brows and when you looked at Tim, water was running in rivulets down his face and neck and his shirt had completely changed to a darker shade. Well, not completely as there were two small patches of the original (dry) shade located on the bicep of each arm, each was about the size of a m&m!!!! However, walking is half mental, or so Tim kept telling himself and before too horribly long, we came out of the woods onto the saddle between two mountain tops. Here we came out onto a rocky hilltop, and when the clouds blew through, we had a great view. This, however, was not the first official stop, so we turned right and headed to the top of Big Jackson. This was a neat trail through the pine trees and the trail was punctuated by several hundred piles of fresh moose poop. Despite this evidence of their presence, we saw no large animals. Then we emerged onto the top of Big Jackson and here we sat down, took off our packs and HAD BEER #1. This was supported with a large cookie and some crackers with salami and cheese.
Then we went back down to the saddle we had come out on previously and headed up the granite, open top of Little Jackson, known locally as a 'bald'. This was my favourite part of the walk as all the way up to the top of Little Jackson, growing wild on the hillside and in very close proximity to the trail were thousands of ripe blueberries and a slightly smaller number of cranberries
. It was grand fun to walk three steps, bend over pick a handful of ripe blueberries, pop them in your mouth and then carry on for another couple of steps. Then we were on the top of Little Jackson and Beer #2!!!! This washed down the remainder of the salami, cheese and crackers and then we headed down off the top of the bald to Tumbledown Mountain and Crater Lake. Here we found several hikers swimming in this mountain top lake and due to the sweat and hard work of the previous hours of walking, we all jumped in the lake and had a delightfully cool and refreshing swim. This cooling process was greatly aided by beer #3. Then we walked back down the hill and the truck for the short drive back to the Shifrin house. It was a wonderful walk and great to get out in the Maine mountains and remember the different scenery and environment provided by northern New England hardwoods. The only complaint about the walk was the aching leg muscles that lasted for two days after the walk.
We were back to the house just after 6pm and walked into a scene of asian dumplings being assembled in preparation for a group dinner back at the camp on the lake. We pitched in, played our part and soon all 8 of us were heading back to the camp for a potluck dinner. The kids went for a swim in the lake and just as dinner was being served, the thunder clapped over the lake and the kids were quickly rounded up before the storm hit. We all sat down for a wonderful dinner of dumplings, steak, salads and asian soup while we watched the storm roll in over the lake with impressively inky clouds, peals of thunder and streaks of lightning which was quickly followed by torrents of water coming from the sky. Too soon, we had to round up the tired kids and bring them back to the house and put them to bed. After they went to sleep it was time for another round of Settlers of Catan. When we went to bed the tally was now: Tim 2, Brett 1, Sara 0 and Jess 0.
Today was going to be boys' day as Tim and Brett and two of his friends had an ambitious walking plan which basically consisted of 3 Peaks and 3 beers!!!! Before I get too far into the detail of this day, I will back up and talk about what Jess, Sara and the 4 kids got up to for the day. After the Dads left, they packed up the car and headed out to the movies to see "Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days". Then they went to a bookstore and got some neat reading books, Calvin and Hobbes for Lily and 'A Hiking Tale' for Big E. After they came back from their outing, they had some spare time and the weather had cleared so they went back to Dummers beach for an afternoon swim.