Monson – 28 Aug

Early on this morning we had to ford a river – I believe there will be quite a few of them in the days to come:

We had 15km to do getting into Monson, and were at trail head by 11h which is reasonably early. We are also zero-ing tomorrow as there are a few aches in the body we need to solve before taking on the final stretch.

We called Shaw’s (the hiker hostel we are staying at for 2 nights) for a trail pick-up, they said we will have to wait a bit as the car has just left to take someone to the post office. While waiting a woman who was sitting in her car offered to give us a lift into Monson. Her car looked like one of my friend’s car (she will know who I am talking about 😀) – as if she was living in it. Anyway it was a very interesting lift/woman.

She is a farmer, and her life partner Carl, bought up all the quarries in the area – 18 in total – in the eighties. Currently not doing much with it but she drove us up to one. The slate tablet marking JFKennedy’s grave came from this quarry. Monson is apparently known for its black slate and blueberries. She also made us get out of the car and walk a small distance to show us a cave where Ravens have a nest. What an interesting arrival. And we didn’t even exchange names!

Shaw’s looked a bit rough (compared to the genteel Hostel of Maine we stayed at on Friday) but everybody says it’s a wonderful hostel. We showered, went to the Farm Deli for coffee and a sandwich, walked though town (took 5mins), had a beer (Trevor)/glass of wine (me) and then back to Hostel to relax.

While having our drinks the locals started chatting to us. The one showed us photos of his ice house. A little wooden cabin, well insulated, put on frozen rivers in winter. They drill holes in the ice, sit in the well heated ice house while fishing down a hole in the “lounge floor”. Wish I could experience that!

Trevor’s loaner clothes very appropriate don’t you think?

We had dinner at one of only 2 restaurants in town (not counting the “Fine Dining” option) and as where ever we go our very nice waitress asked where we were from, and then what language we speak. When I explained that I spoke Afrikaans, which sounds like Dutch, she got all excited saying she is Dutch, then continued to speak Dutch to me throughout our time there.

We are all set with our re-supply, and the laundry is in the drier so we will really have nothing to do tomorrow other than visiting the AT centre in town to get briefed on the logistics at the end (Mount Katahdin is a popular destination so there are arrangements about reserved places for AT hikers to sleep before climbing Mt K). Only things to do will be resting and eating. I know we are going to be frustrated. We will look at each other and say “we could have been walking now, putting the first day behind us” but we have rationally decided we need to give our bodies a full day’s rest tomorrow to counter the aches and pains starting to set in. It seems to me as if my body has the ability to walk 3343km, but I need to tap another 185km from it. I hope by resting and feeding it tomorrow I can bribe it into cooperation.

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