Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blueberry Lust: AT Section 2 Part 3

Like goblins on a full moon feast. Like greedy kids in a candy shop, like starved bears in spring, like a caterpillar puttin’ it on for the cocoon; we would merrily fill our bellies to bursting with blueberries, if we came back. As it was, we were taunted by greenberries and the last of the year’s dainty blooms. In mid-June, the AT in Massachusetts would be heaven. On that last day of May, it was unrequited temptation.

Tara’s garbage bag bounced and swayed down the trail ahead. Our packs were covered and our rain gear handy, so far though, only light showers.

“Cool with overcast skies is better than hot and humid. This is perfect hiking weather really.”

“Yeah,” said Tara, “especially if it doesn't rain.”

We made it nine slightly damp miles, arriving at the Kay Wood Lean-to before dusk and just before the skies let loose in earnest. Nine miles! I’d once ambulated nine contiguous miles on my own two feet before, but never in one day! Our legs were tingly and our faces triumphant. The lean-to was quiet and empty except for the Ridge Runner.

“You get paid to hike?” we asked.

Yep, he got paid to keep an eye on things (inept hikers like us, shelters, privies, trail markers etc…) and to hike in supplies for repairs and improvements. I marveled at this gray haired man carrying 40 lbs of lumber and paint in addition to his own supplies. I, just 30, could barely manage my half of our relatively meager load.

Mr. Trail Runner poured water into an insta bag of food, no dishwashing, no cooking, nada. Light, easy, simple and efficient – in short, everything antithetical of myself.

He saw our ogling eyes and happily lectured us on “cooking” in a bag, advising we treat packages for “two” as singles. “Most of the flavors are good,” he claimed.

Certainly his Pasta Primavera looked inviting as we prepared to choke down quinoa or whatever hair brained menu we’d come up with which required boiling, stirring and waiting in the rain. We’d probably have been torn up with jealousy if Mr. Ridge Runner hadn’t been so affable.

After dinner he lent me a book. Tara and I curled up in our bags on the wooden slats of the Lean-to’s loft and read. Life was sweet that day despite our unsatisfied blueberry lust.

The book he lent me? “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson. Excellent, some books are on the NY Times best-seller list for a reason.

[Unfortunately my camera refused to work properly on this trip and cheated me out of proper documentation of our amazing feats. Thankfully some kind soul (juliaf) posted the lovely photo of blueberry blossoms on stock.xchang. Thanks Julia, whoever you are! This section of the trail (day two of the trek from Lee to Dalton) was hiked 5/31/08 see parts 1, 2 and someday 4 for further details.]


  1. sound's like a very sweet day. What's it like to sleep in a lean-two? Did it keep you dry at all?

    Thinking about how the Ridge Runner said that a serves two portion should actually be considered a single, I feel the same way about tents. A four man tent actually fits two women.

  2. I couldn't find pictures either. I think my camera was broken too. Anyway, I do remember those blueberry blossoms. What a tease.

  3. The lean-to's in Massachusetts are known for being well-kept. They are usually big enough to sleep 8-12 campers in my opinion. They are closed in on three sides and open on one, we were very dry in the loft. Usually there is a fire pit and pick nick table in front. Sleeping on wood is not comfortable, I highly recommend a sleeping pad!

  4. Tara/Rowan,
    I keep waiting for the day when I post about one of our hikes and you say, "No, that's not how it happened at all." I do enjoy taking dramatic licence!

  5. Oh heck yeah, Annie! If you haven't tried freeze dried Kathmandu Curry you don't know what you're missing! Backpacker's Pantry also makes killer mashed potatoes and Pad Thai.

  6. Pad Thai?!?! I'll have to check that out!