2 , 1983 Friday (232.9 mtg) From
Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal
morning I left the shelter before anyone else, and within a quarter
of a mile froze in my tracks alongside the pond when I heard some
noise just offshore in the shallows. I focused in on where the noise
had come, while a young bull moose looked at me and waded in the
water of Sabbath Day Pond. Apparently my stealth hiking tactics
had allowed me to come within 15 yards of the animal before either
one of us had realized it. I slowly put down my pack and removed
my camera from the upper pocket of my pack and set up to photograph
the first wild moose that I had encountered on this trip. The backlit
conditions presented a problem, but I snapped off a few shots before
going back to the shelter to tell the rest about the nearby wildlife.
The younger guy, filled with excitement, returned with me to photograph
the moose. I later learned from someone he had told, that he thought
I was a real neat guy for having come back to tell him about the
moose. Moose are quite abundant in Maine, yet some hikers travel
all the way through and never get to see one. I felt lucky.
Four miles later after traveling through some general forest areas,
I approached Little Swift Pond and the campsite located there. As
the campsite came into view I noticed a female hiker with her back
to me just slipping her T-shirt over her head and onto her torso.
Late again I thought. All because of that moose. Once she was within
range of my voice I said hello, and just then her boyfriend stepped
out from the woods, apparently having just finished his morning
duty. I said a few words before continuing on to my first goal of
the day: Maine highway 4 that leads to Rangeley - for lunch. Five
miles later I stepped out onto that road. The first vehicle that
went by was a UPS truck. I thought I might have a chance at a ride,
but no luck. I did not really want to stay in Rangeley, just pick
up a few supplies and then move on. Rangeley is nine miles off
the trail and I did not like the thought of having to hike back
to the trail if I could not secure a ride. Immediately after
the UPS truck, followed a small car that quickly stopped to pick
me up. This is too easy. What is going on here? The driver was a
young lady named Lois Ellinwood who was staying in her parents cabin
on Rangeley Lake with her five year old daughter Sarah, and younger
son Jeffrey, who was still in diapers. I crawled in the back and
we were soon on our way to Rangeley. Along the way I had a conversation
about my hiking adventure and then was invited to have a fresh vegetable
meal with them that evening and then spend the night. I was not
much of a real vegetarian, but it sounded wonderful to me.
I found it interesting, and a bit strange when Louis stopped at
a store, said she would be back in a minute, and left me in the
back seat with four little eyes just staring at me from the front
seat. The kids seemed mesmerized by me. They were not scared, but
curious I suppose. The young girl asked me all sorts of questions.
We moved on to the grocery store and I was able to get all my munchy
supplies refreshed. We drove out of Rangeley and farther down the
road from the trail to a back road that led to a cabin named "Tamarack."
The cabin was directly beside the shore of Rangeley Lake, and had
a beautiful view of Elephant Mountain across the lake. Once there,
I was offered some fresh veggies and tuna salad for lunch. Later
that afternoon, her husband, David Lipton, came home. Other company
came too, someone named Paul and another female. This was their
weekend retreat, and I was lucky enough to have been in the right
place at the right time for the "trail magic" of super
hospitality to befall upon me. I had recently mentioned to someone
on the trail that I had not had any "magic" like that
happen to me so far. David invited me to take a canoe ride on the
lake in their wooden canoe. The canoe was a slick looking naturally
redwood Old Town canoe that was stored under the cabin. Fearing
that I would capsize the boat and lose my camera, I chose not to
take it along, but later regretted not having it as we watched one
of the most beautiful sunsets that I had seen along the trail. We
heard an occasional loon laughing on the lake and headed back to
port before the darkness totally set in.
We ate stir-fried veggies for supper, and I could not get enough.
I gorged myself on the healthy food, and later on some ice cream
while enjoying the company of my new friends. Lois was so curious
that she insisted on weighing my pack. She had to know what it weighed.
I knew it was heavy, but did not want her to tell me what it weighed.
At that point it probably weighed fifty pounds. More than enough,
but after virtually 2000 miles, I could handle it. The Lipton's
were devout vegetarians, and attempted to live an organic life as
much as possible. They also made their own bread - whole wheat -
which was the best! They invited me to visit them at their home
in Coopers Mills, Maine after I had completed the trail, and to
go to the Common Grounds Organic Fair if I was finished by the 23rd
of September. I said I would think about it if I had finished by
was here at Tamarackthat I learned about septic etiquette- "If
it is yellow, let it mellow. If it is brown, flush it down."
I was also told to conserve water in the shower by getting wet,
turning off the water for washing, and then rinsing - a tough thing
for a long distance hiker without the chance for any type of shower
for a long time.
their guest book praising their hospitality and kindness.
make a phone call to my parents today, and it seems that I must
have made it in Rangely around the time I was buying supplies before
I went to Tamarack since there is no mention in Mom's notes about
Louis or the kids. I am sure I would have mentioned it, and she
would have written it down. She did; however, thank me for the small
bell I had sent to her that I purchased on the top of Mt. Washington
for her bell collection. She asked if I could also see if I could
buy one from Baxter State Park at the end of the trail, if possible.
I estimated I had about fifteen days until I finished the Appalachian
Trail in Baxter. With such a short time to go I don't know why I
told her to oil the boots she had just gotten resoled, perhaps I
was thinking about having them sent to me at my last mail drop so
I could finish the trail with the boots that I had begun the trail
Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983