The hills behind Camden are filled with hiking trails. We have done little hiking on this trip because it has been too hot for Zoe. Although our Alaskan girl is slowly getting used to the heat and enjoys her walks, rigorous hiking would be tough on her. She is, after all, an old dog now. But we hate to leave her behind. So, George and I have been taking advantage of the safe, easily accessible trails in Camden for a bit of solo hiking.
At the beginning of my first hike, up Mount Megunticook, I became intensely homesick for Alaska. Even the lowliest Alaskan hikes are magnificent, with expansive views, big mountains, and huge skies. East Coast hiking consists mostly of a green tunnel under the trees. I know it all too well because I grew up on it–lots of roots and rocks, green leaves, and mud. Not much variety.
After mentally grumbling for a bit, I got into the physical rhythm of the hike and started to enjoy myself. And, unlike many New England hikes, this trail emerged from the tree tunnel to several beautiful overlooks of Penobscot Bay. I felt better.
It was nice to be able to hike alone and not have to worry about bears all of time. And, on the way down, I decided to start noticing and appreciating the small stuff. Especially the mushrooms, which were everywhere. There is a woman at the Camden Farmer’s Market who sells Chicken in the Woods, Black Trumpets, Lobster, and Chanterelle mushrooms–all locally foraged–along with the more common varieties. This is fungi heaven, apparently.
Today I hiked up Mount Battie (we previously drove to the top). The trail was busy with hikers and I realized that all the years of Alaskan hiking have paid off. It was an easy little hike by Alaskan standards and I was feeling pretty cocky breezing right by everyone on the trail.
Then I came to a group of eight expensively clad and coiffed hikers in their forties. They looked like country club types, which was confirmed when I got stuck behind them and heard them complain about the pool at their country club.
The women at the back of their group were walking two-abreast and I was trying to decide how best to pass them when one woman said, “Would you like to get by?” “Yes, please.” As they gave me room to pass, another woman laughed and said, “Oh great, we’re falling behind the geriatric tour.”