Playing up my coastal adventures, I’m on a snowy, nearly 100-mile hike. Another year, and I’d be working up a mighty sweat in the Maui coffee shops that serve as my training base.
Instead, I’m harnessing the power of nature, enjoying the pull of winter winds and rock formations, and getting my training legs under me. On a few mornings already, the slopes of Bodhi Peak, a northern Maine reserve 25 miles from Brunswick, Maine, have already been less hospitable than expected.
But this time, I’m bearing down on a trail leading eastward, just at the tip of Cape Monadnock. Clear skies and warm coats are in the forecast.
It’s a busy time of year for the preserve, where a day pack is available for about $9. The fee pays for everything—a family-level permit covers up to six adults and one child; it also includes a day pass into the forest. An amateur forager can pick out even more wildlife, plants, insects, weeds, lichens, and crustaceans to enjoy. Reservations are recommended: Just last week, MyFoxBoston.com interviewed the preserve’s manager, and before me is evidence of a hearty outdoor session this year: a chigger bite, thorny brush, paw prints, a close-up of a pumpkin spinywood tree.
At first, I’m disappointed at the lack of creature comforts. I’m sitting on rock. I’m freezing. Most trips of this size involve a bit of food or cold showers (I’d write it off as just another snow day in central Maine). But I’m inspired by the many shorelines and trees surrounding me. I’m noticing lichens and mosses of varying shades. Every few miles, I pause to watch the ever-maintaining landscape. I even stop to photograph the most extreme shade of blue powder spotted in the distance. It’s either the clouds or the little blooms turning bright yellow and a lovely yellow. Yellow and gold.
In my normal mode of travel, I would have been traveling through most of the forest and met up with another, safer hike in another time. Not this time. I make the trade of my well-to-do, indoor-habitat routine for a hike that’s a bit more off the beaten path. It was a better trade for my body, of course. On the trip to Bodhi Peak I went through 24 hours with near-zero morning and afternoon sweat rates.
Thanks to coffee at the Cafe Nova in Gardiner, Maine, and a little bit of now-familiar, often-daily sleep, I don’t burn the same amount of calories that a more regular level workout would have taken; miles per hour adds up fast, after all.
I’m on top of the world, both literally and figuratively.
In one week alone, it will be all downhill from here—and the only sound will be a subtle, soft wind.
Hint: That’s not actually happening. But one person who’s happily on the road again: A loyal servant of this particular retreat.
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