July 8 – Rhino Reverence

It was love at first sight. When Cartwheel first set eyes on the rhinoceros-shaped walking stick painted pink, she knew it was the one for her. There was a whole collection of differently shaped sticks back at the WoodsHole hostel, free for the taking save for a thank you note to the stick collector. Cartwheel was delighted and declared that Pinkanoceros would accompany her to Katahdin and eventually be passed down to her kids so that they could pass it along to their own in turn.

Alas, love may be patient and kind, but young love is also fickle. So after a few too many accidental gorings from Pinkanoceros’ horn, Cartwheel decided she wanted poles. With handles. To be clear, she still plans to pass on to her potential progeny this newly minted heirloom, but after 891.5 shared miles, Pinkanoceros rode home grandpa Pete. So we picked up poles on our way back from Ohio. The kids also each moved on to their third pair of shoes (the adults already had).

The day started by passing through a lowland swamp, and the bugs were bad. Now, we’re from Maine (and spend plenty of time outside there), so we know bad bugs. And these were bad even by Maine standards. The kind of bugs where you can’t see because they keep flying into your squinted eyes. The kind of bugs that catch in your nose and throat because they’re too thick to avoid accidental aspiration. So when we came out of the swamp and hit the first road with business, we took a quick detour to the antique shop and frame store on route 7 near Great Barrington and the proprietor kindly gifted us some DEET. That and an uphill climb helped alleviate the intensity of the insect invasion.

Later, we met a hiker passing out homemade whoopie pies filled with cream cheese icing. We all felt a little creaky after the days folded up in the car, but it was great to be on the trail again. We delighted in the wild blueberries and black and red raspberries along the trail. And we welcomed a dip in a mountain pond. We stopped on the early side, joining the father-son Waterville natives Mosey and Jungle Jim at a shelter where we set up the tent and hammocks. The kids and parents alike enjoy having their own private spaces to kibitz.

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4 Comments on “July 8 – Rhino Reverence

  1. I’m sure there are many people like me who are following your adventures, charmed by your family and grateful for these posts. I “found you” through the Portland Press Herald article – all the very best to you all (including Orion)
    Kathryn

  2. I love the hammock tarp. What kind is that?

  3. Mike and I have been following your journey. We are AT Hiker wannabes. Mike has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy which has progressed to the point of quadriplegia– thus we have limited hiking opportunities. (Although we do enjoy some local trails in various Maryland State Parks.) Just this past week, Mike was hospitalized and one of the few things we were able to enjoy were your posts! Thank you so much for sharing your adventures!
    Donna

  4. I have been admiring your
    family since I came across your
    adventure in Wired’s blog.
    My wife and I have been together for 40 years and were never blessed with children. If we had… I could never think of a better way to bond and leave
    a generational chronicle of your
    families travels.

    Good travels and good health
    to all of you !!!!

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