THE HIKE GOES ON

9/3/2015 6:41:26 PM

As you may recall, Kathie and I had been able to attend The First Congregational Church in North Anson, ME on Sunday where Rev. David Walz delivered a message, "The Curse of the Impossible." I had spent the previous days traversing terrain that seemed to have been impossible and, as a result, I was questioning my ability, as well as my stamina, regarding what was ahead of me…namely, Saddleback Mtn., The Horn, Saddleback Jr. Mtn., Lone Mtn., Spaulding Mtn., Sugarloaf Mtn., South Crocker Mtn., and North Crocker Mtn. These eight mountains are between the Maine Rt. 4 trailhead and Maine Rt. 27, a distance of 28 hiking miles.

Please forgive me while I digress for a moment. The #1 goal and/or purpose for considering this adventure which would (actually did) include talking and walking with the Holy Spirit, and having a real life experience with HIM on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment fellowship. Like the father of the demonized boy (Mark 9: 14-32), I too, am a believer and desire help with my unbelief. HOW can a believer have UNBELIEF? To walk with God is to place God ALWAYS before SELF and to ACT as one who is always under God's loving eye. It is to live a life of communion with God in ordinances and providences. It is to make God's word our rule and His glory our purpose/end in all our actions. To walk with God as though one is in heaven with Him already. The Holy Spirit said, "Enoch lived". That is to say, Enoch walked with God, for it is the life of a good man to walk with God. This was the purpose of Enoch's life, his constant care and work. While others lived to themselves and the world, he lived to God. It was the joy and support of his life. Communion with God was, to him, better than life itself. "To me to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). Consequently, I stand amazed at what "we" were able to accomplish: to hike and talk with "Disenchanted" about trials, tribulations and betrayals as tests of faith, to explain the miracle of Jesus to the ears and hearts of unbelieving strangers, to tell the "Painted Lady" about Enoch and why I chose "Enoch" as a trail name, and to freely, without fear, proclaim the love and mercy of
The Living God, who created the mountains and valleys that we walk ON and IN each and every day.

It was a Monday morning at 7:30 AM when Kathie had me with my 32 lb. backpack at the Maine Rt. 4 trailhead at Rangeley, ME which is at 1622' altitude. Saddleback peak (4120’) was 6.3 miles away with several promised, beautiful mountain lakes and panoramic views along the way. I was able to go joyfully upward to the peak in about 3 hours. Once there I removed my pack and hydrated with 1/2 liter of apricot flavored water and ate 2 power bars and a package of spiced crackers. While enjoying the view and resting, I was able to see three people arriving at the peak of The Horn, 1 3/4 miles to the north. So I yodeled, 2 or 3 times, to see if they could hear me. Surprise! They waved their trekking poles in response! I thought The Horn was just an hour away. Not so. There were at least 3 tricky ascents and descents that caused me to need 3 hours before reaching the top (4032'). This was the perfect place for a lunch of 1/2 liter of caffeinated, mango enhanced water, a tortilla with Vermont extra sharp cheddar on a layer of salami, all topped off with spicy cheese crackers. Quite tasty!

Redingote Campsite was 0.7 mile below The Horn…860 feet straight down! It was 3:15 PM when I walked past the Redingote Campsites on my way to Poplar Ridge lean-to (2968')…another 2 1/2 miles before I could call it a day. There was, however, one more mountain between Redingote and my dinner and bed, and it was Saddleback Jr. (3655'). Junior's peak was nearly vertical for 500' up and then nearly vertical for 650' down, all within that 2.5 mile distance. I was nearly out of water when I arrived at the lean-to, so I quickly processed 3 1/2 liters of water to hydrate my chicken stew, to which I added some Tyson ready cooked chicken to increase my protein intake. Garlic flavored crackers helped fill me up.

During the evening at Poplar Ridge lean-to, there was a conversation among hikers about what the Trail terrain is like between this location and Maine Rt. 27, my next meeting spot with Kathie. I couldn't plug my ears as they were going over their topography maps, which I considered the devil's provision. Just so you know, all of my AT hiking has been with a strong desire not to know those kinds of details. Why, you might ask? Because I wanted to witness the presence of God (like Enoch may have done) without fear but in the confidence of HE who I have chosen to follow. Crazy? "He will never leave me".

So Spaulding lean-to is to be my lunch time goal. (3139' altitude - 8 miles away). This should take me 4-6 hours. My topped-up water bottles, backpack and I were out of camp by 6:45 AM. The 8 miles, 1032 ft. ascent full of rocks and roots and a great deal of rock climbing put me at the lean-to at 3:00 PM. When I arrived, there was only one other person in camp. "Tex", a southbound section hiker, who had started at Caratunk, ME trail head 2 weeks before. That is 49 miles north of this location.

As it stands, I am about 14 miles away from meeting Kathie. That should take 7 - 8 hours IF the terrain is relatively flat with minimal R & R, and I don't mean rest and relaxation. It will require the fording of Orbeton Stream which is at 1550' and is 3' deep. Since "Tex" had just experienced this same hike coming south last night, he was able to project my time of arrival at ME Rt. 27. He reveals it may be 2 days with overnight camping 6 miles away. I realize I don't have enough food to do that. Poor planning? ...or something! "Tex", who is also a believer, suggests an alternative. Just 5-6 miles downhill to the north of this lean-to is a well maintained gravel road, 0.2 of a mile east of the AT. There is no phone service from this location, so I cannot tell Kathie about a possible change in pick-up location. The dilemma: Should I hike to Caribou Valley Road and stay there? Will there be phone service there? OR, should I spend the night here and hike to the gravel road in the morning? At least I will be going in the right direction but I don't really want to hike 6-7 miles with no food tomorrow.

Pray to God. What might Enoch have done? Remember, HE has been with Don H., aka "Enoch" since departing GA. So trust and obey. I know He loves me and is full of grace and mercy. So on I go. It is now about 5:00 PM. With a 900' ascent to the peak of Mt. Spaulding, I find good phone service! I tell Kathie of the change of plans, and since she was originally going to pick me up between 5-6 PM, she was on her way in the right direction. Now she will need to find Caribou Valley Road! (Kathie’s note: This road was not marked making my task difficult). After descending nearly 2,000' over the next 4 miles, I arrive at the Carrabassett River, which also had to be forded. This went well. It is now only a 1/2 mile to the gravel road and I wonder if Kathie has located it. At the intersection of Caribou Valley Rd. and the AT stands a sign indicating it is 4 miles to ME Rt. 27, so I start walking in that direction. I discover wooden bridges that had been constructed years ago and were worse for the wear with time and weathering. A couple of them had broken timbers with holes that needed to be avoided. So much for well maintained. After walking about 2 miles, there they were! Kathie & the Road Trek. WOW! HE is so good, Kathie's first words were "God is so good!"

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Prove you're not a robot: What disease is Don raising money for?

Comment:

Nora: 9/4/2015 7:01:08 PM

He is good--all the time! And I just got a raffle ticket purchaser from Australia!!!

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