What a Day

What is this? A camping yard sale?
We drove into the 100 Mile Wilderness, 20 miles on the Katahdin Iron Works Road and then 12 miles on unmarked “roads” finding our way by Laura reading mileage and Gary watching the odometer. We are trying to find the White Brook trail head at the base of Whitecap Mountain, that leads to the Appalachian Trail. Until… we heard a loud “pop” and ominous “hiss-ssss”.
Noooo! Or I should say yes, it is flat. Pan cake flat. Just one lousy rock has punched a hole in the tire side wall. No patching that, but we have a spare tire and two strapping old guys to change it out, right. This is where it gets bad.
We took all the backpacks and travel stuff out of the car to get to the spare tire. Gary noticed immediately that the special tool, an anti-theft device, needed to get the tire and rim off, IS MISSING. MISSING. As in totally not there. All four of us spent the next hour searching every nook, cranny, crevice and compartment for the damn, magic tire tool. Not to be found. Then Gary and Tim tried all kinds of crap to “McGiver” the tire off. Nothing doing. We are well and truly screwed.
It's not all bad, however. We have a tent, sleeping bags, plenty of peanuts and M&M's, even lawn chairs. Hey wait….WE HAVE A CELL PHONE SIGNAL! I do NOT believe it! I have hiked over 85 miles in the 100 Mile Wilderness and never gotten the tiniest signal. Anywhere. We are saved! Sort of….
It just happens to be Labor Day, in Maine, where the closest town within 150 mile radius has a population of about 17. We exhausted the batteries of all four cell phones, calling out, leaving messages on machines. Luckily, the car battery recharges the iPhone's. I finely got the grand idea of calling the Katahdin Iron Works Logging Company, where I got a human to give me the phone number of the check point (aka guard shack pirate) fee collector. We are saved! Not yet….
Every single tow truck driver in Maine is off grilling hot dogs or fishing. It is now about 3 hours after The Flat and we manage to get a call back. After Gary gives a lengthy explanation of where the car is located, the guy says, “You're in the 100 Mile Wilderness? You can't be. There aren't any roads in there.” (Now they tell me, huh.) Sorry, can't get to you.” The next tow service listens and then just hangs up. Just hangs up!
About 2pm we connect with Hank. It takes him 2 hours to drive to the check point, then Gary talks him through directions on the logging roads, since GPS won't work here. Laura and Tim walk down a mile and a half to a fork in the road to get him up the last part. Hank drives that big rig over the tiny, scary wood bridge, bumps over the rocks, slogs through the beaver damn wash out, scrapes trees on both sides, BACKING UP, the entire last mile and a half.
We are saved! Another two hours of driving, Hank drops the car off at a garage, closed of course, in Greenville, Maine. So, we are now on foot, at 6 pm, on Labor Day. Every accommodation in walking distance is booked– well, all two of them. What to do?
Laura and Tim strike off on some sort of reconesence mission. Gary finds the only open bar and a cold beer. I'm with Gary. The native Greenville, Maine bar tender, with authentic Maine accent, can't think of any way at all to solve our delima of a place to sleep tonight. I got the brilliant idea of calling the lovely people at Keneoview Motor Lodge, about 15 miles out of town, where we stayed 2 years ago, and asking, could they please come and pick us up.
Saved again! Tim opted for a cold beer while we waited for our ride. Laura is just so discouraged, 14 miles left to finish hiking her 11 year journey of hiking the Appalachian Trail. I don't have the heart to tell her, this part of the “adventure” isn't over yet.



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  1. You are incredible! I am so glad you all are safe and sound. Thank goodness for people who agreed to come out there for the rescue. Oh you have stories to tell your grand children when they grow up!

  2. OH MY!!!! That is over the top amazing…and now that you are out safely to tell about it, quite funny. I had to let Mark read it and he laughed. I’m guessing it was when he pictured the guy backing up 1 1/2 miles on the ‘road’. No wonder poor Laura didn’t finish her miles. Did she get them done this past weekend? I’m so glad you all got out of there safely. I can’t wait for the enemy installment!

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