Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's Been a While!

I'm exhausted.

I'm finally back to base camp after two weeks in Baxter State Park. I think I told you we've been doing stone steps, but we've actually been highlining rocks down the trail in order to build stone steps. The main goal of the project was the get the rocks moved so they could bring another pile over in the fall. We did some odd projects, like riprapping side areas of the trail to prevent erosion, but it was mainly moving rocks. If you look at it from above, it looks like a big Y. The main line is attached to two trees, and then there's a supporting vector with a griphoist on one end to move the line up and down for loading and unloading. Once the rock or rockbox is attached and the line is tightened, someone gets to guide it down using a rope. It's actually pretty fun work, though slow at points.

We stayed in the park during our days off last week. On Wednesday, we drove into Millinocket, the closest town, and went to the Appalacian Trail Cafe, which is home to the Summit Sundae Challenge. It's fourteen scoops of ice cream, a banana, a king-sized Snickers bar, a handful of M&Ms, five cherries, and an entire pastry (ours was a blueberry muffin). It's meant to be eaten by one person, but we split into teams of two for a challenge. We made quite the spectacle, and the locals were even getting into it, cheering us on. Turned out to be rather anticlimactic though, as all three teams finished at the same time. My stomach was fine, but my mouth was cold! We warmed up by lying in the sun on the sidewalk for a few minutes!

We spent the rest of the afternoon driving around town looking for t-shirt supplies to make team tie-dyed shirts. We actually drove forty-five minutes to the nearest Walmart to get the actual shirts, and the only color dye we could find was green. But it was my first time tie-dying, and the shirts turned out pretty well. We used cardboard to make a stencil with our team name on it, and we spray-painted it onto the shirts. Low-budget, but effective. :)

Thursday, we woke up at the unearthly hour of five am - even earlier than we get up for work - to climb Katahdin. But we hit the peak at about nine-thirty and were down again in the early afternoon. We went up the Hunt Trail (which we worked on!) to Baxter Peak, across Knife's Edge, and down Helon Taylor. I'm not the most experienced hiker, so it was a challenge, but it was definitely worth it. I tried to take lots of pictures, because the views even halfway up were incredible, so we'll see how they turned out.

We chilled on Friday, finished our t-shirts and went to the Ledges - the swimming place with the natural water slides. We were back at work on Saturday and left on Wednesday morning. The weekend in the park was nice, but staying in a tent for two weeks straight is not the most comfortable thing in the world. It starts to smell after a few days (mostly from socks), especially when you don't do laundry or take a shower! Also, it's tough to dry clothes out when they get wet.

So now I'm back! We got in yesterday morning, had lunch, went for showers and laundry, and then immediately piled into the vans again. We camped last night and went white water rafting today! It was my first time (I know - for shame! I live so close to the Yough!), but it was pretty fun. Most were class 2 and 3 rapids, but there was one 4 I believe. The first half of the trip was more exciting; the second half was a lot of drifting and minor rapids. We occupied ourselves for at least an hour with a riddle about two men in a restaurant and an albatross, lol.

Whew. Well, that's all for now. It's already past my bedtime, so I'm off to sleep! Catch you on the flip side. :P

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