They let me into New Brunswick.
Oddly enough, there was no shortage of Canadians offering to take me out again. Truly, they have generous hearts.
I’m sure we all remember that time I mentioned it got to 21F… Well… I suppose the coldest it’s gotten since then is probably around -26C, which translates to -14/-15 ‘murrican. I don’t actually know. I wasn’t measuring at that point; I only came out of my sleeping bag cave, and faced the horrified faces of townsfolk later that day, when they told me it had gotten that cold. Oh. I guess that’s why my nose hairs froze when I put my head outside of my bag.
Truly, it has been colder than that – but I was inside on those mornings, learning to speak Canadian, eh, and screeching away on cello like a deranged fahrvergnügen, because Doug makes violins and cello. For countless years of my short and deranged life, I have really wanted to know how to play one, and now I have gotten to, and it was one that Doug built. His work is beautiful.
I was lucky enough to be able to stay with Dale and Stella for several days, and then I walked on, until I washed up on Doug and Helen’s doorstep. What started out as a wonderful day soon turned into a warm, music-filled week. I came into town on a dark and cold Sunday evening, and a couple lovely humans from the local Pentecostal church put me up for the night. I had the worst blisters I’ve gotten on trail, on both heels, from short-skiing, so I walked the last six miles into town carrying the skis. Jiminy crickets. I would like it to be known that the first blister I got on this trail was on my hand. In Vermont, around 1600 miles in… because I was slicing frozen bananas for a few hours at a deli, and I guess I just don’t know how to hold a knife…
Here’s a picture of my current setup. The skis are on loan from Don Hudson, the ski poles from Dale McLaughlin, and the glasses are the bane of my existence on wet mornings. They keep frosting uppppp…. One awful day, I finally tried an old scuba diving trick, and spat on them. It worked.
Also, if you’re into long distance hikes, Chef Charles MacFarlane put me in touch with Dana Miese while I was eating a delicious dinner at his cafe (878 Waterfront Bistro) in Perth-Andover. Dana apparently passed through the area some years ago; he’s completed the trans-Canada trail, reaching three oceans, which is ridiculous and amazing and definitely worth a lookup. I got briefly in contact with him about a week ago, and he was recovering from frostbite after trekking through -40 degree weather a little earlier this year.
Some good light reading:
May or may not have sat in a library for a while, to finish this. He climbed Mt. Everest. Y’all. He is blind. Very much worth the read, especially if you’re looking for something to inspire ya to do the impossible. Or even to, I don’t know, do that thing you really want to do but haven’t yet because it’s hard. LIFE IS HARD. Eat more bacon.
I’m off for Christmas break; a couple of the aforementioned Canadians hauled me out to Bangor and left me at the curb. I love them very much. I will be taking my time coming back up: FOR SCIENCE!!! We will do some science beforehand, and earn more funds to feed ye olde face. I’ll let you know. Jiminy crickets we just went from -15 to 59 degrees, holy guacamole* be still my beating heart, it is warm and I get to eat BBQ, and my hands are warm. My hands. They are warm. Such wow. So amaze.
*Canadian guacamole: consists of smashed avocado and mayonnaise. More delicious than it has any right to be. Thanks, guys.
I’ve got a few more things I’d written in the cold, that I hadn’t bothered to post. I’ll try and get them up some time or another. Happy lollipoodling to all of y’all, and much peace & goodwill to your faces, this Decemberski. Mailing address has been updated; send me letters, and I might reply! One can always hope that I’ve become better at staying in touch.