I woke up in the woods around Lincoln Maine to the sound of chickadees calling. As the sun began its ascent, I knew it was going to be a beautiful day.
I took my time getting up and did the usual routine: prayer for the day, a chapter in my bible, brushing my teeth, a small breakfast (handful of nuts), putting my sleeping bag into my compression sac, folding up my hammock and putting it in its bag, and finally, putting everything into my 65L Osprey Atmos AG Backpack.
As I headed up the hill to get on 155 south, I quickly realized that I forgot to stretch. When I got to the top of the hill, I was already sore. So I sat my stuff down and started doing some yoga. The thing was though, it was in an overgrown gravel parking lot, and cars passing by would slow to watch the funny guy doing different poses.
After I finished my morning stretch, I felt much more relaxed and loose. I continued on my way down the 155 and noticed some people on their stoop.
I waved and said “Beautiful day today.”
The big man waved back and said “Gorgeous out. Where you hiking too?”
“Oh just out for a stroll. Doing all 50 states,” I said and laughed.
A look of disbelief crossed the man’s face “For real? Where did you start?”
“I just got done Florida. My whole trip is north during summer and south during winter. So flew up here and I’ll be working my way down through New England probably the rest of the year,” I said slowing my pace to a stop.
“That’s awesome! Hey, do you wanna drink?”
“Sure, thank you.”
I learned the man’s name was Dan and he drives trucks around the area and heavy machinery.
“I can drive about anything. Course up here you have to be able too if you want a job. There ain’t nothing up here. I mean you can get one, but most of them are 9 to 10 bucks an hour. I hoping to get out of here soon.”
“Where would you want to go?” I asked.
“I liked Florida. I was down there when I was younger and chasing girls,” Dan said with a laugh.
Dan’s sister Candace whom he was visiting brought me out a Pepsi and handed it to me over her adorable daughter whose name was Kelly.
Me and Dan talked for a while longer and he shared some stories about his life and I shared some of mine, then it was time for me to get back on the road.
“Hey you should check out the fish hatchery. It’s just up the road a few miles,” Dan said.
“Nice, will do. I love checking out places locals suggest.”
“It was good meeting you Seth. I’ll check up on you from time to time.”
“Good meeting you too, Dan.”
I then continued on 155 south and was happy when it seemed to go downhill…but then I saw the uphill.
After the climb to the top, I stopped and sat down to take a break and shed the remainder of my outer clothing. It was the first time where I was just down to regular clothes, since coming to Maine.
I turned on some tunes and recommenced the trek on the 155, but then I rounded the next bend and saw an even bigger hill.
After a few hills like these, it was approaching lunch. I was approaching another hill of punishment, but saw a sign. It read “Morgan Beach.”
I decided to investigate and have my lunch on the beach…and avoid another hill for a little while longer.
At first I thought it was a residential home who had named their drive, but when I got closer to the beach I saw some restrooms and a playground that indicated it was for the public.
I got down to the beach and took in the view of the clear water and the blue sky.
“Not a bad place to have lunch,” I thought.
As I ate, I listened to that stillness I’ve come to love about Maine. When I finished eating I walked up and touched the water.
“Lives up to its name,” I thought and left Cold Stream Pond.
I returned to the road of a 1000 hills and eventually, made it to the next town: Enfield Maine.
I saw the fish hatchery Dan told me about and naturally, had to check it out. There I saw some long buildings and inside tanks and running water to keep the fishies happy.
I met two of the workers there (Jared and Ethan) and they told me about the process.
“It’s a three stage process. First we have the egg and the hatchlings in tank one. Then when they are a year old we put them in tank two. Finally, we put them into tank three where they grow and mature. Then we release a set amount into the designated areas. Also we harvest the eggs from the mature ones and begin the process over again.”
After I talked with Jared and Ethan a bit, I headed back up the road and needed to take a break after all of the hills. So I took a nap on a church lawn. About an hour later, I got up and continued my trek toward Bangor (my next big stop). I knew it was going to be a few days because it was about 50 miles away still, however, I didn’t mind. I was ahead of schedule thanks to Gibb dropping me off in Lincoln.
As I walked, I noticed these two people loading up their car getting ready to head out. The younger one with long hair and tattoos called to me “Hey man, where you hiking?”
Thus began my usual spiel.
“Nice man, I backpacked America too. In fact I think I’ve been to nearly all of the continental states. Oh, my name is Fletcher by the way.”
“Good to meet you man. Yeah, I’m headed to Bangor now. Next big stop on the list of places I want to see in Maine.”
“You need a ride? Cause that’s exactly where we’re headed,” Fletcher said.
“Yeah, thank you.”
“Hey do you want to see an Icelandic Sheep?” the woman asked.
“Yes, I do.”
Jennifer showed me her sheep which were all very adorable. I also found out that she was Fletcher’s mom. We all hopped into the car and began the drive to Bangor. We stopped to get gas and Fletcher and Jennifer bought me some Powerade.
“So where are you originally from?” Jennifer asked.
“Maryland. Are you guys from here?”
“No, we’re from Sacramento,” Fletcher said as they both laughed.
“So Fletcher when did you go on your trip across America?” I asked.
“Well, growing up I got into fights a lot and was constantly in trouble. I was a bad kid. So when I was 18 and my parole was up, me and a buddy just took off and headed to north Cali. I had $20 bucks to my name. But man those experiences…I wouldn’t trade them for the world. It’s like the people you meet along the way are just incredible. I mean when your down and out and someone gives you that little bit of kindness…just that little bit, it makes a big difference in your life.”
“Man, I completely get that.” I said and went on to tell them some stories from my journey so far.
“So where has been your favorite places in the US?” I asked them both.
“I really liked Oregon and northern Cali,” Fletcher said.
“The Cascades and yeah, north Cali. There is this one lake there, where nearly every time I pass it, I cry because it’s so beautiful.” Jennifer said.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out west. Part of my trip is finding out where in the US I want to live and currently, I’ve got my eye on Wyoming.”
“Wyoming is really nice,” Fletcher said.
Jennifer and Fletcher dropped me off at the Bangor mall, where I was excited because it meant I could finally go see Captain America: Civil War at the theater.
I thanked Jennifer and Fletcher and waved as they drove off. I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face if I’d tried at that point.
Happiness is meeting new people and making new friends
Forever your friend,