With the best of Intentions…….
With the weather beginning to warm, I’ve really been making an effort to walk at least 3 miles six days a week. I’ve been skipping out on yoga class the last couple of weeks because the tendons in my ankles and feet have been acting up, and being barefoot aggravates the inflammation.
But, I’m determined to “walk” through this. I’ve gained eight pounds since I got to Maine, and even though I’m more active than ever, my metabolism appears to have hit a plateau, so I’m trying to rev it up again by getting out there and doing some more “vertical” walking. (being a woman over 50 is SO glamorous)
And so it was with this intention that I set off along the Kane Path which begins by following the shore line of the “Tarn” (Scottish for small mountain lake). I’ve been itching to do this hike since I got here because it looked like so much fun – stepping from rock to rock the 1/2 mile length of the pond and then circling Dorr Mountain (named after one of the Park founders). I’m travelling light for this hike (as I like to do on my first pass), with only my cell phone, some water, and walnuts (for energy food).
I’m off to a great start and even see an otter, who gave me a nasty scolding, after I apparently startled him. I’m stepping along these beautiful granite boulders carefully, as it is all too easy to misstep and end up with a sprained (or worse) ankle. As I walked along I was reminded of the importance of “walking with intention”, of paying attention to each step, purposeful of what you are doing, “awake” to that moment.
The hike is going well enough, and I’m thrilled with my “otter encounter”, and then I come to a “crossroads” on the trail. Now I remember from my guidebook, that the hike I “intended” to take continues along the Kane Path. However, there is this lovely sign that says “Dorr Mountain Summit – 1 mile” leading up and away to my right. I know this will be a climb, but it addresses my “intention” to rev up my metabolism and help shed those pesky pounds.
The trail itself is a marvel. The entire length of the trail has been constructed out of granite steps, ledges, and ramps – I can only begin to imagine the work involved in building this. My research upon returning home informs me that the trail was originally built in 1893, then restored in 1930. 1200 steps and ramps make up the climb to the summit!!
So, I’m climbing, and climbing. Dorr mountain is the third or fourth tallest mountain on the island at 1270 feet. The hikes begin virtually at sea level. It isn’t difficult climbing, for the most part, the steps are very manageable, and they are ice-free and only a few of them are damp and leaf covered. I’m taking my time, but still getting a good work out. I can see the summit, even though the fog is starting to roll in.
About this time I’m thinking to myself, “I’m going to do this!”. I come to an opening between two HUGE boulders where I literally have to turn sideways to get between them, I get through this virtual tunnel, turn and there is a steel ladder bolted into the rock face going straight up. I’m not ashamed to tell you, I cried a little. I don’t mind ladders per say, but this one was on a rock face from where I could look 1000 feet down to the valley floor. The rock face is wet, I’m by myself. I check my cell phone – no service, so if I fall or get stuck, I’m screwed. I decide that sometimes wisdom really IS the better part of valor, and after agonizing over go or no go for five minutes, I turn around and descend the way I came. I even had one foot on the first rung, and one hand on the rail to the left, but just couldn’t do it. And I’m sorry, but I was too traumatized to even take a picture of the stupid ladder.
All was not lost, as my little otter friend greeting me on the way back along the Tarn, literally swimming parallel to my walk (but too far out to get a good picture with only my cell phone camera available) for almost the entire half mile. AND, I got a good cardio workout. When I researched the trail, I learned that there are THREE ladders that “provide safe passage over several FORMIDABLE boulders”. So even if I HAD braved the first one, I would have been faced with two more! So, I felt I made the right decision, and besides, there are two other ways to get to the top of Dorr mountain that do NOT involve ladders.
The lesson I take away from today’s hike is: Do your research before heading uphill.
I INTEND to take THAT lesson to heart!