Down the road a piece

Milt Gross, Special to The County
9 years ago

    Spring has sprung. At least we think it has, as it’s been so cold and nasty we have wondered if it would.
But we think it’s here.
Which brings us to what we like to do — spring, summer, and fall.

I didn’t move to Maine to work, although that’s been my primary occupation since landing in Wiscasset in 1965. I’ve been a minister, a school teacher, a print news reporter, and in my retirement job was a bus driver.
All of those tasks were interesting, but that’s not why I moved to Maine.
I came to Maine to have fun, to enjoy places such as Baxter State Park. I’ve been there over a half-dozen times, climbed Katahdin (note: not Mt. Katahdin, as “Katahdin” means the greatest mountain) six times, the first time with a family I met just below timberline. I accompanied them to the summit and down again below tree line. It was a shocking revelation, that there is that much rock, open space, and cold air blowing around up there.
I loved it and went up it again five more times. I’ll never forget those rungs that took me up some of the boulders on the Hunt (Appalachian) Trail. I’ll never forget how tired I was returning to the lean-to each of those times. Once a friend, Don, was with me. As tired as I was, I thought I’d have to carry him down. But he made it under his own steam, face blackened from exhaustion.
During one of those lean-to experiences at Katahdin Stream Campground, a crippled buck deer tried to take our breakfast. I showed him, I pushed his nose away. He showed me, he put his in-velvet antlers against four places on my tender part called stomach and pushed me up against the lean-to wall.
A bunch of times I climbed, along with my first wife and our bread snappers, the mountains in Camden State Park, including the time I slipped in the leaves but didn’t break my neck — or a leg.
I’ve climbed all the highest mountains in Maine, excluding Mt. Abraham. I’ve also been up many smaller ones, which are also dramatic.
But spring also includes getting ready to garden. I never plant until around Memorial Day, but I get ready before that. I make sure the garden is covered with straw mulch to avoid having to dig to plant. I’ve got some plants and all the seeds ready. And then comes the planting time, it all goes in the ground.
And some of it grows. But that’s after spring becomes late summer.
Spring is also a great time for walks on non-mountainous, easy trails through the woods. Sometimes they’re muddy, but they’re usually walkable. It’s also the time for walking on paved surfaces, such as roads and walkways. If we catch the Acadia National Park roads before tourists are permitted to drive on them, the scenery they offer is great.
I do remember driving a busload of tourists along that road and commenting that it was really hard to see the house in Steuben that we used to own.
“That’s because the windows are closed,” observed one alert tourist.
The other day we were in an old house, which smelled of skunk. A sure sign of spring. We didn’t stay long.
Spring’s also when the cat is outside a lot. But eventually she wants back in from this spring’s cold spring. She climbs onto a window sill outside the kitchen and makes sure we see her scrambling around on the screen — where there’s no mud.
Since our fetish this year is the Belfast area, one of our walks no doubt will be along a trail that leaves near the Belfast public works area. As we drive past now, I see what l think is the trail.
It’ll be a good walk, if what we see is actually the trail.
And if spring this year actually becomes spring.
    Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at