So after visiting Justine and camping out and hiking through Acadia, I jumped back into the car and headed onto the dusty road, driving down Route 2 the four hours to the Loj.
The drive from Old Town to Gorham was long, rainy, and annoying. Luckily for me I had a mostly-charged iPod, lots of good music, and the “mad driving skills” to survive the epic downpour that was tearing through Maine at the time. I picked up some food for the next few days at a random Hannafords along the way, and met T in the parking lot before walking up to the Loj in the rain. Thankfully no one was around when we got there (people had been up that weekend, but I was kinda hoping to not deal with people on this chill-trip), so T and I worked through opening up the building before settling down to some chilling, chatting, and drinking.
See… T’s a dangerous man. Not in the “HE’S A NINJA!” sort of way, but in the “this kid brought us Absinthe and Scotch” sort of way. Yeah… 110 proof absinthe to go with the very strong single-malt scotch that we had. The night went amazingly well, with lots of great conversation, some late-night snacking on quesadilla’s, and a few too many glasses of drink. By the time we crashed we had knocked down 1/4 of the Absinthe and about 1/2 of the scotch… a successful night, to be sure.
Ouch. Hangover… how long has it been since I actually had a hangover? Not long enough, thats for sure… but the advantage of not having lots of random people at the Loj is that you wake up when you want, and only when you want. I finally tore myself from the bed once my headache was at a reasonable level, and started making breakfast while T finished rousing himself from his bed. I made up some Bacon and Eggs to go with our jet-fuel coffee and aspirin cocktail, helping make the morning much more pleasant. After some more lounging around we decided that we really should do something with ourselves, so we put on our rain gear and walked out the back door and onto the trail through the woods.
I’m a member of the Loj Committee, so part of my “training” was to learn the land around the Loj like the back of my hand. I’ve hiked pretty much every trail around the building at least a dozen times, so saying that I know the area pretty well can be a bit of an understatement. Because of this, we didn’t really worry too much about where we were going, what trail we were on, or any of the usual “trip planning” stuff that I’d make sure to to. Instead, we hopped between trails, backtracking and picking out random paths to take deeper into the wilderness.
We walked like that for a few hours before it started to get dull, and we started to get hungry again. T and I turned around and took a pretty direct route back to the Loj, instead of the winding road that we had taken before, and got back within half an hour or so… just enough time to get us hungry for lunch. We cooked up a pair of Quesadilla’s each, heaped salsa onto them, and chowed down like there was no tomorrow (possibly having a glass of scotch as well, I admit to nothing)
After yet more relaxing and chatting we headed back out into the wilderness, this time wearing our lumberjack hats locked tight to our heads. See… going for walks is fun, but its not particularly MANLY. Chopping down trees, sectioning them into usable chunks, and then splitting them, is. So we walked deeper into the woods, found four “standing dead” trees (you know, the completely dead ones that’re somehow still standing, so their not wet/rotten?), brought them down, and then hauled them back to the Loj yard. There we two-man-sawed them apart, and then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon splitting them up for the outside firewood pile.
A job well done we cooked up a dinner of Big Ol’ Mess (recipe below) with some warm bread. It took about two hours to cook all the way, so while it was going we did a quick stretch up to the Ledges and then back down via a path called the ropes trail. Now, I don’t think its very steep, but it is rough enough that I’d helped a few other NUHOCers put up ropes on it to aid people in getting up/down safely. I enjoy the trail, since its a nice combination of hiking and climbing… T did not share my enthusiasm for the conditions, however, and so we had a rather long and hesitant hike down, with many threats of T turning back because the trail had become too steep.
We didn’t turn around though, and when we got back to the Loj dinner was nearly done. I threw the rolls into the oven to heat up, and we pulled chess out as well, to pass time while waiting for the food to cool down. The game went fairly quickly, with T laying an epic-beat down to me with the old “rook/bishop tagteam” attack. Since it was still early, we decided to start a game of Risk as well, to help occupy the rest of the night. Well, it also occupied our time from when we sat down to play at seven until I finally wrecked his last army a little after eleven. Both the food and the game were epic though, so we just spent the rest of the night sipping scotch and reminiscing about random adventures we’d had over the last half-dozen years.
We woke up much more refreshed and non-hungover on Tuesday, but the morning was rather bittersweet, knowing that we’d be heading back to our respective homes at the end of the day. The morning was spent eating breakfast (Bacon and Eggs again) and cleaning up the Loj in preparation for closing it up. We didn’t actually do the entire closing yet though; at least one small hike was required.
So we struck out into the woods again, deciding to retrace a bit of the hike from the day before, but instead of ending back at the Loj already, we decided to take a stop in at the swimming hole first. I had gotten pretty sweaty, and even though I was trying to keep my new dreads dry, I definitely needed to take at least a “most of me” swim in Connor Brook. I even convinced T to take a swinging leap into the swimming hole, using the rickety old rope-swing to its finest.
After our swim we finished closing up the Loj, packed up the food and trash, and put away all of the random lumberjacking tools that we’d used the day before. We finally made it onto the road mid-afternoon, deciding to stop into Boston on the way back so that we could grab dinner, and I could drop off a package with Chirag. The drive, the drop-off, and the dinner were all excellent, with good music for the drive and good company for the dinner. We all chatted and rocked out, and then all went our separate ways to our separate towns, looking forward to the next time we could all be living in the same city, and rocking out on a regular basis.
Big Ol’ Mess
1 lb Chicken
1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage
1 green pepper
1 large yellow onion
1 can (12oz) of chunk pineapple
8oz BBQ sauch
8oz Sweet and Sour Sauce
8 dashes Creole Seasoning
8 dashes seasoned salt
Combine the entire set of ingredients onto a big piece of aluminium foil, mix, and cover with another piece of foil. Crumple / fold the foil into a large bowl-shaped mass, poke a few holes in the top, and put it into the over at 325 F. Let it cook for 2-3 hours, or until the internal temp is ~250.
With about 10min left to go, throw some rolls / bread in to heat up; Big Ol’ Mess is best served with some warm crusty bread to soak up the sauce.
Pro-tip! make sure to put the foil bag on top of a tray (or more foil) to catch the juices as they run out. Because they will drip out. And it will make a mess.