Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bucket Listin'

I know I have limited time left on the East Coast, so I'm trying to take advantage of everything I can while I'm here. Exactly 2 months from today, my ferry departs from Bellingham for Juneau! The time crunch is on. In addition to enjoying all of the things I'm used to having, I'm trying to knock a few things off my East Coast bucket list. Last weekend, I visited my oldest friend in the world in New York City. His wife and I went out for a fancy dancing night at The Standard Hotel, I spent time in Brooklyn, and we brunched like New Yorkers do... with lots of bloody marys and bacon.

I've been to New York City countless times, and it never gets old. I've been enjoying watching the Freedom Tower get higher and higher every time I visit. I'm sure when I see it next, it'll be completed.

View of the Freedom Tower (pink for some reason) and Lower Manhattan from The Standard Hotel
My cousin and I visited a square in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) that was dedicated to my great uncle, Edward Giorgio. We also visited the neighboring Catholic War Veterans post where cousin Mary Ann made all sorts of connections with the aging vets who were cooling off in the AC and watching the ponies on TV.

See the resemblance?

My oldest friend (left- Josh) meets one of my newest friends (right- Erik, an Alaska 2012 companion)
over a game of Dominion

This weekend it was Baxter State Park in northern Maine... like 7-hours-north-of-Boston-northern Maine. No wonder I hadn't been there. It's a loonnnnng haul. I've been hearing about Baxter for a very long time, and I figured this was my chance to get there. With a 7 hour drive in each direction, you really need a good chunk of time. I only wish I had more time... and more in-advance planning. They are very strict there- you can only camp in designated areas, and it's all by reservation. I only started getting serious about going there a few days in advance so my camping options were very limited. I also wanted to climb Katahdin, but given the lack of campground availability, it wasn't in the cards this time.

Baxter State Park is home to Mount Katahdin- the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and the highest point in Maine. I couldn't help but feel like I was in Alaska. Maine has many similar qualities. It was truly the most primitive place I've ever been on the East Coast. There were many moose about- although I didn't actually see one. I did, however, have a very close encounter with a black bear. It was by far the closest call I've had with a bear. I was nearing the end of my 2-day, 26 miler, when I heard a rustling off the trail a bit. I thought it was a kid at first because I was nearing a campground where there were lots of families, but no. It was a black bear. I started making lots of noise- as you do when you come across a black bear. They always run right off once they hear you. Not this one. He charged right at me... a few times. The nearest he got was only about 10 feet away from me. I got the distinct impression that he didn't mean any harm- he was probably just a yearling missing his mother. But still. I was 10 feet from a friggin' bear. I'm sorry to report that there are no pictures. My camera was in my pack, and when you're staring down a bear, there's just no time to pull out the Nikon.

More bucket listin' to come.

Mount Katahdin

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