Sunday, September 13, 2009

Not all who wander are lost

Says my Life is Good t-shirt.

I had never been moved by Life is Good, a cute little company with a Jot the Dot sensibility. I do not golf, or own a dog, and while I enjoy the beach, it is not the element that calls me. I am more Earth and/or Air than Water.

Then one day there was a brown (brown!) t-shirt with a drawing of my own hiking boots and the slogan, "Not all who wander are lost." I found out later the line is attributed to Tolkein (not that there's anything wrong with that...). I bought it, caught up in the consumer-glow of vacation giddiness.

Today I sweated through one side and the mosquitoes bit through the other on a 3 hr ramble through Upton State Forest. (Why I Hike.)

The Governor's Council of Get off the Couch has designated certain state trails as Heart Healthy (read: strenuous) and Upton has a couple of them. Based on their incline, or length, or both, they are a good substitute for the gym on these crystal days of September, and much less expensive (donations accepted).

Upton is 2000 acres in southeastern MA near the Whitehall Reservoir, which is no longer a reservoir, so more of a lake. Dogs are allowed, which makes it more crowded than others, but most of the family traffic was arriving as I was leaving. I did not see any black bears, despite the giant warning sign at the trailhead. Bears? Holy..... bears.

Upton's got a cabin in it! You have to sing that. like Harold Hill. Have I wandered again...?

Here now, a long quote:

"Upton State Forest is home to three remaining Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp buildings with an intact parade ground and an identifiable footprint of the original camp. In 2003 a fourth building collapsed from snow load. In 2005 Preservation Mass listed the CCC Camp as one of the Ten Most Endangered Historic Resources in Massachusetts.
Each year a partnership with the Friends of Upton State Forest, DCR CCC Program Committee and the Upton third grade teachers brings students to the camp for a Day in the Life of the CCC. The Friends hold events, themed hikes and vernal pool workshops using the camp as a base. "

In the past life where I was not killed in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, I was a skinny loner boy in the CCC. I was too smart for my own good, and the fellas called me Perfesser. I suppose not much has changed.

I came off the trail bow-legged and bone weary. Put my overshirt on the car seat so I wouldn't get it sweaty. I was soaked through my jeans and dotted with mosquito welts. Now it's Miller Time.

Big Loaf at Finder's Pub, which is (hold onto something) a slice of meatloaf inside a grilled cheese. And a Miller Lite, which I realize is Beer Soda, but I want that "drinkability" they talk about around Big US Breweries. They mean carbonated. Like a beer soda. Goes down gooooood.

I sat right there in my Sweaty McSweaty-ness, mind clear and body worked, eating God's own sandwich and considering the day very well spent. Very well spent, indeed.


  1. FB is so much better than blogs. I wanted to press "like" but there is no "like" link. What's up with that? And by the way, the Pats have the ball at the two minute warning. Of course they do. Woo hoo.

  2. my "not all who wander.." shirt is orange and has birkenstocks on it, not being a hiker and all. my mom mailed it to me in paraguay when i was, once again, wandering. i've worn it so much it's starting to fall apart!


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