Emma Jean

...Canoe builder Bill Miller had recommended I contact the trail angel Emma Jean in Kedgwick. When I reached her by phone, she agreed to pick me up that evening after I hiked further ahead on the rail trail. When Emma Jean drove me back to Kedgwick, the wide open views from the road astonished me. The landscape had been obscured by trees all afternoon.

Gratefully, I treated Emma Jean to a fish dinner at a local restaurant. We had a pleasant conversation, part mundane and part philosophical. What a nice lady!

When we finished eating, she announced in a matter-of-fact way, “There are a lot of unemployed guardian angels waiting for jobs. I’m going to assign one of them to you. Tell me the first name that comes into your head.”

Her announcement took me completely by surprise. I blurted out the word, “Pamola,” if only because I would prefer to have that demon on my side, rather than against me.

After I had described the terrain of Mount Katahdin, my experiences at the Chimney, and the Indian legend about the fierce spirit of Pamola Peak, Emma Jean again spoke matter-of-factly. “Pamola is your friend.” Emma Jean stated, “She saved your life.”

In truth, I was more preoccupied with my sore toe and knee than with angels. This talk of spirits and angels perplexed me. I had thought the “demons” I faced on that foggy passage of the Knife Edge were my own, and that such words represented convenient simplifications.

In my mind, the mountain had spared me, not saved me. And why was this spirit a “she” instead of a “he?” How happy would Pamola be to take this assignment? Not very happy at all, I thought...