North - Day 7

Chores and errands took me until 10:30 a.m. After glimpsing ducks in a dammed pond upon leaving town, I climbed the ski trail at Mars Hill. The route took an undulating, puddle-filled dirt road to an isolated communications tower on the northern summit. A new trail descended the hill to Knoxford Road. Next, the barricade at the New Brunswick border. A rough 4-wheel-drive route went along the border strip. Emerging from the woods, the strip had views of patchwork-quilt fields on the U.S. side. After about 7 miles, it became unmaintained and descended into swampy areas filled with water run-off. I tied my shoes around my neck and waded through hip-deep water where wooden ramps floated randomly. At other points I followed meandering bypass roads or soft-shoed through marshes.

Returning to higher elevations as darkness fell, I watched a boy ride an ATV out onto a field on the Canada side to dig up some potatoes for dinner. After passing an abandoned border checkpoint, I bedded down on the edge of a Christmas tree farm, falling uncertainly asleep to the barks of a dog in the valley who simply KNEW I was there.