Dan and Hannah Hike Deception Pass in Washington

How can we resist a visit to a place called Deception Pass?  We can’t.  We dedicate this hike to our niece Tara who told us, You will love Deception Pass!

DP 4B  the strait of DP the DP itself

Deception Pass

On this dazzling early June day, Hannah and I have come 70 miles north of Seattle to hike the seaside trails at Deception Pass State Park; it is located on Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands on Skagit Bay.  Hannah and I have some ancient history on these islands.

DP  Whidbey Island

You see 38 years ago this month, Hannah and I drove with her brother Doug and his then girlfriend Debbie 1500 miles from Tempe, AZ to Whidbey Island.   They had plans to spend the summer biking down the Pacific coast from Washington to California, then across the Mohave Desert back to Tempe in the Phoenix area.  I’m not sure how well that last leg of the trip was thought out.

DP  biking PCH

Biking the Pacific Coast Highway

Taking four to five days to arrive in the Northwest in Doug’s Econoline Van, we four camped at Whidbey Island before they set off biking and we drove the van home to Tempe.

DP  NAS Whidbey

Naval Air Station at Whidbey Island

Unbeknownst to us that night, there is Naval Air Station on the island, which periodically runs night missions with their jets.  And this was such a night.  It was like a freight train barreling through our tents.  By 330A Doug had had enough, got up, and drove to the naval station to give them a piece of his mind.

It did not go well.  The Navy said in so many words, Really?  We are the US Navy.  We are protecting, among your rights, your right to camp.  By dawn they stopped and we got a good three hours of sleep.  Now 38 years later we return to Whidbey Island.

DP logging truck 1

(By the way, Doug and Debbie got so sick of the logging trucks buzzing them as they pedaled down Route 101 on their panier-laden road bikes, that after nearly 700 miles of biking they packed up the bikes in Eureka, California and took a Greyhound bus back to Tempe.)

DP  Han by beach at

The trail begins at the beach

Today, using Everett, WA as our home base, we drive north on I-5, then turn west at Mount Vernon on route 20 to Deception Pass State Park.  Click here to get detailed description of hiking on Fidalgo Island at Deception Pass State Park.

DP 1 D at main beach at DP

After five days of hiking in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, we are ready for some mellow seaside hiking and climbing.  Chatting up the campground host, we learn that we’ll hike trails on Fidalgo Island and then drive over the twin bridges to Whidbey Island itself to hike some more.

DP 1B  H overlooking Rosario Bay to Ocean

The evergreenness of Washington is again evident as we take to the beach trail before climbing into the hills above Bowman Bay.  In minutes we could be on a mountain in Washington’s Cascades, but we are always just a few minutes from Skagit Bay.

The trail climbs to a lookout facing towards the Pacific.  Warned that further hiking on this loop will take us on a “goat trail,” we poo poo the notion that we are not up for such a challenge.   Soon we are laboring, plodding along the steep mountainside, scrambling through the thick underbrush, and very soon doubling back with egg on our faces.

DP 4 H on twin bridge

On the twin bridge

After lunch, we drive across the twin bridges over a strait from Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island.  Straddling the twin bridges, Deception Pass State Park with its campgrounds, beaches, and tide pools is the most visited state park in all of Washington.

At the trailhead with very limited parking, we prepare for the popular Goose Rocks hike.  There we see the sign describing how Deception Pass got its name.

DP 3 DP explanation

To the north of this narrow passage is Fidalgo Island, so named for the Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo.  To the south is Whidbey Island, second largest island in the contiguous 48 states, which Captain George Vancouver, while exploring this region in 1792, at first thought to be a peninsula.  Further exploration conducted by him disclosed the existence of this intricate channel.  Upon the realization that he had been deceived as to the character of the large island, Vancouver gave to this channel the name of Deception Passage.  In naming the Island he honored his trusted officer, Joseph Whidbey.

DP 3B  from top of Whidbey Island part of DP

From Goose Rocks

Climbing the half mile to Goose Rock summit, we are in minutes into the forest on a trail of hard packed dirt.  The contrast with our river/waterfall hiking of the past days complements our Northwest hiking experience.

Fortunately, on this first Friday of June, when we are heading back againist traffic to Everett, WA, everyone else in the Free World is heading out for a weekend getaway.

PS  The same day this blog was originally posted, a loyal reader received this picture taken from the twin bridges of Deception Pass.  Enjoy.DP  barge through DP

Dan and Hannah Hike Boulder River in Washington

BR map of Everett

To avoid the snarling commuter traffic of Seattle to our south, we have set up shop in Everett as the base of operations for our hiking days this first week of June.   Not until this fifth day of our hiking vacation in Washington do we finally get a dose of Northwest reality (i.e.,gray on gray with rain here, there, and everywhere).  Until today it’s been Leslie Gore weather (i.e., sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows).  Click here to hear the Jersey Girl sing that classic 60s pop ditty.

Under low clouds we drive even further north on I-5 for 20 miles and then 23 miles to the east on route 530 through Arlingt0n and Oso.  Turning off the highway on to French Creek Road, we are promised 3.6 miles on a “good” dirt road to the Boulder River trailhead.

BR 1B  D in poncho at start

Very quickly, we beg to differ about said “good” road.  Indeed, we feel we have been hoodwinked!  Click here for the Washington Trails Association description of the Boulder River Trail. The only way that this is a “good” road is if you are driving an ATV, 4-Wheel drive, or some Monster truck!  Weaving in and out, past and through cavernous potholes filled with water from the overnight rain, we have one other slight problem – it’s a one lane forest road with absolutely no shoulder.

BR 1C  H in rain coat at start

We have no idea how far we might have to back up if we meet another vehicle.  But please!  Who but us would be hiking on such a day!  French Creek Road reminds me of Forest Road 42, another detestable backroad to Springer Mountain in Georgia (the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail) with its harrowing turns on mountainside cliffs.

BR 1 trailhead road puddles

Trailhead parking


Three point six miles in 30 minutes!  French Creek Road after a storm is our new least favorite road in America.  Hannah, who later drives out, says because of this road, she would never recommend this Boulder River hike, even with its 200+ waterfalls.  Me?  I am still on board with this being a cool hike.  Drive two mph when appropriate and you’ll be just fine.

Expecting empty trailhead parking, we are surprised to see a bus and another car on this soggy Thursday.   It’s a hiking morning that might cause one to wonder, What the hell are you two doing hiking in this weather?  What are you smoking?  Do you two ever take a day off?   The short answer is, Not in recent memory.  You see, we only have ten hiking days 3000 miles from home in Maine and today have spent ninety minutes getting here; ergo, ipso facto, I pull on my evergreen Washington poncho while Hannah slips on her rust orange designer rain jacket.

BR 1A  trail begins

At the start, the trail is 8’ wide and level, allowing us to walk side by side.  Soon to our right, some 200 yards away, is the Boulder River Falls.  Though we can hear the falls, we cannot see it through the foliage.  We read that from this trail there is no access to the river below.

Heading inland along the Boulder River, we hike high above it on a rocky and rooted mountainside trail.  This is no trail for kids under eight and as such not a family hike.  But is it ever lush with spring green ferns, nearly ripe raspberry bushes in this old growth forest.   We’ve read that there is an old growth hugging tree.  Huggers from way back, we are zeroed in on finding this tree!

BR 2A  twin falls without pines

Unnamed twin falls above the Boulder River

Within 30 minutes, we first hear, then see the unnamed twin waterfalls spilling over the mountainside down to the Boulder River.  The 200’ drop is spectacular as it brightens the still misty 52F late spring morning.   The following video is our first pass of these spectacular falls.

BR 3A BR trail itself

On the trail by ourselves, we have ups and downs along the river mountain side as we climb through thick Washington greenness.   For the first time in a week I don’t even notice my left Achilles; just a week ago I pissed it off by playing ping pong barefooted and put our hiking trip in jeopardy.

BR 5  D in rainforest trail

Eventually coming to a group of teenagers, we chat up the chaperones and teachers and learn that these 10-16 year olds are from the local Montessori School.  Click here for more information about the Montessori Schools of Snohomish County.

Hearing Montessori, I jump to the conclusion, as I am want to do, that these must be really cool teachers with students whose parents want something more than being homogenized by the whole milk of standardized testing.

Later checking their website, I learn, Through the use of the five senses and manipulative (hands-on) materials, the child is allowed to progress at his/her own, individual learning rate.  How cool is that!

BR 4 second set of falls

Second set of falls tumbling into the Boulder River

Twenty-five minutes later we come to a second falls that we see through the trees high above the Boulder River.   The trail remains very rocky and rooted, but that gives it character as the sun emerges from behind the less dreary Washington sky.

BR 7A  H at hugging tree

Hannah at the Hugging Tree

Upon our return, Hannah in the lead spots and hugs the Hugging Tree.   Old Growth Love at its best.   As her Old Growth Love, I have had the good fortune to go from Hannah’s Young Growth to Old Growth Love over our 44 years together.

Our four-year-old grandson Owen wonders why he never sees his Poppa in the hiking videos.  Well, today I’ll provide the commentary while Hannah shoots the video from my iPhone.

BR 2C  H at twin falls

Hannah at the newly named twin falls

And to top it off, we have named the unnamed waterfalls.   Take a listen and enjoy the afternoon video of the twin falls.

Dan and Hannah Hike Wallace Falls in Washington

After hiking the waterfalls trails of Mount Rainier National Park this first Tuesday in June afternoon, we see that the WAZE GPS on my iPhone indicates we have 2+ hours of driving to our Comfort Inn and Suites in Everett, WA, north of Seattle.  Of course we are dreaming if we think we are getting through Seattle during the evening rush hour without paying a price.  Seattle is big time.  Oh, except v. the New England Patriots!  Ba-da-boom!

WF 2C  rapids on trail

Of course, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC have horrible traffic.   But today Seattle is holding its own at rush hour.  Driving north on the I-405, we are three lanes of dreadlock with two HOV lanes racing by us.  You see in Seattle, the HOV lanes often come with a price.  Today it is $7.50 for the pleasure of whisking by us, the masses swamped in traffic.  Such a monetary incentive helps with the traffic for the well-to-do.  Today we are the well-to-don’t.

WF 1F  rapids in river

Finally enduring an hour of stop and no go, we arrive at our motel in Everett, WA, making it our base of operations for the next four days.  It’s an ideal location as we seek out waterfalls in the mountains to the east and trails in the islands of Puget Sound to the north.  At the same time, we will avoid the traffic congestion of the Seattle metro area by hiking north of the city.

WF 1 H at signs at start of WF

Today we head out route 2 through the small towns of Monroe, Sultan, and Startup to our destination in Gold Bar, the home of the Wallace Falls State Park.  Widely known in this part of the country, Wallace Falls has three dramatic falls, Lower, Middle, and Upper that are among the most popular in the state.  It’s the first week of June so we find the parking lot 20% full.  This would not be the case on the weekends in the summer.  Mob city is what we hear.

WF 1A  D at start of trail

Paying $10 to the state of Washington gives us the golden opportunity to hike the trails past these falls.  Our hike begins on a wide hard packed gravelly trail under massive high tension towers.  But that’s only for a few hundred yards before we turn left into the forest on the Woody Trail.

WF 1E  H on trai,l

It is the evergreen of this Evergreen State.  The massive cedars, the spring green rampant ferns, and the well maintained trails give off a Disney vibe, in all the best sense of the word:  well-cared for, organized, and prepared for visitors.

WF 2B  H on trail

The lushness distracts us from the 1300’ of elevation gain that we will have over the next three miles.   With three previous days of hiking in Washington State in the books, I continue to ice my left Achilles and do the stair exercises to strengthen it.   Though Hannah hikes ahead, no longer does my Achilles feel tender; I just know it’s there.

WF 4 rockier trail

The trail is usually hard-packed dirt but with the constant climb, we step over and on rocks and roots in the trail.  No lie, it’s a workout, but one with a big payoff.

WF 2A  W and BE at Lower Falls

Lower Falls

With the sound of crashing water in the distance, we come upon the first of three dramatic falls, the Lower Falls.   With our grandson Owen’s Woodstock and Max’s Blue Elephant along for the hike, we have the joy of the Lower Falls to share with them.

WF 3 middle falls with W and BE

Middle Falls

Though we are joined by families and college kids in groups, we are never slowed in our climb up and feel the joyous nature of hikers knowing how fortunate they are.   Heading up the mountainside of Mount Stickney, we arrive at the fencing at the overlook to the thundering Middle Falls.

WF 5upper falls instead

Upper Falls

The climb is relentless, there is no getting around the 1300’ of elevation gain.  Stepping over and on stones and roots, we can just imagine how busy these trails are on the weekends.  We celebrate with a pear and oranges upon our arrival at the Upper Falls.

The well-maintained part of the trail ends at this point as we follow the blue blazes of the rougher, steep trail further up the mountain to the railroad trail.   There we have a 100 yard walk to the bridge across the falling Wallace River.  Beyond is a sign saying that you are leaving Wallace Falls State Park and with no longer any trail maintenance.   Heading back to the trailhead, we have no interest in bushwhacking, as we have taken 90 minutes to get to this point.

WF 6A rapids coming home

On our descent, we wonder how this hike is only rated 4.05 out of 5.  It is stunning and worth the trip from Seattle, as long as you avoid the weekends.  It’s a 5.0 of 5!  Absolutely!

Click here for more details of the Wallace Falls trail.

Dan and Paul Hike to Angel and Dunn Falls in Maine (Part 4 of 4)

With our chilly brook crossings to Angel Falls behind us, we wonder what Maine Trail Finder means when it says we’ll do more rock hopping at Dunn Falls.  (Click here for more information on Dunn Falls.)  Fortunately, I have my four points method (both arms and both legs in the rushing brook) to steady me through mountain streams here in western Maine.

AD 5 map of andover

Driving through rural Maine, we clearly see the great divide between the Gold Coast of Maine (from Kittery to Belfast) and the rugged life inland.  There are many good people living in houses with exposed tar paper or mobile homes trying to eke out a living now that paper mills are running at a much reduced level.

Driving through Andover, Maine (population 821) with its vacations home and year-round residents, I have learned that the community has done all it can to save the 62-student Andover Elementary School with its five teachers.  For once the school goes, there is little reason for families to remain year round.

AD 5D  P on trail

Paul on the trail to Dunn Falls

Eight miles out of town on the East B Hill Road, we cross the Appalachian Trail to begin our two-mile round trip to the Dunn Falls.  At the roadside parking this mid-afternoon, we come upon Animal, his trail name from a 2012 thru-hike from Georgia to Maine.  Tattooed with that accomplishment on his right arm (yikes!), four years later he returns to the trail for a week to get a taste of his glory days.

AD 5BB D at cascades

Cascades along the blue blaze trail

Heading east one hundred yards down the hill from the road, we are advised to take a left on a blue blaze trail along the river of cascades and mini-waterfalls.  At 230P on a 75F in the shade of the Maine forest, Paul and I have a Maine Department of Tourism spectacular day for hiking.


After seven tenths of a mile, we see a yellow blaze blob on a tree and further on a blue blaze across the brook, directing us to the Dunn Falls.  Rocks are placed conveniently across this 20’ wide brook, so we just rock hop across without dipping in.  Our climb up the hill is steady; this has family hike written all over it.

AD 5C  P rock hopping

A very clearly marked trail takes us past the 80’ Lower Falls, which we only catch glimpses of through the trees.  We can get to the head of these falls, but that is hardly an impressive view compared to 70’ tumbling Upper Falls that awaits.

AD 5G  DF themselves preview

Upper Falls at Dunn Falls

As we climb into the interior, we soon come upon a pool beneath the Upper Falls.  Paul decides that this is the perfect time for a swim and dives into what is much icier, colder water than the brook to Angel Falls.

AD 5E  P after a swim by the falls

The upper Dunn Falls pool with back-lit Paul

Me?  Not today.  I have contacts (not people with influence but plastic in my eyes).  Nor am I dripping with sweat after our shaded hike, so hiking back in wet clothes is not my idea of a good time.  Skinny dipping?  Let’s not even go there.

So what have we learned this Monday afternoon in western Maine? 

AD 5F  D at white blaze at AT

White blazes of the Appalachian Trail

One, wherever you live, come to Maine and partake of a scintillating breakfast at the 1920s club car Deluxe Diner in Rumford.  Tell Jody that Paul and Dan sent you.  Click here for the Facebook page of the Deluxe Diner.

Two, if you are daring, hike to Angel Falls, fording the brook three times as you cross.  It’s an Outward Bound-ish test that may just be the challenge you both want and need.

Three, take the quintessential “Bill Bryson-type Walk in the Maine Woods” on the Appalachian Trail to Dunn Falls.

AD 1AA  P and D selfie

Four, do all this with your version of Paul Rosenblum, a positive life force with an adventurous spirit.

Dan and Paul Hike to Angel and Dunn Falls in Maine (Part 3 of 4)

Having given up our quest for Angel Falls after schlepping through the hillside slash for an hour, I ended Part 2 with this tease – Once across, Paul and I walk back to the trailhead parking to see four cars in the lot, not the two when we started.   Hmmmmm.   Someone has found the Angel Falls Trail.   And then we turn and see…

AD 3 map of AF

What we see are the promised red blazes on both a large rock and a tree on either side of the logging road directly to our left.   Smiling to each other, without a bit of self-flagellation, we just up and head to Angel Falls 0.8 of a mile away.

Crossing the Berdeen Stream again, this time on a bridge wide enough for cars, we have none of the barefooted fording of the white water that we did just an hour ago.  Feeling confident that the rock hopping described in the Maine Trail Finder website  would be quite manageable, we buoyantly head for the cooling waters of the 90’ Angel Falls.  (Click here for detailed information of Angel Falls.)

AD 3AAA more P crossing

With the roar of the brook building, we see a torrent among boulders roiling from the deluge of the past weekend.  And so it appears my iPhone and I have more watery challenges ahead.   In the lead, Paul takes off his boots and socks and chucks them across the wild brook.   Knowing from our previous experience that the water is cold, but not bone chilling cold, I follow suit and whip my boots with socks across the deafening brook.

AD 3BBBBB D crossing brook

From my previous “barefoot crossing on rocks” experience, I have learned that I am most comfortable crossing on four points (i.e., on all fours).   With my legs submerged in the racing water that is stirring around my feet, I step on mini-boulders while using my hands to get low in the brook as I place them on rocks in the tumbling stream.  With my iPhone in my pocket, I step into the icy tempest and successfully cross.

AD 3C  trail along brook

The trail itself is within feet of the roaring brook as we climb the gorge into the interior.   With my confidence building and having figured out that the four-point technique is “water crossing gold,” I am ready to ford the brook two more times in my frog stance.

On this 74F day under the shade of brook trees, we head closer to the falls.   Crossing the brook twice more has me going slowly and steadily across the submerged rounded rocks, some slimy with algae and others surprisingly algae-free.  After a successful third crossing, I have the white water heaven of Angel Falls within my grasp.  I feel like an Outward Bounder; doing something I didn’t realize I could do.

AD 4B  P at Falls

And then boom!  The crashing white water over the 90’ falls to the pool below is as spectacular as any western waterfall in Mount Rainier National Park.  There are some who contend that Angel Falls is the highest in Maine, one foot more than the Moxie Falls.  (Click here for more information about Moxie Falls.)

Whether they are or not, the falls have me searching for superlatives – stunning, spectacular, dazzling.  None of these words is hyperbole.

AD 4C  section of upper falls

Knowing my iPhone and I still have three knee deep river crossings before we return to the trailhead, we head down the brook trail a little before noon.  There we see a family of six ready to cross.   The 13-year-old girl with pole in hand is half way across the boulders.   Throwing our shoes to her grandfather who catches them like the high school shortstop that we soon learn he was, we wonder about kids crossing such a torrent.

AD 3BBB D at brook crossing

They have water shoes so they are less vulnerable to slipping than I am in my barefeet.  Later a family with a kid looking just a little older than our four-year-old grandson Owen is contemplating crossing the turbulent waters.  I can hardly believe it.

AD 3F  putting boots on

We talk of our experience with them, but soon head down the trail before we learn what mom and dad decide to do.

After tromping through the slash of lumbering Maine, then being immersed in the raging book on the way to Angel Falls, we have hit waterfall nirvana.

Part 4 concludes our waterfall adventure at the Dunn Falls…

Dan and Paul Hike to Angel and Dunn Falls in Maine (Part 2 of 4)

AD 1A  D outside DD

After a fantastic breakfast at the Deluxe Diner (Click here for the Facebook page of the Deluxe Diner) in Rumford, Maine, Paul and I head north for Angel Falls on route 17 through the “hardly towns at all” towns of Frye, Roxbury, Byron to Houghton.   The directions from the Maine Trail finder link are fine, but it would have been helpful to know that the Bemis Road was at the north end of the open field it mentions.  Click here for detailed information about Angel Falls.

AD 2A  P at wrong trail

It looked like the trail to us!

Rolling along the dirt Bemis Road for 3.5 miles we are directed by a cardboard sign to the side road to Angel Falls.   Spotting the promised large graffiti boulder at the parking area at the one-time gravel pit, we make a rookie mistake.  Our directions say clearly that we should follow the red blazes (2”x 8” rectangles painted on trail trees or prominent rocks).  We don’t.  We follow two older women on what anyone would say is obviously a trail (See Paul in the picture to the right.  Do hear an Amen?).  We jump to the conclusion that this is the way.

Heading towards the storm-fueled Berdeen Stream from this past weekend’s downpour, we immediately forget about the red blazes and look to cross the waterway.  Arriving at a field of slash (i.e., stripped branches, small logs from the lumbering company ) that covers the open spaces, we stomp across the lumber debris.  There, in our way is the 25’ wide white water mountain stream.  The women wisely abandon ship and head back to the trailhead.

AD 2E  P crossing Berdeen Stream

Without a second thought, Paul removes his boots and socks, takes them in hand, and balances his way, barefooted across the very rocky stream.  My amazement of Paul knows no bounds!  There is no way that would I ever do such a studly thing on my own.  But today I am with Paul.  So I deboot and desock and head into the white water flow.

Not nearly as breathtakingly cold as I thought it would be, the water is still mountain stream chilly; but nothing like the bone chilling water in early summer at York Beach.  I do wonder how bright a move this crossing is since I have my iPhone6 in my pocket, totally unprotected from the H2O.  When the Maine Trail Finder said there would be rock hopping, I had no idea that fording a raging stream, barefoot no less, would be required.

AD 2B slash


Yet, I make it across and am so damn pleased with myself.   Before us is a mountainside of slash from the havoc that men and women with their maniacal chainsaws have wrought.  We see no trail nor red blazes, but we are not easily dismayed.

AD 2D more bushwhacking

Bushwhacking through Tick Central

Bushwhacking through leaves, small firs, and brush, in what must be the Caribbean for ticks, we are relentless in our search of a trail.  Climbing in and over the hillside of lumber waste, we go left, then right along the hillside; up the mountain, and down to the stream looking for something that resembles a trail.

AD 2CC D on slash

For what seems like an hour we search the hillside to no avail.  Paul, who will look for a trail til the cows come home, finally says “Let’s go back.”  We do have Dunn Falls some 30 miles away to hike on our schedule today.  And so be it.  Today was not our Angel Falls day.

We do have to cross back over the roaring Berdeen Stream in all its ice-cold glory.  Having one successful crossing without dunking my iPhone to my credit, I agree with the odds makers that think I just might make it a second time.   Soon it is apparent that I am wobblier as these rounded, underwater boulders are not so forgiving.

As the current races, Paul throws me a bone, by which I mean a 5’ pole-like tree limb to steady myself.   I quickly learn that a staff is not my preferred way of crossing a roaring stream barefooted.  Losing my balance and heading for the chilly wetness, at the last second I catch myself, ever aware that my iPhone is inches from a watery grave.

Once across, Paul and I walk back to the trailhead parking to see four cars in the lot, not the two when we started.   Hmmmmm.   Someone has found the Angel Falls Trail.   And then we turn and see…

Part 3 lets you in on what we see.

Dan and Paul Hike to Angel and Dunn Falls in Maine (Part 1 of 4)

When I hit the trails with Hannah, we hike.  When I’m off to the mountains of Maine with Paul Rosenblum, it’s a whole different animal; it’s an adventure.  As an elementary school teacher here in Maine, Paul regularly came to my education classes at the University of New England to blow my students away with his passion and insights into connecting with kids.

Every summer, he finds a trail for us and we are off to the boonies of Maine.  (See the “Hikes with Paul” category to the left of this blog for our other Maine hiking adventures.)  Today he has picked two short waterfall hikes in western Maine: the mile and a half round-trip to Angel Falls north of Rumford and the two mile Dunn Falls Trail that coincides with a section of the Granddaddy of all Trails – the Appalachian Trail.

Leaving home in York at 5A, I drive for an hour to his place north of Portland.  While I ride shotgun, Paul steers his 150,000 mile, 4-wheel drive, all-man Honda Pilot as we head inland to the north.

AD 1B  map of rumford

It is my responsibility to find a breakfast place for our pre-hike sustenance.  Checking out the towns along our route, I google, “diners in Rumford, Maine.”   The Deluxe Diner has a 4.5 of 5 rating and the price is right.   Rumford is a “trying to hang in there” old mill town on the Androscoggin River.   To be clear, there are two Maines: The Gold Coast from Kittery to Belfast where we live and then there is the rural, far poorer Maine.

AD 1A  D outside DD

The Deluxe Diner is small, very small in fact – ten stools at a 30’ counter.  (Click here for the Facebook page of the Deluxe Diner.)  On this Monday in the second week of July, it’s an 8A work day for the good folks of Rumford.  Three grizzled locals are digging into their eggs and bacon, while a couple to our right looks like they are from away.

Asking for decaf, we see Jody, the waitress/owner, begin a fresh pot.   The counter provides an intimacy with both Jody and the retired grump to my left that I had never realized.  I’m known as a booth guy for breakfast, but I like this closeness; and we have no choice since there are no booths or tables.

Sporting a Boston Red Sox cap, two years ago Jody came to Rumford to run the diner.  When later we ask about a bathroom, she describes a basement dungeon that she advises us against even seeing.  She lets us know that a nearby Hannaford’s grocery store has a very clean men’s room.

AD 1 P and J at DD

When I ask Jody if I can post this picture of her and Paul on my Facebook page, she is all in and hopes we’ll “like” the Deluxe Diner.   (I later do.  Click here to read my Yelp Review of the Deluxe Diner.)

Thoroughly satisfied with my gooey two eggs over easy, lots of home fries, and homemade wheat toast, we are off to the waterfalls that we seek.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on Wednesday as we seek out Angel Falls.