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.
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.
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.
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.