Travel plan tip: Unplanned ones are better

I had forgotten what darkness looks like, what is it to walk under the quiet of the moon by the roar of the waterfalls.

Boston has been beautiful so far, so were the cities I lived in back in India. But the problem with cities is that they're cities-loud, fast, and always well lit- even when you don't want! I remember being a child looking at the nightsky and looking at stars more than I could count. This trip made me nostalgic. The sheer pleasure of looking at white blobs as they patterned stories in my empty head ;)
'Even at nights we've artificial light polluting the unforseen farthest of skies hiding what's celestial and what isn't.'
'Its hard to find darkness these days, we're all so well lit. Is darkness becoming extinct? Will I again be able to see the night sky as I used to being a kid?'
We didn't know what to do for Thanksgiving day-esp. when most Americans visit back to their families. Hyperloop still doesn't exist that I can afford going home back and forth.

Hence- Swati, Pragun and me were thinking of doing a trip for Thanksgiving weekend. The planning never worked out - as most people are obscenely busy during the weeks.

Thursday night we booked the car off Advanced Car Rentals that was supposed to be picked up from Boston's Logan International Airport 9AM in the morning.

Swati suggested we could go to Maine Huts and Rentals, 45 emails were exchanged in a day amongst all prospective hikers. Friday morning out of 12 people who were in the loop 7 were confirmed. We quickly rented a big seven seater.

The drive was 350 miles away from Boston. We were going to a trek a jungle with no cellphone signals, no city lights and no American with us. Icing on the cake- We didn't reserve our accommodation at the hut due to Thanksgiving holidays. However, since we'd rented the car there's no going back!

With Maine temperatures showing 0-1 Degrees, it was quite difficult to convince myself travelling without a sleeping bag. But the adrenaline rush made us take a chance and go for it!

Friends were convinced, we picked up everyone and started our ride at 12noon sharp from Boston. With GPS we navigated our way to Maine Hills. Enroute we bought torches, gloves, food etc.
Shopping for stuff midway
The evening was getting colder. We had 150 miles still to go. Shivering, I thought of calling up Maine Huts again on a emergency contact number given on their website! The phone rang, noone responded. I recorded a voicemail, like a frightened kid calling for late night entry permit- we're so used to reservations. In two hours I got a call back from there, and the caretaker of the hut said we were welcome! I said to myself- even if we weren't there's no going back. I shared the news with two friends- who just smiled like 'WE GOT PLACE'.

 We reached Maine Hills around 8PM in the evening. The highway was dark with density like two/three huts/buildings per mile. Got out of car, loaded torches with batteries, got the bagpacks, divided load amongst each other. We started walking, in a misbelief that the map we had is taking us into the right direction. 7 of us marched a mile on the highway looking for the entry point into the jungle!

' Devil' and 'god' can show at the most uncertain places. A beautiful girl on a gas station shop, named Niki(i hope i got her name right) told us that we're 8 miles off the right path. Lesson number one 'When in doubt, ask'. All of us waited at the secluded gas station, Swati and Patil ran to get the car, picked us up again, and there we went again!

We managed to park the car at seemingly the right spot at 10PM. It was pitch dark, with little bit of moon showing through the clouds.

First mile of the uphill climb was done using torches, led by Patil and his headmounted torch. Sergi and Maria suggested insisted we turn the lights off and navigate using natural moonlight. I remember how beautiful it was to hear the sound of waterfalls without being able to see them.

I wish I could capture the pictures in dark, but sadly our DSLRs dont see the dark or the nights. And flash is too disgusting.

Next 2.7 miles we walked without lights following the trail, without GPS or the map. Sometimes intuition, aka common sense came into play. Kshitij never let his walking stick go down!

Midnight- we started seeing a bulb lit on the top- between all that wilderness. Excited we ran, and found our destination- The Poplar hut! The first reaction on entering was like that of a sinner finding heaven after a tiring uphill walk with 5kg bagpacks behind! The indoors of the hut were amazingly warm and beautifully carved.  The wonderful caretaker had left pancakes and a handwritten message about our sleeping areas. :-D

Realizing that we had a place to sleep, there was a sudden pump of adrenaline. Sergi took his pack of Spanish playing cards and we played Pyramid for the next two hours. Patil was high so were we!

Playing Pyramid
Realizing that we had a place to sleep, there was a sudden burst of energy. The feeling of insecurity was no more! In that excitement Sergi and I ran outside to find this bonfire-able pit. We tried to light it up but the snowgods didn't allow. Heart broken, dreams shattered. We walked back to our quiet wooden dorm.
Bonfire spot at Maine Hills

Yet again, Sergi took his pack of convinced we play Pyramid with his pack of Spanish playing cards. Patil was high, and so were we! Several games were played! lol

Genuine hike! Worth the risk. Highly recommended.

On the way back we had tea at the hut. And trekked back, trying to see all what we had missed at the night.

Signboards on our way back!                                     

Waterfall at the Maine! 

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