We were reluctant to leave David’s cousin Gordon and his girlfriend, Jackie, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, but also, we were eager to continue the Tramper Voyage.
Gordon is as gracious as he can be. We felt very welcome in his home.
He’s very fit and active into his seventies so we really enjoyed hiking with him. David hadn’t seen Gordon for many years and we’d never met Jackie but we were warm friends right away. I love it when that happens!!
Just before crossing the border, we saw a sign for the World’s Largest Axe in Nackawic, N.B. Naturally, we had to go see it! My daughter always finds fun, funky things while on the road. The World’s Largest Chest of Drawers, Foam-henge, etc. Visiting the Axe was a must.
Funny story about the border crossing. Not as funny as the Bay of Fundy Aunt Margaret story but sort of odd. We forgot to pack our passports when we left Baltimore. You might think this was an epic fail, but I was only one day post-biopsy when we left. The anesthesia had barely worn off. Also, David had a whirlwind 2 weeks getting the 4Runner ready after the neighbor’s Land Cruiser proved to have too many problems to be a good Tramper puller. Every day in port was a wasted day of the Tramper Voyage!
So, our leave-taking from Baltimore was, you might say, a bit rushed. Months of planning, one day of shoving everything in.
We had no passports. We had forgotten to pack the passports! No problem. Yet. Olivia mailed them to Augusta, Maine to my brother. Only, they had expired in March. Also, we were unaware that, in 2009, the border-crossing rules had changed. You needed a passport to get back into the U.S.
Even though a USPS official in Augusta told us that, with his official stamped and signed photocopies of our passports we would be able to get back in, we held our breath a bit when we passed through US Customs. You can’t hold your breath too much, however, because you don’t want to raise any red flags with the Border Patrol.
We tried to look and sound normal and I guess we succeeded because the very nice officer waved us back in to the U.S.! Phew!
As the sun was setting, we drove into the magnificent Baxter State Park. It is 200,000 acres of unspoiled land in North Central Maine.
Most of the land surrounding Baxter is pretty empty as well. Baxter, unlike other state parks, does not have camper hookups, electricity or running water.
The campsites are few and primitive . Only a couple of gravel of roads run through the park. It is entered by only 2 gates, at the Northeast border and at the Southern border.
We parked the Tramper in a large meadow as darkness fell. We turned out the lights and the stars were extravagant and amazing! The woods were completely quiet and dark. I stepped outside again in the middle of the night and there were the big, sparkling stars again, even brighter than before.
By this time it was quite cold but I could not go back inside until I drank in more of the quiet beauty of the deep Baxter night.