looking down the old road

Roads is another theme.  Lots of designated “old” roads in the state.  Running in and out of more built up roads, highways. “The Old Gore Road,” for example: in and out The Gore Road. This is The Rabbit Road:




If you look at a map of Maine you’ll see there aren’t many roads in northwestern Maine. The atlas doesn’t name them.  They aren’t paved — the logging trucks, “pulp trucks” use these, and the skidders.  Skidders are those great-wheeled craft with winch and chain, hauling trees to the landing.  I went to a cutting years ago and watched them fall, de-limb, and tote out the trees.  Thoreau, in his day, discovered the swampers.

From page 243 in The Maine Woods:

Making a logging-road in the Maine woods is called “swamping” it, and they who do the work are called “swampers.” I now perceived the fitness of the term. This was the most perfectly swamped of all the roads I ever saw. Nature must have cooperated with art here. However, I suppose they would tell you that this name took its origin from the fact that the chief work of roadmakers in those woods is to make the swamps passable. We came to a stream where the bridge, which had been made of logs tied together with cedar bark, had been broken up, and we got over as we could.

This is an old, paralleling, state route.  The cab of an ancient truck is rusting down into shadows, melding into the elements of woodland and mud. Sometimes you have to wait for a sheep to move before going ahead on your bicycle.



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