Tree. Wood. Ore. Metal. A wagon forged by the hand of a man. All will decay. Nothing lasts forever.
We descended to the bottom of the trail shortly before 5PM, knowing our target. Placed near the equipment shed for the old Stone House, these wagons have been in place and deteriorating beautifully for years.
Unfortunately, since it was 5 o'clock, a few maintenance people were converging on the shed, parking their trucks in all the good spots. Problem. I didn't think twice before walking up to one of them and jocularly saying, "You know, I traveled over 1,000 miles just to shoot these wagons." Oh... you'll move your truck? Why, thanks!
The guys were talking together, but surely also sizing up these people from 'Away.' One of them, an older gentleman in bright red suspenders who looked like a cross between Albert Einstein and Kris Kringle, was Frank. I know this because he had a huge sign made of welded pipe running across the back window of his pickup truck – his "Office".
The sign said, "F - R - A - N - K"
I asked him, "Are you Frank?"
"Nope. I'm Ernest," he replied in a deep New England accent.
"Somehow I doubt that," I said as we shared a knowing laugh.
And with that, we were introduced to Frank Eastman, a colorful local who has tended the grounds of the Stone House for several decades. After the other guys went home, we chatted with Frank for quite a while. He had worked with the Maine DOT for many years. We talked about how someone had once offered to restore the wagons for display, but Frank had declined, preferring to see them decay in their natural form. After a time, he felt comfortable enough to let us in on a local trail secret -- a waterfall that most people don't know about -- and he asked if I could shoot it for him someday.
That's for next year, when I'll likely meet up with Frank again. Some people you just want to keep in touch with.