4 ways to infues mindful moments into your workday

4 Ways to Infuse Mindful Moments Into Your At-Home Workday

In the age of instant access to technological tools and communication channels, some of today’s employers are finding it even easier to heap on the expectations. Working longer hours, being online at odd times and a list of to-dos can make it tough to slow down.

The good news? You can still accomplish plenty of work without letting stress get the best of you with small, simple moments of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment while calmly assessing your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations.

According to Nancy Hathaway, Maine native, founder of the Center for Studying Mindfulness, “The key is to experience feelings as body sensations; rather than going to the gerbil cage of over-thinking. When you are at work, take a mindful walking break to the water cooler or bathroom, or get yourself outside.”

Your job is likely a crucial part of your life. It might be your lifelong passion, your primary source of income, a way to help your community, and the place where you spend the most time. To help you use that time wisely, here’s a list of four ways to break up your workday with mindful moments:

1. Create a Mindful Eating Experience

According to Harvard Health, mindful eating “includes noticing the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food; chewing slowly; getting rid of distractions like TV or reading; and learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food.” Basically, it’s taking a real break and allowing you to focus on the act of eating without distraction.

Why is this helpful in combating stress and cultivating ease? Research shows that focusing on your food, feeling its weight, examining its surface, smelling it, noticing how it makes you feel and closing your eyes to savor it fully can help you practice non-judgment, patience, non-striving, acceptance and trust. All of these are essential for kickstarting feel-good hormones such as dopamine and reducing stress hormones such as cortisol. So next time you need a time-out, grab a piece of fruit and take those measured steps to ensure eating it is a full mind- body experience.

2. Practice Mindful Movement

Mindful movement is a way to take a break, listen to your body and engage in physical activity that feels fluid, unforced and natural. Focus on noticing your body in movement and controlling the pace of breath. Some of the most common types of mindful movement include yoga, pilates and tai chi, but the simple act of going for a walk or stretching in your office can give you the same stress-relieving benefits.

One easy tactic: find a private space to practice an inversion, also known as “Legs Up the Wall Pose” in yoga. By getting your feet above your heart, you can boost your circulation and counter the results of all the sitting that occurs in day-to-day office life.

3. Sprinkle in Some Meditation

Just 10 to 20 minutes of meditation per day has been proven to increase focus, positivity and productivity, decrease stress, streamline communication skills and even build stronger relationships. These are all essential components of a happy, productive work life.

Meditation doesn’t have to be complex or intimidating. It can be the simple act of taking a comfortable seat, closing your eyes, and taking deep, measured breaths. You can even adopt a mantra, or phrase you repeat in your mind, such as: “I breathe in. I breathe out.” Use technological tools to your advantage by downloading one of the many meditation apps available online.

4. Get Outside

Spending 15-to-30 minutes outdoors is proven to improve relaxation and enthusiasm as well as eliminate nervousness. Research from Harvard Medical School suggests mood disorders can be lifted by spending more time outdoors. The visual aspects of taking in nature’s beauty, even if it’s a budding tree right outside your office, according to the same research, help distract the mind from negative thinking.

Since Maine has the luxury of being one of the most majestic places to experience nature at its finest, take that break and take advantage! You might enjoy a quick bike ride, see the scenic coast, strike an outdoor yoga pose or even take a half- or full-day rock climbing tour.

There’s no reason for your workday to ever be a drag. By engaging in mindful activities that work for you, whether it’s being outside, in your office, at a local cafe or on a journey inward, carving out the time to put yourself first and live in the now can help every day feel like the weekend. .

— Text: LeeMarie Kennedy. LeeMarie is a multi-niche copywriter, editor and content marketing creator in Boston, Massachusetts. When she’s not meticulously wordsmithing or brainstorming a trending topic, she can be found teaching yoga, wandering the world, drinking fair trade coffee or eating too much cheese.

 


Avtitiy Maine's tips for staying calm, strong, and healthy while distancing ourselves socially

Staying Calm, Strong and Healthy During Social Distancing

With the levels of stress so high right now, self care is very important! There are many things you can do from home to get exercise and relieve stress. Try biking, walking/running outside, hiking in the woods, eating nutritious food and hydrating well. Take care of your mind and stress levels by getting good sleep, meditation, yoga, journaling, and deep breathing exercises. Catch up with your family and friends on the phone or video chat.

Biking in Aroostook County. Photo: John Hafford.

Photo: John Hafford

Good sleep is critical.

Recent studies show that sleep may be your best ally for staying healthy, so here are some basic tips for getting better sleep. Light to moderate exercise during the day or morning helps most people sleep better at night. Unwind 1 to 2 hours before bed, which means no digital devices or screens. Take a shower or bath to relax and keep your room cool and dark. Before bed, think thoughts of gratitude — what you are thankful for — and then shut out the world. Focus on what you notice going on in your body first, then once you scan your body systems, focus on your breath. Notice its sensations getting lighter, and then drift off to sleep.

Boost your levels of Vitamin D.

Next, we recommend, if you are able to go outside, that you get 20 or more minutes of direct sunlight at a time. Vitamin D that is produced from sunlight being absorbed by your exposed skin is a huge immune and mood booster. If you can’t get outside, find a sunlit part of a room and soak in the warmth of the sun on your exposed skin. Although sunlight through windows is not as powerful, it still has a healing and relaxing effect, and you can safely stay in it for longer periods.

Give your mind a rest.

Break away from the news and social media. While it is very important to stay informed on a daily basis with the rapid changes going on, it is also important not to be glued to it. There is a limit to what your mind can take and you need to be mindful of the toll that sedentary preoccupation with constant watching of devices has on your body and mood. Check updates in the morning and evening, and take notice of any special announcements for your state or areas when they are released.

For those of you home with the kids for the next two weeks, here is a link for 15 Fun And Easy Family Activities That You Can Do At Home:

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/15-fun-and-easy-family-activities-that-you-can-home.html

We look forward to the day when we can start to transition from “Social Distancing” and we can release our event recommendations with low or no risk of virus transmission. Stay safe and healthy everyone!

— The Crew at Activity Maine


The Seasonal Runner

The Seasonal Runner

Leaping into Spring & Summer

The sweetness of that very first spring-like run of the season is intoxicating. Runners shed their winter layers and emerge from their treadmill lairs to drink in the warm, earthy air. The roads and trails are clear, days grow longer, and plant life gives birth to new leaves and buds. We, too, are innately connected to this pattern of growth and renewal. Suddenly, a motivation that was once dormant, breaks through. There is a palpable energy in the air, and that is especially apparent to anyone with a running mindset.

The turn of the warmer weather is often met with a zeal and eagerness to train harder, achieve that PR, or even to lace up a pair of running shoes for the very first time.  Ideally, we are taking cues from nature, and honoring these natural cycles; not overdoing it to risk injury and burnout, and training in ways that improve our performance, while allowing for sustainability and continued enjoyment in the sport of running. Here are a few points to keep in mind as we enter this exciting time of year.

GOAL SETTING
Think about what you want to achieve.  Do you want to commit to running more days per week? Do you want to go longer or faster, or snag a race PR?  Goals should have personal meaning, rather than meeting someone else’s expectations. By being specific and realistic, you will be in a better position to commit to the work required to meet whatever goal you set.

YOGA
Yoga poses work the body in ways that can bring tremendous physical, energetic and mental benefits. Let your yoga practice work with your training, and not in opposition. On high mileage or active days, give in to a restful practice; and on lighter days, you can allow your yoga to focus more on strength and movement. The following short sequences highlight three poses for each purpose.  Add them to your routine to create more balance and see how you feel.

YANG / DYNAMIC

CHAIR POSE
With the feet together or hip width, draw the hips back and down like you’re reaching for a chair. Let the weight be heavy in the heels and light on the toes. Feel the outer hips compacting as the torso lifts off the thighs and the chest is upright. Keep the hands at the hips or raise the arms as shown.

HIGH LUNGE
From Chair Pose, pour the weight on the right leg as you lift the left foot and draw it back behind you, so you land in a lunge.  Through that transition, keep the outer right hip exactly as you had it in Chair Pose.  In the High Lunge, you may experiment with a bent or straight back leg as you keep a tall spine and even explore a subtle backbend.

WARRIOR 3
From High Lunge, shift the upper body forward and bear the weight in the front leg, again keeping the right hip pinned in and drawing back, which engages the glute and hamstring.  As you lean forward, keeping the chest searching forward, and spine long, lift the back leg. Work to keep the hips level – right and left hip bones facing the floor evenly.  Keep the back leg lifted by engaging the quadricep and drawing the inner line of the leg toward the ceiling. Step to Chair Pose, and then to a standing position.

Flow through these three poses, alternating from right to left.  Experiment with holding for 3-5 breaths in each pose, and then moving dynamically, holding for 1 breath per pose, and performing 5-10 times on each side.

YIN / PASSIVE

SPHINX
Place the elbows under the shoulders, keeping the legs relaxed. Head may be kept in a neutral position, fall forward, or rest on a block.

BUTTERFLY
From a seated position, draw the soles of the feet together, allowing the knees to go wide. Let the feet be further away from the hips, and incline the body forward.

CAT TAIL
Lie on your right side, supporting your head in your hand. Draw your left leg up, like you’re hanging out reading a magazine. Reach behind you with your left hand and catch ahold of your right foot, targeting the quadricep of the back leg. Stay on your side, or roll back (as shown in the photo), to invite a twist to the spine.

Hold each pose with the muscles fully relaxed, allowing the body to become heavy. Go only to the point where you feel a mild amount of sensation – nothing sharp or painful. Set a timer and hold each posture for 3-5 minutes.

6 Yoga Poses for Runners

—Photos: Yang: Terry Cockburn, Yin: Cindy Giovagnoli

Terry Cockburn has been teaching yoga since 2006 and owns Freeport Yoga Company (Freeport, Maine) and Yarmouth Yoga Studio (Yarmouth, Maine).  A marathon runner, mother to two boys (and one yellow dog), business owner and outdoor adventure seeker, she balances an active yang lifestyle with time on the meditation cushion and a contemplative yin practice.  Terry teaches classes, workshops and retreats and has a passion for working with the athletic population.  Check out her upcoming offerings at www.freeportyogaco.com.


Midcoast hiking

Take a Midcoast Hike

Midcoast region

Photo: Elizabeth Berry MacKenney

Maine is known for great hiking, and many enthusiasts flock to Katahdin and the Camden Hills. But there are some beautiful, lesser-known trails in the midcoast region. Lincoln county, for example, has some beautiful, easy trails that are open year-round — for free. When visiting Boothbay, Damariscotta, or Pemaquid, be sure to check out some of the trails there for gorgeous views and close encounters with flora and fauna.

Boothbay Region Land Trust

From easy to challenging, the Boothbay Region Land Trust has over 30 miles of trails all over the Boothbay Peninsula, and they even maintain trails on Damariscove and Indiantown Islands. Guided walks are often available year-round. A schedule of upcoming events can be found on the BRLT website, which also has maps and a trail guide. Cost: Free. www.bbrlt.org

Damariscotta River Association

Up the road a bit from Boothbay Harbor is Damariscotta. Winding down the peninsula from Damariscotta to South Bristol is the beautiful Damariscotta River. All along the river, you can find trails of various levels of difficulty, maintained by the Damariscotta River Association. If you have small children interested in taking a hike, and easy one to try is located at the River Association’s farm on the Belvedere Road in Damariscotta. The Dodge Point preserve and hiking area located on the River Road in Newcastle is very popular with both locals and visitors to the area. The website for the Damariscotta River Association contains a map of all their preserves and hiking areas. Cost: Free. www.damariscottariver.org

Midcoast region

Photo: Activity Maine

Pemaquid Water Association

If you’re taking a drive to Pemaquid to see the beautiful Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, consider taking a quick hike on one of the many trails maintained by the Pemaquid Water Association. Eight preserves and five hiking trails along the Pemaquid River, from Nobleboro to Bristol, are maintained by the PWA. Detailed maps and descriptions of each hiking trail are avilable on the PWA website. Cost: Free.

Check out one, or all of the trails at these great locations. Each offers a unique view of the astounding natural beauty around Lincoln County. If you would like to bring a dog to any of the areas listed, check the websites first. Most allow canine companions, but it is recommended to keep your dog on a leash. And please clean up after your pet! www.pemaquidwatershed.org

— Text: Kate Kastelein


Alex Ribar demonstrates how to grip a tomahawk. Photo courtesy Michael Eric Berube

The Art & History of the Tomahawk

What is a tomahawk? Is it a functional tool, a weapon; or a historical art piece? If you ask me it’s all of the above.

The tomahawk, a single-handed axe that traditionally resembles a hatchet, is an iconic weapon that was first developed by the Alogonquin Native Americans.  The word tomahawk was derived from the Alogonquin word “Tomahak” or “Tomahakan,” meaning “used for cutting.”

The Native Americans made tomahawks with stone heads attached to wooden handles, secured with rawhide and sinew.  It was a general-purpose tool used for chopping, cutting, and even used as a weapon.

Four hundred years ago, the Europeans introduced metal blades as an alternative to the tomahawk’s primitive stone blade or deer antler.  Settlers, American soldiers and Native American tribes quickly integrated the use of metal into the design of the tomahawk from that point forward. During the Revolutionary War in the late 18th century, the Continental Congress required all military men to carry either a tomahawk or a cutting sword. Tomahawks have even been used during World War II, The Korean War, and in Vietnam. You can even find it being used by the armed forces of today as well.

How to throw a tomahawk

Photo: Michael Eric Berube

The tomahawk grew in popularity among the Native Indians, frontiersmen, trappers and European settlers. The meaning of the tomahawk grew beyond its use as a tool or a weapon.  It became an integral part of everyday society; signifying status among peers, including friends and foes.  It was even used and given as a diplomatic gift.

The tomahawk came to symbolize both war and peace. If a red-painted tomahawk were placed in front of the chief during a war council, the war chief would deliberate and raise it to rouse the warriors to declare war. However, if the tomahawk were buried, that symbolized peace—giving rise to the phrase— “burying the hatchet.”

A peace pipe could also be incorporated into the design of a tomahawk with a hollow handle and a type of bowl forged into the head.  Some were very ornate used for ceremonial and tribal meetings or during treaty signings. Any way you chop it, the tomahawk has an important place in history.

Today, the tomahawk continues to be a functional work of art, made with drop forged, differentially heat-treated, alloy steel. The handles can be custom engraved, decorated and sold as art pieces.

HOW TO THROW A TOMAHAWK

Move over darts, the art of throwing sharp objects has a new competitor.

All across the country, tomahawk and axe-throwing has become a big attraction at local establishments, outdoor venues, fairs, brew pubs and other events.

Now I’m not big on throwing axes, but throwing a HAWK; that’s more my style. The tomahawk is the easiest weapon to master. Young and old can learn the art of throwing with some instruction and a little practice.

Alex Ribar

The target

First you will need a target. A 4×6-inch thick cut from a piece of large pine or cedar log that is about 18-24 inches in diameter is commonly used. You can either make a stand to hold it up about five feet off the ground, or hang it from ropes with eye hooks. You can also build a frame and use pine boards for your target.

The throw

To begin, start at five paces from the target. Hold the tomahawk at the base of the handle. (Do not choke up on the handle.) The tomahawk should be held firmly, but not too hard. Bring the tomahawk straight back over your shoulder, and step forward as you throw it at your target as though you are throwing a baseball. The tomahawk should only rotate once at this distance. You may need to move half a step forward or backward to get the tomahawk to stick to the target. Once you get it to stick consistently, staple a paper plate to your target. Keep practicing until you can get the tomahawk to stick to the paper plate on every throw. Then, move back about nine to ten paces. The tomahawk should rotate twice at this distance as you get better at throwing.

Before you know it, you will master the art of tomahawk throwing. Most anyone can do this; it’s loads of fun and sure to please your primitive side!

Here at Liberty Rogue Outdoors, the tomahawk has always been a part of our outdoor events, bush craft outings, classes and survival kits. I enjoy teaching others how to throw tomahawks and also compete in throwing competitions. We also produce custom tomahawks with hand-forged heads and custom-engraved hickory handles. Each one is a functional work of art. If you’re interested in a custom tomahawk, please contact Liberty Rogue Outdoors at pridesmen@yahoo.com

Last thing: “If you bury the hatchet” or in this case the HAWK, don’t leave the handle sticking out –just in case you or the other party changes his mind! (Just kidding!)

— Alex “TheRogue’stah”Ribar, reminding you to get outside, find yourself a hobby and remember, it’s all about attitude; the right one! Liberty Rogue Outdoors; History Channel’s Alone, Season 4 contestant; Marine and professional survival instructor.


Salt Pump Climbing Gym

Extreme Indoors

Want to get your kicks year round without the risk of frostbite? Stay social this winter with Portland’s best indoor activities. 

If you love the high-octane activity of summer in Maine, don’t lose your momentum over the colder months. These three Portland locales host communities of indoor thrill-seekers who find their adrenaline fix within four walls.

Salt Pump Climbing Gym

Salt Pump Climbing Gym

A 13,000 sq.ft. Climbing Gym in Scarborough. Photo: Salt Pump Climbing Gym

“Climbing is all about continual education,” said Freddie Wilkinson, co-founder of Salt Pump Climbing Gym in Scarborough. Think you lost the ability to scale anything significant in the third grade? Wilkinson believes the innate ability can be reestablished with a little practice. “Every week we see people surprise themselves by being complete natural climbers,” said Wilkinson. “It’s a fun process to rediscover.” All it takes “is a little flexibility of body and mind and perseverance.”

The 13,000-square-foot climbing gym launched in 2015 with a mission to bring the authentic athletic experience of outdoor climbing to the city, featuring top-rope, lead climbing, and bouldering on walls up to 45 feet high. With 100 new bouldering sequences and new routes set each week, there’s plenty of “continual education” to enjoy, whether you’re tackling green circle or double black diamond climbs. “By nature it’s a sociable sport,” said Wilkinson. “You typically work in pairs, and everyone spends time on the mats discussing route or techniques.” Salt Pump holds daily Intro to Climbing classes, ($40/2 hours) as well as ongoing coaching and outdoor technique training sessions, so no matter what level you’re at, you can keep climbing higher.

Salt Pump Climbing Gym
36 Haigis Pkwy
Scarborough, ME 04074
(207) 219-8145
www.saltpumpclimbing.com

Urban Air, South Portland, Maine

Photo courtesy of Urban Air

Urban Air

If you’re suffering cabin fever this winter, there are worse ways to unleash some energy than at a venue of “wall-to-wall trampolines.” Urban Air in South Portland has just that, plus foam pits, trampoline dodgeball and basketball courts, an obstacle course, and an enormous air mattress known as “The Drop Zone.” The amusement park is family-friendly, featuring a jungle gym and plenty of soft landings for the little ones as well as endless opportunities for older kids, including Friday night middle school socials from 8-11 p.m. Adults don’t have to sit on the sidelines either.

“We welcomed an 83-year-old grandfather onto the trampolines last year,” said Event Coordinator Will Kriger. “He had a great time!”

Trampolining is a serious workout. Challenge friends to a game of bounce basketball and you’re guaranteed to go harder and higher than at any regular gym.

Urban Air
333 Clarks Pond Pkwy
South Portland, ME 04106
(207) 543-4231
www.urbanairtrampolinepark.com

The Axe Pit, South Portland Maine

Learning throwing techniques at The Axe Pit

The Axe Pit

The Axe Pit, recently relaunched in South Portland, offers people the chance to sharpen their lumberjack credentials this winter. The expanded 2,000-square-foot venue features six “throwing lanes,” each with two targets, to accommodate more than 60 adventurous patrons. Lanes cost $15/hour for a group or individual session. After your initial safety brief, a seasoned instructor will demonstrate throwing techniques, before unleashing you on the targets.

“We offer a selection of tomahawks, hatchets, and even full-sized axes for the intrepid thrower,” said General Manager Connor Winn. “Guests can play cornhole-style, recreate cricket darts, or just throw for fun.” Think of it as high-stakes bowling. Owner Tim Johnson discovered urban axe throwing at an underground venue in Montreal and couldn’t wait to bring it home. “It’s not a big mental leap to imagine how this would fit so well in Maine,” said Winn. The venue’s tagline reads “Social Axe Throwing” and Johnson hopes to offer on-site food and beverages in the near future. If you’re able to relax around flying blades, you’ve found the ideal balance of thrills and chill.

The AxePit
333 Clarks Pond Pkwy
South Portland, ME 04106
(207) 370-4298

www.theaxepit.com

— Text: Saisie Moore. Saisie has worked at Portland Monthly and The Daily Telegraph in London. When she’s not writing, she explores Maine and beyond in a converted camper van with mountain bike in tow.


Four Places to Ski or Shoe at Night

Skiing at Dusk

SKIING AT DUSK. Photo courtesy Nordic Heritage Center.

With winters in Aroostook County lasting from November to April, the best way to endure long nights is to get outside for an endorphin rush, fresh air, and stargazing. Fortunately four community-based, Aroostook County venues offer nighttime cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.  Three of these family-friendly spots boast day lodges with fireplaces. All offer bathrooms, and are all groomed for classical and skate-style skiing.  Up here, getting social in the winter means organized potlucks, snowshoe poker runs, and full-moon events. Perhaps unique to the Aroostook small-town way of life, all are volunteer-managed, and supported by donors, memberships, events, and trail fees. Pack your puffy jacket, headlamp, and toe warmers for an invigorating small-town experience under the stars.

Nordic Heritage Center

Photo courtesy Nordic Heritage Center

Crisp, dry air seeps around the edges of my buff, the only sound, the click of bindings. Though the sky is peppered with millions of stars, we don’t linger at Red Barn trailhead. The amber glow from a nearby residence warms the landscape as temps hover in the low teens. We warm up by climbing the Volunteer Way trail before descending to the less populated outer settlements in search of even darker skies. Snowshoe hares slip past on the periphery. After an effortless four kilometers of sheltering forests, we make a hard right breaking out into the bright full moonlight of Spike’s Field. We douse our headlamps and race around the loop. Besides the Dippers and Orion, we pick out the constellation Cassiopeia, along with countless sapphires and diamonds in pollution-free skies.  After three dizzying laps, we continue on the main trail, reabsorbed by ebony statues of spruce and fir. Perhaps the new moon will allow glimpses of emerald aurora.

 

 

Fort Kent Outdoor Center

Fort Kent Outdoor Center, managed by Pineland Farms, was launched 20 years ago as a biathlon venue connecting pre-existing high school competition trails to community trails. Goodwill agreements with several landowners have allowed continued public access to 25 kilometers of groomed ski trails, and 10k of interwoven snowshoe trails. The steep, technical high school ski trails beginning at the community downhill ski area, Lonesome Pine, are best enjoyed during daylight hours, but it’s hard to beat seeing the moonrise at 10th Mountain Lodge, or the pastoral view from Grand Outlook.

Beginners and classic purists will appreciate the gentler Violette Settlement trails accessible three miles west of town on Violette settlement Road or at Red Barn Parking area on Village Road, a portion of which was described in the journal entry above.

Nordic Heritage Sport Club

Nighttime family tubing fun at Four Seasons Trails Assoc.

Photo courtesy Four Seasons Trails

Nordic Heritage Sport Club, also managed by Pineland, was constructed a couple years later as a cross-country ski and biathlon venue. It’s also adjacent to a small, community downhill area, Quoggy Jo. Unlike Fort Kent, all of these trails are on the club’s land. Trails are open from dusk to dawn year-round with 2.5 kilometers of ski trails lit from 4 – 8 p.m.  The lodge is accessible via the basement 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.  Located at the top of a hardwood covered flatiron-shaped parcel five miles from city lights, this could be your best bet to catch the Aurora Borealis in winter. Family-oriented stargazing events have been added to the club’s repertoire. Two lean-to shelters with outdoor cook stoves invite folks to trek over the hill to the “Fort Fairfield” side bearing thermoses of hot chocolate and fixings for s’mores. For an easy snowshoe hike, park at the entrance on Route 167, where the birch-lined path parallels the access road. Be advised, it’s the only place on the property where you can bring your pooch.

 

Photo courtesy Four Seasons Trails Assoc.

Northern Skiers Club

If it’s flat or beginner terrain you seek, head to Caribou. Northern Skiers Club offers six km ski trails, of which three km trails are lit for night skiing and approximately 3.5 – 4km trails are for snowshoeing. The best part? The trails are free. The sledding hill is also popular with families; just bring your own sled. Both the trails and building were built by the club and donated to Caribou High School. Trail lights are on until 8 p.m. when the building closes.

Four Seasons Trails Association

Four Season’s Trail Association in Madawaska is supported entirely by user and community donations. It offers 14 km of skate and classic skiing, 3km of classic-only tracks, 12 km of snowshoe paths, a kids’ terrain park, and sledding hill. All trails start from the lodge on Spring Street. Just this fall, 1.4 km of the main trail was lit for night skiing. Club President, Colin Jandreau, is enthusiastic about the addition. “Many of the lights are situated where the snowshoe trail crosses the ski trail to provide good visibility in higher traffic areas,” he said. “The button to turn on the lights is located on the timing hut in the stadium right in front of the lodge. Lights will remain on for 45 minutes, and can be reset for another 45 minutes.  Most of our users will complete a loop in that amount of time. We recommend that people bring a headlamp anyway.”

There’s no reason to hibernate every night in winter. Grab your constellation app, charge your cell phone battery, and visit Aroostook County this winter – where you’ll revel in the cold, fresh air and our unparalleled night skies. As always it’s a good idea to check for updates on hours of operation, events in progress, and trail conditions.

— Text: Sherry Dubis. Sherry is a native Mainer, teacher, and outdoor enthusiast. She is the token female and pacer in the unsanctioned County Boneheads Ski Team.


Fat Biking in Northerm and Western Maine

Fat Biking in Northern and Western Maine

Looking for a way to make the most of your Maine winter?

Fat biking is fast becoming the most fun you can have on two wheels. It’s a sport that is as exciting for beginners as it is for seasoned mountain biking aficionados. With more and more outfitters renting equipment around the state, it’s easier now than ever to give fat biking a try.

Fat biking is a lot like mountain biking; the difference is the size of the tires. An average width of a mountain bike tire is 2.8 to 3 inches. An average fat bike tire is 4 to 4.8 inches. The bigger tires make it easier for fat bikes to traverse the snow and ice on winter trails.

“I love that fat biking is a totally different sport from Nordic skiing, but people are still having equal amounts of fun on the snow,” said Sarah Weafer, Events and Marketing Director for Mahoosuc Pathways.

Mainers know how to have fun when the snow flies, and there are excellent trails that are specifically groomed for fat biking. Read on to start planning your winter fat bike adventure…

Bethel Village Trails

Bethel Inn Resort
21 Broad Street, Bethel
207-824-6276 (winter only)
www.mahoosucpathways.org/Bethel-Village

While there has been fat biking in the Bethel region for about six years, Mahoosuc Pathways gave the sport a shot of adrenaline when they created the Bethel Village Trails in 2016. These trails are specifically groomed for fat bikes during the winter.

Fat bikers need to purchase either a day pass ($13) or a season pass ($55-$65) to ride. “We sold close to 400 day trail passes last season for fat biking,” Weafer said.

Bikes can be rented from Barker Mountain Bikes at the Bethel Village Trails headquarters. “Many fat bike lovers also enjoy a good craft beer after their ride,” Weafer said. “We’re fortunate to have the Millbrook Tavern right on the premises, and Steam Mill Brewing is a half-mile away. And Sunday River Brew Pub is a few miles from the village.”

Weafer and the team at Mahoosuc Pathways are getting ready for their third annual Snowmaggeddon, a fat bike race that is part of the Maine Fat Bike Winter Series. Mark your calendars for February 2, 2020.

Rangeley Lakes Region

Rangeley Lakes Trails Center
524 Saddleback Mountain Road
Dallas Plantation
207-864-4309
rangeleylakestrailscenter.org

The Rangeley Lakes region has more than 34 miles of groomed multi-use trails to explore. Enjoy stunning views of Saddleback Mountain and Saddleback Lake while you pedal your way through the snow.

You can purchase a seasonal pass or take advantage of their day rate, which varies from $10-$15. You can also rent a fat bike for $35/half day; $55/full day. If you’re new to the sport and prefer to go with a seasoned biker who knows the trails, check out their website for information on guided tours.

The annual Rangeley Fat Bike Loppet is scheduled for January 26, 2020. This epic race has something for everyone: short and long courses on a mix of wide, nordic trails and singletrack. The field is capped at 100 riders, so don’t wait to register! AJ’s Fat Bikes in Rangeley will even rent you a bike.

Katahdin Gear Library, Photo: Shannon Bryan

Photo: Shannon Bryan

Moosehead Lake

Appalachian Mountain Club
Medawisla Wilderness Lodge and Cabins
15 Moosehead Lake Road, Greenville
207-349-0437
www.outdoors.org

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) boasts one of the largest networks of winter cycling trails in Maine. Visitors will want to hit the 80 miles of single track riding located a few miles southeast of the Medawisla Lodge.

The AMC doesn’t rent bikes, but you can pick one up at Northwoods Outfitters in Greenville. Make it a fun getaway for a couple of days and book a stay at Medawisla. Of the three AMC lodges, it’s the only one you can drive into and park during the winter.

While the AMC trails might be a bit off the beaten path, you can ride them for free. Want a bit more adventure? Skip Medawisla and make an overnight reservation at Little Lyford or Gorman Chairback Lodge. “Guests at Lyford and Gorman fat bike to the facilities, roughly 7.5 miles from the winter parking lot,” said Jonathan Zimmerman, AMC Regional Lodging Manager. “Our staff transports their luggage from the winter parking lots to the lodges.”

Katahdin Area Trails

New England Outdoor Center
30 Twin Pines Road, Millinocket
800-634-7238
www.neoc.com

Fat biking with a view of Katahdin? Yes, please! The New England Outdoor Center (NEOC) has been hard at work creating the Katahdin Area Trails – single track mountain biking trails that originate from the NEOC lodge. Take a ride on their newly groomed mountain bike trails or else you can venture out on their cross-country ski trails. You can also ride across Millinocket Lake with ease. “We put studded snow tires on the fat bikes in the winter,” said Matt Polstein, NEOC founder.

Fat bikes can be rented from the lodge for $15/hour; $40/half-day; and $50/full day. Make sure to end your ride at River Driver’s Restaurant and warm up with a delicious meal.

— Text: Melanie Brooks. Melanie has been writing about Maine for the past 12 years. Read more of her past work at melanie-brooks.com


Shawnee Peak

Shawnee Peak: A Winter Playground for the Whole Family

Shawnee Peak's Lil Pine Carpet

Otis on Lil Pine Carpet

When I made the shift to Shawnee Peak last winter from Maine’s larger, more resort-focused ski mountains to teach my three-year-old to ski, I expected a relaxed, mid-sized mountain geared towards family ski days. What I hadn’t envisioned, in addition, was a mountain whose terrain could challenge and sustain me along with a vibrant après ski scene.   

Before last winter, everything I knew about Shawnee Peak had been garnered from a half dozen night skiing trips—a feature the mountain is widely known for. With the limited terrain offered to night skiers, I didn’t have a good handle on the full oeuvre of the jewel of Bridgton when I purchased my season’s pass last winter. But, my friends with young kids raved about Shawnee Peak as the premier family mountain in Maine, so with a deep desire to convert my children into life-long skiing zealots, I decided I was in.

From the first trip to the mountain with my son, Otis, I knew this was the place.

The parking scene at Shawnee Peak is reliably manageable. Even on days when we didn’t pull into the lot until 9:30 a.m., we still found a spot where my son could manage the walk to the lodge by himself. If you’re a parent, you understand the importance of this perk. From the cozy lodge, it’s a short hike to two magic carpets: Snow Pine Carpet and the longer Lil Pine Carpet. Kids are free on both with a paying adult.

Shawnee Peak

Otis on the lift

It didn’t take long before Otis pointed to the Rabbit Run Triple chair and exclaimed, “I want to ride the high lift!” For just $12 we found ourselves riding up the beginner slope on the chairlift—Otis’s eyes darting around the landscape with pure wonderment as the world slid by.

What’s nice about the snug children’s terrain is that when Otis was tired, we’d ski to the lodge, eat our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and enjoy the easy walk back to the Jeep where he quickly fell asleep in his car seat, the outline of a smile lining his face.

The experience with kids was everything I could have hoped for, but then came the real test: What’s in it for dad when he can slip away solo or with friends? Turns out, plenty.

“We are pretty blessed with our terrain, which offers a great experience for both families and advanced skiers,” said Geoff Homer, whose family has owned Shawnee Peak for more than 26 years.  “I truly believe there is something for everyone.”

The East Glades at Shawnee Peak

The East Glades

With last year’s snowfall and Shawnee’s dedication to blowing snow over 98 percent of its terrain, I often found myself carving through steep, demanding runs, especially off the Sunnyside Triple. With trails such as Upper Kancamangus, Peter’s Plunge, Cody’s Caper, and East Glades, when there’s snow, there are a myriad of bumps and trees to maneuver through— not to mention the secret pockets of heady glades hidden throughout the mountain.

“We place a tremendous emphasis on snowmaking,” said Homer. “Our investment and commitment to having a superior snow surface every day is on the top of our minds each morning.”

On the nights I got out to ski under the glow of sodium lights with friends, it was a joy tearing down the runs off Summit Triple. Though, be warned, the trails can become icy and skied off as the night wears on.

Night skiing at Shawnee Peak

Night Skiing

When the bitter wind chilled our bones, we’d ski to Blizzard’s Pub on the top floor of the base lodge for their modest, but solid selection of Maine beer and a choice burger, before slipping back out for a few last dreamy runs beneath a million pulsing stars.

From tenderhearted day trips with Otis to kid-free runs ripping down the mountain, Shawnee Peak opened up in front of me last winter with astonishing charm.

— Text & Photos: Dave Patterson. Dave is a novelist, beer critic, and lover of Maine winters. His novel, Soon the Light Will be Perfect, is available online and at independent bookstores throughout Maine.


How to Shootin the Snow, by Mike Leonard

Struggling to shoot winter scenes?

Wintertime can present some interesting challenges for a photographer.  The colder weather will reduce the battery run time in your camera, moving from cold to warm environments can cause condensation [fog] to form on your lenses and trying to stay warm and keep your gear protected from the elements takes extra attention.

Once you solve all of those challenges the next one is capturing a scene with a proper exposure.  Snow has a natural high reflectance value and if you shoot the pristine white snow in Auto mode it can come out looking a battleship gray shade since that is what the auto iris is actually programmed to do when shooting in Auto. The problem is not with your camera – it’s just that a bright snow scene is not an ‘average’ scene.  The key is to over expose but not so much that you lose details.  Think about light being like water and you are pouring some into a glass.  Under fill the glass and you will have a dark image, over fill the glass and you will lose some of the water, or in camera terms the highlight details will be lost in the image, which is not good.  Capturing in Raw Mode can significantly help with this because after making your capture you will have the latitude to change the exposure as much as plus or minus 5 f/stops.  But it is still favorable to get the exposure correct in the camera.

The key is to capture all of the tonality of the slightly different shades without ‘clipping’ the highlighted details in the scene.

Remember the overfilling the glass scenario above?  We want to keep all the water.  A Histogram display is a great way to instantly see if you are making the proper exposure.  The ‘mountain’ wants to favor the right side of the display but not so far that it is slammed against the edge. Finding that proper exposure is important to preserving the details in the scene and thankfully when shooting digital we can see the exposure value and resulting image instantly.

Photo comparison, before and after. Mike Leonard.

Histograms of snowman. Mike Leonard.

White subjects on a white background have a minimal amount of contrast – it’s not like a dark object in front of something white.  Auto Focus may not see enough contrast to operate correctly so you may need to choose manual focus mode.  Details in the image can be brought out out by affecting the contrast in the scene.  Some cameras allow you to set a scene file or Picture Style right in the camera menu where you can adjust the contrast.  Choosing a high contrast setting will let you accentuate the subtle shades in the scene to bring out more details in the picture.

For even more control of the image consider using an editing application like Adobe Photoshop to further expand the tonality and bring out even more details.  Again this requires a properly exposed image to start with.  Some Photoshop Plug-ins can be very useful for digging out even more details in a scene – Topaz Adjust is just one that is very good for bringing out details in what may be a flat looking image.

Processing from camera Raw files is really a great idea since you will get the quality you were seeking when you bought the camera.  JPG files can throw away as much as 80% of the image detail and to only have 20% of the image to edit your abilities will be very limited.  Lots of modern cell phone cameras have the option to capture in a raw mode called DNG – Digital Negative Format – which gives you a lot of opportunities for editing your images after you capture.

If you are not interested in doing your own post processing there are services where you may send your camera raw files to be ‘developed’ and you will receive back optimized files that you can print, post to social media, e-mail … etc.

And if you make your best capture of snow now you’ll have something to look back at on those hot summer days.

— Text & Photos: Michael Leonard. Mike is a master at capturing the extremes with his camera. His favorite subjects to shoot are nighttime scenes including Lightning and Aurora (See How to Take Photos After Dark) and during the day he likes shooting landscapes, seascapes, lighthouses and more.  Learn more about improving your photography at phototourismbymike.com


Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School

GET OUT AND CLIMB THIS WINTER!

Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School

Photo courtesy of Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School

With the coming of sub-freezing temperatures, picturesque waterfalls and natural mountain water seeps become beautifully sculpted walls of ice. Scattered throughout the Maine mountains, these ever changing frozen ice flows have become a winter playground for hundreds of ice climbers. Ice climbers come in all different shapes and sizes. Men, women, boys and girls – all can do it! Once the domain of mountaineers training for big alpine peaks or an off-season activity for rock climbers, ice climbing has grown into a sport unto itself. For many action-oriented people it is a great source of human powered winter adventure and exercise enhanced by the ever changing world of frozen water.

Mountain guide Jon Tierney believes that anyone who likes being outside in winter and has a reasonable degree of fitness can be successful climbing ice. “The learning curve for ice climbing is easier than rock climbing because you can put your crampons and ice axes almost anywhere” Tierney says. Jon has been guiding and teaching ice climbing since the eighties. He has even taken clients to western China to tackle first ascents of difficult ice climbs and mountain peaks. Jon is one of 80 fully certified international mountain guides working in the US (IFMGA) and the only one residing in Maine.

If you are interested in learning to ice climb, instruction is essential. Hiring a professional guide is the surest and fastest way of learning to ice climb safely. Jon’s school, Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School offers daily instruction in Acadia National Park, Camden Hills, and the Sugarloaf and Sunday River regions as well as over the border in the White Mountains. The school is fully accredited by the AMGA to provide rock, ice, mountaineering or backcountry skiing instruction or guiding.

Start swinging those ice tools today!

ACADIA MOUNTAIN GUIDES CLIMBING SCHOOL

Voted #1 family activity in Maine and rated #1 activity in Bar Harbor every year since 2014 on Trip Advisor.  Featured by Outside Magazine, National Geographic Adventure Magazine, Bill Green’s Maine Outdoors, CBS, The Travel Channel, and many more.

Mountaineering and Ice Climbing Courses


INTRO TO WINTER MOUNTAINEERING $500
Mahoosuc Notch/Crawford Notch
Dec 27-29 |  Jan 3-5 | Jan 18-20 |  Feb 15-17

MT WASHINGTON ASCENT $160
Mt. Washington, New Hampshire
Dec 29 | Jan 5 | Feb 1 | Feb 17

HALF/FULL DAY ICE IN ACADIA, CAMDEN AND BANGOR
Acadia National Park/Camden Hills/Bangor Ice Park
Anytime! Call for availability!
Acadia and Camden hit the New England feel of ice climbing without the drive to the Mt. Washington Valley.

Live in the Bangor area? You live minutes away from an awesome ice climbing playground!

ALPENGLOWGEAR.COM

(207) 866-7562 | ACADIAMOUNTAINGUIDES.COM


 

 


Allagash Wilderness Waterway

Allagash Splash!

The State of Maine is vast, full of wild things and wild places to enjoy.

One of the greatest ways to experience Maine is to hit the waterways of this great state via a canoe expedition. If you’re thinking about Maine Bucket List adventures for next year, the classic canoe trip down the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is just the ticket. The Allagash is Maine’s most famous canoe expedition, with lakes, easy river sections and miles of unspoiled scenery.  It’s also the best way to see the wildlife of this great state —moose, deer, eagles maybe even a bear or two. And don’t forget to wet a line for some of the best fishing around!

The classic Allagash expedition takes about seven days or longer if you want to take your time. From Chamberlain Lake north to Allagash Village, there are 80 rustic campsites along the way with a couple of short portages (nothing too drastic).

The Allagash is roughly 65 miles long and drains into a remote and scenic area of wilderness in the Maine North Woods north of Mount Katahdin.

If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing and effortless, but just as awe-inspiring, there are around 6,000 lakes and ponds to explore in Maine. Beyond those that are named, there are additionally more than 2,500 unnamed lakes and ponds to take your pick. Open a map, pick a spot, pack a tent, canoe and provisions, and don’t forget your camera.

Get your outdoors on folks, be safe and I’ll see ya out there! Booyaakah!

Canoe Expedition Portage Pack, Liberty Rogue Outdoors

Canoe Expedition Portage Pack

If you are into canoe expeditions you’re going to need and want this pack! Heck, if you’re into camping, hunting, hiking expeditions  and more, this is exactly what this pack was built for.

Made in the U.S., the Canoe Expedition Portage Pack by Raging River Trading Co. (Veteran-owned and operated) in North Carolina, is, by far, the best made and thought-out pack of its kind. Made from 10,000-Nylon Cordura, a waterproof bottom panel, two side panel sleeves, two grab handles on front, fully adjustable shoulder straps, a chest strap and three load-adjusting straps on each side, it even has molly webbing galore for attaching anything you might need that won’t fit inside the over 3,900 cubic inches of pack space, including four inside mesh pockets, a drawstring closure with expandable drawstring overstuff panel.

There is definitely something to be said for a company that puts a lot of thought into their products and this pack’s quality is the best I have seen. I coined the phrase  “History in every stitch” for other products made by Raging River Trading Co. and their gear has never let me down. I wish I’d had this type of gear when I was a Marine —it’s tough, dependable, comfortable, versatile and built to last. Check out Raging River Trading Co. at ragingrivertrading.com or on Facebook and see my video review on this on YouTube at LibertyRogueOutdoors, tinyurl.com/ragingriverpack.

— Text & Photos: Alex “The Rogue’Stah” Ribar. Alex is a U.S. Marine, survival expert, avid traditional bow hunter,  contestant on ALONE, Season 4 and alternate on ALONE Mongolia Season 5. Owner and operator of Liberty Rogue Outdoors, check it out on YouTube!


The Capens on Moosehead Lake, Maine

Moosehead: An Adventurous Tradition

For eons, our Waponaki neighbors have lived, fished, hunted and protected the majestic wilderness area we call the Moosehead Lake Region.

In 1846, Henry David Thoreau made the first of his three adventurous trips to the pristine wilderness with the assistance of Penobscot , Joe Attean. The Penobscot River was a central portage of what had been known for centuries as the Meductic Trail; an ancient water road used by the tribes of the region for seasonal trading and swift travel to southerly regions.  This trail begins in New Brunswick, on the St. John River near the site of Meductic, the oldest known Maliseet settlement, which was a fortified village and thriving trade center.

The poet, philosopher, activist and great voice of wildness and wilderness, described Moosehead Lake as a “gleaming platter at the end of a table” in the documentary account of his explorations in The Maine Woods.

LUMBERING

Starting in the mid-1830s, lumber became a major Maine industry. During that period, Bangor became known as the Lumber Capital of the World with more than 300 sawmills and numerous vessels from both Europe and the U.S. docking daily to fill their limit of lumber cargo. Entrepreneurs saw the North Maine Woods as a golden opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the burgeoning lumber industry.

Aaron Capen, Sr. and his son, Aaron Jr., trekked up from Boston in 1833 to check out timberland opportunities in the Moosehead Lake Region. After cruising around the lake, they found that Deer Island and neighboring Sugar Island (with an excellent supply of timber) were available, and in 1834, purchased the two islands. Their timberland investment soon evolved into Capen’s Sporting Camps.

Harry E Wilson, a Union Army Civil War veteran, decided that a life in pristine Maine with a guaranteed job provided him with a perfect choice. Thus, he moved to the Greenville Junction area, and commenced working at a local sawmill. He soon realized that the loggers needed some accommodations, which motivated Harry to build Wilsons Camps in 1865.

THE GILDED AGE 

In the later part of the 19th century, industrialist and bankers such as John Astor, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller were often referred to as the Robber Barons.

Maynard's in Maine

Photo courtesy of Maynard’s in Maine

As a result of their wealth and power, this new class of nouveau riche was fascinated with having wilderness experiences, and entrepreneurial Mainers were up for the challenge of developing fishing and hunting camps to satisfy this need.

Trains, steamboats and stagecoaches formed the transportation infrastructure that made travel to the Maine wilderness possible. During the summer of 1873, Teddy Roosevelt, then a young teenager, made his first trip to Moosehead Lake from New York with his family. They traveled to Dexter, Maine by train and then boarded a stagecoach for Greenville. During the last half of the 19th century as many as 55 steamboats plied the waters of Moosehead Lake. The late 19th century and early 20th century saw the development of additional sporting camps and infrastructure.

In 1880, Charles Randall from Milo, Maine developed West Branch Pond Camps, and in 1901, Mose Duty a young Maine guide and boat builder, started clearing land for what would become Spencer Pond Camps. A century ago, Walter Maynard established the iconic Maynard’s in Maine Sporting Camps in Rockwood.

In 1910, the Great Northern Paper Company established Pittston Farm in Rockwood to provide accommodations and food for the men involved in logging drives. Today, the farm serves as a lodge for folks engaged in sporting activities and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Steamboat Katahdin. Photos courtesy of Moosehead Maritime Museum.The historic steamboat Katahdin was built in Bath in 1914, and joined the fleet of steamboats carrying passengers to sporting camps and lodges that dotted Moosehead Lake. Later, she was converted into a towboat for hauling lumber. The Moosehead Marine Museum completely refurbished Katahdin during the 1990s and today, it’s listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, while offering cruises on the lake from their Greenville dock from late June until Columbus Day.

Another legendary fixture in Greenville is Harris Drug Store, which has been serving local resident and visitors for well over a century by Harris family pharmacists. Today, Mike Harris carries on the family tradition.

The 1930s saw the establishment of The Birches as a hunting and fishing lodge in Rockwood on the shores of Moosehead Lake. Today, in the summer months, they have fly-fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and mountain biking trails to explore. You can search for wildlife on a moose cruise or wilderness safari. Accommodations vary from cabins on the lake and lodge rooms, to large rental homes. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served in the dining room overlooking the lake.

THE GREAT DEPRESSION & WORLD WAR II YEARS

The ingenuity, strength and resilience of the families that operated the sporting camps in the Moosehead Lake Region during WW II and ensuing years, allowed the families to come through those hard times, ready to move forward.

Traditions are valued, but nostalgia does not mark today’s sporting camps and the new adventurous traditions have evolved.

Maynard's in Maine

Photo courtesy of Maynard’s in Maine.

THE NEW ERA        

The mid-1950s marked a new era in family vacations. The new suburbanites with access to cars and interstate highways soon discovered Moosehead Lake as a vacation destination as it had become a one-day drive from southern New England.

Fishing and hunting remained a part of the region’s attractions, but canoeing, kayaking, biking, hiking, moose safaris, bird watching and leaf peeping were new activities that brought new adventurous to the Moosehead region.

Unfortunately, November 17, 1953 saw the iconic Capon’s Sporting Camps on Deer Island be destroyed by fire.

The 1960s saw the opening of downhill skiing at Squaw Mountain, and a bit later, snowmobile trails started to be groomed, which ushered in a whole new era of sports for the region.

Moosehead sporting camps continued to flourish in this new era by adapting to the needs of the time. Many stayed open year-round to support the growing interest in winter sports.

Roger Courier made access to remote lodges and lakes of the region by initiating a float-plane service in the early 1980s. Prior to this venture, Courier had been a contract pilot for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries. He currently operates Courier Flying Service that offers sightseeing service to the region, as well as a seaplane museum. His operation is located at 447 Pritham Avenue, in Greenville.

TODAY

Coming up on the current summer season will see Maynard’s in Maine celebrating their 100th anniversary. Gail Maynard and her son, Bill, are the camp’s hosts. They operate a four-season business, but have limited winter accommodations for snowmobilers.

Wilsons Camps were purchased by the Snell family in the 1980s from the Wilsons, run by the camp’s hosts, Scott and Alison Snell. Today, renamed Wilsons on Moosehead Lake, the camp is run as a four-season operation. Snowmobilers can sled from their cabin onto well-groomed trails.

In 1969, the Willard family purchased The Birches. John Willard is the host of this iconic camp that is marking its 50th anniversary within the Willard family.

The West Branch Pond Camps, hosted by Eric, Mildred, Avis and Oscar Stirling, has two seasons: Summer/Fall, which runs from ice out in May until Columbus Day and Winter, which starts on January 15. Their winter season specializes in serving cross-country skiers.

Spencer Pond Camps, hosted by Christine Howe and Dana Black, (both registered Maine Guides) provides guests with a true nostalgic wilderness experience as it is off- the-grid, which allows its guests to experience what life was like at camps in the late 19th century.

Guests to the Moosehead Lake Region can choose accommodations from lodges with impressive amenities and gourmet cuisine to rustic cabins and yurts with family-style meals. A huge menu of activities include canoeing, kayaking, fishing, biking, hiking, birding, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting, and ATVing are just a few of the opportunities.

Northern Outfitters in Greenville can help visitors with any outdoor sporting needs, including the rental of ATVs and in winter snowmobiles. They also can arrange for a fun rafting adventure. If you should bring your own ATV or snowmobile, and it needs servicing, Moosehead Motor Sports is available to help. And Northeast Whitewater can arrange for a perfect experience on Maine’s wild and beautiful rivers.

Indian Hill Trading Post in Greenville is worth the visit as it is a unique combination of a large sporting goods store with a complete super market and liquor department. This one-stop location offers a wide range of brand name gear and apparel, hunting and fishing licenses for residents and non-residents, firearms, fishing equipment and extensive outdoor supplies.

If it’s cultural interests you seek, drop by the Moosehead Historical Society and Museum. This past June, the Moosehead Lake region’s famed outdoor traditions were celebrated with the unveiling of a new, permanent exhibition titled, “Moosehead’s Outdoor Heritage.” The renewed interest in the mystique of the North Maine Woods makes the opening especially relevant. Visitors are introduced to the spectacular places, wildlife, and the working traditions that are still a part of the Moosehead Lake Region today.

The Main Campus of the Moosehead Historical Society is located at: 444 Pritham Avenue Greenville, ME. For more information: (207) 695-2909 or email: mooseheadhistory@myfairpoint.net.

This year, plan to enjoy traditions following in the footsteps of many a Maine adventurer.

— Text: Jim Harnedy joined the Activities Guide of Maine team as Sr. Editor in 1992, and has been closely involved with the magazine’s evolution through time. His 10th book: Forgotten Tales of Down East Maine was just released by The History Press.


Passport for a 3-nation adventure. Photos by Michael Leonard.

The Quoddy Loop: Passport for a 3-Nation Adventure

The Quoddy Loop provides a unique opportunity to visit and enjoy the scenic coastal and island communities of Down East Maine, the home of the Passamaquoddy Nation and the West Fundy Isles of New Brunswick.

Adventures abound: nature walks, whale watching cruises, lighthouse and history tours, galleries with paintings, jewelry, pottery and sculpture by fine local artists as well as chance to enjoy a leisurely pace and refresh oneself.

Each of three communities has its own rich history. It is believed that ancestors of current Passamaquoddy tribal members lived on the Quoddy Loop more than 12,000 years ago. Ancient art depicting their history and culture is found in 3,000-year-old petroglyphs carved in rocks at a shorefront site in Machiasport. Pierre Dugua, Samuel Champlain and a group of 77 French explorers, established the first European settlement north of St Augustine, Florida on St. Croix Island, just of the present day Calais, Maine in 1604. The few settler survivors of the horrible winter of 1604 -1605 were saved and helped to relocate to Nova Scotia by members of the Passamaquoddy Nation. During the Revolutionary War the Passamaquoddy tribe joined forces with Americans in their fight for independence. Today the Passamaquoddy Nation is physically located on two reservations in Down East, Maine. One reservation is located in Indian Township near Princeton; while the other reservation is located at Pleasant Point on Passamaquoddy Bay a short distance from Eastport.

Washington County is the eastern most county in the United States. Machias which was settled in 1763, serves as the shire town for this region. The name Machias is derived from the Native American word, Mechises which means “bad little falls” or “a bad run of water.” Machias, Lubec, Eastport and Calais are the four largest communities in the county.

Campobello Island, Deer Island and Grand Manan Island are the three Fundy Isles of New Brunswick that lie closest to their American neighbors.

Captain William Owen who came from an affluent Welsh family received a royal grant in 1767 for what was then called Outer Island. Three years later, he and a group of 38 indentured servants that he had signed up arrived to settle Outer Island, which by then, he’d renamed Campobello Island.

The Owens family continued to rule the island as their private fiefdom for the next 110 years. Transportation between neighboring ports have been achieved through the years by ferry connections. Although the distance across the Narrows between Lubec and Campobello Island is but a stone’s throw, it was not until August 1962 that the two were connected by the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge. Ferry services continue to link Lubec, Eastport, Deer Island, Grand Manan, Campobello Island and St. Andrews.

 

A seafaring lifestyle is the strong thread that ties the past to the present. Many celebrations, festivals and occupations are dependent on the seas around them.

The Quoddy Loop has a number of light houses providing visibility for the mariners plying the local waters but two lights are especially well known as attractions for visitors—West Quoddy Head Light in Lubec and East Quoddy Head Harbour Light Station on Campobello Island. In addition to the pristine views provided from these two lights they both have wonderful nature walks to enjoy.

Captain Butch extends a special invitation to visitors to the region, to join him for a fun-packed experience on the Eastport Windjammer’s 47-foot lobster boat. Guests will have the opportunity to see spectacular wildlife: eagles, porpoises, seals, minke, and finback whales. On-board educational experiences will include lobster trap pulling, demonstrations, and a touch tank for viewing crabs, lobsters and sea urchins and other sea life. Captain
Harris also offers two-hour sunset sails. For more information and reservation call (207) 853-2500 or
visit: WWW.EASTPORTWINDJAMMERS.COM.

Great nature hikes marked by refreshing ocean breezes and unspoiled natural beauty are available across the entire Quoddy Loop from Fort O’Brien State Park in Machiasport, where one can enjoy a spectacular view of Machias Bay where the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War was successfully fought by a small band of American patriots to the St. Croix Island National Park site near Calais that commemorates the ill-fated first North American settlement north of St. Augustine, Florida.

Fun activities do not need to be damped by a stormy day. A number of wonderful galleries can be found throughout the area. Several unique museums including Raye’s Old Stone Mustard Mill Museum in Eastport, which offer daily tours at 10:30 a.m., are open to visitors. This iconic mill has been inthe Raye family for well over a century. This year the Rayes have opened a new retail outlet for their gourmet mustards and other Maine products at 54 Water Street, downtown Eastport.

The Summer of 2019 marks the 55th anniversary of the Roosevelt International Park, which lies just across the Roosevelt International Bridge that links Lubec, Maine to Campobello Island, This should be a must stop on all visitors’ lists of activities to do. The summer home of President Roosevelt is the centerpiece of the world’s only international park and serves as a unique memorial to the close relationship between the people of Canada and the United States as well as the special place that FDR hadwith his beloved island. The Roosevelt cottage is open from Victoria Day (the Saturday prior to Memorial Day) through Canadian Thanksgiving Day (corresponding with Columbus Day in the U.S.) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ADT). The park’s visitor center remains open through October 31 to accommodate fall visitors.

Check out our events calendar for the many festivals held in the region.

Great dining and accommodations from B&Bs, inns, motels and campgrounds make the Down East Quoddy Loop your 2019 destination.

Be sure and bring your passport, as both Canadian and U.S. Customs require them.

— Text: Jim Harnedy. Jim joined the Activities Guide of Maine team as Sr. Editor in 1992, and has been closely involved with the magazine’s evolution through the years. His 10th book: Forgotten Tales of Down East Maine was just released by The History Press.


Enjoy a scenic, stellar bike ride around Portland

Enjoy a Scenic, Stellar Bike Ride Around Portland

Riding along the Eastern Promenade Trail in Portland, past the renowned graffiti wall.

Riding along the Eastern Promenade Trail in Portland, past the renowned graffiti wall.

With the arrival of autumn in Maine, some bicycling is indubitably in order.

There are 70 miles of trails and green space in Greater Portland, according to non-profit organization Portland Trails, which builds and maintains the trails.

This means there are plenty of trails to take, whether you’re running, biking, walking, rollerblading, scootering or performing an endless series of cartwheels while juggling chainsaws, which I wouldn’t recommend.

Riding through Bug Light Park in South Portland.

Riding through Bug Light Park in South Portland.

However, I would recommend one particular trail for bicycling enthusiasts. A picturesque, adventurous and dynamic route, this approximately 16-mile bike ride isn’t terribly strenuous, takes about three hours (depending on pace) and enables you to see a myriad of scenic Portland landmarks – and drink beer! You’ll see and experience Baxter Boulevard, Casco Bay, the Old Port, the Casco Bay Bridge, South Portland’s Green Belt Trail, Bug Light Park and, of course, a couple breweries.

START HERE

Begin by parking in the Back Cove parking lot, located across the street from Hannaford Supermarkets on Forest Avenue, which is accessible off Exit 6B from I-295 north or Exit 6A from I-295 south.

The CMYK IPA at Goodfire Brewing in Portland.

The CMYK IPA at Goodfire Brewing in Portland.

From here, hop onto the beautiful Baxter Boulevard Trail. This is a scenic trail with amazing views of Back Cove that touches upon Edward Payson Park. Follow this all the way until you get to the trail that hugs I-295 south, where a barricade will keep you safe from all the motorists like Sammy Hagar who can’t drive 55. This is when you’ll deviate off this part of the trail and head under the bridge of I-295, known as Tukey’s Bridge. This will lead you to the Eastern Promenade Trail to the left, where a series of beguiling scenes await you.

Taking a break with a CMYK IPA at Goodfire Brewing in Portland.

Taking a break with a CMYK IPA at Goodfire Brewing in Portland.

Follow this straight for more nearly two miles, marveling at the 360-degrees of arresting charm and beauty (that is, after you pass the East End Treatment Plant) until the trail transitions into Commercial Street. This is where you’ll get the most urban conditions and, thus, traffic, (as well as pedestrian activity) so use caution as you proceed all the way down until you reach the Casco Bay Bridge. I’d suggest taking a right onto High Street, a left on York Street, then getting on the pedestrian side of the bridge to the left since it feels safer than the bike lane on the other side. It also provides an easier exit from the bridge. Just be mindful of and courteous to pedestrians. When you eventually see the exit to the left, follow this instead of continuing down the entire bridge.

When you get off, you’ll land on an enchanting cobblestone strip in what’s known as Thomas Knight Park, where you can take in the views of Portland beneath the bridge.

Foulmouthed Brewing

Just past this is Foulmouthed Brewing on the right, where you can stop for both beer and a snack. After that refreshing pause, continue straight on Ocean Street, then to Cottage Road, then take a left onto the paved path right after Hannaford, called the Green Belt Walkway. Follow this straight all the way until you reach Bug Light Park, and take in a stunning panoramic view of Portland and Casco Bay.

After taking a moment to enjoy this – the terminus of the first half of your bike ride – turn around and go back the way you came. (Indeed, this unfortunately is not a loop trail, but it’s so dynamic and ever-changing that it hardly matters.) Only this time, be sure to pull off the Eastern Prom Trail by Tukey’s Bridge and head over to Goodfire Brewing, Lone Pine Brewing, or any of those other breweries in that area.

After all, as Bissell Brothers is wont to say, “you earned it, bud.”

— Text & Photos: Garrick Hoffman. Garrick is a freelance writer and photographer living in Portland. Follow him on Instagram, @satisfaction_garrickteed, and visit his blog at GarrickHoffman.com.


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