This past year marked my 10th as a hiking & camping columnist for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. Wow! It’s been a heckuva good time and I am ever grateful for the ongoing opportunity to write about what I love most, the Maine outdoors.
Huge thanks are due my editors, Tom Atwell, who gave me the chance originally in 2003, and Joe Grant, who keeps me on track and under word count today. Everybody at the paper – and I’ve known quite a few of you over time – has been terrific. Many of you I count as friends, all as top-notch, dedicated professionals. Thank you.
Perhaps the biggest thanks of all, after having a public place for my work, is to have readers willing to read it. And comment about it, good and bad. Thanks to each and every one of you. Keep reading, keep commenting and keep emailing me. You make it worthwhile.
Over the decade I’ve written more than 200 columns, and here’s the latest and greatest from 2013. I blogged about the most of the hiking columns earlier this year, and this time around I’ll catch you up on the rest of them, from x-c skiing and snowshoeing to hut-to-hut trekking to the AT to camping. (I meant to write this “part 2” weeks ago, but you know how things go…).
From the Maine Woods to the White Mountains to the Adirondacks, there are a number of great opportunities for ski & stay treks, from rustic cabins to backcountry huts to plush country inns: “There’s more than skiing to enjoy on a skiing vacation.”
Three miles of trails at the scenic Spirit Pond Preserve are just the thing for getting outdoors on a frosty cold winter’s hike: “Snowshoeing in Phippsburg can keep one’s spirits up.”
CONTINENTAL DIVIDE TRAIL
Big time hiker Tom Jamrog of Lincolnville, Maine had his work cut out for him before he ever left for his epic 3,200-mile trek on the Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana: “His toughest trek beckons.”
Note: I’m so pleased to report that Tom finished his CDT hike in September, and I was lucky enough to attend his program recounting his wild adventure. I did so in recently in three blog posts: “Lessons from the Continental Divide Trail,” “Continental-sized challenges on the Continental Divide Trail” and “Embrace the Brutality of the Continental Divide Trail.”
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
It was a ridiculous year in Washington D.C. (is that an oxymoron perhaps??) that saw the federal government shutdown not once but twice had repercussions for our own Acadia National Park, which closed for a period of time in both the spring and fall. That didn’t stop this hiker or many thousands of other outdoor enthusiasts from getting out and enjoying what is rightfully ours, bought and paid for.
My spring thumb-in-the-eye: “Politicians can take a hike – and so should you at Acadia National Park.”
And my fall snub at the pols: “The autumn pace of an Acadia hike.”
APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN CLUB
I’m a big fan and member of the AMC and enjoy following along with their accomplishments. This year marked the 10th anniversary of their good work on 66,500 acres in the heart of Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness… “Maine Woods Initiative has proven a success.”
A rugged, early June hut-to-hut trek across the lofty Presidential Range of New Hampshire didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the 100th anniversary of the AMCs White Mountains hut system: “Hikers hear the call: Hut, hut, hut!”
With 100,000 members in 12 chapters ranging over a geographic expanse from Maine to Virginia, there’s a lot going on outdoors with the AMC all year long: “Always an active season with the AMC.”
In my annual review of some of the good books that end up in this hiker’s mailbox every year, I take a look at trail guides to Katahdin and the White Mountains, a hiking guide for Baby Boomers, and skills for Wilderness & Travel Medicine: “Guides to so much, and so very well worth reading.”
Experienced AT and PCT thru-hiker and author Dan Feldman of Bowdoinham, Maine has written a great new book on the nitty-gritty of how to not only survive a long distance hike but to actually enjoy more of it: “A leg up for going the distance.”
In many respects, the Appalachian Trail and the Maine Appalachian Trail Club are some of the best- kept secrets in Maine, but with the launch of the “Friends of the A.T. in Maine,” all the good news about the Club and the A.T. is now getting out to the people of Maine in a big way: “Because you’ve got a friend in the Appalachian Trail.”
If you’ve got time to hike on the trails, you’ve got time to work on the trails. Lend a hand, please and thanks. Enough said… “Before hikers love the trail, the trails will need some love.”
MAINE ISLAND TRAIL
The 375-mile Maine Island Trail is composed of a string of islands and mainland sites extending from the Piscataqua River in Kittery to Cobscook Bay on the Canadian border. Established in 1988, this amazing trail celebrating its 25th anniversary this year: “Maine Island Trail celebrates 25 years.”
Cobscook Bay State Park in Edmunds Township is a magnificent 888-acre parcel of coves and mudflats, powerful 25-foot tides, dense forests of spruce and fir, bountiful wildlife, and a whole lot of peace and quiet: “A scenic spot that’s well worth the trek.”