This past year marked my 10th as the hiking & camping columnist for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. Wow. It has been a heckuva good time and I am ever grateful for the ongoing opportunity to write about one of the things in life 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 this public place to showcase my work, is to have readers willing to read it. And comment about it, good and bad. Thank you, each and every one of you. Keep reading, keep commenting and keep emailing me. You make it so worthwhile.
Over the decade I’ve written more than 200 columns, and here’s the latest and greatest from 2013. I’ll start with pieces that are categorized under “hiking,” each with a short lead-in and a link to the full story. Then I’ll follow up in another post with the others.
Hope you have fun reviewing this year of hiking with me. Enjoy!
The Amherst Mountains Community Forest out on the old Airline Road (Route 9) in Amherst is a 4,974-acre tract of forestland encompassing six ponds, miles of streams, significant wetlands, a jumble of granite hills and ledges, and a half-dozen miles of hiking trails. A great place when I was a kid; even more so now. Read: “A look at the Amherst Mountains Community Forest.”
You can take any of a half-dozen trails to reach the summit of mile-high Katahdin, the crowning peak of Baxter State Park, but be forewarned, none of the routes are easy. But all are incredibly worthwhile. Read: “A Katahdin climb in well worth the effort.”
From Aroostook County to York County you can follow the progression of the fall foliage with a number of great hikes over the course of some six weeks. Read: “Hiking plus foliage equals fun.”
The Brave Boat Harbor Division of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Kittery Point encompasses 700 acres of salt marsh and estuary habitat as well as oak and pine forests and old field uplands. The Cutts Island Trail system makes a fine loop of two miles through this scenic and diverse landscape. Read: “Rachel Carson Refuge helps preclude a silent spring.”
Two unheralded and little-traveled mountaintops in the far northeast corner of Penobscot County offer fine hiking and tremendous views of the length of Baxter State Park from Katahdin to Traveler and beyond. Amazing! And you’ll see no one. Read: “Penobscot’s peaks offer a Maine mountain high.”
Here’s eight classic hikes from across the state, as well as some suggestions on where to grab some grub and a brew nearby post-hike. Read: “A guide for hiking, and enjoying the after-hiking.”
There’s the “Ten Essentials” that every hiker should carry in the rucksack on all outings. Then there’s my list of “Ten Non-essentials” that I feel are equally as important, especially the beer. Read: “Taking a hike? Do it safely, do it in comfort.”
A little known fact: Five Maine ski areas provide snowshoers and hikers with access to their ski slopes for winter adventure on foot. Read: “Uplifting experience hiking the peaks.”
This 13-mile loop hike through the backcountry of Camden Hills State Park makes a terrific 2-day weekend backpack trip, including a mountaintop stay at one of two shelters (old and leaky, but still…) atop Bald Rock Mountain. Read: “An under-the-radar spot that shouldn’t be missed.”