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COLLECTING MOUNTAIN HIKES AROUND MOOSEHEAD LAKE
BUILDING A BETTER
AT MAINE’S HYPERLITE
NEW FEATURES IN REVISED
‘MAINE MOUNTAIN GUIDE’
Stay fit when temperatures drop M
any animals hibernate throughout the
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
winter. Humans are afforded no such
says exercise can help boost your immune system,
luxury. In fact, living a sedentary
which can help you fight colds and flu symptoms. Just
lifestyle during the colder months of the
a few minutes of exercise each day can help prevent
year can actually prove detrimental to human health. Exercise is beneficial any time of the year, but it
Working out in the winter may help you burn
can be especially so during the winter months when
more calories than in warmer seasons. Research
colder temperatures force many people inside, where
published in Medicine & Science in Sports &
they live more sedentary lifestyles than they do
Exercise found that race times are faster in cold
during the rest of the year. Adapting your exercise
weather than in warmer temperatures. Quicker
habits in the winter can help you make it through the
runs or walks can burn more calories.
colder months in great shape.
simple viral and bacterial infections as well.
If exercising outdoors is too uncomfortable, break up
There is no reason to stop exercising when the
your routine into smaller, more manageable sessions. Aim
temperature drops. The American Heart Association
for 10 minute sessions several times per day. This quickly
says working out in the cold weather has distinct
can add up to the 30 minutes of daily recommended
advantages over working out in hot and humid
exercise. Dress in layers so you can feel comfortable,
conditions. When the weather is cold, you may be
adjusting your clothing as necessary. You don’t want to be
able to work out longer and harder because the heat
freezing, but you don’t want to wear so many clothes that
won’t zap your energy levels, and exercising outdoors
you start sweating and risk hypothermia.
in the winter is a great way to get small doses of
Consider less-traditional exercises when winter
sunlight that can improve mood and help your body
sets in. These include shoveling snow, sledding,
produce more vitamin D.
skating, skiing, and snowshoeing.
Practice pet safety this winter aring for pets is sometimes
less likely to venture outdoors. Dogs that
freeze and suffer permanent damage. Dogs
compared to raising children:
use the yard to relieve themselves often
and cats are safer and warmer indoors.
though the two are not exactly
cannot avoid the ice and snow. These
the same, there are similarities
conditions can put pets at risk.
Provide more water during the winter when the effort it takes for pets to keep
Salt and other chemicals used to melt
their bodies warm can quickly deplete their
snow and ice can irritate pet paws. When
energy stores. Compensate by giving pets a
between raising a child and caring for a
As with humans, animals are susceptible
the animal then licks irritated paws, the
little more food and water in the winter.
pet. Like curious kids, fearless pets may
to hypothermia and frostbite. When the
chemicals can be transferred to the tongue
Pets may be attracted to automotive
not understand the potential hazards
weather is cold, pets should not remain
and mouth. Rinse paws after dogs come
antifreeze due to its sweet smell and taste.
around them, and some of these dangers
outdoors without shelter for extended
in from walks, or use protective booties
But antifreeze can be toxic. Coolants and
differ depending on the season.
periods of time. The Humane Society of
to keep feet covered. Limit the amount of
antifreeze made with propylene glycol
During the winter season, cold weather
the United States advises that exposed skin
products you use to melt snow, opting for
are less toxic to pets, wildlife and even
and snow may make both pets and people
on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly
sand or cat litter for traction.
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The trail around Mt. Kineo in Moosehead Lake.
less travelled At Moosehead Lake, the mountains issue a challenge STORY & PHOTOS BY ROBIN CLIFFORD WOOD
n a sparkling blue mid-July day,
time to spare before the return ferry. We bought
the great hulking whale of Mount
ice cream sandwiches at the golf clubhouse and
Kineo loomed steadily larger as
ate them on the dock in the afternoon sun, bare
we neared the island on the ferry
feet dangling deliciously in the lake.
shuttle, just launched from Rockwood, Maine on the western shore of Moosehead Lake.
Fantasy Island, indeed, I thought. Why in the world did it take me nearly forty years of
“Listen up, hikers,” said the captain over his
life in Maine, sixteen as a full-time resident,
PA system. The golfers on board had already
to make my first visit to Moosehead Lake and
received their instructions. Now he explained
Mount Kineo? Maybe it’s because the allure
the best way to enjoy a Mt. Kineo hike. Go up
of Maine’s coast, Acadia National Park, and
by way of the steep and picturesque Indian
the Baxter Park region have so dominated
Trail, climb the fire tower, then descend via
my attention. The state of Maine has an
the gentler Bridle Trail—easier on the knees.
“It should take about two and a half hours,
but one of them seems to elude the biggest
round trip,” he said. As we pulled up to the
crowds. The Moosehead Lake region is the
dock, he concluded his patter:
road less traveled.
glorious outdoor settings,
“Okay, folks — welcome to Fantasy Island!”
It was Jean, a peak-bagging friend of mine,
It was no exaggeration. My hiking group—
who finally got me to Moosehead last summer.
four humans and one golden retriever—
She’d heard about an intriguing challenge
exceeded the predicted two and half hours,
called the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit, a
but only because every few yards of our ascent
six-mountain series around Moosehead Lake.
presented another jaw-dropping, postcard-like
Trying for all 67 New England 4000-footers—as
photo op. We clambered up the fire tower at the
Jean has done—feels daunting, but this was an
top for the 180-degree views and sweet breezes.
accessible goal. Plus, I looked forward to my
Back at the bottom, satisfyingly spent, we had
first introduction to the Moosehead region.
Mt. Kineo looms in the distance as travelers ride the Rockwood ferry.
Fall/Winter 2018 The Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit (MPP)
that seek greater intensity, there are sub-
was launched in 2016 by Angela Arno, a
categories: the MPP Ultra, for hikers who
former director of the Moosehead Lake Region
complete all six peaks in a 48-hour period;
Chamber of Commerce. The six-peak hiking
the MPP Winter challenge for all six ascents
challenge was inspired by a similar initiative in
in winter; and the MPP Winter Ultra, six
New York State’s Adirondacks. There is no time
peaks in winter in 48 hours. So far there are
restriction for completing the six ascents, but
118 standard challenge winners listed on the
your hikes must have taken place after the MPP
website, but I suspect there are many more
Challenge began in May of 2016. Once you have
who have finished the challenge but not the
completed the hikes, you send an application
paperwork. I met one of them leaving Mt.
form with your summit dates and times to the
Kineo as I was beginning. Carolyn Eaton and
Moosehead Chamber of Commerce. For a ten-
her hiking buddy were heading to Big Moose,
dollar fee, you are rewarded with a certificate
a two-peak day. They finished their sixth and
and patch, your name on the MPP website
final peak in mid-August. Eaton had hiked in
Acadia and Baxter, she said, but hadn’t hiked
rights, and the satisfaction of supporting Maine’s
Moosehead region. The Audubon Nature Center at Sunrise Pond sits partway up Borestone Mountain.
The six mountain hikes include Borestone, Big Moose, Eagle Rock, Whitecap, Number Four,
around Moosehead. “I was ready for a new area. There’s low crowds and low traffic. Also, for me, I like views of the water. Moosehead has that,” said Eaton. Another positive outcome of the MPP
and Kineo. The hikes range from 3.3 to 6.8 miles
and were chosen largely for their rewarding
trail work in the region. Erica Kaufman, a
views of Moosehead Lake and the surrounding
forestland steward for The Forest Society
area. They also cover a wide swath of territory
of Maine (FSM), said FSM has contributed
that will introduce participants to both the east
to efforts to identify and facilitate trail
and west sides of Moosehead Lake.
easements in the Moosehead area. Kaufman
Skye Lavigne, a Greenville native and
has also served as coordinator for a volunteer
employee at the Visitor Center, told me that
group called Moosehead Trails. They have
the idea of the program was to promote both
made improvements on several of the MPP
the Moosehead region and the hikes. It seems
trails and brought more attention to the hikes.
to be succeeding. There is something about
So far there are twenty-one names listed
a challenge that draws people in. For those
on the MPP website for “Ultra” completions
The Moosehead Lake Region Chamber of Commerce visitors center today hosts the fire tower that formerly sat atop Big Moose Mountain.
and four “Winters.” Some rugged hiker may well become the first “Winter Ultra” hiker in a few months. As for me, I had added Borestone and Big Moose to my list at the writing of this article, with hopes to finish the last three before the snow flies. Each mountain seems to have its own inner circle of fans. My personal favorite so far is Borestone. I loved the natural and human history on display at the Audubon Nature Center a mile up the trail. The summit views from both West and East peaks were stunning, including a bird’s eye view of the charming Sunrise, Midday, and Sunset Ponds. Nature Center guide, Eric Johnsen, calls them, “the string of pearls.” On the trail I met locals and summer folks with loyalty to a particular mountain. Each peak has its champions. In several cases, hikers were making their annual, ritual hike up their favorite peak. Big Moose has lake views and the foundations of an early fire tower. Kineo is a lot of reward for modest effort. White Cap and Eagle Rock are rugged and take time, but have the best payoff. Then there’s the elusive Number Four. What discoveries are in store for me there? Next time you want to get on the trail in Maine, consider the Moosehead Lake region—a road less traveled, but equally worth the trip.
Many of the peaks in the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit boast incredible views of Moosehead Lake.
Start your T
Snowmobile insights from the MSA BY MATT CHABE
he winter season is almost upon us, and regardless of your feelings on the matter, there’s one segment of the population that’s assuredly excited: snowmobilers. According to Bob Meyers, the executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, the unofficial prognosis for the 2018/19 winter season is that it’s going to be a good one. “I think we’re on quite a roll right now,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of good years in a row. It’s been a nice, hot, dry summer, and so we hope that means we’ll have a cold, snowy winter. We’re ready to have at it again.” The Maine Snowmobile Association represents 289 snowmobile clubs across the state “from Sanford up to Allagash,” said Meyers. “And those clubs are the folks that maintain 14,500 miles of the finest snowmobile trails on Earth.” The Association itself has a trail committee that oversees Maine’s ITS trails. Meyers said the average snowmobiler can do his or her part to keep trails maintained by exercising common sense. Litter is a no-no, as is ripping up the trails or damaging them.
However, he said one of the biggest ways people can help maintain trails is to simply get involved: “We encourage everybody to get involved, to help on the trails if you can. At the very least, support your local clubs or the clubs where you ride because those are the people that make it all happen.” He also stressed the importance of respecting landowner rights: “Ninety-five percent of our trails are on private land. Landowner relations is a huge job. Everybody should be treating that land like it's their own when they're out there. Pick up after yourself, stay on the marked trail, and just respect their property.” Meyers also stressed the importance of safety when on the trail, especially in this age of powerful and technologically-advanced machines. “Absolutely never drink and ride,” he said. “That is very important. And keep to the right hand side of the trail at all times. Always be aware of your surroundings— you never know what’s going to be around the next corner, like a sled or a moose. Don’t ride alone.”
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record of providing clean, renewable, and reliable energy to the people of Maine and New England. We are constantly working to be a responsible partner, committed to enhancing the recreational, cultural, and historic resources in the communities we operate. This includes working to highlight the natural beauty and recreational benefits of this great state.
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Sporting camps For high adventure (with little sacrifice), check out Maine sporting camps
eople head to the Maine woods to “get away from it all” for lots of
are as varied as they are similar. Whether your interest is hunting,
reasons. Some want a private, remote experience. Others seek a
fishing, or just plain relaxing, there’s a camp for you. Some have
fun family vacation. Some want to rough it. And others desire a
power, running water, meals and guide services, while others tend to
wilderness experience with modern comforts.
be more rustic—but the core experience is similar.
No matter what the intent, the Maine woods is full of sporting camps
to meet every need. The experiences to be had at Maine sporting camps
Maine’s sporting camps and wilderness lodges are a historic tradition reaching back to the mid-1800s, when wealthy businessmen rode the then-new train from Boston to the remote Maine woods to hunt and fish. Today, Maine’s lodges offer rustic accommodations to sportsmen of all walks of life: fishermen and hunters; paddlers and hikers; friends, couples, and families. Most Maine sporting camps are family owned and are renowned for their warm hospitality. Some are rustic, without electricity or running water, while others offer modern conveniences. Some are nestled on lake fronts or rivers, some are tucked in the woods, and some are close to town. Many offer the traditional American plan, where sports are treated to three home-cooked meals per day, while others offer self-catering accommodations, known as the housekeeping plan.
Check out some of these fine camps, and start planning your next Maine woods adventure!
What will you do on your sporting camp vacation? Fishing Ice fishing Hiking Paddling Swimming Boating
Cross-country skiing Snowmobiling Bird hunting Bear hunting Moose hunting Deer hunting
Bird watching Wildlife watching Biking Photography
Learn more at mainesportingcamps.com.
Lodges cater to runners, yogis, and foodies Make memories with the family all year long at at edge of Katahdin Woods and Waters Matagamon Wilderness
Maine sporting camp typically conjures images of plaid flannel, guided hunts, and anglers. Interestingly enough, a new trend is emerging in the outdoor landscape, and it is changing the way visitors engage with the Maine woods. Ever wanted to do yoga next to a waterfall after a local guide makes bygone timbering history come to life on a hiking trail? If so, you are not alone. Even experienced outdoorspeople are increasingly likely to seek out a knowledgeable guide or search the internet for unique experiences off the beaten path. And they want to eat well, too! Places like Mt. Chase Lodge on Upper Shin Pond are poised to offer exactly the type of outdoor experiences these adventurers are looking for. Near the Katahdin Woods and Waters National
Monument, Mt. Chase Lodge has seen lots of interest in programs like their Endless Trails Runner’s Weekend, Wilderness Plein Air Retreats, and Women’s Skills Weekends. “Guests want to experience the area’s hidden gems that aren’t in a guidebook, and we think it takes the stress out of getaway planning if we provide that,” says Michelle Martin, one of the lodge’s Registered Maine Guides and yoga instructor. “Being able to enrich someone’sexperience of a place—that’s key.” Outdoorspeople these days tend to agree. Guided offerings, pre-planned programs, and excellent prix fixe gourmet dining set lodges like Mt. Chase Lodge apart. This willingness to adapt and change keeps the Maine sporting camp tradition alive, vibrant, and relevant to today’s outdoor enthusiasts.
atagamon Wilderness in T6-R8 is a family owned and operated business, nestled along the East Branch of the Penobscot River and at the outlet of Grand Lake Matagamon. We are a four-season business, with six cozy cabins, wilderness campsites, and Momma Bears’ Kitchen to fulfill all your needs. During the cold months, enjoy snowmobiling with ITS85 right outside our door. Ice fishing on Grand Lake Matagamon is great for all ages (if you get too cold, we have heated ice fishing shacks for rent). Enjoy skiing? Come try some of our local ski trails. Shuttle service is available upon request. In the spring and fall, the river is excellent for fishing native brook trout and landlock salmon, and in the lake you can
also fish for lake trout. We provide guided fishing trips and boat, canoe, and kayak rentals and pontoon boat tours. Interested in fly fishing but haven’t yet learned? We offer fly fishing school, as well as a spring bear hunt on Penobscot Indian territory. Our area is great for hiking as we are surrounded by many hiking trails. If you get too hot, jump on a tube and float down the river. In the fall we provide a variety of guided hunts including black bear, whitetailed deer, moose, partridge, and coyote. At Matagamon, we strive to make your stay with us an unforgettable experience. When you leave us, we hope you feel like you’re “part of our family.” Come make memories with us!
re you seeking a new kind of adventure in Maine? Visit Shin Pond Village and 201 Powersports for the ride of a lifetime. As certified Polaris Adventures Outfitters, these premium locations offer an exciting way to explore each season as you discover The Pine Tree State off the beaten path. Hop in the driver’s seat
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Shin Pond Village
Shin Pond Village, a 100-acre, family owned
Head south to 201 Powersports where epic
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adventures await! Located in the historic
Katahdin Region. Offering an array of lodging
town of Bingham, Maine for over 15 years, 201
and recreational activities for adventure
Powersports has provided outdoor experiences
enthusiasts, this exclusive destination is fully
with Polaris RZRs in the warmer seasons, to
equipped with a fleet of state-of-the-art Polaris
snowmobile tours in the winter. Choose your
RZRs so you are free to explore the beautiful
vehicle and route and 201 Powersports will
fall colors. Elevate your off-road experience to
take care of the rest! Guided and unguided
a whole new level and settle in for a few days.
tours are offered whether you want to day trip
on your own or venture out on a multi-day trip for a firsthand experience of the different terrains and vehicles. With over 6,500 miles of connected ATV trails and 13,000 miles of snowmobile trails, you will be surrounded by breathtaking views year-round. As the snow begins to fall, 201 Powersports offers snowy explorations sure to impress everyone from new riders to the most skilled snowmobilers. With campsites located on the brook, electric
Add more to your visit with other close-by
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options such as hiking, kayaking, fishing,
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rock climbing, pontoon cruises, white water
you need at this countryside escape. When the
rafting, and more.
seasons change, and the snow begins to fall, Shin Pond Village revs up the engines on their top-notch Polaris snowmobiles. With access to hundreds of miles of trails, snowmobilers are ready to shred some powder and reach the untouched snow of Mt. Chase, Maine. Located just fifteen miles from the Northern entrance to Baxter State Park, Shin Pond Village offers four seasons of fun with great fishing, uncrowded hiking, and plenty of wildlife. Buckle up and get ready to discover the mountains, lakes and wildlife in northern Maine! Both destinations encompass some of the most spectacular scenery that is a must see in Maine this year. Adventures offered by Shin Pond Village and 201 Powersports cater to all skilllevels—from novice riders to the most experienced off-roaders—all you need is a passion for exploration of the great outdoors. Get ready for memories that will last a lifetime!
New ‘Maine Mountain Guide’ features more than ever before
BY AISLINN SARNACKI
“Why have a guidebook if you can’t give people
Crocker Mountain to the top of Mount Reddington.
n essential tool for hiking enthusiasts,
some perspective on where they’re going and why
Though it’s not an official trail, Kish felt it was
the newest edition of the “AMC Maine
they’re doing it?” Kish said.
important to include in the guide because so many
Mountain Guide” features more trails
A registered Maine guide, Kish grew up exploring
hikers use the path each year to bag Redington,
than ever before. Compiled and edited
the Maine woods and has completed some two-dozen
which is one of Maine’s 4,000-footers (mountains that
by avid hiker Carey Kish of Mount Desert, the 11th
long-distance trails in the United States, Canada and
reach 4,000 feet above sea level or higher) and top 100
edition of the guidebook describes more than 625
Europe, including the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail—
trails on 300 Maine mountains.
twice. In addition to two editions of “AMC Maine
The new Rainbow Loop Trail, which officially
Mountain Guide,” Kish is the author of “AMC’s
opened last July in Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness
“The thing is just beefy,” Kish said. “It really surprises even me.”
Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast,” and he’s a
Area, is another addition to the guide, as are the
Appalachian Mountain Club published its first
longtime columnist for the Portland Press Herald
trails in the new Katahdin Woods and Waters
edition of the guide in 1961, and the resource has
and writes the outdoor adventure blog “Maineiac
National Monument and the little-known Number
been updated and expanded periodically ever since.
Outdoors” at MaineToday.com.
Five Mountain in Somerset County.
The new edition was released Aug. 7. “Everyone’s going to ask, ‘What’s new? Why buy this one?’ At least, I would ask that,” Kish said.
“I’m a longtime detective—a trail detective,” Kish
“It’s an extraordinary hike,” Kish said of Number
said. “Seriously. I just keep looking. I take notes. I
Five Mountain. “It has an old fire tower trail, and it
follow Facebook and search the internet. I’m always
was on private land before so it was never in the book.”
For starters, the new edition features more than
looking to see if there’s something new, and this
The mountain and trail are now located on The
175 “new” trails on 50 mountains that were not
time around [in writing the 11th edition of the “AMC
Nature Conservancy’s 16,934-acre Leuthold Forest
included in the previous edition of the guidebook,
Maine Mountain Guide”], I just couldn’t believe it.”
Preserve, where public recreation is free.
published in 2012 and also edited by Kish. Old trail
When asked to give a few examples of the new
In addition to exploring dozens of new trails for
descriptions have been improved, Kish said, and
content in the 590-page guide, Kish instantly thought
the guidebook, Kish revisited trails described in past
some sections of the book have been completely
of Deboullie Public Reserved Land in Aroostook
editions of the guide to update and improve descriptions.
overhauled with new information.
County, where the Maine Conservation Corps has
For example, he spent three days documenting the
been hard at work creating trails in recent years.
extensive trail network on Mount Agamenticus in
The new edition also features updated fold-out trail maps for Baxter State Park, the Maine North
“The Maine Conservation Corps got in there and
southern Maine, and he spent another two days
Woods, the Bigelow Range, Camden Hills, Mount
now there’s 30 miles of trails, just like that,” Kish
wandering Bradbury Mountain State Park, which
Desert Island and the Mahoosuc Range. And for the
said. “I spent three days hiking all 30 miles of trail two
features a small but popular mountain, surrounded by a
first time, the guidebook features 17 in-text trail maps
Septembers ago, and I was the only person up there. It’s
network of trails that see heavy use year round.
of other areas that have a high density of trails.
like a little Baxter State Park with no people. It’s out
The guide is sold at many bookstores and outfitters
of this world. There’s backpacking and car camping
throughout Maine, and it’s available for purchase
and no people. It was kind of creepy actually.”
through the AMC online store at amcstore.outdoors.org.
Kish also rewrote the introductory section of the book, which includes informative, succinct essays on a wide variety of hiking-related topics
Another trail added to the new edition of the
from fire towers and poison ivy to the state’s
guide is the unofficial herd path (not marked or
geology, climate and vegetation.
maintained) that runs from the summit of South
This story originally appeared in the Bangor Daily News July 30, 2018.
(Below) Carey Kish stands atop Number Five Mountain in Somerset County while doing research for the 11th edition of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide. (Right) The 11th edition of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide. COURTESY OF APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN CLUB
Maine’s Hyperlite makes light gear for the outdoor crowd BY ALAN CROWELL
ong distance hikers know that to travel far, it helps to travel light.
It means creating a leaner kind of manufacturing company, one driven by a bottom-up ap-
When Mike St. Pierre started
proach in which empowered workers need little
Hyperlite Mountain Gear in 2009
management because they see their own inter-
with his brother Dan, the goal was to make
ests and those of the company as intertwined.
the strongest, lightest gear for long distance
It is an ambitious goal, but for St. Pierre,
hikers using American-made high-tech fabric.
life has always been about following passions.
Eight years later, Hyperlite has grown
Before Hyperlite, Mike worked for many years
from one employee to more than 60 and
as an audio engineer, including several years
during a recent visit to the manufacturer in
mixing sound for the Eagles. When he tired of
Biddeford’s historic Pepperell Mill campus,
living on buses, he followed a life-long love of
the whine of power equipment testified to its
food into restaurants, working as a chef for some
of Maine and New York’s most famous eateries.
Mike believes Hyperlite has the potential to
But when the popularity of fine dining nose-
be the next Patagonia (a sustainable clothing
dived along with the Dow Jones in 2008, Mike
manufacturer with estimated revenues of
found himself spending more time outdoors
over $200 million in 2017) but achieving
and he began looking for lighter equipment
that kind of growth will take more than
that would allow him to move faster on the trail.
renovations to the factory floor.
Unable to find what he was looking for, he began experimenting with creating his own gear.
Mike St. Pierre, founder of Hyperlite Mountain Gear, on the company’s manufacturing floor in Biddeford’s Pepperell Campus. Mike is holding a sheet of the high-strength, waterproof composite fabric used to make his company’s packs. PHOTO BY ALAN CROWELL
During one of those first trips, he ran into a park ranger who was walking out of a trail
world’s tallest mountains and across some of the world’s most rugged terrain.
One day he discovered a composite fabric made
just as he was walking in. She asked him
While the supporting cast has expanded,
by Cuben Fiber Hybrids (now Dyneema) which
where he was going. When he outlined an
at its core Hyperlite is still Mike as the chief
made a waterproof textile that was incredibly
ambitious hike that included several far-off
visionary and product developer, Dan the
strong, but light enough to float on water.
peaks, she told him he could not possibly be
Chief Financial Officer, and Provencal as the
carrying enough to safely make that trip.
fastest sewer and trainer.
He called the manufacturer and bought nine meters and began putting together ultralight,
Before she allowed him to continue, she
The ultimate goal is to create a system that is
waterproof equipment. When he developed a
made him prove his case by showing her his
so light and well-designed that after a few days
system, including a pack and a shelter, he hit
on the trail the pack begins to disappear as a
the trail to test it.
After creating a financial plan for the new
burden or impediment to enjoying the outdoors.
company with his brother Dan, a graduate of the
“We refine it, get it back out in the field.
Wharton School of Business, they started creat-
Refine it, get it back out in the field. Refine it,
ing their first product line in 800 square feet of
get it back out in the field,” said Mike. “To me,
leased space in the Pepperell Campus in 2010.
it is all about function. It has got to work. A lot
They had one employee, Francine Provencal,
of the industry is driven by cost. We say, ‘How
who had worked in Maine’s now defunct textile
do we build the best possible product, and the
industry putting together men’s suits.
price is what the price is.’”
Together, Mike and Francine put together
He knows a product is ready for the market
the first prototypes. Mike trail-tested them, and
when he is out in the field and forgets it’s there.
when they were ready, sent them to other hikers
“Once we get there with these products, when
who put tens of thousands of miles on those
you are out using them, you don’t think about
first prototypes before they went to production.
them anymore – kind of like that Zen moment.”
Being outdoors is an antidote for a world
employees and growing. The product line has
that has become overly fixated on technology
expanded to include tents, a range of packs,
and social media.
tarps, stuff sacks, and even outerwear. Hikers
“We are all kind of head down and glued
and climbers carry Hyperlite packs up the
to our phones,” said Mike. “Getting out
there and doing this stuff takes you away
There are meetings every Tuesday at
quality issue, all I have to do is whistle,” said
“We have lost a generation of machine
from that. It removes you from the hectic
7:30 a.m. that include updates from every
Schafer. “We all get together and we discuss it
operators. It is not just in the cut and sew trade.
lifestyle that we have and puts you in a
department followed by a question and
right then and there.”
It is in all manufacturing trades,” said Schafer.
more simplified environment. That benefits
answer period. All employees are also
At 67, Schafer has been in manufacturing
“Not only do we have to build manufacturing
surveyed twice a year to help spotlight
for 45 years, with most of that time working
systems from the ground up, we have to build a
areas that need improvement, and employee
for the Norton Company (now Norton
workforce that goes along with it.”
feedback is used to come up with solutions.
Abrasives), the world’s largest manufacturer
Making products in the United States allows the company to stay closer to its customers and employees.
Eventually, St Pierre said his goal is for the
of commercial and household abrasives.
Confronting that challenge has meant creating a new playbook, and finding new
Mike and his operations manager John
company to run with a minimum of managers
As an engineer for the Norton Company,
partners, like Dory Waxman, owner of Old
Schaefer are considering installing automation
and with a philosophy that rewards workers
Schafer worked in South Africa, France, Brazil,
Port Wool and Textile Co., who is facilitating
equipment, but what they aren’t considering is
and empowers them.
and Mexico as well as in the United States.
a program that trains immigrants to work in
offshoring jobs to overseas.
In an age when reviews make or break prod-
After retiring twice, including once from
“I want to prove that we can be an
uct lines, having your manufacturing floor,
the Hussey Seating Company in North
Schafer said Hyperlite has hired workers
American manufacturer,” said Mike. “We
customer service department, development
Berwick, Schafer came to work for Mike and
from Iraq, Zaire, Angola, and other countries.
want to do this here. My stance is that this
department, and marketing department in
Dan at Hyperlite.
country became great because we knew how
one building is a real advantage.
to manufacture things.”
the textile industry.
All employees are hired by the team that
“I saw the opportunity that Hyperlite
they will be working with, said Schafer. He
Mike said that if customer service receives
offered and I can tell you that this is going to
Despite the benefits, however, manufacturing
complaints that the belt pocket on a pack is too
be the crown jewel of my career,” said Schafer.
They have to be kind and respectful of one
in Maine has been a challenge from the begin-
small, that change can be made quickly, with
The new company offers the veteran
another. And they have to be as excited to work
ning. When Dan and Mike St. Pierre moved
the new improved packs shipping out in days.
engineer a chance to use four decades of
into their space in Biddeford, they hoped there
If there is a quality issue, that too can be
experience to build Hyperlite’s manufacturing
would be a pool of former textile mill workers available for hire.
fixed in a matter of hours.
systems from the ground up, he said.
John Schafer, director of operations at
After watching for much of his career as
What they soon discovered, however, was
Hyperlite Mountain Gear, said that if there
manufacturers chased cheaper labor overseas,
that those workers had mostly retired or
is a problem, he can bring production to a
Schafer said he is excited to be a part of a
standstill in seconds.
Today, they are trying to recreate that industry
“I don’t have an office. My table is right
by enlisting the help of experienced people like
down here on this floor. If I have to resolve a
Francine to teach younger employees. The workforce has changed, however, as has the work ethic. Mike’s goal is to address those changes by creating a new company culture in which employees are motivated to help Hyperlite achieve its goals because they see their own wellbeing as linked to the success of the company. It is a long-term goal, but Mike said the company is committed to building that company by paying workers a livable wage, giving them more freedom to determine when they work, and offering them transparency.
tells them he has just two criteria:
for Hyperlite as Schafer is himself, he says. When it comes to that last criteria, Schafer has set a very high bar. After having retired twice already at the age of 67, he has no plans to leave Hyperlite. “I want to keep this place going,” he said.
“I have never been in a position that has
although he admitted that finding the skilled and
been more exciting or rewarding to me in
motivated employees he needs is a challenge.
The mountains are calling —and you must go!
COURTESY ACADIA MOUNTAIN GUIDES CLIMBING SCHOOL
each the summit of Maine—in winter! At 5,268 feet, Mount Katahdin is the state’s highest peak. The remote and wild beauty of the mountain provide some of the most challenging backcountry skiing and climbing terrain in New England. Reaching the summit at any time of year is an accomplishment, but in the winter it holds a little more magic—and a lot less people. The remote location, arctic environment, and rugged terrain make climbing Katahdin one of the most rewarding winter alpine ascents around. Fortunately for brave souls everywhere, the Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School (AMGCS) offers open enrollment weekend summit climbs throughout the winter. Trips are also available by private arrangement and are led by experienced winter mountaineering guides. Hiring a guide can make a winter trip significantly more relaxing and rewarding—and will increase your odds of reaching the summit. Climbing Katahdin in winter is a physically demanding trip, but requires no previous winter climbing or camping ex-
perience when accompanied by a professionally-trained guide. AMGCS provides all technical equipment on their climbs including mountaineering boots, snowshoes, crampons and ice axe. They also have -20 degree sleeping bags available to rent. The weekend trip includes two hot backcountry meals. A typical weekend begins at Acadia Mountain Guides’ Orono gear shop, where a guide ensures you’re equipped with the appropriate personal and group gear prior to heading north. Upon arrival at the mountain, you’ll begin the approach with a half-day ski or snowshoe to a winter camp at the base. Your guide prepares a meal to fuel the next day’s summit attempt. After dinner, the guide teaches winter travel, camping, and climbing skills and helps you settle into camp in anticipation of an early morning start. The following morning, your guide leads the way toward the summit, teaching mountaineering skills as needed. Route conditions can vary greatly. From icy rock, to deep snow, to icy, semi-technical snow, your guide will ensure you’re outfitted with the appropriate equipment. After
climbing to the summit and descending back to camp, the party makes the final push back to the trailhead by early evening to complete a challenging day. Jon Tierney, AMGCS’s owner and a LifeFlight paramedic, has taught wilderness medicine for over three decades. He guides international climbing and skiing trips, provides mentorship for guides across the nation, and serves as the educational director for the Professional Climbing Instructors Association. AMGCS has been continually accredited and peer reviewed by the American Mountain Guides Association since 1993. For more information, visit AlpenglowGear.com or contact AMG at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-866-7562.