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SCALING MAINE’S HIGHEST PEAK IN THE WINTER
WITH PROFESSIONAL MAINE GUIDES
DUCK HUNTING MUST-HAVES
ENJOYING FALL WITH
MAINE SPORTING CAMPS
It’s easy to get into the habit of thinking that adventure is for other people. The other people—they have finances and strength and training. Something elite that’s maybe skipped us. So we watch as the other people do exciting things that light hearts afire and, without knowing how they do it, leave it to the other people. Sometimes it’s by design. The allure of adventure for some people is as foreign as flying a jet. At some point, though, everyone feels the pull. Oftentimes, we don’t know how to respond. It’s too big, too complex. So we watch and dream. I’ll tell you a story: in the mid- and late 1920s, Bradford Washburn made winter ascents of the Alps, Mt. Washington (New Hampshire), and Mt. Fairweather (Alaska), among others. Washburn and his crews battled ice, freezing winds, avalanches, and hypothermia. Sometimes it was smooth going, and sometimes it wasn’t. They didn’t enjoy cutting-edge gear—their packs were wooden frames to which they’d lash provisions. In each instance, they emerged victorious.
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The kicker? Washburn was about 16 when he did it.* In the Pixar film “Up,” a recurring theme is that “adventure is out there.” It’s true. You don’t have to scale Mt. Washington in the winter, or even Katahdin like the subjects of this issue’s feature. Sometimes, adventure is as close as a simple walk through the city park when it seems easier to binge on Netflix. Adventure is out there. It’s all around you. The key is to look, and to realize, in the end, it’s not for the other people. It’s for you, too. Trust me, Netflix will be here when you get back.
MATT CHABE, EDITOR *Washburn later served as director of the Boston Museum of Science for nearly 40 years. For more about his adventures, check out the excellent book “Washburn: Extraordinary Adventures of a Young Mountaineer.”
ABOUT THE COVER
Traversing Katahdin’s Knife’s Edge. PHOTO COURTESY MIKE BLANCHARD © 2017 Bangor Daily News. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without express written consent. Requests for permission to copy, reprint, or duplicate any content should be directed to email@example.com
summit For some, love of Katahdin knows no bounds. BY MATT CHABE
“Because it’s there.”
ike Blanchard started hiking in junior high school. Guidance counselors there had started an outing club, and
“When we climb up there, it seems to a lot of people like, ‘Wow, you guys are crazy’ and all that,” said Blanchard. “You know, maybe so, in a certain way.”
one of the excursions was a hike up Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak at 5,267 feet. The trips became a
regular thing, and he liked it.
FIRST, SOME SEMANTICS: hiking is not climbing, and neither of them are mountaineering. They all share similarities, but purists will tell you that
After junior high Blanchard kept hiking Katahdin, adding other peaks
hiking is essentially walking over terrain and climbing is essentially literally
along the way. Meanwhile, the reel of life sped along, as it does—college
climbing it. Mountaineering can involve both, but almost always involves
days, jobs, family. But still he hiked.
traversing snowy and icy terrain in the pursuit of some high peak.
Blanchard still hits Katahdin regularly, but now it’s with a twist: for the
While hiking and climbing involve specialized equipment—boots,
past 11 years, he’s been one of the hundred or so brave souls a year who
packs, and ropes come to mind—mountaineering tends to conjure
seek Katahdin’s icy peak in the dead of winter.
images of the most extravagant. Indeed, it takes a lot of equipment
Like its distant cousin Mount Washington to the southwest, Katahdin’s
to mountaineer: the Baxter State Park website recommends ice axes,
not known for its forgiving ascent or pleasant weather. Northbound AT thru-
crampons, avalanche gear, ropes, and more for winter ascents. Then
hikers regard it with a blend of elation and dread. As the final hurdle on their
there’s the clothing, the boots, the packs, and the sleds to carry it. In all,
journey, it sports about 4,200 feet of steep elevation gain and notoriously
it could weigh up to, and over, 100 pounds.
rocky terrain. To tackle it in the winter takes a special kind of brass.
If you’re going to tackle Katahdin in winter, you need to be prepared.
BDN OUTDOORS Mike Blanchard with his daughter Elle on Katahdin’s South Peak.
Fall/Winter 2017 waypoint, before tackling the approximate 2.5 mile scramble to the summit.
Mike Blanchard (far right) and party on a recent winter summit of Katahdin’s Baxter Peak.
“There's a lot of
Winslow said. “People are coming in, they’ve been to the White Mountains, they do a couple
(Below) Looking down one of trails leading to Katahdin’s summit.
of hikes or whatever, they think, ‘Let's go do Katahdin [in the winter],’ and the next thing you know they get in and they're like, ‘I am in so far over my head.’ “There’s really nothing else on the east coast that’s got an approach like that, to get that sort of alpine environment.” MIKE BLANCHARD is quick to downplay the undertaking: “It's not like we’re in the Arctic, where we have to survive,” he said. “We have a cabin with a wood stove, warm bunks, great food...so when you go out in these blizzard conditions and you have goggles on and it’s 30 below zero...if you’ve had enough, you can get back to the cabin.” Indeed, Blanchard and other Katahdin mountaineers enjoy comforts that wouldn’t be found in harsher environments. His own party frequently comprises members of his family, including his children. It’s reasonable to surmise he prioritizes safety. Still, he acknowledges you’ve got to have a firm grasp PRIOR TO 2010, a winter summit of Katahdin
on your limits: “If you push it and you’re on
involved a lot more red tape. Baxter State Park
[Katahdin’s notoriously precarious] Knife's
required a minimum of four people per party
Edge or you’re on the summit, it may take
and a strict list of equipment. Rangers would
hours to get back. You have to watch yourself
review each party’s equipment upon arrival;
and...the weakest link in your group.”
those not prepared were turned away.
Winslow concurs. He said about 2,315 people
Today, a winter ascent of Katahdin is
spent the night in Baxter State Park last
more accessible. Taking a cue from trends
winter. Out of those, somewhere between 100
in western parks, Baxter State Park relaxed
to 200 attempted to summit Katahdin. Due to
their regulations in 2010. Group sizes were
various factors, only about half succeeded.
eliminated (making solo attempts possible)
“A lot of people attempt it,” he said, “and
and the equipment list is now “recommended”
they’ll get above tree line and they’ll be like,
rather than “required.” Parties must still
‘No way.’ It’s either way over their head,
register with the park (solo hikers, in
weather conditions aren’t what they want,
particular, must complete a detailed itinerary).
winds are too high, maybe a storm rolled in.”
Responsibility for the trip’s safety and success,
Blanchard recalled a trip three years ago
however, now rests much more squarely on the
where the weather turned bad. “We were ice
party’s planning ability.
climbing on the wall, and the ranger said it was
Mike Winslow, an enforcement ranger at
49 below with wind chill,” he said. “Yeah, that's
Baxter State Park who supervises Katahdin’s
really cold. Any exposed skin is freezing in
Chimney Pond region in the winter, said
seconds. You have to be completely covered. But
some prospective mountaineers are still
it’s also quite fun to be in conditions like that.”
unprepared for the effort it takes just to reach
Baxter State Park doesn’t maintain a
the base of the mountain. Because roads aren’t
dedicated search and rescue team. Park rangers
maintained in the winter, access to Katahdin
themselves typically compose the emergency
starts at Abol Bridge, a 13 mile trek under full
response team, said Winslow, with support
load to Roaring Brook campground, Katahdin’s
from volunteer search and rescue teams when
popular summer trailhead. There begins a
needed. Fortunately, it’s not often. The most
3.3 mile ascent to Chimney Pond, Katahdin’s
typical emergency situations aren’t really
Fall/Winter 2017 emergencies at all—a hiker’s family hasn’t
a Winthrop native and the owner of a cabinetry
heard from them on schedule, for instance
business there. “It’s exciting to get out into
(usually due to spotty connection), and rangers
the wilderness. It’s completely stunningly
hike in to check on them. Basic stuff.
beautiful, I think far more beautiful than
Winslow said the park’s relaxed regulations
in the summer, in its own way. We climb the
haven’t resulted in an increase in rescue calls.
mountain, there’s camaraderie, and every
“People are coming in with less experience,
year...we know that we do this challenging
but they also know their limits. They get to a
point where it’s enough, they don’t get in over
After 11 years, he hasn’t experienced a
their heads. You give them the information
serious incident on the mountain. He knows
they need and they make their own decisions.
it’s dangerous. Not Everest-level dangerous,
Self-preservation is an amazing thing.”
“It’s exciting to get out into the wilderness. It’s completely stunningly beautiful, I think far more beautiful than in the summer, in its own way. We climb the mountain, there’s camaraderie, and every year...we know that we do this challenging thing together.”
– Mike Blanchard
WHEN THE NEW YORK Times asked George
avalanches, falling, freezing, even show-
Mallory in 1923 why he’d want to climb
stopping blisters. And there, somewhere in the
Mount Everest, his famous reply was
risk, lies the beauty:
“Because it’s there.” Katahdin is no Everest, yet the sentiment
“Why do people ride a motorcycle really fast?” he said. “It can be really dangerous.
rings true for many who, like Blanchard, look
toward peaks and feel a peculiar call.
exhilaration that you can’t get in any other
“I guess it’s the adventure,” said Blanchard,
A member of Blanchard’s party enjoys the view on a recent winter trip to Katahdin’s summit.
way. It’s like that.”
Reach the summit of Maine
COURTESY OF ACADIA MOUNTAIN GUIDES CLIMBING SCHOOL
t 5,268 feet, Katahdin is the state’s
more relaxing, rewarding, and will increase
base of the mountain. Your guide will cook up
AMGCS is your local resource for rock,
highest peak. The remoteness
your odds of reaching the summit. Climbing
an awesome nourishing meal to fuel the next
ice, mountaineering, and backcountry skiing
and wild beauty of the mountain
Katahdin in winter is a physically demanding
day’s stoke & summit attempt. After dinner
instruction and guiding. Their ridiculously
provides some of the most chal-
your guide will teach winter travel, camping,
well-stocked gear shops have provided outdoor
lenging backcountry skiing and climbing ter-
climbing or camping experience when with
and climbing skills and help you settle into
enthusiasts & climbers with gear from the
rain in New England. Reaching the summit at
camp in anticipation of an early morning
best brands, at the best prices, since 1986. All
any time of year is an accomplishment, but in
provides all technical equipment on this climb
start. After a hot and hearty breakfast, your
AMGCS clients receive 15% off for life in the
the winter it holds a little more magic—and a
including mountaineering boots, snowshoes,
guide will lead the way toward the summit
gear stores. The owner, LifeFlight paramedic
lot less people. The remote location, arctic
crampons, ice axe, and -20 degree sleeping
teaching mountaineering skills as needed.
Jon Tierney, has taught wilderness medicine
environment, and rugged terrain make climb-
bag. The weekend trip includes two delicious,
Route conditions can vary greatly. From icy
for over three decades, guides international
ing Katahdin one of the most rewarding win-
hot, and nourishing backcountry meals.
rock to deep snow to icy, semi-technical snow,
climbing and skiing trips, provides mentorship
The weekend begins at Acadia Mountain
the guides at AMGCS will ensure you are
for guides across the nation, and serves as
Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School
Guides’ 92 Main St., Orono gear shop,
outfitted with the appropriate equipment to
the educational director for the Professional
(AMGCS) offers open enrollment weekend
Alpenglow Adventure Sports, where your
stack the odds in your favor. After a big day
Climbing Instructors Association. AMGCS
ter alpine ascents around.
guides will ensure you are equipped with the
of climbing to the summit and descending
has been continually accredited and peer
These trips are also available by private
appropriate personal and group gear prior to
back to camp, we will make a final push to the
reviewed by the American Mountain Guides
arrangement and are lead by experienced
driving north. Upon arrival at Abol Bridge,
trailhead by early evening to complete one of
Association since 1993. Contact them at climb@
winter mountaineering guides. Hiring a
you will begin the approach with a half-day
the east’s most challenging and rewarding
acadiamountainguides.com or 207 866 7562. For
guide can make a winter trip significantly
hike, ski, or snowshoe to a winter camp at the
mountaineering days possible.
more information, visit AlpenglowGear.com.
How to get great outdoor shots (with a minimum of skill)
BY BDN OUTDOORS
o you fancy yourself an adventurer, a real modern-day master of the outdoors. Now you’ve gone and gotten yourself a real camera to capture all those epic moments. But before you think it’s all point-and-shoot, think again—you’re gonna need some basic knowledge to get the most out of that camera.
STEP 1: All cameras work on the principle of light, and the three main elements that control that light are ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. ISO controls the camera sensor’s sensitivity to light, shutter speed determines the length of time that light is allowed to hit the sensor, and the aperture affects the amount of light that’s let in. Mastering the balance between the three will allow you to unlock night shots, action shots, depth of field, and more. STEP 2: Frame your your photo correctly. It’s normal to want to zoom in tight to focus on a single subject, but you need to step back to capture the whole scene. Consider the foundations of a simple story—something (the subject) does something to something else (the object). A good photo tells a story, and the landscape is often an important part. Determining whether the climber is conquering the mountain or vice versa is an important decision in composing your photo’s story. You should also consider what’s known as the “rule of thirds.” Visualize your image with a tic-tac-toe grid overlaid on it. See the crosshairs near each of the four corners? You want your focus subject to sit in one of them. STEP 3: Shoot in RAW format. RAW gives you lots of room to edit. A JPEG is a compressed file, which limits your ability to tweak the image. A RAW file, however, records all the information. This gives you more information to work with and provides a higher-quality print. STEP 4: Use your shutter. When capturing high-speed action, it’s important to have the correct shutter speed. A fast shutter speed will “freeze” action, while a slower speed will add motion blur. Find one subject in the image to focus on and track it as it moves—viewers like to focus on something recognizable. But don’t forget that shutter adjustments will also require adjustments to the ISO and aperture. STEP 5: Know when to break the rules. It’s helpful to learn the rules as guidelines, but art is subjective—if you think something looks great centered in the frame, go for it. STEP 6: Know when to put the camera down. It’s easy to get wrapped up in capturing the perfect shot. Just don’t forget to enjoy the moment.
Maine Sporting Camps
fall enjoyment for hunters, vacationers alike.
BY BDN OUTDOORS
ome fall, Maine transitions from a
addition to end-of-season trout and salmon
hunters and fishermen, today it caters to people
summer playground to a cooler,
fishermen, said owner Igor Sikorsky, leaf peep-
seeking a higher-end wilderness experience.
more bucolic one. While leaf peep-
ers also enjoy the camp’s remote location.
Likewise for Chandler Camps, a full-service sporting camp in T9R8. Chandler
Many guests stay at Mt. Chase Lodge for
Camps is a full-service lodge specializing in
ers and pumpkin-spice-latte-sippers
“Our guests are looking for a remote get-
self-guided grouse, moose, and deer hunting,
fishing for wild Maine brook trout and land-
abound, there are those that seek more rustic
away with creature comforts like private
as well as those simply looking to enjoy crisp
locked salmon as well as hunting for grouse,
experiences. Fortunately, the storied woods of
bathrooms, made up cabins, and delicious
fall colors, said Lindsay Downing, Mt. Chase
woodcock, whitetail deer, and moose. Fea-
Maine are dotted with ample opportunities to
home-cooked food,” said Sikorsky. “We’re far
Lodge’s co-owner. However, there’s no need to
turing private lakeside cabins with private
get away with sporting camps—sometimes
enough off the grid that we have no cell phone
sacrifice good food or comfort while enjoying
baths, Chandler also provides satellite tele-
without sacrificing modern comforts.
or internet access. This is something that we
the great outdoors, she said.
phone service, electricity, and Wi-Fi as
The experiences to be had at Maine sport-
consider a benefit.”
“Our guests are looking for a homey experi-
needed. They provide guide services, high-
ing camps are as varied as they are similar.
Like many Maine camps, Bradford Camps
ence where customer service is top priority,”
quality meals, and more than 30 canoes on
Whether your interest is hunting, fishing, or
is rooted in tradition. It’s been in continuous
she said. “We cater to every need that people
various remote ponds and lakes.
just plain relaxing, there’s a camp for you.
operation for 125 years and still harvests ice
come to us with [including food allergies]. Our
Other Maine sporting camps, like Home-
from the lake to use in the summer months.
guests dine together at a common dining room
stead Lodge and Wilson’s on Moosehead
Bradford Camps, for instance, is a traditional three-season camp located on remote
Another Maine camp rooted in tradition
table, an experience that is becoming obsolete.
Lake, offer similar rustic experiences in
Munsungan Lake in northern Maine. It’s the
while providing modern comfort is Mt. Chase
Our beds are comfortable, our stone fireplace
comfortable, welcoming atmospheres. If
only camp on the lake. They offer lake and fly
Lodge on Shin Pond in northern Maine. Found-
makes the main room great to relax in, and our
you’re looking to enjoy Maine this fall in a
fishing, bird hunting, and family getaways. In
ed in 1960 as a recreational sporting lodge for
beer and wine menu will keep people feeling
unique way, you might do well to give a
great while they are on vacation.”
Maine sporting camp a try.
(Above) Chandler Camps aglow in the evening. (Left) A visitor to Bradford Camps makes a great catch while fishing on remote Munsungan Lake.
The north Maine woods as seen from the summit of Deboullie Mountain. PHOTO BY JEREMY DUGAL
The North Maine
Managing recreation on a sizable chunk of Maine. BY JOE RANKIN, FORESTS FOR MAINE'S FUTURE
here is the north Maine woods: the
HOW DID NMW GET STARTED?
We have a security responsibility with our
vast expanse of trees and mountains
There was cooperation among landowners in
checkpoints to keep track of who is coming
and ponds that makes up a signifi-
the region going back to the 1880s. The land-
cant portion of the Pine Tree State.
owners were all working together on build-
Then there is North Maine Woods (NMW),
ing dams to move their logs, on marking
SO HOW DOES NMW’S EXISTENCE BENEFIT
the organization that manages recreation on
property lines and dealing with forest fires.
THE OWNERS, AND HOW DOES IT BENEFIT
3.5 million acres of the state owned by a vari-
Later there was a road committee that dealt
ety of landowners, from non-profit conserva-
with all road crossing ownerships. The com-
The landowners don’t have many problems
tion groups and the state to investment firms
mittee was facing issues with people parking
with theft or vandalism of logging equipment
and family-owned timber companies. The
on the roads at popular fishing and hunting
or their camps. There are very few incidents
area includes some of Maine’s most iconic
destinations. In the 1960s they spun off and
of arson or even campfires starting forest
outdoor recreation destinations: the St. John
created a different organization just to deal
fires over the past 45 years. We track who
River and the Allagash Wilderness Water-
with public use. In 1971 they gave it the name
comes into the area. Everyone leaves their
way, for instance.
North Maine Woods and that’s the year we
name and address when they enter. We main-
date our organization from.
tain 350 campsites and over 200 outhouses.
NMW — the organization — recently celebrated its 45th year. Forests for Maine’s Future
We charge a pretty healthy camping fee and
writer Joe Rankin recently spoke with Al Cow-
SO, WHAT IS IT THAT NMW DOES, EXACTLY?
we want the facilities to be reflective of that,
perthwaite, the organization’s executive direc-
NMW exists to manage the public use of the
for people to get what they pay for. But still,
tor and a person who’s been with it since 1976,
Maine woods so the landowners can concen-
there’s not many places, even in Maine,
to talk about NMW’s history and its future.
trate on their forest management activities.
where people can enter the forest and not see
A black bear stands in the middle of the Golden Road in the north Maine woods. PHOTO BY BRIAN FUELNER
any “no trespassing” signs and have access to
bly 100 different locations that are kind of
in Canada this use is now less than 4 per-
3.5 million acres and thousands of miles of
special in the Maine woods.
cent of total use. Numbers for people
private forest roads.
camping, fishing and visiting leased camps THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE COMING TO THE
has remained similar or decreased slight-
WHAT CHALLENGES DOES NMW FACE GOING
NMW HAS DROPPED OVER THE YEARS (FROM
ly over the last two decades.
A HIGH OF 297,266 IN 1999 TO 162,908 IN
The challenge is to keep the fees as reasonable
2016). WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE FAC-
WHEN PEOPLE ASK ABOUT THE NMW, WHAT’S
as we can so the average family from Maine
TORS DRIVING THIS TREND?
TO SEE AND DO THERE?
can visit. We’ve spent a lot of money in the last
There is a national trend of people visiting
It’s somewhat difficult to explain to people
10 years on technology. We’ve converted some
remote areas less now than in the past.
who haven’t been in here before what to ex-
of our checkpoints to automated checkpoints,
Many people can’t be away from their so-
pect. There are no services. There is no
where we can talk to people over the telephone
cial media network—there is no public in-
place to get a tire fixed. You can’t buy gaso-
and take their information and open gates re-
ternet or cell phone service in the NMW.
line. To some people the wilderness might
motely using the internet. This is much more
There are more single-parent families
be a state park outside of Augusta or Ban-
cost-effective than paying people to staff regis-
today making it difficult for parents to
gor. Everybody has a different perspective
tration stations that are not very busy.
take their children camping. And school
of what the forest is. We go out of our way,
age children are raised in more structured
probably more than many organizations, to
WHATS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN THE NMW
environments today compared to the past.
help people figure out what they’re going to
AREA AND WHY?
Sports, music and other school related ac-
be doing when they come here.
I started in 1976 when we were building
tivities take more time for the current
campsites on the St. John River. One of my
generation. People are staying for shorter
This article originally appeared in “News
favorite things to do is to be on the St.
periods of time now than in the past. In the
from the Woods,” a publication of Forests for
John. That still holds a special place for
1980’s deer hunting accounted for almost
Maine's Future. It has been abridged for
me. But I have a ‘bucket list’ of places
40 percent of annual visitor use, but due to
space. Forests for Maine's Future is dedicated
people should see — the Katahdin Iron
a substantial decrease in the deer popula-
to educating people about the benefits of
Works/Gulf Hagas area, Debouille, proba-
tion and changes in hunting opportunities
Maine's forests and how they work.
The 6 duck-hunting Essentials (for beginners and pros alike)
uck hunting season is right around
as important as the shot size: #2 shot and #4
the corner. Whether you’re a sea-
shot are ideal for duck hunting.
BY MATT CHABE
soned veteran or an absolute beginner, there’s some equipment
you’re absolutely going to need in the field.
DUCK CALLS As its name implies, this reed-based instru-
Before anything else, said Dave Lorenz,
ment attracts the attention of ducks. Experts
owner of Old Town Trading Post in Old
say that wooden duck calls produce the gen-
Town, Maine, you’ll need to grab your hunt-
tlest sound, acrylic the sharpest, and polycar-
the decoy bag. Specialized anchor cord is
ing license and declare that you’ll be hunt-
bonate somewhere in between. But simply
designed to prevent tangling.
ing migratory birds. Then, you’ll need to
buying a call won’t do—you’ve got to learn the
procure your “duck stamp” (regulations,
language. Get your hands on a training manu-
Post with his wife, Melissa, since 2014. In ad-
fees, and procurement locations can be
al, or just listen and start mimicking!
There are different types of decoys for differ-
dition to a full range of duck hunting supplies,
ent situations—water and weighted keel de-
they supply a wide variety of hunting, fishing,
BLINDS AND BLIND-MAKING MATERIAL
coys for water use, shells and standing decoys
and outdoors supplies. For more information,
can’t do without, all of which are available at
You’ll want to camouflage your boat or stand.
for use in fields, and more. Some are even de-
Old Town Trading Post. Beginners and ex-
Ducks literally have a bird's eye view, and it's
signed to simulate movement that’s attractive
perts alike can use this as a checklist for the
important to keep your gear covered up.
for your quarry.
ANCHOR WEIGHTS AND CORD
When you float a decoy, you have to anchor
In Maine, you can start hunting waterfowl
Migratory waterfowl requires steel shot—
it or it’ll float away. The anchor attaches to
a half-hour before sunrise. That means
you can’t use lead, which was banned for
the decoy with a cord. Unless you use a
you’re going to be placing decoys in the
waterfowl hunting in 1991. While Old Town
specialized cord, however, you could run
dark. A headlamp keeps your hands free
Trading Post sells shot from several manu-
into problems: some people opt to use
so you can be up and running when the
facturers, Lorenz said the manufacturer isn’t
regular rope, which can cause tangling in
ducks start flying.
found at maine.gov). After that, there are some essentials you
Dave Lorenz has over 35 years of duck hunting experience. He’s owned Old Town Trading
(207) 827-7032 1681 BENNOCH ROAD, OLD TOWN
Dress for the
How to layer for Maine’s notorious chill. BY BDN OUTDOORS
on’t forget your jacket!” It’s a childhood refrain that’s caused eyes around the world to roll. Turns out your dear, worrying mom was probably onto something. While none of us want the outdoor fun to stop, it can get
brutally cold here in the northeast. Fortunately, you can stay warm and dry without dressing like a mummy. By observing a few simple layering rules, you’ll be out the door in ways that even your mom would be proud of. LAYER 1: BASE LAYER This next-to-the-skin layer helps regulate body temps and keep you dry by moving, or “wicking”, perspiration away from your skin. This is important to avoid hypothermia in colder temperatures. Don’t wear cotton—it retains moisture and can leave you chilled in below-freezing temperatures. Instead, opt for merino wool, synthetic fabrics like polyester, or silk (for less active use). LAYER 2: INSULATION This layer helps retain heat by trapping air close to the body. Natural fibers like wool and goose down are both great insulators. Merino wool provides insulation even when wet, while down is great for very cold, dry conditions, but comes with a price—it must be kept dry. Fleece is a popular synthetic option due to its light weight and breathability, though it tends to be more wind permeable. Fleece is typically rated in terms of weight: Lightweight (high activity in mild climates), Midweight, and Expedition-weight (low activity in cold climates). LAYER 3: WEATHER PROTECTION The outer shell protects you from the elements. It can range from heavy mountaineering jackets to simple windbreakers, depending on your climate and activity. Most allow perspiration to escape, and some are treated with water repellent. In short, this layer is designed to keep wind and water from passing through to your inner layers, while allowing perspiration to pass out. There are many options for outer shells on the market—choosing the right one for you
PHOTO: WAVEBREAKMEDIA LTD/THINKSTOCK
means understanding the conditions and the activity you’ll be facing. LAYER 4 (OPTIONAL): WATERPROOFING For extra protection, add a wind- and waterproof shell—just make sure it’s big enough to fit over your other layers. Companies like Marmot and The North Face make popular options for this type of layer. With just a few simple layers, you can enjoy the great outdoors while remaining warm, dry, and comfortable.
Far from simple advisors, Maine Guides preserve, create love of the outdoors.
s r e k a m y r o Mem OWELL BY ALAN CR
“You put two kids in a boat with a guide, and they are going to learn something about each other,” said Master Maine Guide Don Kleiner. PHOTO COURTESY DON KLEINER
on Kleiner learned to hunt and fish from his father and grandfather growing up in a tiny town on the coast of New Jersey. Skills like woodcraft and fly casting are second nature to Kleiner, a Master
Maine Guide and the executive director of the Maine Professional Guides
Association, but he’ll tell you his hunting and fishing skills are not the most important part of what makes him (or anyone else) an effective guide: “People skills. It is straight-out people skills,” said Kleiner. Guides have been leading people into the Maine woods and onto its rivers and lakes since at least the days of Henry David Thoreau, who wrote about his guided trips into the wilderness in “The Maine Woods,” published in 1864. Guide William Sewall took Teddy Roosevelt into the Maine wilderness in 1877, when the future president was a thin Harvard junior with a weak heart and bad eyes. That trip, and subsequent trips with Sewall, forever changed the young man who would later create America’s first national parks. Kleiner said in some ways the job hasn’t changed all that much since Sewall and Roosevelt climbed Katahdin. The role of guides is still to allow the inexperienced to safely enjoy the natural world, whether that means hunting moose, catching trout, or canoeing the Allagash River. As people spend more time in front of screens and children grow up with what author Richard Louv calls “nature deficit disorder,” the role of the Registered Maine Guide may be more important than ever. Bonnie Holding, director of education and information at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said that she is seeing a renewed interest in the outdoors, perhaps due in part to the increase in screen time that is ingrained in modern life. “I think I am seeing more people wanting to get outside,” said Holding, a Master Maine Guide who has guided trout fishing trips for more than 30 years. “All these handheld devices are fine, but I think this new generation wants to be outside.”
Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop snaps a photo as Brandon Prescott poses with the brook trout he caught on the east outlet of the Kennebec River. PHOTO BY JOHN HOLYOKE
An effective guide must know when to help a client with a casting technique...or to just stand back and stay out of the way. PHOTO COURTESY DON KLEINER
If there is a growing hunger for the out-
At the end of a weekend of fishing, the
doors, that’s good news for Maine with its
grandfather brought the guides together and
storied natural beauty. Maine’s brand as a
thanked them for the opportunities they had
state of opportunity to enjoy nature in remote
provided his grandchildren to connect with
settings is historically linked to guides.
In 1897, when the Maine Legislature formal-
Kleiner said that experience summed up a
ized the role of guides by requiring them to
successful trip. The job of keeping the young
register, Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby, a Maine
people safe and helping them have a success-
woman famous for her fishing ability as well
ful fishing trip was important, said Kleiner,
as her syndicated column on fishing in Maine
but it happened in the background. It was only
lakes and streams, received license number
part of the job.
one. By recognizing Crosby, the Legislature
The most important thing the guides did
also acknowledged her role in helping to grow
was allow the man’s grandchildren to enjoy
the state’s tourism economy and the impor-
fishing and each other’s company without
tance of guides, often the gatekeepers of
getting in the way of the experience. “You
Maine’s natural wonders.
put two kids in a boat with a guide, and they
In that first year, 1,700 people registered as Maine Guides. Today there are more than 4,000.
A successful trip is not about the number
and oral tests as well as certification in first
of fish a client catches, it is about the conver-
aide. Applicants must qualify in one or more
sation, the learning, and the many small but
of five specialties: hunting, fishing, tidewater
important things that happen while trying to
fishing, sea kayaking, and recreational.
catch a fish.
Guides may qualify as Master Guides after
“I would be lying to you if I told you I was
a minimum of five years’ experience in at
conscious about it. It just happens when the
least one specialization.
conditions are right and they are doing
ral outgrowth of his love of the outdoors. After
something out of their element completely,” Kleiner said.
working his way through college digging
Kleiner offers a three hour fishing trip,
clams, Kleiner, who earned a degree in envi-
which he considers the minimum required to
ronmental science, took a job with the U.S.
get a client onto the water and into a situation
Fish and Wildlife Service at the Brigantine
where they have a reasonable chance of suc-
National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey.
cess. Today, because some clients have little
There, his ability to handle a boat in tidal
experience in the outdoors, they come back
waters served him well. One day his boss
from the trip exhausted. Kleiner said there is
asked him if he had ever considered working
a market for a two hour trip, which he has
as a guide for duck hunters. It was a natural
resisted offering because he worries his cli-
fit for Kleiner, who spent as much time hunt-
ents won’t have enough time to be successful.
ing as possible. After moving to Maine with his wife, Argy Nestor, Kleiner worked first as a rafting guide
“I think it is just being outside. People are not used to it,” said Kleiner. “They would like it to be shorter and happen faster.”
and then started guiding canoe trips from his
One of the things he enjoys most is watch-
headquarters in Union. Those canoe trips
ing a client, especially a young person, devel-
brought him into contact with folks who wanted
op a skill that could lead to a lifetime of enjoy-
to fish and it wasn’t long before he connected
ing the outdoors.
with an outfitter who did upland bird hunting and added that to his growing guiding service. An effective guide must know when to help
(Right) Brandon Prescott of Winterport fishes with guide Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop on the East Outlet of the Kennebec River. PHOTO BY JOHN HOLYOKE
other,” he said.
Becoming a guide today involves written
For Kleiner, becoming a guide was a natu-
(Above) Registered Maine Guide Karen Francoeur, owner of Castine Kayak Adventures, paddles her sea kayak near the mouth of the Bagaduce River in Castine. PHOTO BY AISLINN SARNACKI
are going to learn something about each
“It is fun to see people be successful at something they signed up to do but they had no idea they were capable of,” he said.
a client with a casting technique, point out a
Holding agreed. She said most guides are in
good place to cast a fly, or to just stand back
the business because they enjoy being out-
and stay out of the way.
doors. Becoming a guide not only gives them
Earlier this summer, Kleiner was one of several guides hired by a grandfather to take his grandchildren fishing at the storied Libby Camps in northern Maine.
the chance to be outdoors themselves, but to pass on that enthusiasm. “Every time you do that, you are creating memories,” she said.