Wednesday, December 11, 2013
As we hop on the bike this weekend for our time-honored and traditional trip to the Fly-In in Greenville, we feel that familiar late-summer twinge reminding us that there are so many adventures upon which we planned to embark this summer that remain unexplored that we'd better start making some serious fall plans.
Every summer our bucket list seems to grow rather than shrink, and September and early October always get crammed full with those last-minute excursions that have been quietly and patiently waiting in the wings.
Fly-In weekend is the perfect kickoff for fall, for us, as we get a chance to reconnect with lots of biking/flying/skiing friends that we know will always be in Greenville for the colorful early September event.
Just drinking in the view up Moosehead as float planes, one after the other, drift down over the town and partake in traditional competitions like spot landing and target bombing makes the traditional excursion to Greenville worth the trip.
Kayaks and canoes skitter around the harbor, and food vendors offer up irresistible goodies along with local and not-so-local arts and crafts.
We always turn the visit into a trip of about 250 miles, as we head across to Jackman through Rockwood, counting on the likelihood of a moose and even an occasional bear spotting.
Then it's south on Route 201 with a stop at the scenic vista over Attean Pond, a Gifford's ice cream in Skowhegan, and home.
Our September/October list of adventures yet to be embarked upon this year includes a few old fall favorites and some much-anticipated new ones.
Among our must-do revisits before the snows start to fly is the short hike into Angel Falls over in western Maine, usually reserved for a fall foliage ride from Oquossoc to Mexico on Route 17, as well as a ride up (or down) through Evans Notch in the Maine section of the White Mountain National Forest.
That trip is often combined with our traditional opening day presence at the Fryeburg Fair, this year on the Sept. 29.
A ride around Cape Rosier is a late-summer must for us, and this year we'll plan to take the kayaks along, perhaps launching in Castine for the easy paddle across to the Holbrook Island Sanctuary.
We've neglected Borestone Mountain this summer, our excuse being that there have just been too many other places worth the trip to visit since May, and a fall climb is always a treat. So a late September hike is on the docket, and our hope this year is to combine it with an ascent of Barren Mountain on the nearby Appalachian Trail, as my last hike up that particular mountain was so long ago I can barely remember it.
So much for some of our oft-repeated revisits.
New during the next couple of months, the trips on which I'll be reporting will include a paddle, perhaps in the Stillwater canoe, on Big Musquash Stream north of Calais. (See Maine Atlas, Map #35).
I'll be unable to participate in the Down East Lakes Land Trust's support of the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend on a planned paddle on Sept. 29, as it conflicts with the aforementioned opening day of the Fryeburg Fair. That said, I'd encourage every paddler reading this to get more info from Mark Berry at www.downeastlakes.org about his organization's planned trip. Even if you don't have your own watercraft, arrangements can be made, I'm told. It sounds like a fun and educational day on a very unique stretch of Down East water.
I'll be headed that way in the next couple of weeks to enjoy an oft-postponed 6-mile paddle on a stream that flows for much of its length through a broad, treeless valley, and is at least 100 feet across for much of its length.
Characteristic pointed firs found in such abundance in the northern boreal forest stand like sentinels along the way, interspersed with birches, aspen and red maples that I expect will have started to turn on my upcoming trip.
Later this fall, a short but inviting kayak trip will put me on a pond that is very familiar to me, but into which I've never dipped a paddle. Gilman Pond, just a short distance from a farm I once owned in New Portland, is the perfect place to launch for a 6-mile round trip from the pond itself down Gilman Stream to the bridge where Route 16 crosses in North New Portland.
Although there's no public and official launch site on the pond, I'm told you can put in at the now-defunct Gilman Pond Campground near the south end reachable via the Gilman Pond Road that leads from Route 16 only about a mile from North New Portland on the way to Kingfield.
So, I don't know about you, but the next couple of months are shaping up for me to be some of the most fun I've had in the great Maine outdoors all summer.
John Christie is an author and year-round Maine explorer. He and his son, Josh, write in Outdoors about places to enjoy beauty only Maine has to offer. He can be contacted at: