MindFire Press

A Maine Youth

Maine Hiker's Journal

Season 1 (2013) 

Chapter 1: A Maine Youth

I grew up in Maine. 

My family lived in Sanford, a town (now a small city) in the southwestern part of the state, where I fished in the Mousam River and Stump Pond and played in Gowen’s Park and the surrounding woods. No worries about child molesters in those days. Each time, I simply walked out the door, with my mother’s approval of course, and began a new adventure. [The photo below is one I took of the Mousam River on a trip to Sanford in the summer of 2013. It hasn't changed much since I was a boy.]

My father instilled a love of nature in me at an early age and cultivated that spirit of by taking me and the other kids in the neighborhood on Sunday walks in the woods. Himself a lover of all living things, he would tell us stories and show us, by example, how to appreciate, respect, and enjoy the natural world.

When I went to college and later moved to another state to work in my chosen field, my interest in nature remained constant, but my passion became golf. So, I spent my time on the fairways, thus spoiling many a good walk, rather than immersing myself in the surrounding woods as I did in my youth. At one point in my mid-twenties, I took up jogging as a form of aerobic exercise at the insistence of my doctor, Henry Childs, to whom I will be eternally grateful, to stave off the negative effects of too much stress, poor diet, and not enough exercise. Jogging not only made me healthier, but also moved me closer to the woods again.

Every place I moved during the next four decades, I scouted out the local parks and spent many happy hours jogging or walking in them. I even took a course from Tom Brown Jr., one of the world’s greatest trackers, and read many of his inspiring books, such as The Tracker, to learn as much as I could about tracking and surviving in the wilderness. But something was missing.

In 2010, we bought a summer cottage in southern Maine and my love affair with the woods moved to another level. With access, time, and the means to explore my beloved Maine woods now a reality, the next phase of my journey—hiking—began. Maine Hiker’s Journal is my way of sharing some of the wonder, excitement, and joy that I have experienced, and the knowledge that I have gained, hiking in the Maine woods and other parts of New England.

In each chapter, I will chronicle my adventures, from my early days as a new hiker struggling to reach the summit of mighty Mount Agamenticus (elevation 619 feet) and return to the trail head intact, to my initial adventures in Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park (two of the most beautiful places on the planet to hike), and beyond. In each case, I will share some photos I took along the way, and some information, such as books, articles, and websites, that I found particularly helpful in my preparation for hiking in these special places.

I hope you will join me on the trail.

Click Discovering Agamenticus.to read the next chapter.

Click Maine Hiker's Journal to return to the home page of the journal.


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