September 28, 2012


October 5, 2012 - The worldwide celebration of Plaid

Rules of Plaidurday celebration are quite simple - wear your favorite plaid shirt. Should you find yourself one of the few unlucky souls without proper attire - check out one of the fine retailers below.

September 27, 2012

Canoe Trip: Part Two

Morning light sneaks beneath the tarp shortly after 6am. My eyes roll open and I, in sequence, roll out of my hammock. A quick glimpse of the morning sunrise is cause enough for me to run barefoot for my camera bag. The rays of a golden sun reach far above the peak of Maine's famous Mount Katahdin. Evening dew still coats the shoreline, the water is still and the air remains chilled. Thirty minutes from the sun peaking above the Eastern horizon is my favorite part of the day. The sky is filled with brilliant colors and the Earth is just waking up.

When I think of Maine, images like this morning populate my mind. Nature truly at it's best.

Leaning back against a campsite bench, I enjoy a Clif bar breakfast and watch as a plane shoots across the sky. From my remote vantage point, it appears as though the sun itself launched the plane overhead.

Our second day on the water is enjoyably spent exploring shorelines of Chesuncook Lake. History lies around every corner. Approaching 3,500 acre Gero Island, we spot an old stand of White Pine trees that was missed in the log drive era. Before long our canoe finds itself ashore and we are bushwhacking through thick brush, fighting our way inward. 

A forty-five minute hike leads us to the absolute largest trees I've seen (on the East coast). Wrapping my arms as far as possible around the trunk - I barely cover 1/3 the diameter. Two hundred years old is a mere estimation. Surely one of the oldest stands of existing Pine in Maine, these beauties have stood tall against many a winter storm.

Blue skies and a slight wind help roll in a patch of cumulous clouds. The paddling is steady, but pleasant. Good for the body and good for the mind.

Fossils involve a good part of our afternoon. Our second stop of the day is a small section of beach I discovered years ago. Seashells were deposited here long before you or I walked this Earth. Whether you believe in a great flood or glaciers, one force or another brought these oceanic creatures hundreds of miles inland. Amazing to take in all the elements of God's green Earth.

A wilderness campsite for the evening is another few miles down the lake. We load our rocks into the canoe, grab a paddle and aim for an early dinner and star gazing.

Warmth of the late afternoon. It looks best in buffalo plaid.

Kendall's sleeping quarters is neatly tied and comfortable.

A late night wind develops and decides to blow directly inside my tarp. Half asleep, with a dim headlamp, I tie every grommet to any rock I can find. She is far from elegant and the ridge line is far from tight, but the setup keeps me warm and dry.

Hopping back into my Big Agnes sleeping bag, I try to catch a few more hours of shut-eye - tomorrow is another big day of explorations. Stay tuned...

September 24, 2012

Review: SteriPen

Safe drinking water is key to all outdoor adventures. Bacteria, giardia, salmonella, viruses and other microorganisms can be a concern when collecting drinking water from natural sources. SteriPen, a Maine-based company, offers the lightest, fastest and most simplistic way to ensure healthful hydration. 90 seconds of stirring sterilizes with ultraviolet light. Check out the new Adventurer model for your next excursion.

            1. Collect your water
            2. Turn SteriPen on, insert into Nalgene, stir
            3. Drink and continue exploring!

Padded case with belt loop. Convenient and within hand's reach.

The unit provides ultraviolet light to kill the harmful "critters" that cause sickness and quickly ruin a camping/canoeing trip. 

Cold and refreshing water from the shore of a remote Maine lake.

90 seconds later we have 1 Liter of treated water.

After a long day of canoeing under the the energy-draining sun, a cold (and safe) drink of water is the only thing to quench my thirst. All that's left to do is kick back by a fire, put your feet up and relax. Enjoy!

Editor's Note: I also own a water filtration system, but when space and weight are concerns on trips, this unit is less bulky and fits the bill! Thanks to the good folks over at SteriPen for sending out this product for review. As always, you wouldn't see it here unless it passes the tests of me and my outdoor friends. 

September 19, 2012

Canoe Trip: Part One

The morning finally arrives in which I leave to meet my cousin, Kendall, in mid-Maine for our latest adventure. A multi-day canoe trip like this involves weeks of planning and we intend to fully enjoy every moment. Plans consist of exploring Maine’s second largest lake with an 18ft. canoe that Kendall crafted by hand. At its greatest lengths, Chesuncook Lake is 22 miles long and 4 miles wide. On it’s shores we'll find restful sleep in our hammocks and hopefully catch our dinner on a fly line.

Two chairs, at the last public camp site we cross, overlook a section of lake near our launch site. This will be where I retire and spend my evenings.

We set out upon blue waters with a matching sky. Wisps of clouds slowly transform as the wind brushes lightly against the sides of our canoe.

We crank up the old Johnson boat motor to cross the widest section of lake. An hour later we are casting our fly lines into the water as we approach our first campsite.

Rolling up the sleeves of my Woolrich flannel to soak in limited fall sunshine.

As we locate our beach campsite, we toss up our hammocks before the sun sets and begin cooking dinner.

Tonight's low temperatures will nearly touch 40 degrees Fahrenheit. We rig tarps above our hammocks to keep the evening dew and  possible frost off ourselves.

My fall sleep setup includes a down Big Agnes bag that is rated into the lower temps and a Eagle Nest Outfitters DoubleNest hammock.

Peeling off my boots, I throw on my Sanuk sandals. I toss my feet up to rest my bad back after an afternoon of paddling. 

Woolrich wools and my hammock combined with the splashing waves and a pure Maine sunset are the cure for too much city. I need a solid amount of country running through my blood and this is exactly the evening to reinvigorate myself. The quiet country is precisely the place to clear your mind and collect your thoughts.

September 17, 2012

Filson Guest Post: Kayaking in Maine

Click the image below to read my latest Guest Post on Filson Life. Thanks to my friends at Filson for the opportunity.

September 11, 2012

General Store

Ventures through the country are always memorable. Relaxation is found in these vast expanses of open land, dotted with pine-tree covered mountains and lined with winding narrow roads. There comes a point (somewhere between the time where you see the “Next Gas Station – 60 Miles” sign and when you finally hit a bumpy dirt road) that you happen across a General Store.

Rare would be understating the stumbling across a true working general store. Unkempt corners of cobwebbed deer mounts always hang high above the expired rack of Lay’s potato chips. Working wood stoves are central fixtures and should your visit be during the colder months, it will be firing. Prize catches of salmon are situated atop the racks of cheap cigars, corn cob pipes and Trojan condoms. Only two sale items remain behind locked glass – guns and wedding dresses.

Walls of general stores are lined with antique photos, housing the memories of founding citizens, stick-built homes, picturesque local mountains, and old hunting grounds. The depictions bring us back to what surely was a better place and time. No matter where you find yourself in life, enjoy the roads traveled, take in the sights, keep smiling and if you see a General Store – swing in.

September 6, 2012

Fall Flannels & Plaids

Fall is here and the cold air is slowly sneaking in. Whether picking farm-patch pumpkins, stirring up some homemade apple cider, or venturing out for a backyard hike - here are a few priceless essentials to keep you warm while catching everyone's eye while winter draws near. 

  1. Woolrich's Original Buffalo Check - An American wool to keep you warm well into winter. 
  2. Filson's Alaskan Guide - 7 ounces of brushed cotton twill trusted by Alaskan bush pilots.
  3. Carhartt's Slub Cotton Plaid - A stylish and slim fit lightweight base layer for town.
  4. Merrell's Highgate Reversible - Vibrant and wicking plaid that will keep your adventures dry.
  5. Filson's San Juan Wool - A tight merino wool weave that won't allow the cold air in.
  6. Pendleton's Snap Front Austin - Vintage styling to make you at home in the outdoors.

September 5, 2012

Hide-a-way Cove

A rising drawbridge reveals one of the most scenic fishing villages in all of Maine. What I call 'Hide-a-way Cove' is labeled as Perkins Cove on the map. This is one of the last quaint towns to have an active drawbridge in the state. Each lobster boat seeks shelter and safety within the confines of the tiny harbor. Streets are lined with small shops, take-out eateries and lobstering tour-boats.

We enjoy the best french toast imaginable complete with a topping of Maine-made maple syrup at a small restaurant on the outskirts of town. Slowly making our way towards the ocean, we enjoy the sights and sounds of a summer's morning. Finding a vacant bench, time is well-spent watching the comings and goings of the waterway. A truly relaxing vacation from the woods.

Boats & Homes

The tide faces all boats forward

Lobstering accessories

Lobster rolls

A dockside dinghy gathering

Summer reflections


Live Lobster

Bright buoys

Boats & Paddles

Birds & Birdhouses