October 31, 2012

Appalachian Mountain Club

    Photo credit: Rob Burbank/AMC - "Little Lyford Pond"

"The state of Maine contains 97 percent of all the wild or native brook trout ponds remaining in the entire country, and has been designated as the last true stronghold for wild brook trout in the eastern U.S.", reads a  joint statement by Trout Unlimited and the Appalachian Mountain Club. Mainers proudly smile after reading this. Not only a true testament to our waters, but a tourism attraction for our state.

Rob Burbank, Director of Media, at the AMC contacted me to discuss their enhancement efforts in Maine’s 100 Mile Wilderness. The nation’s oldest conservation and recreation organization is making strides to enhance brook trout fisheries while protecting it for future generations. 2012 endeavors included restoring natural water flows by removing culverts as well as improving access to distant ponds. Anglers can currently choose from over two dozen back country ponds on 66,500 acres of AMC land. That is worthy of a Backwoods Plaid mention.

Consider tossing a line in Maine on your next outing. Whether seeking salmon, native brook trout, or lake trout – you’ll find a small slice of heaven here. Not sure where to stay? The club also operates Maine Wilderness Lodges, year-round lodging destinations in the thick of the woods where the nearest fishing hole is simply a cast away.

For more info, visit here.

October 30, 2012

Acadian Seaplanes

I recently connected with new friend, Keith, owner of Maine's Acadian Seaplanes, for a flight throughout the heart of Maine's wilderness. Anticipation builds for fall views during the three-hour drive to Rangeley Lake. First time "bush plane" jitters immediately disappear as we take to the air. Peak fall colors soon encompass the entire view - as far as the eye can see. These glorious views keep Keith's operation bustling throughout the summer and into late fall.

A few options await your next Maine adventure. Arrive in Portland, ME. and hop aboard one of Acadian's planes for a quick trip into the relaxing wilderness that everyone searches for. Within an hour you'll be sitting in a camp chair near Rangeley. Feel free to take their Maine-Moose experience tour on your vacation.

Should you find yourself to be in the woods already - Keith transports guests to and from some of the best and most remote fly-fishing waters New England has to offer. Before long you'll be spotting moose and casting homemade flies to brook trout and salmon. The fishing will make you want to stay, but be sure to arrive back at your pickup location before Acadian Seaplanes returns for you.

For service or custom accomodations:

(See flight photos in the upcoming post)

October 25, 2012

Bush Plane Camping x Filson Guest Post

"We load the Cessna with needed gear for two days of adventure. Our aviation headsets quickly tune to XM radio and we taxi off into the heart of the woods..."

Click the image below to read the rest of my late-season camping trip on Filson Life. Thanks to my friends at Filson for the opportunity.

October 23, 2012

Woolrich Heritage Collection

A handful of companies with historic roots have delved deep into archives to reproduce past favorites with modern updates. If successfully executed, younger demographics are attracted to an iconic brand. Woolrich is launching the Woolrich Heritage Collection. Steeped in 180 years of history, they haven’t a lack of classics to choose from. From these Milestone Flannel-Lined Pants to this Men’s Mountain Parka – you can outfit from head to toe.

Woolrich was kind enough to send their Wool Original Buffalo Check Shirt. Needless to say, it’s up my alley. Wearing more like a light jacket the wool is even comfortable over a t-shirt. The colors are classic and pop. Fit is ideal. My go-to for our evening walks with the dogs now that Autumn has arrived. Below are shots from a hike last weekend.

Head on over to the Woolrich Heritage Collection.

October 18, 2012

Fall at the Cabin

Fall is in the air. Whether in the comfort of your cabin or the warmth of your home - here are a few great ways to enjoy the season. Below are a few investments ranging from $8 - $225 that will make the colder season all that much better! Cheers...

  1. Fall colors dance around your favorite reading nook with Airwick's Color Changing Candle. Not relaxing enough? The smell of cinnamon apple is second only to the baking of warm apple pie.
  2. Seasonally low temperatures are met with warmth with Filson's Mackinaw Blanket. Curling up with Filson's virgin wool is softer than the warmest fleece. 
  3. The year was 1942 and WWII was raging when Louise Dickinson Rich wrote her classic We Took to the Woods. This enjoyable read of a couple who finds livelihood in the Maine woods will warm your heart and appeal to your sense of adventure.
  4. Best Made's 64 oz. of New England maple syrup will add a certain brightness to your Saturday mornings. Pancakes have never tasted better.
  5. Walking to the mailbox or staring at falling snow flakes from the picture window - you're feet need the L.L. Bean Wicked Good Slippers
  6. Lugging firewood indoors has never been so toasty. Try on this Stormy Kromer Wool Cap. Made in Michigan since 1903.

October 16, 2012

Mild Winter Ahead?

The Northeast may have a mild winter in store if one weather prediction method used by Old Farmer's Almanac holds true. The woolly bear caterpillar (known for their transformation inside a cocoon to a full-grown moth) is composed of 13 segments; black on either end with a reddish-brown center. The hypothesis states that more black segments suggest a harsher winter. Studies show that when the average of black segments rises above 5 - this is the tipping point to a longer and colder winter.

Whether or not this methodology holds true I cannot say for certain, but I know colder days are ahead. My winter jacket is already hanging by the front door, directly above my Bean boots. My shovel is standing desolate in the entry way. The first snowfall has already made its way to the mountains and far Northern Maine.

My suggestion:  Keep an armload of firewood by the stove to cut the chills of early mornings and always keep a good book on the coffee table for snowed-in afternoons.

Below are photos from a local hike this weekend and evidence of a mild winter to come.

October 13, 2012

L.L. Bean Car Camping

L.L. Bean is famous for sparking a fire in the soul of outdoorsmen. Whether the fire be of fishing, hunting or camping - the company is known for a notorious love of the outdoors. This week they bring an entirely new meaning to the term "car camping". Along with Oscar Meyer, Peeps and Lindt, the marketing-mobiles gather for true adventure.

In an unprecedented Art Car Campout, folks could gather today at the L.L. Bean campus to snap photos, meet the respective drivers, and pickup tons of freebies. A cool breeze was no match for the free hotdog roast and fresh apple cider. If you weren't able to make it today, be sure to catch this sight heading South on I95 in the coming days.

(Photo courtesy of the L.L. Bean twitter handle - @LLBean)

October 11, 2012

Aroostook State Park

Today's mission is exploring the Northernmost state park in the East. Aroostook State Park is located at the tip of Maine and touts the honor of being Maine's first state park (about 5 hours North of Portland). The sun settles behind a cloud-filled sky as we tighten up our Hyperlite Mountain Gear packs.  This last short-sleeve adventure of 2012 is one I'll surely look back upon with fondness while ice fishing in three months (as I freeze my cheeks off).

The unmatched beauty of Northern Maine is apparent throughout the park. Steep elevations greet you no matter the trail choice. From the tranquil lake shores to the remote campsites, we rest assured that this is God's Country. The summer crowd has vacated the park leaving only a handful of nature lovers.

Plopping onto the one bench atop the first peak, we enjoy summit views that reveal miles of panoramic potato fields in full blossom. Each field is met with a horizon line of tall pine trees. Field roads of dirt and rock cut through each plot of farmland surrounding this sleepy town of Presque Isle. Luckily as a kid I was able to call this place my home.

With sweaty brows and hungry stomachs, we later settle in at a wooded tent site and, as always, spark a fire. Our stomach grumblings are soon satisfied with a simple camp meal of beans, brown bread and hot dogs. As the evening air settles in, we are reminded that snow is in the not-so-distant future and like everything in life - we should make the best of this and enjoy each moment. Until next time...

October 8, 2012

Review: SOG Trident Knife

So, you spend time outdoors and would love carrying a knife that is Made in the USA? I want to share what I've been carrying this summer. After months of hard use - I can honestly recommend this pocket knife for more than a handful of reasons. Read the review below -OR- simply take my word for it, skip this post and buy a Trident on the SOG website.

Four basic criteria for this new knife were:
  • Easily concealable for EDC (Everyday Carry)
  • Patterned handle for ease of use in a variety of outdoor conditions
  • Assisted opening so a one-handed thumb flick could deploy the blade when working
  • Made in USA 
The thumb tack (used for opening) is ideally sized. Not too small; like on other knives. The gimping (blunt blade edge pattern for pressing down) cradles your thumb well while cutting. The deployment is wicked fast on the Trident. A few friends thought it was an automatic opening knife (illegal in some states FYI). With one quick twitch of the thumb this blade flies open. For nervous souls out there - an optional safety button is incorporated. Sharpness is prevalent on arrival - able to shave the hair from your arm. I've used it roughly this summer and it's maintained itself quite well. It's a good-sized knife that will fill a closed hand and is well-built and strong. Bottom line is the knife looks pretty nasty! Lastly, the pocket clip allows it completely falls below the pocket line.. I don't necessarily need people knowing what I'm carrying all the time... Check it out for yourself here.


October 2, 2012

Canoe Trip: Part III

A mirrored lake greets us as we cook a hearty morning breakfast. A pile of dri-ki (drift wood) is stacked near the waterfront - a potential bonfire in waiting. Blue skies indicate a beautiful afternoon of paddling.

Coffee breaks are always built into the schedule. Something needs to provide the fuel to propel me forward. Today, a muddy beach and a makeshift wind block of rocks will be the platform for my caffeine fix.

After reviewing the atlas and planning out a few potential fishing holes, we trek back to the canoe, on a caffeine-high and continue along on our way.

Relics from the river drives (when lumber would make it's way down water systems to mills) still remain throughout this land. The above contraptions are abundant along our trip. At best, it appears to be a weight, made of concrete and re-bar, that would serve as an anchor point for booms or boats.

Wading into the ripples, downstream from a dam, we test our luck on salmon. Water levels are extremely low and if my polarized sunglasses serve me correctly - fish are lacking in this river outlet today.

After 40 minutes of casting the decision is made to break down the rods and head to a remote lean-to.

As the clouds settle into the evening sky, the crisp fall air begins to whip across the lake. Our location tonight is fairly exposed and our jackets are pulled quickly from our packs. I haul the canoe onto the rocky beach and we begin dinner.

Our home for tonight. Lying flat on your back, across the hardwood shelter floor, actually feels like heaven after sitting in a canoe all day. However, I shouldn't complain. 

Dinner duties are the responsibility of my cousin this evening. I take full advantage of the opportunity to relax - taking in the smell of pine, and the beauty of another Maine evening. Cheers!