Looks like I’ve been slacking around here lately! Sorry for not posting any new material this camping season! The truth is, I just haven’t had much time lately!

One the reasons for my neglect on my camping blog is that I’ve been focused on building up my personal finance blog Trees Full of Money as well as continue to work on my MBA through the University of Massachusetts. This combined with my “day job” as a captain on an offshore oil rig and my growing family, I just haven’t had time to post any great new leadership articles lately!

In the meantime, be sure to check out some of my personal finance articles including debt snowball calculator spreadsheet program and my technique of using a goodwill letter to remove late payments from your credit reports.

In particular, check out the story of how my family and I paid off a large amount of consumer debt in less than two years!

Hopefully this financial site will keep you entertained until I have the time to manage more than one website!

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You don’t need to be a Maine Resident to fully appreciate the lack of judgement J. Crew marketers have exhibited in their latest fashion piece “Maine Boxers”.

maine-boxer-shorts

Thanks to J. Crew’s revolutionary foresight and vision, now stuck up, snobby, superficial summer residents can crap all over us during the winter months too!

Oh well, as long as they keep buying our lobsters I guess there’s really nothing worth complaining about!

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skeeter-skidaddler

The editor on his way out to a remote campsite on Moosehead Lake in Northern Maine.

As I’ve mentioned previously on this camping site, every year my friends and I travel to a remote location in Northern Maine for a weekend fishing, boating, and camping trip.

This year I brought along a bottle of Skeeter Skidaddler insect repellent manufactured by Allen Pollock right here in Southern Maine.  After reading a few reader testimonials regarding not only the repellent’s amazingly pleasant smell, but more importantly its effectiveness, I knew a weekend getaway in Northern Maine would be the perfect proving grounds for this exciting new product.

After setting up camp, I quickly realized that I hadn’t donned any bug spray.  This realization was aided by several new itchy bug bites that had already begun to swell on the back of my neck.  I immediately grabbed the bottle of Mr. Pollock’s Skeeter Skidaddler and gave myself a solid coating of the spray. 

On his return from the woods collecting some firewood, one of my friends commented about the smell in the air.  “What the hell is that smell?” he asked.  Although, it is hard to express with written words, the inflection in my friends voice led me to believe that he wasn’t as offended by the smell as his choice of words may have eluded.

The smell is best described as an “earthy” combination of cinnamon, pine sap, and vanilla.  While I wouldn’t go as far in saying it is a feasible alternative for my favorite cologne, the repellents fragrance is certainly not unpleasant.

With that said, the main purpose of my test was not to impress the olfactory senses of my camping partners, what I really wanted was not to get bitten by blackflies and mosquitos!  I’m happy to report that the Skeeter Skidaddler was very effective in keeping the pesky bugs away!

Skeeter Skidaddler is not cheap (a season’s supply will set you back about $9), however, its all natural ingredients and Made in Maine appeal make it an ideal choice for families looking for an effective (and great smelling) insect repellent.  It also would make a great gift!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I was not paid for my review of Skeeter Skidaddler, although a sample of the product was provided to me for this review.

Happy camping, and good luck with the bugs!

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white-water-rafting-maineIf you’re looking for adventure the next time you’re camping in Northern Maine, consider checking out one of the local whitewater rafting companies. My personal favorite is Penobscot Adventuresin Millinocket about an hour north of Bangor.

Penobscot Adventures has some of the friendliest guides in the industry (we had Bob), and after your morning run down the rapids they serve you a wood fired BBQ lunch (vegetarian meals are available on request). In addition to the warm hospitality and and hearty food, you’ll find a challenging variety of rapids suitable for virtually every individual taste.

 For the adrenaline junkies, try the Ultimate Penobscot Adventure where you’ll make a morning and afternoon run down the “treacherous” Upper Penobscot through the famous Gorge and Cribworks sections of the river.

The Kennebec River, Dead River, and Penobscot Rivers all have thriving paddling communities, each with it’s own unique feel. Personally the Penobscot River appeals to me the most. It’s wilderness feel, easy access, great rapids and un-crowded play spots, put it at the top of my list. That’s why I chose to base my rafting company here. Penobscot Adventures is the only rafting company in Maine that focuses on the Penobscot River.

Although Maine doesn’t have the slogan on it’s license plate (Idaho does), it could very well be “The Whitewater State“. - Dan McDonald, Owner Penobscot Adventures.

Whether you’re an experienced or novice whitewater rafter, the first priority is safety. Consider this, Penobscot Adventures was ranked the safest rafting company in 2004, and had perfect safety records for the 2005 and 2006 seasons as well.  There are no compromises when it comes to safety, and after a thorough safety briefing prior to launching the rafts, each participant is required to where a helmet, lifejacket, and protective footwear.

I’ll admit that I was a little nervous as we sent out on our first voyage down the mighty Gorge, but once the adrenaline starts pumping, you realize you’re participating in something special.

There are a number of lodging options in the area, including a decent campground adjacent to the facility. Penobscot Adventures is also located along the access road to the North Maine Woods Recreational and Land Management Area, providing some of the most remote and beautiful isolated camping destinations on the East Coast.

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bar-harborKnown for it’s stunning rockbound coastline, virtually unlimited number of hiking trails, exciting nightlife, and warm coastal charm, Bar Harbor has built a reputation as one of the premier summer vacation hotspots in the country.

Located about 2 1/2 hours up the coast from Portland, ME. Bar Harbor is one of several towns on Mount Desert Island which is connected to the mainland via bridge from the gateway town of Trenton. When an individual refers to vacationing in Bar Harbor, he is generally referring to the entire island itself including Acadia National Park.

What To Do

Hiking
Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park have some of the most beautiful and well maintained hiking trails anywhere. You will find trails for any ability or skill level, from the famous Carriage Trails to challenging near vertical ascents. One highly recommended trail is the “Precipice” which winds up Champlain Mountain and offers amazing views of Bar Harbor, Cadillac Mountain, and Frenchman’s Bay. My personal favorite is the Bubble Rock Trail which takes you to the top Bubble Mountain to the famous gravity defying “Bubble Rock” which sits precariously on a steep ledge overlooking the valley below. The rock offers a great photo opportunity; one of my cousins actually broke his leg trying to push the rock off the ledge when he was younger.

Biking
The Carriage Trails, originally built for John D. Rockefeller, Jr in the early 1930’s, offer nearly 50 miles of hard packed gravel roads that wind throughout the island. Not only do the trails offer some of the most spectacular vantage points on the island, they are an amazing landmark in their own rite with 16 hand-laid granite stone bridges spanning streams and gorges throughout the park. There are a number of bike rental companies around the island (The Bar Harbor Bike Shop, Acadia Bike)that can outfit you and your family with everything you need for a day or by the week.

Whale Watching
Bar Harbor is home to one of the most active whale watching areas in the world. A number of well respected whale watch companies are based here making several trips throughout the morning, afternoon, and evening. Check out Bar Harbor Whale Watching Tours, and Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company; the later has the Friendship V which is billed as the newest, most luxurious, and fastest whale watch vessel in the USA. Most companies will guarantee that you will see whales and will offer you another trip if you don’t. On any given day you may see Humpback, Finback, or Mink whales. You will also have the chance to see puffins, seals, and dolphins. While you’re on the water you also might be amazed at some of the stately waterfront mansions that line the coast, or the historic lighthouses that have been guiding mariners to safe harbor for over a hundred years.

Shopping
The island towns Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, and Southwest Harbor each offer their own eclectic mix of shops, and galleries. Over a hundred professional artists make their home in the area and proudly display their works in art galleries around the island.

Zoos and Aquariums
There are several aquariums and a large zoo in the area. Spend a day in Trenton visiting the Trenton Zoo, where you’ll find a variety of animals including buffalo, monkeys, lions, reptiles, as well as other species. From there you can head back on to the island and get hands on with marine life at the Mount Desert Oceanarium in Bar Harbor, and Southwest Harbor.

Golfing
There are 3 populuar golf course to choose from in the Bar Harbor Region, each offering it’s own unique advantages.

Beer Tasting
In case you haven’t heard, Maine has some of the best mircobreweries in the country. If you enjoy a good beer from time to time you may wish consider visiting one of Bar Harbors breweries. My favorites are The Bar Harbor Brewing Company, and the Atlantic Brewing Company. Before you leave you have to try Atlantic Brewing Company’s Blueberry Ale, it is one of my favorite beers of all time! Both breweries cater to the entire family with tours and tastings (yummy homemade rootbeer and soda for the kids!). Atlantic Brewing Company also offers tasty BBQ lunches as well!

Beach
Maine is famous for it’s rockbound coastline, you may be suprised to know that there are a number of fine sand beaches in the area as well incuding Fine Sand Beach within Acadia. There is also excellent freshwater swiming in Echo Lake which is right before the town of Southwest Harbor.

Boating and Kayaking
The coastline along the Bar Harbor Region is ideal for sea kayaking with many companies in the area offering group tours or kayak rentals. National Park Sea Kayak, and National Park Canoe Rental for great adventures on both salt and fresh water.

Historic Schooner/Windjammer Cruises
Take a step back in time on board a historic coastal schooner departing daily from the island for day and over night trips. Pitch in with the crew and get your hands wet, or just kick back and relax to gentle breeze and distant chatter of sea birds. There are several schooner operations in the area presenting vessels of different character. Check out Downeast Windjammer Cruises for information sailing and power vessel trips including sunset cruises, and shuttles to the remote outer islands in Frenchman’s and Penobscot Bays.

Where to Stay

Hotels
There is a wide variety of hotels available in the area from ones providing a basic “bed and a bath”, to luxurious ocean side resorts that cater to your every need. Be sure to book well in advance since rooms have a tendency to fill up quickly in the summertime. If money were not a limiting factor, I would stay at either the Harborside Hotel, or Blue Nose Inn every day of the year. Both offer uncompromising attention to detail with fabulous vistas of Frenchman’s Bay and the Bar Harbor Waterfront. The Blue Nose Inn also is home the internationally recognized Rose Garden Restaurant which is annually receives the coveted 4-Diamond Award for excellence (It’s one of those places where they sprinkle rose pedals in the commodes!). For less expensive options consider booking rooms in Ellsworth, or Trenton which are off island location but within a short drive of all the action the area has to offer. For more information on the area’s hotels, check out actual customer reviews HERE.

Rental Properties
One of the best ways to experience life in the region is to rent you own cottage for a week or two. Read our review of the best rental property companies in the area HERE.

Campgrounds
A variety of different campgrounds in the Bar Harbor Region offer an inexpensive alternative to some of the pricier lodging options around the island. Most offer shower facilities and community rec areas, and many have electrical/water hookups for those traveling in RV’s.

Bed and Breakfasts
Perhaps the most intimate form of lodging in the area is a stay at one of the local Bed and Breakfast Inns. Typically, these Inns are former private summer residences that have had their bedrooms converted into guest rooms (most have in-suite bathrooms as well). Guest are treated as family members of the inn keepers and many create long lasting friendships that keep them returning year after year. Each inn offers it’s own unique charm from being located directly on the water, centered inside a working farm, or catering specifically to families traveling with animals. For information on Inns in the Area and for reservations check out the Maine Innkeepers Association Website. Highly rated inns include Castlemaine Inn in the heart of downtown Bar Harbor, or relax in the quiet village of Northeast Harbor at the Maison Suisse Inn designed by legendary architect Fred Savage.

Where to Eat

OK, Where’s the Lobster?
With so much to do in the area your bound to get hungry. Fortunately for you, there are literally hundreds of places in the area to get some fresh Maine seafood including lobster, mussels, clams (steamers), fish, and the famous clam “chowdah”. Because the recipe for lobster is so simple (lobster + boiling salt water) you’ll find great lobster anyplace you go. One of my favorite places is the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound located on Rt.3 (”Bar Harbor Road”) right before you get on the island, look for it when your driving to the island on the right. Nothing fancy here, just good old fashion Maine Lobster with all the fixings, done the same way for the last 50 years. If you don’t believe me, you can actually order the lobster from them online and try it out for yourself before you get here!

Other Dining Options
If your looking for something a little less fishy, one of my favorite non seafood places is Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant on Rodick St. in Bar Harbor. Living in the area year round as a child, you would hear people talking about the seasonal opening of Miguel’s months before. When I finally became of age I realized why, not only is the food outstanding, but the margaritas are amazing and you can order them by the pitcher!

The Jordan Pond House is truly a unique place and a must for any visitor to the area. Located in the heart of the island, and easily accessible by main roads and the elaborate carriage trail network, the Jordan Pond house is perfect place for lunch or afternoon tea. Enjoy their world famous popovers and fresh squeezed lemonade on the patio while over 100 species of flowers from the well landscaped premises brighten the view of the surrounding mountains, forests, ponds, and streams. My high school class had our prom here back in 1995

Nightlife

The “village” of Bar Harbor is definitely the areas “place to be” on any given night in the summer time. There is always something going on at one of the many bars in town. For a true taste of a local Maine pub check out the locals’ favorite water hole The Thirsty Whale on Cottage St, there’s nothing fancy about this place, just friendly people having a good time. Other favorite bars are Geddy’s on Main St. which also has a great lunch and dinner menu. Geddy’s features great local acoustic acts most nights in the summer.

If you’re really looking for a place to party check out the Carmen Verandah on Main St. adjacent to the village green. This place really gets going after ten on warm summer nights. No mater where you go, always be sure to have a designated driver, or call a cab. Maine’s DWI laws are tough, and besides I want you driving through my parent’s yard in the middle of the night (It’s happened!).

Send Us Your Suggestions!
If you have an suggestions for interesting places around Bar Harbor not covered here, I’d love to hear from you!

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ll-bean-boot-freeport-maineA camping trip in Northern Maine isn’t complete without first stopping in the historic coastal town of Freeport, ME. Though it was once the center of a flourishing shipbuilding industry, Freeport has reinvented itself into one of the most visited outlet shopping destinations on the East Coast.

The transformation began in 1912 when Leon Leanwood Bean open his name sake retail store (LL Bean) along Main St. in the heart of what has become known as Freeport Village. Thanks to iconic designs such as the Maine Hunting Shoe, and a legendary 100% satisfaction guarantee, LL Bean’s flagship store now welcomes over 3 million visitors a year.

With LL Beans success, a number of other companies began converting nearby residences into retail spaces of their own. Present day Freeport has over 100 specialty retail stores all within walking distance of the center of town. Polo Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, GAP, Brooks Brothers, and many more labels now fill centuries old Federal and Greek Revival Colonials that proudly span throughout the area.

Things To Do in Freeport, ME

Shopping
As mentioned above, the village in Freeport has something for just about everyone. If you’re looking for fun Maine souvenirs check out “Cool as a Moose” on Bow St just off Main St. down the hill from the Polo Ralph Lauren store. You’ll also find J. Crew, The North Face, Nine West, Abercrombie and Fitch, Nautica, and Wilson’s Leather Goods, among others, all within a 5 minute stroll of the intersection of Main and Bow.

With the recent completion of “Freeport Village” and associated parking garage, visitors have access to even more stores and the parking situation that has been challenging in years past is greatly improved! 

Along the northern side of Main St. (which is also part of the famous US Rt. 1) is the sprawling campus of LL Bean. Plan to spend several hours covering everything in the LL Bean store alone. If you need a break to catch your breath, their is a fantastic Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream stand situated right on the front patio steps of the main entrance to LL Bean. Also, be sure to go around to the side entrance of the store and have your picture taken with the giant LL Bean Boot! In the summer time there are concerts, and live product demonstrations on the green on the west side of the flagship store.

There are other outlet stores further down Rt. one including the Chocolate Factory, and Carter’s Children’s Wear but these are out of walking distance for most visitors’ tastes.

Wolf’s Neck Farm
Take a trip out to Wolfe’s Neck Farm. The farm is an historic 626 acre farm on the Maine coast dedicated to sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and community well-being through the enjoyment of the natural landscape. Visitors are invited to visit the farm and enjoy the sights and sounds of the area. If you’re making an extended stay in the area you can enroll your children in one of their day camp programs, where children learn about taking care of the animals and living on a self sustaining farm. Their is an excellent campground on the farm if you’re in the mood for more “adventurous” accommodations.

Golf
There are two golf courses in the immediate area. The Freeport Country Club and Brunswick Golf Club. The casual golfer will enjoy the great value of the 9 hole course at the Freeport Country Club. Serious golfers, or those seeking a more upscale golfing experience will prefer the plush beauty that is the Brunswick Golf Club. You can read a complete collection of my Maine golf reviews here.

Where to Eat

There is no shortage of wonderful places to eat in the Freeport area. In the center of the shopping center you’ll find delicious fresh lobster and lobster rolls at the Lobster Cooker Restaurant. For pub fare you can try Gritty’s McDuffs Brew Pub which is located about a half mile south of LL Bean down Rt1. on the left hand side I highly recommend the haddock sandwich, and brown ale (brewed on the premises). Gritty’s is a fun place to be after dinner as well, with a great crowd and atmosphere.

The Jameson Tavern is also on Main St. and offer delicious seafood and pub fare. Local legend has it that the tavern served as the state declaration signing spot when Maine separated from Massacheusetts in 1789. For this reason, some locals refer to the tavern as the “Birthplace of Maine”.

For an elegant dining experience try the Azure Cafe. Though the Azure’s decor is upscale and our waitress was spectacular, the lobster dinner was priced very reasonably and billed as the “least expensive” in town.

For you Italian lovers try Antonia’s Pizzeria next to Gritty McDuff’s Brew Pub. We recently spent a great afternoon here listening to live music from a local musician and getting our fill of some of the best pizza around!

Where to Stay in Freeport, ME

If you plan on staying a day or two in Freeport before continuing on with your camping trip to Acadia National Park, or the North Maine Woods. There are a variety of lodging (and camping) options.
 
Bed and Breakfasts
Like Bar Harbor, there are a variety of lodging options available in the Freeport area. One of the most popular options is staying in one of the beautiful bed and breakfast establishments that line route 1 as you are heading North out of the village. there are a variety of lodging options available in the Freeport area. One of the most popular options is staying in one of the beautiful bed and breakfast establishments that line route 1 as you are heading North out of the village. Check out James Place Inn, the Brewster House, Freeport Clipper Inn, and the White Cedar Inn among others.

Hotels
There are a variety of hotels in the area as well. The Hilton Garden Inn is nearby and a good option. The Harraseeket Inn is an exceptional establishment and recommended for any family seeking a more luxurious experience. The Inn is a favorite destination of honeymooners and was listed as one of the Top 50 resorts in the US in 2005 by Conde’ Nast.

Rental Properties
One of the best ways to experience the best of this area is to rent a vacation home for a week or two. Renting has become a popular alternative to hotels in the area, especially for traveling families that need the extra space. For about the same price of a week stay in one of the areas many hotels, you can rent out a larger more intimate vacation home from which to stage your family vacation. There are a wide variety of homes in the area to meet every taste and budget.

Campgrounds
There are a couple beautiful campgrounds in the area as well for those families seeking more adventurous accommodations.  Try Wolfe’s Neck Farm a short drive from the village.

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portable-phone-chargerAlthough some hardcore camping enthusiasts wish to forgo outside communication during their “escape” to the wilderness, if you need a portable lightweight device to keep your cell phone or mp3 player charged during your next outdoor adventure, do your inner technology geek a favor and pick up a Wind Up Charger from Eco Mobile Accessories.

Last season I wrote about the irony of camping in the remote wilderness of Northern Maine and still having full access to the features of my Blackberry Smart Phone through the expansive network of Verizon Wireless cell towers.

Although my buddies and I were nearly an hours drive from any place that could even loosely be interpreted as a “town”, I could still send and receive phone calls, update my Facebook status, and surf the internet. My how technology has changed…

The problem was I didn’t have any means to keep my cell phone charged over our 4 day camping trip. I wasn’t expecting to receive any network coverage in the area we had set up camp, and the excitement of sharing the exploits of our adventures (in real time) was quickly draining away the life of my cell phone’s already limited battery life!

After a solid day of “blogging” from the wilderness, I had to be careful to conserve my phone’s battery life for the remainder of the trip (especially if we had an emergency and needed to get help).

Now that preparations are well under way for this year’s camping trip to the same area on Moosehead Lake just North of Greenville, ME, I am anxiously looking forward to brining along my new Wind Up Charger.

I received a demo version of the product to review for my readers last month and I must say I’m impressed with the little device.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I received no compensation for testing the product other than being allowed to keep the test unit.

The device comes with a variety of adapters allowing users to charge almost any major cell phone model including most Blackberry and iPhone models. Just plug the included charging cable into the unit and choose the appropriate adapter into the other end of the cable and connect the device to your phone. Ample power to charge your cell phone is only a few minutes of hand cranking away!

How long does it take to charge your phone?

If you’re looking to fully recharge your phone’s battery, you can expect to crank the charger for over an hour. On the other hand, I was able to make a 10 minute phone call to my wife on a completely drained Blackberry cell phone after only 5 minutes of steady cranking on the unit.

As an additional bonus for campers who buy a Wind Up Charger it has a built-in LED flashlight that offers a respectable amount of light in the event your primary flashlight were to fail. You’ll never have to worry about running out of batteries again! Even better, LED light bulbs last considerably longer than traditional flashlight bulbs so you have an even greater measure of reliability and redundancy with the device.

The device is extremely compact and fits easily in your pants or jacket pocket. Despite its lightweight and small size, the device seems well made and very sturdy. I suspect the device will hold up to a substantial amount of abuse although I have not tested it beyond accidentally dropping it from waist height to a bed of rocks (it still works)!

I’m looking forward to offering real time posts of my upcoming camping trip to Moosehead Lake in Northern Maine beginning June 3 through the 6th (make sure you log on to Northern Camping over this period to stay in touch!) thanks in no small part to this device!

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Know Your Camping Spots!

April 20, 2010

There are many different types of camping spots, and with summer fast approaching, it is important to know what kind of amenities to expect and look for from your campsite.

Fully Catered

These sites are designed for RV’S and provide full range of amenities, such as electricity, water and sewer connections. Look out for the amps of power your site is advertising for. Some with have 30 amps whilst others will have 50 amps of power. A 50 amp circuit is more suited to larger RV’s.

Extra amenities which are usually provided include fire pits, picnic tables and a concrete parking pad. Be sure to confirm which amenities are present before arriving!

Electricity and Water

Similarly to fully catered sites, a camping spot with electricity and water is for RV’s and may include 20, 30, or 50 amps of power and feature extra amenities similar to the ones present at fully catered sites. Quite uncommon in the West, these spots are more frequent in state parks throughout the Midwest and South.

Electrical Only

Again, more hard to find in the West, tent spots with electrical power are not uncommon in the South. These sits are not specifically mafe for RV’s so they are usually smaller, 20-amp powered circuits.

Primitive

These spots have no water or electricity, and depending on the campground, they usually include a picnic table and fire ring. It can get a bit chilly when you camp primitively, so make sure you have the appropriate outdoor clothing packed with you.

Dispersed

As you are no doubt aware, camping spots come in all shapes and sizes and are not strictly limited to campgrounds. On most federal land, you are free to make your own camping spot, with restrictions only being in place signalling how close your spot may be to the road or water source. Be warned though; regulations on campfires vary greatly. It is definitely worth checking this important information out before you arrive.

Whichever spot you choose, remember camping is a chance to “get away from it all” and relax. Be sure to pick a spot to suit your style!

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Camping in the Cold

April 20, 2010

The seasons are in transition, and the winter coats, hats and gloves are gradually being swapped for shorts, tees and sunglasses. We are entering camping season, and whilst everyone’s fingers are crossed for a spring and summer of full or blue skies, scorching sun and balmy humidity , be warned not to pack away your thermals just yet.

The evenings out by the campfire can get a little bit chilly, and cold snaps are all too frequent.

Have a look at these tips to ensure you are prepared for a great camp, however cold it may get!

Clothing

After all that has just been said, no prizes for my first tip; Take some extra layers with you! For best insulation, wear wool and synthetic materials rather than cotton. Pack an outdoor fleece, preferably in a dark colour as this will attract warmth from the sun. Plenty of socks are advisable; you may even end up using them as an emergency pair of mittens! Wearing a hat and scarf in bed will also keep you warm as the head and neck area allow body heat to escape.

Inside Your Tent

If you are anticipating things getting really chilly, taking two sleeping bags with you might not be such a bad idea. Even if it isn’t cold enough to warrant their proper use, the spare can be laid out as a makeshift picnic blanket. Before you slip into your sleeping bag(s) for the night, fill up a water bottle with hot water and stick it near your feet. As tempting as it might be to curl up around it, let your scarf and hat take care of your upper regions. Before bed, have yourself a hot drink and eat something. Marshmallows round the fire anyone?

Health Issues

Uncontrolled shivering, poor co-ordination, mental confusion and mumbling are all symptoms of hypothermia, so be alert and on the look-out should things get particularly frosty. In emergencies, get the person in question into dry clothes, and have them huddle up close to someone to contain body warmth, and hand them a hot drink so sip on.

The last pointer is quite extreme, but worth having in your thoughts nonetheless. Simple steps can easily prevent such events.

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loading-camping-gear

Nearly every spring my old high school buddies and I head out on a 3 to 4 day camping and fishing trip to a remote location in Northern Maine. While this year’s adventure is still a couple of months away, I wanted to reflect on last year’s excursion to the Moosehead Lake Region with the idea that it might inspire other people to get out and see this great part of the world.

The State of Maine maintains dozens of campsites along Moosehead Lake that are available on a first come first serve basis. Most campsites are provided with a picnic table, fire pit w/grill, and privy (rustic outhouse). Fire permits are usually not required for campfires at these sites as long as they are contained in the designated fire pits. During July and August, these sites can fill up quickly, but we rarely have a problem getting the site we want in early June.

Since my buddies and I are now scattered throughout the state and beyond, we meet in Bangor, ME to pick up supplies and then head north up Rt. 15 towards the lake with our boats in tow. The drive up Rt. 15 is breathtaking and you are almost guaranteed to see Moose once your start getting closer to Greenville (the southern most town on the tip of Moosehead Lake).

Just before you get into Greenville you will see the Indian Hill Trading Post on your right hand side. This is one of my favorite stores in the state and you can buy anything you may need for an extended wilderness adventure. The locals are always friendly and more than generous in sharing tips from finding the best camping spot, to landing a trophy salmon or trout.

After grabbing a bite to eat, topping off on gas, and picking up some last minute supplies, we headed up the eastern side of the lake to launch our boats at the Lily Bay State Park. Although you’ll pay a fee at the Lilly Bay State Park, it is one of the most convenient areas on the lake to launch your boat with plenty of parking, and an accessible boat ramp and dock system.

Only a few of Moosehead Lake’s state maintained campsites can be reached by car, with most accessible only by boat or a long hike. Moosehead Lake is over 40 miles long with lots of bays, coves, and inlets that can be very disorienting even to seasoned boaters. You’re well advised to pick up a lake chart before heading out into the open waters and study it before you depart. Not only do these charts show navigational hazards to avoid, they also have the location of all the public campsites on the lake.

lily-bay-state-park

Here we are heading out past the safe water marker in Lilly Bay towards open water. Remember, Moosehead is a big lake and waves can easily build to 3 or 4 feet on windy days. You can see from the picture above the waves were building to 2-3 ft in less than 20mph winds. Be sure to check the weather forecast before heading out into the open part of the lake. It’s also a good idea to let someone know what your “voyage plan” is. Larger lakes like Moosehead can become a search and rescue nightmare if officials don’t have a general idea of where to find you in an emergency.

Each campsite is unique with its own special characteristics. Some sites are elevated overlooking the lake, while others are near the water’s edge with fine sandy beaches. This picture was taken from the spot where I eventually set up my tent and as you can see the area is breathtaking.

If you love the outdoors, you owe yourself a trip to Northern Maine to experience the beauty of the Moosehead Lake region, you won’t be disappointed!

If you have a story to share about an experience on Moosehead Lake, please leave a comment in the form provided below!

Related Articles:
Tips for Packing Your Cooler

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