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Friday, November 30, 2007

Maine Woods

One of my favorite things about Maine is the deciduous forest. We got beautiful Sitka Spruce rain forest here on Kodiak, but the species diversity of trees is rather low (alder, sitka spruce, cottonwood, black birch, willow). In Maine you got a forest with too many trees to name. A delight to hike. It's something I miss about life out East. So when Zoya and I and the kiddos headed out East for Thanksgiving I was really looking forward to the hikes in the Maine woods.

My brother promised me he'd show me places around the Camden Hills that I'd never seen. Old growth forest with huge oaks, white pines, maples and big cliffs. And he delivered. I was impressed with how the Camden/Rockport area has managed to keep huge tracts of land wild in close proximity to housing developments. Many areas in Alaska have not managed this sort of land management. Take Homer, for instance, in Homer there is a house just about every 5 acres - spread out over a huge area, and very few huge tracts of land are leftover for simple, nomadic wandering. But in Camden such areas exist, and, moreover, the hiking is spectacular. Big granite cliffs, boulders and pretty darn big hills with sweeping vista views out over Penobscot Bay. Surprisingly enough we saw very few people - and most people seem to stick to the trails.

Out East these days people are terrified of ticks. It seems everyone either knows someone who has had Lyme's disease, or has had it themself. Lyme disease is a pretty serious tick bourn disease, and I must admit Zoya and I got a little paranoid about ticks. But the sad thing is that nobody seems to leave the trails and bushwack through the woods anymore. In terms of paranoia, ticks are the East coast version of Kodiak Brown Bears. Except Zoya and I believe ticks are more of an actual threat to one's health than bears. In any case, perhaps ticks are the reason my brother Dicky and I had the woods to ourselves.

In the top photo Dicky, Davis and Brooks pose on top of a mountain. Note the town of Camden on the right side of the picture. In the second photo Dicky and Leo pose in front of a deciduous holly tree. Amazing berries! In the third photo Dicky poses in the snow on Mount Megunticook. The bottom two photos is cliff climbing on Mount Megunticook with Davis and Dicky. Some of the cliff are two hundred feet high! Patrick

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