Maybe it’s my way of looking ahead or keeping my chin up, as they say. Maybe it’s a respectful nod to so many of the incredible experiences Maine usually offers us – at a time when many of those experiences have been cancelled, put on hold, or temporarily closed.
Whatever the reason, I’m rounding up an Active Person’s Guide to Maine (aka, Active Mainer’s Bucket List). I’m talking Maine races and places, events and adventures that you think are absolutely unforgettable. The stuff that is so damn grand, you want everyone to experience it.
Here’s a start below. There’s a whole lot more to be added.
What else do you think should be on it? Tell me about it: email@example.com
Active Person’s Guide to Maine:
– Hike the 100-mile Wilderness
The rugged, wonderful, northern most section of the Appalachian Trail
– Swim the Peaks to Portland
2.4-mile open-water swim in Casco Bay benefits YMCA of Southern Maine. Also: decorated kayaks.
– Hike Katahdin
I mean, IT’S KATAHDIN
– Do the Trek Across Maine
Three-day, 180-mile bike ride raises dough for the American Lung Association. Plus lots of snacks.
– Spectate or participate in the North American Wife Carrying Championships
Two-person obstacle race (winners go to Finland!). Compete or spectate, both are great
– Hike to Gulf Hagas
“The Grand Canyon of Maine”
– Participate in the Tri for a Cure
All-women’s sprint tri (amazingly supported, too) for the Maine Cancer Foundation
– Hike Tumbledown Mountain
Hike up, swim in the (really cold) alpine pond.
– Go whitewater rafting on the Penobscot
Possibly fly out of raft on class V river
– Kayak in Muscungus Bay
A kayaker’s paradise, whether for a day trip or multi-day island hopping
– See the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain
Popular spot to watch the sunrise in Acadia
– Compete in the U.S. National Toboggan Championships
Grownups in costumes flying down a toboggan chute
– Run the TD Beach to Beacon 10K
Popular summer 10k in Cape Elizabeth. Challenging run, challenging to get into
– Get away to Maine Huts & Trails
Off-the-grid but all the comforts: good food, hot showers, and beer/wine
– Camp in Baxter State Park
Camp, hike (maybe Katahdin?!), slide The Ledges
– Canoe the Allagash
Classic Maine canoe trip on miles of river in Maine’s North Wood
– Hike Cutler Coast Reserved Land
It’s called The Bold Coast because those cliffs will bowl you over. (Made that up but it’s true)
– Run at Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival
All the trail running
– Run the Mount Desert Island Marathon
A Maine favorite among runners
– Compete in the Casco Bay SwimRun
The US’s first swimrun and an impressive challenge
– Sunset paddle on the Scarborough Marsh
Sunset in a canoe on the calm marsh waters with all the marsh sights and sounds. Free mosquitoes.
– Run the Millinocket Marathon and Half
Cold as hell and all the small-town camaraderie you could ask for. Free entry, spend your bucks in town
– Ski in to AMC’s Gorman Chairback, Little Lyford and/or Medawisla lodge and cabins
Ski in for a night or a multi-cabin loop. Eat good, drink wine, sauna.
– Visit Moxie falls
It’s where Moxie comes from. J/K still pretty though.
– Explore Katahdin Woods + Waters
Newly established in 2016, so chances are good it’s all new to you
– Hike Monhegan Island
Ferry over for 12 miles of trails, impressive cliffs, and an island brewery.
– Cross-country ski at Fort Kent Outdoor Center
Really amazing athletes have trained and competed on these trails. Us regular folks can also ski here also.
– Watch Great Falls Balloon Festival launch from a kayak
Paddle the Androscoggin while hot air balloons launch overhead. It’s the coolest
– Hike at Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary
Sweet hike in the 100-Mile Wilderness Region with Audubon center full of foliage facts, things to learn, and (fake) animal poop
– Ride bikes on Peaks Island
BYO bike or rent on the island, ride the outer loop, scare yourself inside the pitch-black military battery
– Find the Ghost Trains
Retired since the 1930s and hanging out near Eagle Lake in northern Maine.
– Run the Maine Marathon (or Half or Relay)
Run the full, half, or relay for water views, city skyline, and autumn colors
– Fling yourself into the mud at Wicked Muddy Mainer
Loads of obstacles and an insane amount of mud in Orrington
– Kayak and camp on Jewell Island
Paddle to the island, tent on the beach, imagine you’re a castaway but on purpose.
– Hike Pleasant Mountain, sauna at Nurture Through Nature
One makes the other even better
– Do the Dempsey Challenge
Ride, run, or walk. Benefits the Dempsey Center. Maybe get photo with Patrick Dempsey you can reshare on FB a few times a year
– Check out Campobello Island
Wander around the Roosevelt’s place, hike coastal trails, probably see whales. Bring passport.
– Hike Mount Kineo
Get there by boat, revel in views of Moosehead Lake, possibly stay for golf.
– Bike ride on Acadia’s carriage trails
Ride the trails Rockefeller built. Eat popovers
– Paddle and camp on Richmond Island
Short paddle, feels wonderfully far away. Say hi to the sheep
– Hit the Reggae Festival at Sugarloaf
“Sinners on the mountain” as I heard it described once. Music, spring skiing, party on the beach
– Ride the 12 hours of Bradbury Mountain
12 hours on a mountain bike, on your own or on a team.
– Paddle out to Fort Gorges
Paddle out to explore the fort, on your own or guided trip. Scare yourself in the dark fort rooms.
– Run the Trail to Ale 10K
A 10K followed by beer and pizza (one of the first races to smartly entice runners with beer and food), benefits Portland Trails.
– Surf at Higgins Beach
Surf if you know how. Take a lesson if don’t.
– Do the WinterKids Downhill 24
24 hours skiing and riding at Sugarloaf raising $$ for WinterKids. Costumes and friendly smack talk encouraged.
– Climb down into the Debsconeag Ice Cave
It’s a CAVE! Easy hike, climb a ladder down, possibly see flesh-eating subterranean monsters.
– Take on the Tough Mountain Challenge
20+ obstacles over three miles, in mud, up hill at Sunday River. Did I mention the hill?
– Join the Maine Lighthouse Ride
Bike ride 25-100 miles and gawk at lighthouses. Raises $$ for the Eastern Trail
– Backpack in the Bigelows
12-mile ridge, several peaks, stupendous backpacking.
– Sprint the Sugarloaf Uphill Climb
2500 vertical feet in 2.5 miles. RUNNING.