It’s been winter for months. And judging by today’s cold and the snow we’re sure to still get, winter isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. (I’m no weather forecaster, but it’s late February in Maine. There will be more snow).
Maybe this reality makes you happy (I actually like winter). Maybe it makes you want to kick things (or kick people like me who like winter). In truth, even winter-lovers among us reach a point where we’re ready say goodbye to cold weather. And we can. In our heads, at least.
Right now, it’s hard to imagine that there was ever a time when the mere act of being outside made us sweat. Remember, last summer, when we complained about the heat?! When we walked around with our limbs exposed – not a jacket in sight!? When we ran, biked, paddled, and boot camped with glee on endlessly sunny 80-degree days!?
We’ll get there again, I promise. But for now, let’s daydream about all the glorious things we’re going to do this summer. The rope swinging and paddleboarding and bike riding. We’re going to sweat in the sunshine and complain about the heat and it’s going to be fantastic.
We’ll canoe the Scarborough Marsh at sunset
Maine Audubon Center at the Scarborough Marsh hosts sunset and full moon canoe tours in the spring and summer.
Read more about it: Sunset and full moon canoe tours on the Scarborough Marsh with Maine Audubon
We’ll yoga while watching passing boats
No studio can compete with the Maine outdoors. And when it’s warm out, our fitness moves outside, where we can balance and stretch in full view of beachgoers and passing boats. The class pictured is through Willard Beach Studio in South Portland.
We’ll yoga on mountaintops
Imagine doing mountain pose ON A MOUNTAIN. Or tree pose among trees. Or having the yoga instructor guide you to reach for the sky or point your toes toward the ocean. Yoga on York leads hiking yoga classes on Mount Agamenticus.
Read more about it: Hiking yoga on Mount Agamenticus with Yoga on York
We’ll rappel down waterfalls
Yes. You can rappel down a waterfall. More specifically, you can rappel down 100-foot Ripley Falls in Crawford Notch in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, even if you’ve never rappelled down anything before.
Read more about it: Rappel down a waterfall with Northeast Mountaineering
We’ll work out outside
Squatting with cinder blocks and sledgehammering tires outdoors in tank tops and loving every minute of it! I dig all the outdoor workouts that appear in warmer months. The photo above is from Ladies Lifting Night at Wolfpack Fitness in Aubrun, which, it should be said, meets outside ALL YEAR.
Read more about it: Lift heavy outside: Ladies’ Lifting Night at Wolfpack Fitness in Auburn
We’ll dip our feet into Rattlesnake Pool
The water is cold as all get out, which makes Rattlesnake Pool a refreshing place to stop and dip your feet (or your whole self, if you’re bold) after a hike up Blueberry Mountain in Weld. The water is magical-colored!
We’ll conquer a ropes course
We’ve seen the kid-friendly ropes courses popping up around Maine, but the Aerial Treetop Adventures course at Gunstock in New Hampshire is a grownup ropes course that’ll challenge us all. Maybe this is the year I work up the nerve to complete all the levels.
We’ll picnic on stunning coastal cliffs
It’s called the Bold Coast for a reason. The views along the trail at Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land are some of the most dramatic in the state, which means we can pack a lunch and cop a squat in front of stunning scenery.
Read more about it: Hike the Bold Coast at Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land
We’ll Paddle Battle on the Kennebunk River
The Paddle Battle at Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport is one to look forward to. Friendly races on paddleboards, surfboards, and kayaks on the Kennebunk River. Categories for competitive and novice paddlers, plus live music, burgers, and beer on the lawn of the resort. The 2017 date hasn’t been announced yet, but check back at www.nonantumresort.com.
We’ll hike the White Mountains
Pick a trail, any trail. Hiking the White Mountains is a summer must-do, whether it’s an easy-going walk to a waterfall or a sweat-inducing hike up something steep. This photo was taken on the Whitehorse Ledge Loop Trail near North Conway, New Hampshire.
We’ll learn to surf
Summer is a good time to learn to catch some waves (or at least have a damn good time trying) with a beginner surfing lesson. You could also surf in the winter. People do that. Or, you know, summer.
Read more about it: Women’s surfing lessons Wednesdays at Higgins Beach with Maine Surfers Union
We’ll learn to sail
SailMaine in Portland offers learn-to-sail programs for kids and adults. Last summer, they were also offering social sails, where you could get out on the water with an experienced skipper and learn a few things, but also just enjoy the sail.
We’ll ride our bikes along the coast
We’ll ride our bikes all over the place! But I’m particularly looking forward to bike rides along the coast, with water views and ice cream stops and maybe a beer on an outdoor patio when all is said and done. The photo above was taken on a Fourth of July ride last year around Pemaquid. For help finding a great bike ride: Find the perfect Maine bike ride with Explore Maine’s searchable bike tours
We’ll run up mountains
We’ll run up mountains. Or jog-walk. Whatever. The Trail Runners of Midcoast Maine run all year long (tough folks, those runners) but I look forward to running with them in warmer months, when they meet on Monday nights for a free and all-levels-welcome group run at the Camden Snow Bowl.
Read more about it: Monday Night Dirt: Into the woods with Trail Runners of Midcoast Maine
We’ll do yoga on paddleboards
This is a bucket list item for lots of folks, and rightfully so. Yoga is nice exercise, so there’s that, but you also get to hang out on the water, which is the real treat. Paddleboard yoga (aka SUP yoga) classes pop up all over the place in the summer, but Koan Wellness in York (where this photo was taken) is the first dedicated paddleboard yoga business. No experience necessary and everything’s provided!
Read more about it: Yoga on the water: Paddleboard Yoga with Koan Wellness in York
We’ll ride mountain bikes
As a novice rider, I totally dig the no-drop, all-levels weekly rides with Single Track Sisters, but they do rides for more-experienced gals, too.
Read more about it: Mountain biking with Single Track Sisters: Beginner-friendly Monday Night Rides
On a related note: Looking forward to Bikes and Brews rides this summer, too!
We’ll watch hot air balloons launch
The Great Falls Balloon Festival is a popular summer event on account of all those really cool hot hair balloons. You can ride in one! Or you can watch the balloons launch from the comfort of your kayak on the Androscoggin River (there’s a public boat launch on Pulsifer Street in New Auburn). I did a couple years back and it was as cool as it looks. This year’s festival date isn’t posted yet, but is generally mid-August.
We’ll run and drink beer after
Old Port Pub Run meets all year, but it’s the warmer months that I find most appealing. It’s still sunny and bright out at 6:30 p.m. AND it means the post-run beer drinking gets to happen outside on the patio at Liquid Riot. Meets 6:15 p.m. Thursdays at Liquid Riot, Portland. And it’s freeeee.
We’ll swim in all the swimming holes
Swimming holes. Beaches. Cool rivers and lakes. I love them all on a hot summer day. And I love thinking that there will be a time when jumping into open water with barely any clothes on sounds like a good idea, because right now it seems crazy.
Want more cool places to hike AND swim? Got it: Hike & Swim: 20+ trail hikes that include a refreshing swimming hole dip
We’ll paddle Casco Bay
Despite all the people who live in easy view of Casco Bay, there are loads of them who have never recreated on it. Portland Paddle can help remedy that. Morning paddles, sunset paddle, paddles to Fort Gorges or even overnights on the islands. Kayak or paddleboard – pick your poison!’
Actually, we’ll paddle everywhere
Or at least try. There are so many lakes, ponds, rivers, and coastline to cover. For some easy-going ideas, check out this post: Paddling Southern Maine: 10 beginner-friendly places to kayak and SUP
We’ll go camping
Camping! It’s a summer treat! Because tents and campfires and s’mores and stories and peeing in the woods! The campsite photographed above was a real winner at Cobscook Bay State Park, which is conveniently close to Cutler Coast Reserved Land, which is also on this list!
We’ll paddle by the light of the moon
One of the neatest things about paddling at sunset is watching – and hearing – all the nocturnal wildlife. I learned a ton about beavers during a full moon paddle at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Old Town.
Read more about it: Full Moon Paddle at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Old Town
We’ll rope swing
The high ones tend to scare me, but I do love me a low-to-the-water rope swing on a Maine lake or river. They’re so prolific, I sometimes wonder if rope swings grow in the wild, all on their own.
We’ll watch all the sunsets
We’ll watch sunsets every night – from the beach, from the water, or through our (open!) car windows, as the case may be. We know that summer is brief, so we’re going to hang on to every single second.