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My name is Keith Michaud and this is “Letters From Away,” a blog written by a Mainer living outside the comfortable and sane confines of New England. The blog is intended for Mainers, whether they live in the Pine Tree State or beyond, and for anyone who has loved ’em, been baffled by ’em or both. Ayuh, I am “from away.” Worse still, I live on the Left Coast – in California. Enjoy! Or not. Your choice.
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- How Maine Became a Laboratory for the Future of Public Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Angus King Urges Interior Department To Reconsider Offshore Drilling Proposal | Mainepublic.org
- Maine Voices: Higher education, employers must work together for bright future | Portland Press Herald
- Stunning reversal: McDaniels turns down Colts’ job to stay with Patriots | The Associated Press via the Portland Press Herald
- Kennebec River water levels could stay high into next week | Bangor Daily News
Tag Archives: Allagash Wilderness Waterway
For more about byways and destinations mentioned here, visit www.byways.org/explore/states/ME/. For information on Maine State Parks and Public Lands, visit www.parksandlands.com. For foliage information, visit www.mainefoliage.com.
Cameron Beach, 11, of Lewiston, liked finding horseshoe crab shells at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport.
“We saw the ocean, but not 50 yards from shore were woods. We walked around and hiked and ate lunch in an opening field. It was really nice.”
Emily Kozak, 11, of Auburn, liked probing tidal pools at Popham Beach State Park. “We found crabs. We observed them and put them back in the water,” she said. Emily enjoyed swimming at Rangeley Lake State Park and looking for moose. They didn’t see any moose, but did discover a painted turtle. “It was really fun,” she said.
Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Maine Auburn-Lewiston Clubhouse, Emily and Cameron have visited some state parks they’ve never been to using the “Maine State Park Passport.” It’s a new passport-designed booklet created to encourage more visits at more state parks.
Click here for the rest of the story by Bonnie Washuk in the Lewiston Sun Journal.
UPTON — Aldro French peels off his shirt and saunters toward the edge of the aptly named Rapid River.
Kicking off his giant-sized, baby blue Crocs, he stands shin-deep in the water.
“I haven’t done this all summer,” says French with a slight grin, just before shallow-diving into the current.
French takes a few long, Australian-crawl swim strokes, pulling his head up once to look at the churning rapid below. He gives one strong scissors-kick, sliding head-first into the full force of the river’s current, arms forward, belly down like an otter.
French is barely visible as he shoots through the boiling turbulence and into a pool of slower-moving water below. He comes up slicking his silver hair back with his hand and smiling as he breast-strokes slowly to the side of the pool and the rock ledge leading to it.
A pair of helmeted and life-jacketed kayakers, who were playing in the whitewater, sit in their boats, nose clips on, watching. They shrug at each other as if to say, “What was that?”
French, 68, has lived on the Rapid River for 52 years. The waterway is literally in his backyard, and each bend and rapid are as familiar to him as an old friend’s face. He is the curator and caretaker of Forest Lodge. The lodge was the home of author Louise Dickinson Rich and the inspiration for her novel “We Took to the Woods.”
On the National Register of Historic Places, it is one of dozens of sites along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
Click on the link for the rest of this story by Scott Thistle in the Lewiston Sun Journal.
When I was a kid – I don’t remember how old exactly – my family and my Uncle Wally’s family loaded up canoes on various mode of land vehicle and we drove to north central Maine and camped near the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, of which the Allagash is the central component. The next day, we put in canoes and we paddled out way north – the Allagash flows northward – for nearly a week of paddling along the waterway.
DownEast.com today had a trivia question about the length of the waterway and I was surprised at the answer. It seemed a little short, from what I remember of that trip. But then again, I was a youngster sitting in the back of a canoe. It was a pretty sweet adventure.
As I recall, we had to pick up the pace a bit about midway. A Maine game warden caught up with us to tell us that a relative of my father had died. He wanted to make the funeral services so we paddled double-time after we got the word.
Here’s the question and answer.
How long is the Allagash Wilderness Waterway?
Ninety-two miles in northern Piscataquis and western Aroostook counties.
Trust me, it seemed much longer than 92 miles.
Group says 3.2 million-acre preserve
would aid region as Acadia boosts coast
FORT KENT, Maine — There is little chance the forests and wild lands of northern Maine can ever be returned to their pristine state, but a group of conservationists sees no reason they can’t be at least partially restored and protected for generations to come.
RESTORE: The North Woods has advocated the formation of a multimillion-acre park or preserve in north central Maine since 1994, and on Friday the group’s director discussed the plan with students, faculty and guests at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
“I can’t see another place in the United States where we could even be having this discussion,” said Jym St. Pierre, RESTORE director. “We are talking about 3 million-plus acres that could be acquired without disrupting people or communities.”
The area in question has long been the center of timber and logging operations in Maine going back to the early to mid-1800s when lumber from the great northern forest produced enough raw material to help Bangor become the lumber capital of the world.
Toward the middle and end of that century, the recreational value of the vast tracts of forests began to attract the likes of Henry David Thoreau and later Theodore Roosevelt, with the railroads billing it “America’s wilderness playground.”
Click in the link for the rest of today’s story by Julia Bayly in the Bangor Daily News.
I knew this day would come – a correction. Mickey Thibodeau took the photo of my Uncle Clayton Jandreau next to his new truck, a 1960 model, in the winter of 1960-61 in the street in front of his family’s home not too far from where my Uncle Clayton, my Mom and their siblings grew up in St. Francis, Maine. Mr. Thibodeau’s father, Phillip, is standing with my uncle. Mr. Thibodeau did not receive the photo from my cousin.
[Posted November 12, 2009 (See correction above): I wanted to get this photo up. I will post more later on it. The photo was e-mailed to me from another Mainer “from away,” Mickey Thibodeau, who now lives in Lake County, California. Actually, the photo comes from Mr. Thibodeau who received it from my cousin Cindy Jandreau. (Yep, the moose hunter.) The photo, taken in St. Francis toward Allagash, shows Mr. Thibodeau’s father, Phillip, and Clayton Jandreau (nearest truck), an uncle to Cindy and me. I am not sure when the photo was taken, but I am guess it had to be in the 1950s or ’60s.]
As I recall from family tales, one of the things my Grandfather and uncles did to get by was cut pulp to be used in mills. They used horses to haul the pulp from the woods to sidings or the nearest road where it was loaded – I am assuming usually loaded by hand – onto a truck to be taken to the mills. Of course, pulp is used for paper and other products.
I seem to recall a story my mother told me once that one of the horses they used to haul the pulp broke loose and was racing toward my Mom, who was pretty young at the time. If I recall the story correctly, one of her brothers threw her behind a fallen tree and the horse leaped over them and the fallen tree. It must have been a pretty exciting time for a little kid.
Mr. Thibodeau also mentioned an old parish hall in St. Francis my Uncle Warren – Clayton and my Mom’s brother and Cindy the Moose Hunter’s father – own and subsequently tore down. He later built a home there for himself, his wife Monica and their children.
I seem to recall that for a time – perhaps between when the building was used as a parish hall and when my Uncle Warren tore it down – that he ran a couple of businesses, including a barbershop and a pool hall/pinball parlor. I recall seeing photos of my first haircut and I am pretty sure Uncle Warren handled the shears that day. If the photos are any indication, I was not particularly pleased to get my hair trimmed.
For those who are unfamiliar with where St. Francis is located, it is on the border with Canada near where the St. Francis and St. John rivers meet. If you look at a map of the state, St. Francis is in the large notch at the northern border. Allagash, where the Allagash Wilderness Waterway ends to the north, is east of St. Francis. Fort Kent, Maine, to the east is where I was born.