By Walter Opuszynski
We could not have asked for better weather for this year’s New Hampshire-Maine Trail Maintainer Jamboree. The ice on the Rangeley Lakes was officially deemed “out” just two days before our arrival, mostly due to the string of beautiful spring weather that went right into the Saturday and Sunday of our Jamboree.
To accommodate our growing trail maintainers and the distance between them we are having two Jamborees in 2013. This year we chose Rangeley as the location for the NH-ME event. We camped at the Rangeley Lakes Regional Logging Museum, where we were able to pitch tents in the field, show our paddle movies in the museum, and have a camp fire and share stories at night. We were greeted immediately to the customary Rangeley Lakes hospitality (we opened the door to the museum to find a batch of banana bread made by Carol, the museum treasure, just for us!).
We had a really good turn-out for the event:
Bill Schomburg who oversees the CT River sections and part of the Upper Ammonoosuc. A consistent and reliable maintainer who covers a lot of ground and works to know the landowners in his trail segment on a personal level.
Margaret Kimball and Chip Curtis, the father/daughter combo who oversee the first two sections in Maine spreading from the eastern end of Umbagog to Rangeley Lake. Margaret is the official weather forecaster of the NFCT (a meteorologist by trade). Chip owns and manages a tract of woods in New Hampshire and we appreciate that he is willing to apply his understanding of the woods to the NFCT.
John Cary and Patty Glidden who cover the section from Stratton to Spencer Stream. We typically have to tie an anchor to John and Patty’s canoe so we can all keep up with them. They have a house in Stratton that allows them quick access to their trail segment.
Russ Collett (his son Jeremy will be at the NY-VT-QC Jamboree), NFCT Through Paddler, Stewardship Committee Chair, and trail maintainer for the Moose River (Jackman to Rockwood). Russ has an amazing amount of enthusiasm for the NFCT, knowing that he would paddle the entire stretch when he first read about the Trail 10 years ago, he did just that in 2011 and now he is taking his passion for the route even further by helping to maintain the corridor and shape its future.
Saturday was a full day of presentations and field instruction covering topics from aquatic invasive spread prevention to human waste management. We split our time between the Rangeley Lakes Regional Logging Museum, the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust office (thanks for sharing the space!) and the Rangeley River Access. In the evening we gorged on a big spaghetti dinner from Parkside and Main Restaurant followed by countless fireside stories.
Sunday was all about paddling. Local Registered Maine Guide, Peter Christensen, took us out in the morning and share his local knowledge of the area with us. We put in at Hunter Cove and paddled as far as we could up the outlet to Dodge Pond. Then we circled around to Bonney Point. The weather was incredible and we were impressed by all the land that the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust has worked to conserve and manage in the area. Peter is a great guide who can be found through a great local outfitting store, Ecopelogicon.
And a big “Thanks” goes out to Sam Brakeley, NFCT Regional Coordinator for pulling together the details for the Jamboree and going the extra mile (Sam even went so far as to make homemade Whoopie Pies!).