Maine Mainland Remote Spot

Distance from Nearest Road: 6.0 miles
Distance from Nearest Trail:  0.3 miles
Travel Method: Backpacking
Hiking Distance One-Way: 
10.1 miles
Cell Phone Coverage: Yes
Public Land: 
Yes, Baxter State Park
Something We Learned:  Both the Maine Remote Spot and state High Point (Mount Katahdin) exist within the same roadless area polygon.  The ME Remote Spot is approximately 6 straight line miles NNW of Katahdin.

 

Remote Footprints is working to precisely calculate and travel to the remotest locations in each of the 50 United States.  We call this unique endeavor–Project Remote.  Below is a written account of our 3-day hiking expedition to document the Maine Remote Spot. This is our 16th state Remote Spot documented as part of Project Remote.

In Ryan’s words
June 24, 2012.  This morning, we are going remote in a rolling, mountainous terrain.  Emerald boreal forest blankets the hills.  Leaves and needles are dripping like rain.  It’s hard to tell if last night’s rain actually has stopped.  The land is laced with gushing streams.  Cameron signs us in at the aptly named Roaring Brook ranger station situated on the southern boundary of the largest roadless area in Maine.  We are in the middle of Baxter State Park, and it has that large and wild feel.  Still, there is something about having to “sign in” to a place that detracts from wilderness and remoteness, but that has been par for the course while searching for remoteness in the East.  I can live with such regulation as long as what lies beyond remains “forever wild.”  There appears to be as good of a chance of that happening here as anywhere.

Baxter State Park has an interesting history.  It was founded by a former governor of ME, Percival Baxter, who donated it into state ownership after his passing.  He left a written account about how he wished the park to operate, citing that natural resource conservation would be the number one priority while secondarily providing outdoor recreational opportunities for people.  When you enter the park, you can tell that there is something a little different about how it is managed.  The signage looks different.  Roads are narrow.  Rules are quirky.  But, from what I have seen thus far, ecological management of the park is top notch.  And that is the most important thing.

I turned 40 just 2 days ago.  It pleases me to be Remote Spotting over my birthday.  Especially THIS birthday.  It was planned that way.  I’ve had little time to really ponder FOUR-OH while Project Remote expresses its way through New England state by state.  Maybe that’s good.  I actually feel better at 40 than I did at 30.  I’m also in better places mentally and physically.  Maybe 40 really is the new 30.

Mount Katahdin arches into the clouds just 3 miles west of the ranger station.  We can’t see it on account of low clouds and dense forest canopy, but we sort of feel its gravity anyway.  It’s the tallest mountain in Maine and reaches 18 feet shy of 1 mile high.  We are all hoping to climb Katahdin after accomplishing the ME Remote Spot, but we are not sure we can spare a single day off from our current Project Remote Northeast campaign–our mission to document 7 state Remote Spots in the NE within one month.  We are nearing the half-way mark and are a little behind schedule.  But it’s nice to know that the same roadless area contains both the Maine Remote Spot and state High Point.  Lot’s of wild opportunities for wilderness seekers.

We camped in an all nighter rain last night at a designated spot in the park, poised to begin our embark this morning.  Last night’s soaker thankfully let’s up by mid-morning, but water still beads all over the hobblebush.  We start off in full rain gear because of dripping vegetation.

This is our fourth Remote Spotting excursion within the past 2 weeks.  By now, we are a well-oiled machine with fewer “squeaks.”  What challenges could Maine throw at us that NY, VT, and NH have not already???  At around 10 a.m., we set out backpacking due north up Russell Pond trail into remote bliss.  We must cover 7.2 miles to get to our designated camp spot by this evening.  Piece of cake.  My beginning pack weight keeps getting lighter after each Remote Spotting trip.  I start off packing 46 lbs.  Rebecca has the 40 lb. Skyla pack.  I grimmace to myself knowing that Rebecca has to carry nearly as much as me this time.  This is a problem that we must solve as Skyla puts on body weight.  I probably need to start carrying Skyla and some gear while Mama carries only gear.  Her pack weight needs to be more like 35 while I can accomodate 55. Cameron has learned the virtues and technique of going light.  His pack weighs in at a feathery 25 lbs.  And that’s after loading up several group items.

There are numerous small stream crossings.  Creeks are swollen.  Sir Cameron chivalrously assists aunt Rebecca and cousin Skyla while boulder hopping a creek.  My amazing wife is more skilled in the outdoors than most human beings–but she eagerly takes a helping hand, anyway.  I love that about her.  Cameron has become a fine wilderness travel companion, and a skilled Project Remote intern assisting with all aspects of our work, including expedition planning, photography, and scientific documentation.  Not to mention his eagerness to help with anything.

We penetrate deeply into an emerald green forest of mixed  conifers and deciduous broad-leaved trees.  Huge and small boulders randomly litter the landscape.  Seeing these rocks anywhere and everywhere gets me thinking about ice.  I recall that all of New England was covered by glacial ice not long ago.  These random rocks must be the glacial “erratics” I’ve read about.  They hitched a ride on top of (or within) advancing glaciers.  Then, they dropped in place after the ice retreated.  It’s fascinating thinking about how much ice covered northern North America just a blip of time ago, geologically speaking.  The most recent glacial advance in Earth’s geologic history, called the Wisconsinan glaciation, featured one of the largest ice sheets to have ever formed on Earth.

The colossal Laurentide Ice Sheet, as it is called, reached its maximum extent around 18,000 years ago (photo at right, courtesty of www.americanroads.us).  It blanketed most of Canada and much of the northern tier of the U.S.–including all of Maine.  Ice sheets are not thin.  They average a mile or more in thickness.  Imagine the weight of all that ice sitting elevated atop a continent.  It can be enough weight to literally push down on the Earth’s crust, creating a vast continental depression.  When ice disappears, the crust can uplift or rebound back to its pre ice-weighted elevation.  This process is called isostatic rebounding.  North America is still in the process of rebounding after the retreat of all that ice…

Some of the glacial erratics we encounter overhang enough to act as camping shelters around the edges.  No doubt prehistoric (and historic) peoples utilized such naturally occurring rock shelters.

 

 

All morning we walk along and upslope from the beautiful, tea-colored Wassataquoik River.  The dark staining is from the decomposition of plant material and detritus in the landscape.  This majestic mountain river drains the eastern sides of Hamlin Peak and Katahdin.  It is flowing northward.

After another mile, the Wassataquoik becomes the next big challenge in Project Remote.  Up until now, we had encountered bridges constructed over streams and creeks while using hiking trails to approach Remote Spots in the East.  Not this time.  No inviting bridge is built over this particular section of trail.  We must make a difficult river crossing.  Now, we feel remote–and a little queasy.  In fact, just before we reached this crossing, we ran into a large group of adult and teen-aged backpackers who had decided to turn back and not attempt it.

Cameron and I speak.  He’s rared up to cross first and set up to video the rest of us crossing.  I feel uneasy letting my brother’s son attempt this with no prior experience.  I impart whatever pointers that I can to him beforehand.  He is excited about the challenge.  It goes well until he steps into a deep hole in the middle.  He wobbles to get his footing.  I posture like a sprinter at the start of a race ready to spring after him if he gets swept.  After tense moments, he makes it.  I am proud of him but think to myself in expletives for letting him go alone.  As if it were entirely my call.  He is now a man who makes his own decisions.  Has been for a while now…

Now, Rebecca and I must decide on how best to cross.  In every river crossing, there are a host of considerations.  Is it too deep?  Is it too fast?  What are the ambient air and water temperatures?  What lies below in case you get swept?   Is it beyond your skill level?  We agree that I, being the tallest and most experienced river crosser, will shuttle my pack across solo, then return to put Skyla on my back.  Rebecca will cross with no pack right next to me…My solo shuttle goes fairly well, then my return for Skyla…

We step into the roaring river and get cold feet in more ways than one.  Even though I am an experienced river crosser, and have already done this route twice, parental anxiety strikes me.  It’s one thing to shuttle your pack across.  It’s entirely another hefting your only little girl.  If I slip once, Skyla’s head could go under.  The potential consequences are unthinkable.  Failure is not an option.

We meticulously select the shallowest, most passable route across this river.  I position facing upstream slightly leaning on my trekking poles.  The poles are an indispensable tool for both hiking and river crossing.  They provide stability, support, and a way to test water depth before taking the next step.   This water is very cold somewhere in the low to mid 50’s.  It’s fast, and it’s knee to thigh deep.  At least the air temperature is in the 70’s.  I decide to myself that, if swept, I’ll go into the drink face down and fight to keep my baby’s head above water at all times.  She cannot swim and she is confined in a pack that will sink.  Conventional wisdom says you should unbuckle your hip belt on a crossing.  But I break from the dogma and keep my belt fastened.  No way I can lose this pack.  It’s carrying my life.  Had we known about this crossing, we would have prepared better and brought pfd’s and a throw rope.  No use getting mad at myself for what I didn’t do.  Focus.

Water rages through and around my legs.  We inch forward.  I don’t know if I can do this…what am I doing…why am I doing this!  Cameron is at the ready on the other side to literally jump in after us if we get swept.  That’s comforting a little.  But I don’t want him hurt, either.  Skyla, oblivious to the danger, begins to sing to the water.  Hearing her voice turns me into superman.  I can make this.  I will make this.  I keep my composure and confidence for both Rebecca and Skyla.  They do not know that I’m freaking out on the inside…

Rebecca and I stay within arm’s length in case either of us takes a bad step and needs a quick steadying hand.  But we agreed that I would concentrate on only myself so as to get our child across.  The rushing water attempts to take out our feet on nearly every step.  Submerged boulders all are slippery with an algal coating.  I step onto what feels like a round ice cube.   My foot slips into a crack.  I wobble, then steady myself with a pole.  Looking down into the racing water messes with my equilibrium.  I look up at the horizon and stare for a moment.  Then I look at my wife. We mock-smile at each other.  The kind where you show all your teeth, not just the uppers.  She’s appears to be handling it all quite well.  If not, then she has a hell of a poker face.  At last, we pass the hairiest section.  I make a break for easier water past the center.

Step by slow step, after 8 long minutes, the Means family carefully and methodically crosses this darn river.  Together.  Challenges like these are all part of being remote.  Below is a video of our crossing.

 

From the Wassataquoik, we only have a mile or two until we reach our campsite.  The forest composition changes rapidly.  It now looks like what I am familiar with after many trips to Alaska.  This forest is composed of mixed coniferous species.  I notice a few white spruce, a species common in the far north.  The groundcover turns to muskeg–a spongy, sphagnum moss-dominated green carpet common throughout the world’s boreal forests.  Mosquitoes thicken as we enter.  Mosquitoes breed like mad in the moist muskeg.

Russell Pond reveals itself through an opening in the forest.  We encounter people and a manmade shelter for camping a large group.  Russell Pond is a designated backcountry camping area.  We make our way around the lake edge to find our camping spot for the evening, which is a rather nice leanto.  Something about this area full of leantos and people detracts from the feeling of remoteness, of course.  But we cannot define “remote” based on “feeling.”  And we remind ourselves that this area is hike-in only.  We are huge supporters of foot-based wilderness travel.  Also, a leanto is not a permanently inhabited human structure.   Our quantitative defininition of a Remote Spot is–that place that is farthest from a road, town, or otherwise permanently inhabited human structure, like a research station or public lands visitor complex or ranger station or cluster of human habitations.  We decided months ago to not include wilderness cabins because they are littered all over wild America and we cannot know the location of them all.  Project Remote has been revealing a story about how humans are sometimes distributed into remote areas. And that’s OK.  As long as roads and associated motorized vehicles are not involved.  And as long as the isolated structures are not permanently inhabited.

Before our trip, our many calculation attempts for the ME Remote Spot kept volleying back and forth from the mainland to some island, back to mainland, then back to another island, several times.  There are many remote islands in ME, but the remotest islands all had either research stations, bunkhouses, lighthouse caretaker quarters, or even towns on them.   Then, we confirmed the final calculation within Baxter State Park.  Which brought us to here.  Here at our leanto, we are now less than 2 straight-line miles from the ME Remote Spot.

We are out of water.  Cameron and I walk around the lake a short distance to scoop and treat lake water.  An amazing view of the lake opens up.  Many light colored glacial erratics emerge out of the water like tiny islands all over the lake.  One of them is brown–it’s moving–it’s an erratic moose!  We spot our first New England bull moose standing out in the water foraging carelessly on aquatic vegetation.

Moose are the largest members of the deer family (family: Cervidae), and they live throughout the world’s northern boreal forests.  They are the only cervids that spend a significant part of their lives standing in wetlands to forage with their heads held entirely under for many seconds.  This bull has a healthy new set of velvet-covered antlers forming on top of his head.  Almost all male cervids (and some females–such as caribou) produce a new set of antlers each year.  New antlers begin growing in the late winter and grow rapidly until the following fall underneath heavily vascularized fuzzy velvet.  When the antlers become fully developed, the velvet sheds and a new rack is proudly revealed.  Male cervids use their antlers for a variety of purposes, such as for defense weapons, display to females, dueling with other males, and procuring food.  Antlers literally fall off after the fall rutting season–sometime in the winter.  The whole process begins again soon after the prior year’s antlers are dropped.  Imagine the amount of nutrients and energy it takes a cervid to generate such massive bone growth each year…Cameron and I watch the moose forage for several minutes.  We count off 20 seconds while his head remains under water plucking aquatic vegetation.  Then he lifts his head to chew and swallow.  This is the closest and best moose encounter we have ever had.

On the way back to our leanto,  Cameron and I encounter a PERMANENTLY (for most of the year) inhabited ranger quarters.  I fume with frustration and a sobering realization that this structure might stick a knife into our calculation of the ME Remote Spot.  Are we really in the right place here, or does this residence knock the Remote Spot elsewhere?

Cam and I amble back to the leanto and meet the girls, who are battling blackflies and mosquitoes.  Skyla’s cough sounds as bad as ever and it pains us to hear her.  Her usually good mood has waned over the past few days because she is tired of rolling along rapidly without ample time to play.  And she is dog tired of her own cough.  She once proclaims that her cough will never end.   It is going into week 3 now.  An eternity for such a young person.

Rebecca tells us that she met and discussed remoteness with the ranger, named Greg, who occupies the cabin.  He gave her an interesting magazine article from 2003 about a pair of Maine explorers who calculated and navigated to what they referred to as “the most remote location” in ME!  And–their location nearly matches ours.  But not spot on.  Our Remote Spots differ slightly because they literally used rulers and strings laid down on maps to identify the remotest location.  We use ArcGIS computer software from ESRI to calculate Remote Spots precisely.

It is good that others have thought about remoteness and plotted courses deliberately into remote areas, but I am feeling a little miffed that we may not be the first party to attempt to go to the remotest location in ME.  We struggle with varied feelings.  It is important, particularly to me, that we be the first to go to the remotest locations, if not in all 50 states, then in most of them.

After thinking on it, I realize that it’s naive and quite ridiculous to think that we are the only ones to ever have the idea of identifying and navigating to remote areas.  There’s nothing to worry about.   The scope of Project Remote is significantly broader than other remote areas expeditions that we are aware of.   We already know of 3 other states where people have identified and traveled to respective Remote Spots…Alaska (mainland only), Wyoming, and Colorado.  But as far as we know, there was no scientific doccumentation.  Nor has a single group of researchers gone to a large number of Remote Spots.   Nonetheless,  it will be exciting to contact the other explorers to compare notes and experiences.  Our Project Remote will compliment the other works and serve as a huge advancement in the country’s knowledge about all 50 state Remote Spots.

After that little smack of reality, Rebecca and I deal with the larger problem at hand–the nearby permanently inhabited cabin.  Based on our current definition of remoteness, a permanently inhabited human structure should skew a Remote Spot.  We didn’t know this was here when we calculated the ME R-Spot back in the office in Florida.  Taking into account this cabin probably would knock the Remote Spot back out on an island off Maine’s Atlantic coast.  In other words, we’d have to pack up, recalculate the ME R-spot (with limited office capability) then re-plan a whole other expedition….We enter into a deliberation about our Remote Spot definition that ultimately leads to the formation of a slightly simpler quantitative definition of remoteness.  I love these kind of animated, intellectual conversations.  There have been many lately.  Ultimately, we decide to keep our definition of remote as simple as possible while still accomplishing our primary objective to raise awareness about the alarming extent of the US road system and its impacts to ecology and wilderness.

In the past, we had added more variables into the definition as we came across more unique situations going from state to state.  The problems became plenty.  For example, when do research stations or cabins become problems – when it houses 6 people?  4 people?  Or just 1?  When does a road become a track, route, or just a trail that hasn’t seen a motorized vehicle in years?  Where do you draw the line?  What about floating oil platforms off the Gulf Coast?  Inhabited lighthouses?  Then we have the problem of the seasonality of remoteness.  What if a remote habitation is uninhabited during part of a year?  Is remoteness of the landscape restored when humans have left for the season, but their structures remain behind?  The more variables, the more headache.  The more difficult it becomes to apply a complex definition across 50 different states–many of which present their own unique challenges.

Tonight, we realize the virtue if symplicity.  Our new definition of a state Remote Spot, as of this evening is:  that point in a state that is farthest from a road or city.  Period.  The end.  Let “road” equal paved/unpaved, or designated ORV/snowmachine routes.  Let “city” equal city/town/or village, both on and off-road.  And no seasonality.  Whatever else we run into of human origin while going remote based on our new definition will be part of the unfolding story of human distribution and influence–even into remote areas.  The primary mission of Project Remote is to learn more and educate the public about the U.S. road system.  We are still in a roadless area here.  That is good, and that’s mostly all that matters.  If humans are distrubuted into roadless areas, so be it, and that’s part of the story.

Another problem pops up resulting from our tweaking the Remote Spot definition.  We realize that we currenly are NOT near the remotest location in all of Maine, but rather, we are near the remotest MAINLAND location in Maine.  The ultimate ME Remote Spot now will be located back on one of those islands that has a station or a bunkhouse, since we have decided to drop these types of human structures from the list of factors affecting remonteness.  We deliberate more on whether to turn back in the morning and not go remote in the ME mainland in order to allocate all available time and resources into beelining it to the coast to go to the ultimate ME Remote Spot on an island.  But the logistics necessary to go boating to a distant ME island is too daunting a task.

We decide to stick around, stay the course, and bag the mainland ME Remote Spot in the morning as planned.  At least we will have some accomplishment to show for our efforts.  Not to mention, mainland roadless areas are still of great interest to both us and the public.  We already have accomplished the Florida mainland Remote Spot, which was a heck of a lot more remote than where we are now.

We are all compleley zonked mentally and physically.   But something darts through the grass near the lake edge.  I squint my eyes and see the outline of a snowshoe hare foraging on grass.   It has its brown summer coat, having gradually lost its white winter coat over the past several weeks.  Its feet are still white. Hares and rabbits are closely related (family: Lagomorpha).  They differ slightly from rabbits by having typically longer legs and ears.  Snowshoe hares have large hind feet that are adapted for travel on snow.  The snowshoe hare is another animal common to the northern boreal forest.  It ranges as far south as the high Appalachians of Virginia to the arctic ocean of Alaska–and all of New England.  It is a very important northern species and is a prey item for many carnivores, such as lynx and fox.

Before we retreat into our bug mesh tents under the leanto, we keep hearing periodic watery noises like someone pouring a bucket of water into the lake…Now, it’s very near us but just out of view through the lakeside shrubs.  We suspect the culprit is our moose from earlier.  No one really wants to get out of their bug-free zone to go see, but we simply have to go see that magnificent moose one more time.  Water cascades from his rack as he lifts his head to chew.  The sound is perfect for evening unwinding.

June 25, 2012.  We arise early, about an hour after sunrise.  And that’s still early this far north in mid summer.  Excitememt is high.  There is no hangover from last night’s deliberations.  We automatically roll off our morning chores, and prepare for the Remote Spot attempt like mountaineers preparing to summit.  I take on the Skyla backpack, and the others go light.  The remotest location on the mainland of ME sits about 1.5 miles straight west from camp.  My USGS topo map shows a trail very near the Remote Spot.  But the latest National Geographic trails illustrated map of Baxter State Park shows no such trail.  Greg helps us clear up the matter.  He informs us that there still is an “old” trail out there spurring off the new route.  He also gives instructions on how to find it.  “When you get to a big beech tree on the left, start looking for some sticks leaning into a V-shaped snag on the right.  That is where the old trail begins.”  That must be the trail depicted on my digital topos.

Clouds thicken and the humidity rises.  I can feel rain approaching.  In fact, I believe it will begin within 15 minutes.  As a lifelong outdoorsman, I have become a student of the weather.  We move out quickly hoping to beat rain.  We take a trail heading west from Russell Pond.  A morning cloud of mosquitoes cloaks our bodies and sends everyone scrambling for protection.  I break down and spray 25% deet onto my clothing, neck and hands.  Me spraying toxic deet onto myself means the bugs are bad.  I almost never use anti-bug chemicals.  We push on down the trail and cannot find the “big beech” tree.  Must have gone too far.  We do an about face, and have to back-travel about a half-mile to where the old trail spurs off.  Darn it, we just waisted time and energy going a whole mile out of our way.  We wish that we could slow the pace (and stress) and stay awhile near each Remote Spot, but that is not our reality.  There is important work to do and over 30 more states to accomplish.  If we want that done within our lifetimes, we’ve got to rock and roll…

Skyla pitches a good old fashioned screaming fit.  Right on my back, directly into my ears.  It’s not always joyous hiking with your very young toddler who needs time, attention and comfort.  Sometimes it’s outright unpleasant.  But at the end of the day, it’s always worth it.  They can pitch fits and make your life tougher at home or outside.  Might as well get ’em outside…Ours, bless her little heart, does this sooo infrequently, that it’s almost permissable.   Almost.

We reach the point on the old trail where we must set out on a bushwhack to get to the Remote Spot.  The R-spot is only 0.25 miles off the old trail southward and across a creek.  Any distance you travel off-trail adds a great sense of wilderness and remoteness to an outdoor experience.  The structure of the forest is relatively agreeable for bushwhacking.  Relatively, that is.  All bushwhacks are infinitely more difficult than trail walking.  We sigh in relief.  It takes about 20 minutes to navigate off-trail a quarter mile with the handheld GPS to the exact coordinates of the ME mainland Remote Spot.

Here we are.  That special feeling of being in a superlative and wild place sets in.  Like climbing a mountain.  But better.  We smack hands and group hug.  Ironically, it looks like anywhere else in wild Maine.  More often than not, state Remote Spots reside in otherwise normal looking places.  That is, if you didn’t know any better…

 

Now, we turn our attention to the scientific doccumentary work.  Skyla, Rebecca, and Cameron walk about 100 yards away and get out of view.  It’s sprinkling, but no steady rain yet.  I snappily erect the tripod and roll off the panoramic photos, video, and record 5 minutes of the sounds and sights of Maine remoteness.  The others re-join me on the Remote Spot, and Rebecca conducts our 15-minute Remote Spot Assessment.  We were feeling quite remote until we whip out a cell phone and get coverage…Rebecca calls her mom…Wow.  Can’t believe it.  We also hear airplanes.  Are there sightseeing flights over the park?

The Maine Remote Spot resides in a mixed coniferous forest stand situated on gently sloping, well-drained terrain.  Mature trees appear even-aged, and there are pockets of young sapling conifers growing in the otherwise open understory.

The four of us agree that this place feels as remote as anywhere else we have been in the East.  But there are a nearby trail, campground, cabin, and cell coverage!   This Spot reinforces the possibility that remote may be defined as much by feeling as it is by quantitative measure.   As scientists, we must separate the two.

Nonetheless, true remoteness may only exist in places that are completely devoid of humans, structures, and human influence.  If so, then our country may no longer contain truly remote areas.  Which then begs the question, “why the hell are we doing this?”  The short answers?  To see what’s left–even if not truly remote by all quantitative and qualitative measures.  Adventure.  Doccumentary work.  Generating new knowledge about unknown places.  Family togetherness in the outdoors.  But the biggest reason is to get people thinking about the myriad negative impacts that over 4 million miles of roads is having on both ecosystem function as well as wilderness quality of our once truly remote country.  We want people, land managers, and policy-makers thinking about the conservation of “remoteness” as being equally important to conserving habitat and wildlife.  In other words, let’s not build another road in America.  There are anough already.  More than enough, actually.

Skyla wants to eat, drink, and play.  She deserves it all and we accomodate.  Mama prepares her a meal and I waft the bugs away while she eats…It’s overjoying having our daughter here.  And our nephew.

 

 

Standing in a spruce-fir forest in the middle of Baxter State Park, we are The Remotest Family on the mainland of Maine…It took us about a day and a half to get here from the nearest road approach.  It could have been done in one day by faster, lighter travelers.

 

 

 

On the jaunt back to camp, we stop to smell the irises…at least for a moment.

 

 

 

 

Bracken fern pops up out of the muskeg like little umbrellas.  This species is all over New England.  It’s back home in north Florida as well.  At 44 degrees north latitude, there is overlap between southern and northern species of plants and animals.

 

 

Back at Russell Pond, while the adults pack up for the 7.6 mile trail hike back to the nearest road, Skyla takes a short jaunt to investigate plants.  She is really taken by them.  We always encourage her when she gets curious and receptive to learning.

 

 

 

…One more view of Russell Pond and the emergent glacial erratics.  The bull moose is gone.

 

 

We opt for another, slightly longer trail route that bypasses yesterdays hairy river crossing.  We still cross it, but it’s easier, although deeper…Several hours pass while making the hike back.  We stop frequently for Skyla and water breaks, not to mention resting from hauling heavy packs.  The weather improves, but temperatures are still much cooler here than we are used to down south this time of year.  Feels perfect.

At Whidden Pond, one last view of the flanks of Katahdin opens up across the water.  What a day, what a trip, what a memory…all sealed with a remote kiss.

 

 

The Maine Remote Spot trip ends back at the truck an hour later.  Although high spirited with the sense of accomplishment, we are a little bummed to conclude the backpacking portion of Project Remote Northeast.  The final 3 northeastern statest (MA, RI, CT) likely will be boating trips on salt water to get to island Remote Spots.  Not sure about our final state, CT, yet…we must get that planned soon while on the go, a task that is infinitely harder trying to perform out of office without full communication capabilities of the internet…Once again, it’s our reality.  Wouldn’t trade it for anything.  We live split existences.  Part indoor, part outdoor.  We try to increase the outdoor part all the time.

Goodbye wonderful Maine…We saw you in a way that none, well–few, others have…

Project Remote Fundraiser:  After reading this website, you might be surprised at just how hard it is to get away from a road or a town nowadays–and instantly understand that we must now as a nation speak out to protect remaining public roadless areas from further roads development.  Project Remote is now over half-way done!  Our goal is to raise enough funding simply to offset the cost of traveling frugally state by state, completing the documentary field work, and maintaining this website.   This work depends on donations from people like you.  If you like what we do, please Click here to make a tax deductible donation to support Project Remote today.  Thank you so very much for helping us to document and preserve Remote America…–Remote Footprints