The Allagash Wilderness of Northern Maine is a playground for those seeking a break from an otherwise hectic and stressful grind throughout the workweek. These vast landscapes offers no roads, no service and most importantly, no stress.
After extensive googling and numerous rejections from transporters we stumbled upon Bradford Camps. This family operation has through 5 generations been ran with the sole purpose of offering their guests a dose of “Friluftsliv” in the rural forests of New England.
An ultimate location for a Field Testing Adventure.
10 hours before our planned seaplane pick-up we found ourselves on the streets of New York City. With backpacks we strolled along towards the car as we confirmed with our coming host, Igor Sikorsky, where and when to meet. With no time to lose we got out of Manhattan and set our course north towards Pittsfield, Maine.
The next morning, we cruised down the runway close to our pick-up location. Apparently, in Maine you use runways and highways. We were asked to leave the car by the waterway over the weekend and await our pickup. In the distance we heard the noise of propellers and in a distance our mode of transport made its way down the narrow river.
“In Maine you use runways as highways…”
Igor Sikorsky greeted us welcome and we strapped our wooden skis onto the aircraft and buckled in. Our flight into Bradford Camps took us over Mount Katahdin and further north into the Allagash Wilderness before our destination of Munsungan Lake opened itself up.
Tucked into the trees along the shore you find a cluster of century old logged cabins that were to function as our HQ for the weekend.
Our weekend was underway and we headed to a pond with an outpost cabin for a few nights out. In these forests you won’t find power or phone service which set the tone for our days to come of roaming, fishing, bushing and hunting.
We spent hours on the lake guessing around for where the fish would bite. Igor had set us up with hooks for success and we patiently awaited. Not just once we got lured to believe our hooks catching the sea floor to be the largest fish every caught in the lake…
But suddenly a solid bite. The intensity rose in the boat as we both felt this might be the only fish we would feel, or to even be lucky enough to spot. The fish surfaced and we got it landed in both before giving it a goodbye kiss and releasing it back into the pond. (Next time she or he might be big enough to end up on the grill…) The night was spent around the campfire soaking in the fresh air of these rural forests.
The mornings of Adventures always includes a bright and early highlight of darkly roasted coffee. A few cups, lighting the fire and letting the morning show put on a show is the small details that makes the life outdoors so special. After a lengthy breakfast of eggs & bacon we strapped on our backpacks, loaded our shotguns and got underway with our day.
Today we wanted to “get lost”. Simply roam these forests without a plan and see where we end up. We were after an appetizer for dinner and a local grouse would do the trick to complete our dinner menu. Stalking these birds proved to be more difficult than initially thought with the shear density and crookedness of these forests. Up and down, under and over logs, hooked our skis to branches and stumbling in the creeks we made our way around. As with fishing, it is when you least expect or believe for anything to happen that it suddenly does.
A grouse takes off from a log just left of us and the rest was history. We only got the one, but it was the one we needed. The bird was taken apart before grilled to medium rare and enjoyed by the fire with a sip of beer. Another day completed of hours spent in nature, also called Friluftsliv, where the quantity of harvest doesn’t matter – it’s all about the quality.
“You never change a winning team”. Therefore you may guess what we had for breakfast.
Full and juiced on coffee we yet again strapped our lives on our back and headed on our way “home”. No trails in these forests, so around here you trust your instincts and the simple navigation tools of compass and overview maps. Bushing around, up and down again, over creeks, getting stuck in the mud we finally cracked through the last branches along the shore of Munsungan Lake. We knew that a canoe was placed somewhere along the shore for us to complete our trek home and back to camp. And Igor remembered, our canoe was found, and we packed our packs and floated ahead. At the shore of camp we were greeted by our hosts of Karen & Igor. (More to come on this inspiring couple)
Two days seemed like an eternity as we loaded the float plane for our departure. The sense of time & place disappears in the wilderness and with a refreshed mind & sole we headed back to the Concrete jungle.