Breaking in my crampons on the Mountain Division Trail in Freyburg

Some hikes are planned while others are more a matter of convenience. With our goal to say active each weekend, we always incorporate outdoor adventures into the agenda. With a trip to Saco River Brewing planned, we stopped at the Mountain Division Trail in Fryeburg along the way for a quick hike.

It was also an opportunity to break in my newly purchased STABILicersTM. I’d already attempted a few too many winter hikes without the right gear and was excited to be finally properly equipped for the ice and snow. I was also especially happy that my new equipment came from a local company out of Biddeford. I bought them at Renys in Portland and this was my first opportunity to try them out. Continue reading

Three Winter Hikes. Embrace the cold.

In our never-ending effort to stay active, we’ve made hiking a year round activity. We’ll technically we didn’t “make” it year round. It has always been year round for those who love the outdoors, but until last year I was not among them.  Fortunately, I’ve learned to embrace the cold and actually discovered that I like winter hiking once you get past the initial “wow, it’s freezing” feeling. Once you get moving, the cold disappears.

The challenge with winter hiking, and other winter activities, is that you’re dependent on the type of winter mother nature brings. Lots of snow, great – break out those snowshoes. Not a lot of snow – hiking shoes it is. Icy conditions – throw on some crampons. Continue reading

Hiking Maine | The Evergreen Cemetery Trail in Portland

December is here and if our already chilly, snow-filled days are any indication, our days of hiking without snowshoes are numbered. So, when we hit a stretch of cool but beautiful weather earlier this month, we headed to Evergreen Cemetery to explore a new trail. There are a lot of trail options in and around the cemetery. We choose to do a large loop on the outskirts of the actual cemetery.

We had just come from the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland‘s holiday event so it was fitting that ninety percent of the hikers we encountered on this trail were with their dogs. All the dogs we met were friendly, happy and focused on racing through the trail. It seemed to be the place to take your pup for some exercise. Continue reading

Hiking Maine | Looking for something to do besides shop at Clarks Pond?

Black Friday is coming. The official and frenzied kick-off to the holiday shopping season. While I enjoy shopping, sometimes you just need a break from it all. Nestled amidst the retail stores, and shopping plazas, of the Clark’s Pond area in South Portland, is the Clark’s Pond Trail. An unexpected oasis and peaceful green space where you can unwind.

Until goggling trails in the area one recent Sunday morning,  I never realized it was there even though I had been to this shopping destination many times. The start of the trail is easily accessed by parking in the back of the Home Depot lot, and walking a short distance to the well-marked trail entrance. The trail immediately immerses you in forest quickly leaving the stores behind although the steady buzz of cars never quite goes away and remains as a ready reminder that you’re still in an urban space. Continue reading

Photographic Tour through the Western Cemetery in Portland Maine

I am not a photographer but I love to pretend that I am. I compensate from my lack of skills by taking copious amounts of pictures even for the shortest of outings. With this strategy, I’m usually able to find a few pictures that don’t disappoint. It works for me although it still pains my far more skilled at photography brother that I never take my camera off automatic mode. Maybe someday.

So, when I heard that Portland Trails was hosting a Discovery Trek | Fall Foliage Photography tour through the Western Cemetery in Portland, I was quick to sign up. I’d never explored that area of Portland and the promise of tips to help improve my photography skills was added incentive. Continue reading