Every Maine hiker should have a copy of Aislinn Sarnaki’s new book, Maine Hikes, published by Down East Books. Subtitled Off the Beaten Path, it is all of that and more.
One thing I especially like about the book is that Aislinn doesn’t just focus on mountain hikes. Some of the hikes could even be described as walks. And while she writes about a number of my favorite hikes, she’s included lots that I never heard of.
I didn’t even know we had a Lobster Township and Lobster Mountain, which turn out to be near the camp of one of my good friends. I would love to know how we came to name a township and mountain in the north woods after our lobsters. Nope, you can’t catch lobsters up there!
Some of my favorite places that Aislinn writes about are Swan Island in the Kennebec River, Cameron Mountain in Lincolnville, Round Top Mountain in Rome (10 minutes from my home), Spruce Mountain in Rockport, Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, and Sentinel and Trout Brook Mountains in Baxter Park.
Of course, I’d love any mountain called trout! Actually, Sentinel and Trout Brook Mountains are not high or hard hikes, and those are the first mountains our young children hiked. And despite the fact they are not high, the views from the summits are fantastic.
For each hike, Aislinn gives you lots of information from directions to degree of difficulty. Following all that information is a detailed description of the hike, plus a map and nice photos. My favorite part of the book comes after that, when Aislinn writes about her own experiences on those hikes. Here are two of my favorite stories:
Indian Mountain near Greenville – That day, I blame Oreo (her dog) for my downhill tumble. It was likely a squirrel that caused him to bolt, but I’ll never be sure because as soon as he yanked on his leash, my boot slipped on a tree root and down I went, sliding down the hill to rest in a pile of fairly fresh moose poop. After inspecting the long scrape on my leg and blossoming bruise on my forearm, I slowly stood up and dusted myself off. Oreo turned around and looked at me sheepishly. I just shook my head and continued down the mountain.
Lobster Mountain – The first time I tried to hike Lobster Mountain was in July of 2017, and I ended up popping a tire and wrecking a rim on my Subaru Forester after stubbornly trying to drive through an impressive washout on the gravel road leading to the boat launch at Lobster Stream. If at first you don’t succeed, pay $400 to get your car fixed and try again.
Been near there and done that!
As Linda and I travel the state this summer and fall, Aislinn’s book will be with us, so we can check out a few of those wonderful places. You should do this too.