Hike, bike, paddle, pedal, surf, raft, or cruise

By Hilary Nangle
Globe Correspondent / July 17, 2011

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Don’t let the summer slip away without embracing it. Here are 10 made-for-the-memory-books Maine experiences.


Using the Appalachian Mountain Club’s new Gorman Chairback Lodge and Cabins as a base, spend a few days hiking in this region northeast of Greenville. The lodge was built as a private camp in 1867. The AMC has completely renovated the lakefront facilities, which comprise a main lodge, where homestyle meals are served, eight rustic cabins, a bunkhouse, and a central bathhouse with hot showers and a sauna. Pack a lunch, and head out to explore more than 20 miles of trails, including one to Screw Auger Falls, in Gulf Hagas, called the Grand Canyon of Maine. Other good choices include Third and Fourth mountains and West Chairback Pond Falls. Guests have free use of canoes and kayaks on Long Pond and stashed on more remote ones, such as Trout Pond, a 6-mile hike. All-inclusive cabin rates for nonmembers are $134 adult, $114 teenagers, $46 children ages 3-12. 207-358-5187,


Join Summer Feet on a guided bicycle trip along the coast from Boothbay Harbor to Bar Harbor. The six-night tour includes lodging, most meals, a schooner sail, entrance fees for attractions, van support, and more. Highlights include detours down coastal peninsulas, visits to out-of-the-way towns, and island excursions. Pedal inn-to-inn ($2,375) or campsite-to-campsite ($1,195). Bike rental is available for $100-$160 per week. Summer Feet also has shorter excursions and self-guided tours. 866-857-9544,


Osprey or eagle? Woodpecker or warbler? Spend a few hours or days with Maine Guide Michael Good, of Down East Nature Tours, and beginning birders will gain an understanding of native East Coast species, while avid ornithologists might add a coveted bird to their life list. Programs range from a four-hour introductory session on Mount Desert Island to advanced searches for unique species in Down East Maine, with prices beginning around $75. Good provides transportation, with pickup at local accommodations, as well as a spotting scope. 207-288-8128,


The Northern Forest Canoe Trail flows through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Quebec, but more than 350 of its 740 miles are in Maine. It enters the state at Lake Umbagog and winds northwestward following lakes, rivers, and streams to Fort Kent. The trail is mapped in 13 sections, with the Maine portion beginning in section 8. Maps detail the waterways, portages, dams, communities, and natural sights along the route. Purchase a guidebook ($24.95) and maps (Maine set is $59.70) and find trip-planning information on the organization’s website. 802-496-2285,


Mile-high Mount Katahdin, in Baxter State Park, near Millinocket, is Maine’s tallest peak and the end point for those heading north on the Appalachian Trail. Although one single mountain, Katahdin comprises several peaks: Baxter, at 5,267 feet, is highest. It’s a strenuous, full-day hike that requires being prepared for any type of weather. If summiting this massif isn’t enough, hike Knife Edge, a treacherous 1.1-mile-long granite spine, no wider than 3 feet in places, linking Baxter Peak with Pamola Peak. Entrance fee for nonresidents is $14 per vehicle. Nonresidents can make day-use parking reservations within two weeks of intended hike date. 207-723-5140,


Grab your board and head for York Beach. If you don’t have a board, build one. Grain Surfboards, in York, has almost a cult following for its handcrafted wood boards, and it offers classes for those who want to learn how to build their own. By the end of the week, you’ll have built a board that’s ready for glassing. The seven-day classes cost $1,675 per person, which includes materials and supplies, detailed instruction on glassing and finishing, and daily breakfast and lunch. A three-day team-building Board Blitz course includes instruction, but not the board, for $600 per person (boards may be purchased afterward for the cost of materials). Plan to bring or buy tools and a respirator. 207-457-5313,


Tap into your adrenaline with a combo weekend of ziplining and mountain biking at Sunday River in Newry. Choose your challenge level at the lift-accessed Mountain Bike Park, with 30 trails covering more than 20 miles of downhill terrain. Or swing through the trees, Tarzan-style, descending six ziplines ranging from 100 to 300 feet long, and ending with a 750-foot slide to base along side-by-side lines. The Mountain Bike Park is open Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. A day pass is $29 adult, $18 ages 12 and younger; trail access only is $10; full-suspension rental bike $80. Zipline Tours are available Thursday through Sundays and holiday Mondays at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. for $49 per person. A Twin Zip intro is available for $15-$20. Zipline participants must be at least 3 feet tall and weigh between 70-270 pounds. 207-824-3000,


Marshall Island, in Jericho Bay, is the largest undeveloped and uninhabited island on the East Coast. About once a week through early September, Old Quarry Ocean Adventures, in Stonington, offers a day trip aboard the Nigh Duck to the 985-acre island, which is owned and maintained by Maine Coast Heritage Trust. A trust steward welcomes and orients visitors, then you are on your own to explore the 7 miles of mostly granite shoreline, two sand beaches, and 10 miles of trails lacing the inner forests. An island map can be downloaded from Box lunches are available, but must be ordered a day in advance. Cost for the full-day trip is $50 per person. 207-367-8977,


Spend a weekend in western Maine’s wilderness at the Maine Huts Flagstaff Lake Hut. Begin with a late-afternoon, pontoon-boat cruise across Flagstaff Lake, departing from Stratton. A guide will explain the lake’s history, tell tales of the lost village of Flagstaff under its waters, and point out local flora and fauna. The weekend package includes the round-trip cruise and two nights’ accommodations with dinner Friday and Saturday and breakfast and lunch Saturday and Sunday. During the day, hike the Maine Huts Trail, swim in the lake, paddle one of the huts’ canoes or kayaks, or relax in the main lodge. The package, available weekends through Sept. 4, is $218 adult, $136 child. 877-634-8824


The Kennebec River is a 12-mile fun run, a whitewater roller coaster from just below the Harris Station Dam to The Forks. Controlled release from the dam produces waves up to 8 feet high, and the trip begins with a bang in the Alleyway. Highlight is Magic Falls, which appears like a horizon line. The biggest rapids are concentrated in the first half of the trip; after that, smaller rapids allow floating, swimming, and water fights between rafts. Pioneer white-water rafting outfitter Northern Outdoors offers a Kennebec River package including two nights in a one-room cabin and the raft trip, with lunch. Rates range from $183-$302 per person. 800-765-7238,

Hilary Nangle can be reached at