Glorious sunny weather greeted nearly a dozen cross-country skiers at the Downeast Lake Land Trust on Sunday January 11th. From avid and accomplished skiers, to folks who were strapping on skis for the very first time, the Downeast Lakes Land Trust offered an opportunity for community members to enjoy lands which have been conserved for public access and wildlife habitat.
Dr. David Carmack, a long time visitor to Grand Lake Stream, swooshed along –a seasoned veteran on skis. However, he admitted that he had never explored the old road which once ran from the end of Tough End St. to Little River, now known as the Horseback Trail. “We will have to come back and explore this in the summer,” he mused as the skiers slipped through a quiet, snow-softened hemlock grove.
The gently rolling trail took skiers through not only hemlocks, but beech, maple and birch stands. Skiers crossed snowshoe hare, mouse and deer tracks as well as followed the path of a moose for half a mile.
Well beyond the halfway point, skiers rested at a cache of hot drinks, banana cake and doughnut holes. Taking off their skis and relaxing, the skiers looked back over their progress with satisfaction. “This was well-timed,” sighed DLLT Executive Director, David Montague over a cup of black coffee. The event was his first foray on cross-country skis. A highly regarded tracker, he admitted, “I spent most of my time looking at my skis and trying not to fall down.”
“Really, it is easier than I expected,“ enthused DLLT Education Committee Member, Sue Whitely. “There are a lot of people who can do this, but wouldn’t unless they were with a group. I know I wouldn’t have wanted to do this alone!”
“I’m pushing myself.” reflected Vivian Noakes, the youngest adventurer, at age eleven. “I’ve been falling down, which is embarrassing, but Dr. Carmack gave me some tips on getting back up.”
“We come to these events as a community with different skills and experiences in the outdoors. Programs like this allow us to enrich each other with our knowledge.” said DLLT Education and Communications Manager, Tanya Rucosky. “I’m not much of a skier, I’ve fallen down too today, but I love to hike. I’ve been exploring the trails in the DLLT for the last two years, and it is a pleasure to share this gem with others.
The DLLT regularly hosts speakers, community forums, work parties, workshops and leads outdoor adventures that highlight the natural and cultural history of the Maine woods and waters. Visit our website to discover what is happening next!