Another New Beginning at Appalachian Mountain Club

It’s been so long since I’ve made a blog post! So much has happened since last summer – I left Portland, changed jobs, and made another cross country road trip.

I find myself here in Maine, a little amazed by the choices and chances that landed me here. Last Summer my partner Taylor and I decided we wanted to move out of Oregon and back to the east coast. There was a number of reasons for our decision that I won’t get into here. But I will say that since leaving Oregon, particularly Portland, I have had nothing but fond memories. I already miss it. It wasn’t always easy when we were there, and by the end I was excited to get out of the city, but Portland certainly left a mark in my soul. It really was the place I became an adult, or at least the first true adult version of myself.

Where I am now could not be more opposite of Portland. I’m working for Appalachian Mountain Club, the oldest environmental conservation club in the country (Yes, even older than the Sierra club!) AMC protects lands, waters, forests, and trails in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, and aims to educate the public on environmental health, ecology, and conservation. They provide recreational opportunities for the public and inspire the next generation of outdoor leaders. I had heard of the AMC prior to working for them, but am only beginning to understand the extent of influence they have on the future of environmental conservation and outdoor recreation in the Northeast. I could not be more thrilled to be a part of it.

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Lyford Lodge

I work at  Little Lyford Pond Camps, one of three AMC lodges in the 100 mile wilderness of Maine. Lyford is the most rustic of the three, originally built in 1873 as a logging camp. Before AMC came along, logging was the main economic force in the 100 mile wilderness. Since 2009 Lyford has been a sporting lodge for skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, boating, fly fishing, and much more. We provide guests with private cabins, three home cooked meals a day, hot showers and a sauna.

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In the Winter, staff like myself travel mostly by snowmobile. To get to the nearest plowed road is a six mile drive from Lyford, which means that guests have to park in the winter parking lot and ski into the Lodge. This makes for quite interesting logistics as we schedule to pick up guests’ gear from the parking lot and distribute suitcases and backpacks to the correct lodges. Most guests do a “lodge to lodge” trip, meaning they spend a night or two at each lodge, skiing the lodge-to-lodge trail during the day. Since there is little to no cell service, we communicate via radios that also reach game wardens and Greenville, the closest town and AMC base, police and fire station.

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A beautiful shot of the tool shed.

 

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Green Drake Cabin. Most of Lyford cabins are named after fly fishing flies.

Our energy is a combination of solar and diesel generator. When the generator fails, which does happen, we have a booster that is essentially a giant back up battery that makes it so we can still communicate to the outside world in the case of a black out. Luckily, the lights in the lodge and cabins, as well as the hot water, ovens, and stoves, all run on propane gas. There are wood stoves in every lodge and cabin that keep us nice and toasty.

It’s quite an operation we got going here that I am excited to share more about in future posts. Subscribe to get all the stories!

Undoing the Farmer Fantasy

Every time I go to a farmer’s market, I’ve felt really good about myself. Like, oh look at me, supporting local farms, I’m such a good person.

But there’s so much more to farming than you might expect when you’re searching for the most perfect carrots. Good farming requires years of knowledge, hard work, serious dedication and grit. I learned this when I volunteered on a farm in Oregon City, the summer of 2017.

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Crowded Hikes: The Death of Solitude in the Outdoors. And Are They Beyond Leave No Trace?

It’s finally sunny in Portland again and that means everyone wants to hike in our nearby parks and forests.

Let me emphasize, everyone.

It’s like the city evacuates and piles into Willamette National Forest. My first few hikes of the season had me thinking about Leave No Trace, as I witnessed people who don’t know what’s up.

With the outdoors so accessible from Portland, combined with the drastic increase over the past decade of recreation in national parks and forests, thousands of people traipse into the woods seemingly without a clue about Leave No Trace. Continue reading

My Gut Says Logic is Overrated

I was recently given the opportunity to work on a farm for the summer, and I was stoked. I couldn’t wait to work outside in the beautiful Oregon sunshine, get my hands back in the earth. I was tired of working as a waitress, hating that I was spending so much time doing a job I didn’t like for the money. Sure, the farming job wouldn’t pay much, but at least I’d be doing something I was passionate about.

Later, I found myself on my laptop, staring at my student debt. Suddenly the idea of working on a farm for little pay seemed absurd. What I should do is pick up more hours at the restaurant or get a second job. I didn’t have time for fun, not yet. I had school debt, car payments, rent to pay. Focusing on making money seemed the more logical thing to do. Continue reading

Post Election: Finding Clarity in Books

I’m reading Freedom by Jonathon Franzen, and from the perspective of forty- year-old Patty, he wrote:

“There’s a hazardous sadness to the first sounds of someone else’s work in the morning, it’s as if stillness experiences pain in being broken. The first minute of the workday reminds you of all the other minutes that a day consists of, and it’s never a good thing to think of minutes as individuals. Only after other minutes have joined the naked, lonely first minute, does the day become more safely integrated in its dayness.”

Reading can be that way. The first page feels daunting as you’re afraid you’ll lose focus and stop. But once other pages have joined the first page, you feel more comfortable in the rhythm of reading. Pages cease to be individuals and the story forms in your mind in a continues string. It feels complete and relaxing as it guides you through the author’s world. That’s a satisfaction I can only get from reading books. Social media, the other place where I “read,” makes me feel lost in a thick forest, blinded by sticks poking me in the eye and scratching my skin. Continue reading