A Little Preparation Goes A Long Way 

Alyssa Andrews, RLHT Intern 

The ability to easily access the outdoors is one benefit of living in Maine that can be taken for granted. In the Rangeley region the fact that there are miles and miles of trails that can be reached within a short drive gives this region an appeal that brings people from all over. With that said, easy access can bring spur of the moment ideas that often sound great, but still take planning to pull off well. No matter what kind of outdoor experience you may be looking for, it takes being prepared to have a successful adventure. 

Regardless of kind of trip being undertaken, there is some planning and preparedness required. Even on a simple walk around Hatchery Brook, the walker should have sturdy shoes and water.  Longer trips such as camping, backpacking or canoeing to Forest Legacy take even more planning.  That being said, don’t let all of the details prevent you from trying new things.   

There are many ways that a person can learn about how to plan an adventure.  No matter what your adventure might be, the first step is to understand what exactly your adventure entails.  If you are hiking, find a map of the trails, and plan what your route will be.  If you are camping, make a list of gear that you will need for duration of the trip and then consider the logistics of what you have.  If all you have is cast-iron cookware, think about camping in a place that you can drive to.  If you want to be able to camp in a more remote site, think about the practicality of transporting your gear to your site.  Will you be able to carry all of the utensils, shelter, and food necessary for your stay?  If the answer is no, then the responsible action to take would be to find another way to enjoy the natural environments that Maine has to offer.  

Another consideration to be aware of is the possibility of poor weather. To be prepared means thinking about all of the possibilities that can happen when spending time outside, including dealing with rain, heat, cold, or wind. Some of the best times spent outdoors can be when the weather is less than ideal, but only if one is ready for it. Snowshoeing on a cold, wintery day can be quite enjoyable if one is prepared with the clothing to stay warm.  

Once the adventure has begun, one of the most important aspects of enjoying the outdoors is remembering that the actions that you take will affect not only your experience, but also the experiences of others who also wish to enjoy what nature has to offer.  Wherever you are, remembering to practice Leave No Trace, is crucial to helping preserve the experience for others, and yourself.  

Once you are in the woods, it is important to focus on your surroundings and continue to be aware of your limitations.  Turn back early, or take more breaks if necessary.  There are many adventures and experiences abound in the Maine woods, but those adventures always run the possibility of being less than fun, if proper planning is not undertaken.  

For more information about responsible practices please visit: https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles.  For more information about Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust please visit rlht.org.