Maine Woods Gear

On July 18th, I drove up to Millinocket, Maine to videotape Roxanne Quimby’s presentation to the townspeople at Stearns High School. By the time the presentation was over and I had packed up three video cameras, tripods, and audio cables, it was 10 pm, too late to drive home.

Marsha Donahue, the owner of North Light Gallery in downtown Millinocket, let me “camp” behind her building in the back of my Jeep! When I arrived around 10:30 and parked my Jeep between the Gallery and another building, I thought I was alone.

Suddenly I heard a voice that scared the you-know-what out of me. I said “who’s there?” A voice from somewhere replied, “Brad.” He was in a truck with a camper shell and in a sleeping bag with a mosquito net. My first thought, in the dark, was “who is this guy?” I hardly remember what he was saying, but there was a steady stream of sound coming from the truck.

As I walked over to the back of his truck, he poked his head out from under the mosquito net and introduced himself. He started talking about climbing Mt. Katahdin in the morning for the 99th time. He explained that he had also done it numerous times in the winter. He said something about being an outdoor writer for the Bangor Daily News and that he was going to write an article about his climb the following morning.

This stranger in the night told me he was going to be up at the crack of dawn to begin his trek. I just wanted to move all of my video equipment into the front seats of my Jeep so I could have room in the back to curl up and try to get some sleep. Brad wanted to talk.

Finally, I said, “I need to go to sleep because I have to leave very early in the morning.” He said something about hoping his snoring wouldn’t bother me. It didn’t, but it was very difficult to fall asleep because the back of the Jeep is quite cramped and uncomfortable. It must have been well after mid-might that I finally dozed off. It was a long and uncomfortable night with a handful of mosquitoes buzzing around to keep me awake.

By the time the first light of day appeared, I was ready to get up and get going. Brad heard me stirring about, and he too clambered out of his bag and there he stood. About six feet tall, skinny, and wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

As I moved my gear from the front seats to the back of the Jeep, we picked up our conversation from the night before. Brad told me he was an avid hiker, angler, and lover of the region. That’s when he told me about Maine Woods Gear and his intention to move from Ellsworth to Millinocket. He invited me to stop in and visit his shop. I agreed, and bid farewell. I was anxious to get home.

On my next trip to Millinocket on July 28th to videotape the town council meeting that would vote on a resolution to oppose Roxanne Quimby’s plan for a new national park in the Katahdin region, I dropped in on Brad at his shop.

He’s a very engaging and conversational man with stories and information about the region. I hauled out my camera and recorded this video. If you are on your way to Baxter be sure to stop in and say hello to Brad. You won’t be sorry you did!

Enjoy the video.

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