89 yr old “Cimarron” on The Appalachian Trail

Breakfast at the Appalachian Trail Cafe in Millinocket, Maine on Wednesday (8/31/11) provided another serendipitous encounter with an extraordinary 89 yr old hiker. My friend Charlie Cirame and I were having breakfast with Brian Kevin, a young freelance writer, when we noticed a half dozen young AT hikers posing for pictures with someone who appeared to be somewhat of a celebrity.

A short time later, Jamie Renoud, the owner of the Cafe suggested that I interview the hiker who was attracting so much attention. I approached this gentlemen somewhat tentatively and asked if he’d do an interview. He replied with a big smile that he’d be glad to.

We sat down at one of the tables and I conducted a long, rambling interview with Cimarron. Rarely do I post a video this long, but it is well worth viewing , and I hope you enjoy meeting Cimarron as much as I did.

State Senator Cynthia Dill Addresses Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Senator Cynthia Dill has become an outspoken supporter of a new national park in the State of Maine. On Thursday, August 18, 2011, she attended a large gathering of the citizens of Millinocket, Maine and the region and told the Secretary that she was in favor of a new park and a feasibility study.

I met Cynthia earlier this year in Cape Elizabeth and asked her why the Maine State Legislature had approved of a “resolution” opposing a national park. Basically, it was rammed through without public input or discussion during the closing moments of the session when legislators where tired, anxious to go home and were not paying much attention. Cynthia was one of only three legislators who opposed the resolution.

Cynthia since has taken on the cause and is sure to revisit this issue in the next session of the legislature.

Anyone who supports the creation of a new national park in the Maine Woods should visit her Facebook Cause page and begin to interact with a growing number of supporters.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-the-Maine-Woods/261918263837026

You can also watch Cynthia’s statements to Secretary Salazar and the 300 or so people who gathered at Stearns High School.

http://youtu.be/NViSxxZYaOw

“Special Delivery” on the Appalachian Trail

I met him on the Golden Road as he was approaching Abol Bridge. My friend, Charlie Cirame, struck up a conversation with a hiker as I was shooting video footage of Mt. Katahdin from Abol Bridge.

When I asked the bearded young hiker his name, he replied “Special Delivery.” The twenty nine year old hiker from New Hampshire had just come out of the Hundred Mile Wilderness heading into Baxter State Park where he would climb Mount Katahdin the following day.  He started hiking the Appalachian Trail on April 10 of this year at Springer Mountain, GA.

Only one in four hikers of the thousands who attempt a thru-hike each year complete the 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail in one trip. That is a mammoth undertaking that is almost hard to comprehend.

His smile and eyes were warm, friendly, and bright. I asked if he would mind being interviewed for my blog. With a big, happy grin he said, “sure, what do you want to know?”

I hope you enjoy some of what Special Delivery had to say as much as Charlie and I did.He has accomplished something I wish I had been able to do at some point in my life. In sharing his story on my blog, I hope others might be inspired to undertake this epic journey of self-discovery and rediscover an appreciation of the wonder of our natural world.

It seemed appropriate to me that the terminus of the Appalachian Trail would be Maine, the most wild, rugged and uninterrupted wilderness in the eastern United States. There is little doubt that this magnificent region is worth preserving for our children’s children and all who would long to discover what the world must have been like before humans.

Millinocket Business People for a New National Park

Several Millinocket business people gathered for a roundtable interview at the North Light Gallery. All are passionate about creating a stable economy for the town of Millinocket which has been hard hit by the closing of two mills in the region. These wonderful people are doing all they can to survive and to employ people.

In this segment of my People For The Park series, these folks are extolling the virtues of Roxanne Quimby and her vision for a 70,000 acre national park in the Maine Woods that would diversity the economy and save a dying town.

I’m happy to share their comments and hope that those of you who view this short video will join in supporting the cause.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-NvZ1OjBvU

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.