Page 82 - WCM 2022 Winter
P. 82

service goes out and batteries fail (and they will!), map and compass skills are paramount. I also always leave a simple itinerary of my trip with my wife, so if I don’t arrive back at the scheduled time, she can take action to be sure I am safely found.
Taking a companion along also helps boost confidence, just make sure they are just as vigilant about winter survival as you are. You don’t want to strike out with someone who is untrained in outdoor ways, a person that will bog you down with too many needs. A friend or family member that wants to come along must be just as prepared as you are to make it a safe outing.
Pick Your Mode of Travel
Getting to and from the woods during the winter requires preparedness as well. Four-wheel drive vehicles are great, but you can still get stuck, just further back in the woods! Have a plan for extracting your vehicle if it gets bogged down out in the Willy- Wacks. Be sure to outfit your vehicle with good snow tires, tire chains, a shovel, a tow rope or chain, a come-along or winch, and maybe a bag of sand to help you get unstuck in deep snow or ice. I also like to keep my snowshoes right in my truck, just in case I have to walk out of a situation anywhere in the woods. Get
a pair of snowshoes that have metal cleats - they sure help if it’s icy, or when navigating up and down hills.
Snowmobile trails can also deliver miles of woods that aren’t usually jammed with other trekkers. While walking on these groomed trails offers great ease of travel, using a snowmobile for getting to and from remote areas works even better. Check with area snowmobile clubs by visiting the Maine Snowmobile Association’s website www.mesnow. com to find contact information for each club.
These groups maintain trail systems that connect to others throughout the region, from Standish, to Eustis, and beyond.
One of my favorite rides goes from Rangeley to Oquossoc, just north of both towns. The trails are always in good shape, and the forest is stunning,
and full of birds and animals to observe. Another nice run takes riders from Sunday River Ski Resort, along the Androscoggin River, and west to Gilead.
I like riding near the banks of the frozen river and stopping to check on the wildlife along the way. One more favorite trail system I use takes riders through the mountainous areas around Dixfield, Mexico and Rumford. The high ground in this region is filled with wildlife, and the trails are always well cared
for. The trails around Mount Blue State Park also abound with wild game, and enough birds to keep any nature lover busy. I especially like the side trails in and around Center Hill in Weld. Keep an eye out for Nordic skiers in this area.
When using these trails, remember to always ride only on the groomed trails. If you explore on foot, stop your sled and park it well off the main trail. And always obtain landowner permission before exploring on private land.
Remember that enjoying the natural world during
the winter months doesn’t have to involve traveling
to remote regions, or employing cold weather survival techniques, snowmobiles, and four-wheel drive trucks. Take a look around your own homestead, and you’ll be surprised at all the winter adventure available for your enjoyment, all within reach. And I’ll bet you’ll discover the Golden-crowned Kinglet nearby, so don’t forget your camera, binoculars, and a journal for recording your adventures! ✲
Miles and miles of groomed trails can lead you most anywhere in western Maine.

   80   81   82   83   84