We want all our guests to enjoy Maine safely in all seasons. A trip to Maine in any season includes dozens of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Kayaking or canoeing on Tripp Lake is one of the truly lovely options when staying with us at our bed and breakfast in Poland, Maine. And from our location you have dozens of hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing options as well. But to truly appreciate all that “Vacationland” offers, it helps to understand how to visit Maine safely in all seasons.
Every sport requires a certain amount of basic equipment, a relative grasp of the mechanics involved, and a modicum amount of physical fitness. In addition, awareness of the natural environment and fragile ecosystems helps foster appreciation and respect for the land.
Whether you’re coming to Maine for winter sports, like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, or planning a kayak or canoe trip in spring or summer, you’ll want to bone up on the fundamentals.
1. Personal Safety & Protecting Our Natural Resources
First and foremost, you need to ensure your own personal safety. Know your limits and your physical fitness level. Beginner or expert, it helps to be prepared. Do your research in advance and make sure you are aware of any restrictions imposed on the destination you’re planning to visit. As well, our natural resources are what make Maine such a special vacation destination. We ask everyone to do their part by following appropriate activity etiquette. Check out this article to learn more on personal safety and caring for our resources from our friends at Visit Maine.
2. Food & Water
Second, make sure you have the essentials, like food and water. Pay attention to the weather, too. A sunny start to the day may end in rain or snow depending on the season. So, dress accordingly. A first aid kit is always a good idea. And if you’re traveling alone or with friends, leave your itinerary with a trusted associate in case of emergency. And don’t depend on cell service if you get lost. Bring a map or compass just in case. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and bug spray are also wise additions to your packing list. We have bug spray available in the reception office.
3. Hiking Tips
If you’re new to hiking, the most important thing to plan for is comfortable, supportive footwear. Sturdy hiking boots are essential for strenuous hikes up mountainsides and fording rivers or streams. And they are especially helpful in mud season when even easy to moderate trails can be slick. Sneakers and running shoes are enough when hiking in dry conditions on well-maintained routes. The key is knowing the terrain you’re likely to encounter. Guidebooks and trail maps are the best resources for knowing difficulty of the hike, elevation gain, and distance. Your own physical fitness level and the amount of time you have for the hike will determine the best trails for you to pursue. As for what to wear, layers are best. Winter weather means fleece and down jackets, gloves, and hats. It’s always smart to wear fabric that wicks away moisture close to skin. And tucking some rain gear into your backpack can help prevent buzzkill if the heavens open up. For more on hiking for beginners, check out this blog post.
4. Snowshoeing Safety
Fourth, a good pair of snowshoes that fit snugly to your boots means you’re off to a good start on your snowshoeing adventure. You won’t require much else in terms of equipment, which means that snowshoeing is one of the more economical sports to pursue in winter. A pair of good adjustable hiking poles with snow baskets adds another element of safety. So ski poles work well for this. The key to comfort when snowshoeing is warm, comfortable, waterproof boots.
Also, be sure to dress in layers for this activity, keeping your first layer to a wicking fabric close to your skin. Avoid cotton if you can. If you’re new to the sport, consider signing up for a beginners’ hike with a guide who can teach you the basic snowshoeing techniques. A great starter route is located in nearby Oxford at the Oxbow Beer Garden. You can even rent gear there. Once you’ve mastered those, you can set off on your own with confidence. Check out this blog for more tips on snowshoeing.
5. Cross-Country Skiing Safely
Once again, the right gear ensures a safe experience when it comes to cross-country skiing. Here’s where taking a lesson or two will serve you well. The proper length of your skis is determined by your height, as are comfortable ski poles. And as with snowshoeing, the right footwear is key. Flexible bindings that secure your boots to the skis should be your number one concern. And knowing how those bindings work will give you the confidence you need for a safe and fun outdoor adventure. Check out this beginners guide to cross-country skiing for more tips. As with the snowshoeing, the trails at the Oxbow Beer Garden are a great place to start and get your gear.
6. Canoe and Kayak Safety
Slipping into the cockpit of a canoe or kayak and gliding effortlessly across a lake or pond is one of the most magical ways to enjoy the outdoors. Again, if you’re new to the sport, signing up for a tour or a class will prepare you for a lifetime of safe boating. The essentials for safety include a coast guard approved personal flotation device (PFD), and an appropriately sized paddle. Kayaks, canoes, PFDs and appropriate paddles are available, complimentary, for guests of the Wolf Cove Inn. Please note the difference between a canoe paddle and a kayak paddle. A canoe paddle has a blade on one end, whereas a kayak paddle has blades on both ends.
7. Staying Safe on the Water
Being out on the water on a sunny day means sunglasses and sun protection, for sure, plus plenty of water to stay hydrated. So, stowing your gear in a dry bag, including a change of clothes if necessary, will give you peace of mind for items you would prefer not get wet. Pack a picnic or have a selection of snacks onboard when hunger strikes. Plus, have towels handy in case you stop for a swim. Beach towels are available in our dining room. We ask that you not use your room towels for this. Check out this guide to getting started kayaking.
By practicing a few basic safety rules, you can enjoy Maine safely in all seasons. As seasoned innkeepers in the western Maine lakes region, we can point you in the right direction to enjoy all that our Maine Vacationland offers.
In fact, check out our previous posts for more ideas on seasonal fun here in Maine.
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