Ways to play in inland Maine

IMG_3520_3If you think Maine is all about the coast, you need to venture inland and discover the lakes, rivers, woods, and peaks that define the region between Bethel and Millinocket. Not only does this region rival the coast for natural beauty, it’s also wildlife rich. You won’t see a puffin, but you’re chances of spotting a moose are high.

Making that easy is the new Maine Woods Discovery program, a collaborative venture by Alpine resorts Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Saddleback Maine; the rustic lodges and nature-based programs of the Appalachian Mountain Club and Maine Huts & Trails; and rafting and recreation outfitters Northern Outdoors, and New England Outdoor Center.

These entities have put together seven one- to three-day packages, each combining accommodations with activities and some meals, with rates beginning at $75 per person.  Packages include geo-caching, hiking, biking, paddling, rock-hounding, and craft-making. Read on for details.

Intro to Geocaching Adventure, 2 days/2 nights
Logdominium accommodations at Northern Outdoors Forks Resort Center on the Kennebec River. Learn the outdoor treasure hut adventure of geocaching with a GPS device. Search for hidden caches on the Northern Outdoors grounds, and do more hunting along the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway. Complementary Old Canada Road historical audio CD. $108 per adult, $95 per child.

Outdoor Sporting Heritage, 3 days/3 nights

Stay at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Little Lyford Lodge and Camps or Medawisla Wilderness Lodge within the 100 Mile Wilderness area of the Appalachian Trail. Complementary use of canoes, kayaks and fly fishing gear. Hike to Gulf Hagas gorge on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. Includes all meals and tickets for the Katahdin Steamship tour on Moosehead Lake. $318 per person.

Legendary Fly Fishing, 2 days/2 nights
Accommodations at a Saddleback Maine mountain-side condominium. Three-hour fly fishing lesson and use of a canoe to cast a line on the Rangeley region’s famous waterways. One complementary lunch, a Northern Forest Canoe Trailmap of the Rangeley Lakes area, and a copy of “Paddling Through Time: The Story of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail” included. $530 per couple.

The Valley Below, 3 days/2nights
Accommodations at the Maine Huts & Trails Flagstaff Lake Hut. Pontoon boat tour on the lake to learn about the submerged townships of Flagstaff, Bigelow and Dead River. Explore the lakeside loop trails, or tackle the 4,000-foot peaks of the Bigelow Mountain Range. Includes all meals, the Valley Below brochure, a Northern Forest Canoe Trail map of Flagstaff Lake, and a copy of “Paddling Through Time: The Story of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.” $265 per person.

Maine Rocks!, 1 day/1 night
Accommodations at Sunday River’s Grand Summit or Jordan Grand Hotel in Newry. Guided geology tour, talk and digging opportunity at the Bumpus Mine, one of the oldest and most famous mineral mines in the northeast. Includes breakfast. Extend the package with an Androscoggin River trip or ATV tour. $75 per person.

View From the Top, 1 day/1 night
Make the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel your base for hiking or mountain biking. Complementary hiking and nature trail maps for the Longfellow Mountain Range. Guided hikes can be arranged. Breakfast and box lunch included. $75 per person.

Making it By Hand, 3 days/2 nights

The New England Outdoor Center’s Twin Pine Camps in Millinocket is the setting for a series of fall Craft Weekends. Sessions on making art from wood, sculpting with clay, and quarrying and polishing gemstones include instructive lectures, guided trips to learn about and gather raw materials, and hands on crafting. Includes all breakfasts, one lunch, one dinner and use of canoes. $232.50 per person.

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