Tag Archives: hiking

Maine virtual racer’s road to recovery from COVID-19

Kathy Dixon-Wallace starts work at 6:30 am to teach middle school science in Milo and likes to run half marathons and hike long distances during the summers.

Kathy Dixon-Wallace on Mt. Katahdin

Kathy Dixon-Wallace on Mount Katahdin in Maine after a hike in 2018, part of her 1,071-day virtual race streak. (Photo provided by Kathy Dixon-Wallace)

A participant since 2017 in the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race, she logged over 1,000 straight days of exercise, averaging more than 5 miles a day, almost always running.

She said she liked to think she was unstoppable – until she was struck by COVID-19 last month.

“COVID kind of knocked me on my butt,” Dixon-Wallace, a teacher for 14 years at the Penquis Valley Middle School in Milo, said in a phone interview. “It is scary and it is an unknown.”

Known by her Acadia to Katahdin virtual race name of @KDW, Dixon-Wallace has helped raise funds for Friends of Acadia, Millinocket Memorial Library, and other charities through her participation in the virtual race, and has run the real-life Mount Desert Island Half Marathon once, and the real-life Millinocket Half Marathon three times.

But perhaps the toughest challenge of all has been her recovery from COVID-19. Continue reading

Photographer’s ‘Enchanted Forest’ to grace Acadia park pass

acadia annual pass

“Enchanted Forest,” by John Kaznecki, will grace the 2017 Acadia park pass. One of more than 200 entries, this winning photo is of Hadlock Brook, downstream from Hemlock Bridge. (Photo by John Kaznecki)

It was foggy, drizzly and raw in early December, not the best weather for being outside. But to John Kaznecki, it turned out to be a near-perfect day for a photo of Acadia National Park.

A self-taught photographer, Kaznecki said he attempts to capture with his lens what others might miss in Acadia. And now that rainy-day photo will be on the 2017 Acadia park pass.

On his hike along a carriage road, Kaznecki came upon Hadlock Brook just downstream from the archway of the Hemlock Bridge. The waters were running through the arch and the fog helped create a sacred scene for a photo of Acadia National Park he named “Enchanted Forest,” he said.

“Everything seemed just right,” he said.

john kaznecki

John Kaznecki at Otter Cove in Acadia National Park. (Photo courtesy of John Kaznecki)

The photo he snapped won the 2017 Acadia park pass contest and will be featured on next year’s visitor’s pass to be purchased by thousands of visitors from all over the country. The park received more than 200 entries from 20 states for the Acadia park pass contest.

Like most good photos, his shot evokes a certain emotion with the rushing water and mystical fog. He said this photo of Acadia National Park was meant to be taken and makes people feel as if something may be on the other side of the bridge.

“You can see through the archway,” he said.  “When you look at the photo, you wonder what is through the archway. What is farther out there?” Continue reading

To be footloose and fancy-free, car-free and carefree in Acadia

Imagine being able to walk or run the Park Loop Road of Acadia National Park, or bike the Cadillac Mountain Road, and take in the magnificent scenery without worrying about watching out for cars.

cadillac mountain road

Cars ride off into the sunset on Cadillac Mountain Road. They won’t be allowed on the road on a couple of car-free Saturday mornings, in an Acadia National Park experiment to encourage bikers, hikers and others enjoying non-motorized activities.

Visitors can do just that on the mornings of Saturday, May 16, and Sept. 26, up until noon, in an experiment by the park service to encourage more people to experience Acadia on foot, bikes, roller blades or skateboards, as well as to help inform development of a transportation plan to ease park congestion.

Another added enticement: No park entrance fee will be charged the morning of May 16, and the whole day of Sept. 26, National Public Lands Day, will be free.

While the concept of experiencing Acadia car-free seems foreign in today’s car-dominated society, in the days of old, rusticators – or summer residents, tourists and artists – would think nothing of walking 5, 10 or 15 miles in a day, from village to mountains to shore and back.

In fact, many of Acadia’s footpaths were built in the late 1800s, early 1900s, with connector trails linking to the villages of Bar Harbor, Seal Harbor and Northeast Harbor. Experiencing Mount Desert Island on foot was such a part of the lifestyle then, that some summer residents actually opposed construction of the Park Loop Road for automobiles. John D. Rockefeller Jr. helped fund construction of the Park Loop Road to keep automobiles off the carriage roads, which he’d built for horse and carriage use.

Island Explorer bus in Acadia National Park

While the Island Explorer bus is fare-free, be sure to get an Acadia National Park visitor pass to help support that and other park services. (NPS photo)

With the Acadia Centennial in 2016, perhaps these new car-free mornings, along with the fare-free Island Explorer bus, refurbished village connector trails and other initiatives, can be viewed as part of a larger plan to reconnect visitors and area residents to a simpler, less traffic-congested time, and more directly with nature and the beauty of Mount Desert Island.

In that spirit, here’s a roundup of some of the many ways to experience Acadia car-free, whether in getting to Acadia via public transportation, going by foot from village to shore, or creating unique trips using the Island Explorer bus, among other options. You don’t need to rely on a special car-free Saturday during the shoulder season to harken back to less hectic times. Continue reading

Acadia National Park boosted by trail workers

Acadia National Park is benefiting from the most trail workers this summer than at any time in the past 80 years at the Maine park.

Largely because of a federal grant, the park has hired 51 people to work on the trails, including 35 federal workers and 16 from the Youth Conservation Corps, according to Acadia Trails Foreman Gary Stellpflug, who did all the hiring.

Memorial path on Gorge Path in Acadia National Park

Gary Stellpflug, trails foreman at Acadia National Park, has refurbished this memorial plaque on Gorge Path for Lilian Endicott Francklyn. Separately, a federal grant will also help finance improvements to stone steps on the path.

Stellpflug said it’s the largest crew since the Civilian Conservation Corps established two camps on Mount Desert Island in 1933 as part of the New Deal during the Great Depression. Continue reading

Lady’s slippers are blooming pink and white again in Acadia National Park

It is a little later than usual this year, but lady’s slippers are back in bloom at Acadia National Park.

Lady's slippers in Acadia National Park

Lady’s slippers are showing their pink and white colors in June in Acadia National Park.

Our friend Maureen took the above photo of the orchids on Monday during a hike in the park. The photo shows a large colony of pink and white lady’s slippers growing in the shade of a boulder and pine in a hidden spot in Acadia. Continue reading