Things to do for fun in Maine, play in the snow.
In this blog post series, this Maine native will down play snow because too many in the audience have the wrong idea. They have the image in their head that the thermometers in Maine all sink to below the red fluid day and night during winter. Maine also has three other seasons beside the one at the tail end of the calendar.
Winter is one of my favorite but all four when you live in Maine get high marks, thumbs up. Because you live in Maine, not only get a tease of a long weekend or one stretch of seven days to soak it up. To unplug, recharge. To see, hear, taste, feel and sample all Maine has to offer.
Don’t let a little snow in the forecast set you off or turn you back to making the trek to Vacatonland.
Or you lose out on so much in the state where you can log eight hours from end to end. That is so vast and varied that the season you visit only adds to the take away experience that you will not forget.
So things to do in Maine, what if it is winter when you have a little time to tap into the Pine Tree State channel of life?
Lots to do in Maine in the winter. Pull up a chair in front of a crackling fireplace to absorb the positive ions, to warm your bones. After a day of snow shoeing, cross country or down hill skiing, ice fishing, playing pond hockey. Or snow sledding, my favorite way to get where cars and trucks don’t access. Where all the wildlife life, where the natural resources are crystal clean and clear. Breath in the crisp fresh air. Swivel the head slowly to take in the eye candy that surrounds you where the terrain of farm fields, pasture land, deep woods and lots of waterfront scenery awaits.
This coming weekend, at the Augusta Civic Center the 2017 Maine Snowmobile Show kicks off for the 21st time. The display of new snow machines to ride and groom the ITS trails will be part of what is on hand to jump start your appetite for winter snow flakes.
All the gear that goes into snow sledding from helmets to clothing. Where to lodge after riding the trails. What to haul the machine to and fro to try out new areas of the state of Maine snow sled trails. And maybe to start the tradition of a trip that starts in Maine but continues on to Canada. We are parked right next to our Canadian cousins remember? Come play in the snow and see Maine from a different angle.
The Maine sled trade show always has a collection of vintage snow machines too.
Sno jets, Skiroule, Ski Whiz, Ski Horse, Motorski early snow sleds. Lots of tinkering. When what you worked on for two hours to ride for one had bogie wheels and not slides. Not much for suspension. Speeds were way way less warp drive. Back when fifty flavors of what you snowmobiled more around your own property because the trails were fewer in number to leave it. Smaller horsepower, fuel mixed with oil and gas, with an HD, HR carbureators and not fuel injection.
No thumb warmers, no radiation under your feet, and no carbide ski runners, no studded tracks on the early snow sleds, snowmobiles. And you stood up, kneeled on one knee and leaned into corners. More work and slower speeds as you snow sledded around the countryside. To go out to eat, or go “up ta” camp. To pull the kids around the back field on ropes hooked to snow skis or flying saucers, toboggans. To travel back and forth to the one solid layer of ice topping a Maine lake. To play cards, shoot the breeze, sample ice shack food while other winter fishermen came and went. Stopping by the ice shack shanty to say hello. Ask how are they biting on the five holes drilled in the ice in the peaceful setting on a Maine lake with snow covered hills in the background.
The early snow sleds were tipsy, skinny and did not have a wide ski stance so you could just sit and drive. You had to work harder, throw the machine around the drifts and know that soft snow meant sinking. Getting stuck and all the work to heave ho your way out of the light fluffy new snow with no bottom to it. The heavier machines meant don’t leave a hard packed trail. Getting unstuck meant go around to the front and pack down what is making your snow plow and causing all the resistance as you dry to go up the smallest of hills in the white power snow deposited over night.
The snow sled trails in Maine are less harmful or disruptive like ATV trails can be.
The blanket of snow is your insulation from Mother Earth and makes the wall to wall wilderness rug for a playing surface. Always squeeze that handlebar throttle carefully and avoid spinning holes in the ITS trails. Leave the left handed cigarettes, the barley pop, firewater and grape juice for trail side putting your feet up by the roaring fire. After you remove the moon boots, the full coverage helmet and leather batman suit. And step away from your ice rocket. Turning your attention to trail tales and what are we eating for supper. And which new routes are we going to explore tomorrow while on vacation in Maine this winter.
Get involved in a major tourism contributor during a slower economic time of the year for Maine towns, the handful of cities. At the Maine Snowmobile Show this weekend, lots of workshops on trail maintenance, discussions on the capital equipment grant process. It is not just snow sled dealers peddling their wares. Trailmasters, project directors, groomer operators, and snow sled club members who are involved with maintenance and building of trails are welcome and encouraged to attend.
More on the Maine Snowmobile Show, the winter sport that has over 14,000 miles of trails to help open up the state. This is the time of year when trail markets for safety and navigation are put into play on all the land owners of Maine who allow access across their property. Snow sledding trail use in Maine, it is gift, not a right. Respect the land, the surroundings called Maine. Tread lightly and carry in, carry out to be a responsible Maine snow sled operator for the next generator to model and pass on to future snowmobilers.
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