At Home in the Wild
|The wilderness never looked so good: AMC's Little Lyford Pond Camps (image courtesy, AMC)|
The 100-Mile Wilderness... A name both descriptively literal and utterly evocative. A gorgeous, expansive swath of forestland stretching from the town of Monson, Maine, to Mount Katahdin, embroidered with rivers and mountain peaks, massive lakes and wetlands, moose and loons, and very few people. No skyscrapers or billboards, no fast-food joints or roadside motels—not even paved-road access. The only way to reach it is by foot via the mad scribble of hiking trails throughout the region, or via one of the country's most celebrated routes, the Appalachian Trail (AT).
"It's as remote as you can get in the eastern United States," describes Toby Gohn, a through-hiker who stomped thru the 100-Mile Wilderness while hiking the 2,174-mile AT in '03. "It's the only time I can remember looking out from the top of a mountain in the eastern U.S. and not seeing any trace of mankind. It was just a sea of rolling green hills in every direction."
For grizzled hikers like Toby, the 100-Mile Wilderness is paradise—unfettered, remote, and inviting. But for those who don't get excited by the idea of humping a 40-pound pack into the great unknown, this stretch of woodlands in central Maine may intimidate more than inspire. Luckily, there's a middle ground: Little Lyford Pond Sports Camps.
Open since 1874, this traditional sports camp framed by the twin peaks of White Cape and Baker mountains, was purchased by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) in June of 2003, an organization with a 127-year history of nature conservation and outdoor recreation. This century-old dedication is well reflected at Little Lyford Pond Camps, which is composed of seven rustic cabins that sleep up to six people, a bunkhouse that sleeps 12, and a wilderness lodge with a kitchen, dining area, activities center, and library. The property also boasts Moose Point Cabin, a self-service wood structure that sleeps six, located nine miles away from the main campgrounds on the scenic shores of Long Pond. Regardless of where you bed down, you'll always have easy access to the surrounding backcountry, whose activities are limited only by your imagination. Ply lake waters with a canoe, try to reel in the night's dinner with one of the camp's fly-fishing instructors, hike the day away under an arboreal explosion of color, find your own private swimming hole or dive into Lyford Pond, bask in the shining mid-July sun, traipse across the snow-swept AT in a pair of snowshoes or on a pair of cross-country skis… suddenly the seemingly inaccessible 100-Mile Wilderness is just a few strides away.
Access and Resources
AMC's Little Lyford Pond Camps sits about 15 miles east of Greenville, Maine, and operates at full service from May 10 through October, and from December 15 to March (closed April to mid-May, and November to mid-December). Rates vary according to season, ranging from $92 to $120 for one of the on-site cabins, $67 to $92 for the bunkhouse, and $92 to $120 for the Moose Point Cabin. On-site costs include breakfast, a trail lunch, and dinner, and a two-night stay is required.
Camp guides will happily suggest the best hiking trails, arrange canoe rentals, and offer fly-fishing guiding and instruction upon request. Moosehead Lake and the historic Katahdin Iron Works site are also nearby, and a new series of summer family camp sessions began in 2005.
AMC also has a series of huts stretched along the New Hampshire section of the AT. CLICK HERE for additional information.
For more, including specific rates and availability, contact AMC at 603.466.2727 or online at: www.outdoors.org.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication