Into Northern New England
The Northeastern United States sometimes gets a bad rap among the outdoors crowd, seen as nothing more than a cluster of small states filled with big cities and a dearth of wild nature. However, we found nothing could be further from the truth in the northern New England states of New Hampshire and Maine.
Take White Mountain National Forest. Covering 1,225 square miles of central New Hampshire, it features the Northeast’s tallest peaks (Mt. Washington rises to 6,288 feet), mile upon mile of uninterrupted forest, and abundant wildlife, including the iconic black bear. All this wilderness doesn’t preclude easy visitor access, though, and there are a number of ways to enjoy the forest. You could visit for months and still hike only a fraction of the area’s 1,200 miles of trails, including a 100-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Twenty-three scenic campgrounds make for great places to pitch a tent, and activities such as fishing and swimming are on offer in ponds and rivers. In the winter months, White Mountain National Forest is home to some of the Northeast’s best alpine and Nordic skiing, rounding it out as a true year-round destination.
Due east from the White Mountains you’ll find the Downeast coast of Maine, centered on one of the East’s oldest protected areas: Acadia National Park. Situated primarily on Mount Desert Island (pronounced “Mount Dessert”), the park comprises smooth, bald mountain peaks, miles of carriage roads that pass by some of the island’s historic homes and buildings (John D. Rockefeller, Jr. held extensive property here), sandy beaches, and dense pine forests, as well as several outlying islands and marine habitat. Wake for an early morning climb up Cadillac Mountain to take in the country’s first sunrise, and as you walk the rugged, rocky coast, you’ll question where those stereotypes of the hustle and bustle of the Northeast ever came from.
–Filmmaker and Outdoor Enthusiast Sean Michael Williams