Active Outdoors: Don’t let summer slip away

  • All of the AMC Maine Lodges maintain a fleet of kayaks, canoes and stand up paddle boards for guests to use, so you don’t have to haul your own along. BELOW: AMC’s Gorman Chairback Camp gives you a chance to enjoy lakeside living. We are hoping for a screened porch and a lake view at the newly renovated Medawisla Lodge near Kokadjo, Maine. TIM JONES photos / Courtesy

  • TIM JONES / Courtesy

For the Monitor
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Okay, I’ll confess. As anyone who has read this column more than once will already know, I’m clearly out of step with the general population. As much as I love being outdoors, I find it hard to get motivated to do much on these long, warm summer days. Summer lethargy is very real for me.

Oh, I’ll get out for a short swim almost every warm evening. I’ll sometimes take an early-morning bike ride, occasionally do a hike or an overnight camp out or take a kayak to a lake, river or the ocean. But I don’t really wake up and plan any all-day, hardcore outdoor adventures until mid-August, when the weather starts to cool and the humidity levels drop.

My sweetheart Marilyn is even worse than I am. Her idea of a perfect summer day is to hit her gardens or the gym early, then spend the rest of the day inside with a book and air conditioning. So I have to entice her to come outdoors with me.

We have two getaways planned for this summer that seem like they’ll work for both of us. Neither has AC, but that should be okay because both are near cool water. (Fingers crossed for no record heat.)

The first is a quick two-night getaway to the newly-reopened AMC Medawisla Lodge, which is near Kokadjo, Maine, north of Greenville. Saying it’s “near Kokadjo” really means it’s not near anything except beautiful Second Roach Pond (home to loons, ducks, occasional ospreys and eagles, and some nice brook trout), and miles and miles of protected Maine woods for hiking, mountain biking and exploring.

We are big fans of the AMC’s Maine Lodges, having stayed both winter and summer at Little Lyford and Gorman Chairback, both of which have been completely renovated. Medawisla has been getting the same treatment over the past few years and is just reopening. We’ve been waiting to see it and made our reservation as soon as the opening was announced.

I know that Marilyn is looking forward to doing a little kayaking with me while we are there. You don’t even need to bring your own kayak – they have plenty there, along with canoes and SUPs for guests to use – but we will bring our own paddles.

She’s also looking forward to reading in the shade on the screened porch, which is likely to have a lake view. I’m bringing my solo mountain bike and hope to ride some of the local roads with an eye toward doing some more riding with Marilyn on our tandem bike when the weather is cooler. I’ll also have my hiking boots and some fishing tackle, just in case.

My inclination may be to do nothing on these long summer days, but that’s an inclination I try very hard to resist. A place like Medawisla helps keep me motivated. Life isn’t a spectator sport. Get out and enjoy!

Oh Canada!

Our second, longer summer getaway will happen in early August when we are driving out to Parry Sound on Lake Huron in Ontario (north of Toronto) to spend a couple of days kayaking with our new friends, Ralph and Cynthia, at their lakeside camp. This is new territory for us, but we are told the water is as clear as the Caribbean and the kayaking opportunities are endless.

It’s a l-o-n-g drive (13 hours) so we are planning to break it with stops going and coming in the Outaouais Region of Quebec west of Montreal.

This region of Quebec has the Ottawa River, lots of beautiful lakes, the incredible Chateau Montebello, which I believe is one of the largest log structure in the world, and the 100,000-acre Nature Reserve at Kenauk. We’ve hiked, biked, kayaked and explored in this area before and can’t wait to visit again.

Insect shield

If you’ve been out much this spring, you know that all the wet weather we’ve had has created a super-abundance of mosquitoes. Ticks, too, have been bad and are forecast to get even worse. Yuck.

While DEET-based insect repellents work well against both mosquitoes and ticks, clothing should really be your first line of defense. The best clothing I’ve found for keeping bugs away is treated with Permethrin an insecticide derived from chrysanthemums. The brand I’ve used is called Insect Shield. They partner with more than 75 brands to offer clothing treated with Permethrin.

Even better, they will treat your own favorite clothing for you. Just send it in and they send it back bug proof. It’s cheap insurance: I have some Insect Shield clothing that’s nearly a decade old and still works like new.

My buddy David and I just did a fishing trip to a bug-infested paradise in northern New England. We saw literally thousands of mosquitoes, blackflies, horseflies and even a few ticks. We both wore Insect Shield treated socks, pants, shirts and hats, used very little DEET (only on wrists and neck) and came home with a grand total of one mosquito bite between the two of us. If it wasn’t for the treated clothing, we’d have been constantly applying and reapplying DEET.

The stuff just plain works. I won’t go afield without it in spring or summer.

(Tim Jones is the executive editor of the online magazine EasternSlopes.com and writes about outdoor sports and travel. He can be contacted at timjones@easternslopes.com.)