150 hikes later, ‘1-minute hike’ series turns 3 years old

In the past three years, I’ve explored more than 150 hikes throughout Maine for my “1-minute hike” series. Cadillac Mountain, Mount Blue, Precipice and Katahdin. Monhegan Island, Mount Kineo, Tumbledown Mountain and Cutler Coast. Once a week, I stepped out of the office for an outdoor adventure.

With a camera and notebook in hand, I documented each experience to share it with you. Sometimes a hiking companion joined me, often my beau Derek and our energetic black-and-white dog, Oreo. Sometimes I hiked solo, setting up my camera on boulders and stumps to film myself.

Me on Katahdin, Sept. 2014, Cathedral Trail.

Me on Katahdin, Sept. 2014, Cathedral Trail.

From the beginning, people have asked: “What are you going to go when you run out of hikes?”

“I don’t know,” I reply. “I haven’t even come close.”

In fact, there are parts of state that I’ve outright neglected. Maine is a big place.

To get ideas of where to explore next, I leaf through guidebooks and surf the web. Then there’s the list of suggestions that readers have sent me through email.

The other question I get on a regular basis: “Why is it called ‘1-minute hike’?”

No, the trails don’t take a minute to actually hike. And unless you’re a speed reader, the column should take you more than a minute to read. The reason it’s called “1-minute” hike is because, initially, the videos I produced were about one minute long. But over the past three years, those videos have become longer, and longer, and longer. Now they’re about four minutes long. It depends on the hike. So the title doesn’t make sense anymore, but people recognize it, so it remains, even though it bugs people. Heck, it bugs me, too.

So to celebrate three years of hiking adventures, it seems only appropriate to look back at some of the highlights. Remember the time…

Photo by Derek Runnells Aislinn Sarnacki, dressed as a Ninja Turtle for Halloween, searches for blue blazes that mark the trail on Hogback Mountain in Montville on Oct. 26, 2012.

Photo by Derek Runnells

… Derek and I dressed as Ninja Turtles on Halloween and got lost on Hogback Mountain?

… Mosquitos attacked Derek, Oreo and I while we were eating dinner on a cobblestone beach on the Bold Coast? We had to retreat into our tent for the night.

… We waded through a sea of stinging nettle? The plant was covered in tiny nettles filled with chemicals that made us itch like crazy, though only I broke out into an unsightly rash.

… I went on my first solo backpacking trip into the Bigelow Range? I tented out alone between the mountain’s Avery and West peaks. The sun turned blood red as it set over the western Maine mountains.

numberfour032713… I couldn’t find the trailhead to Number Four mountain near Greenville and snowshoed on unplowed roads, alone, for miles as snowmobiles zoomed by? I eventually found the trailhead, a week later, and snowshoed to the fire tower on its peak.

… We visited an ice cave on my birthday? It was in the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area, not far from Baxter State Park, and the cave was filled with sparkling ice in May.

gorhammtn… We brought Oreo on his first hike? We started on the easy Ocean Path, then clambered up Gorham Mountain in Acadia National Park. Oreo wasn’t sure how to navigate the rocks at first, but he gained confidence quickly.

… I led a group of family and friends across Knife Edge, the narrow mile-long ridge between Baxter and Pamola peaks of Katahdin?

… Oreo and I looked for a headless ghost on the haunted Silver Lake Trails in Bucksport? We didn’t find her, to our relief.

Oreo and I playing in Triplet Park.

Oreo and I playing in Triplet Park.

It’s been a trip. And since I haven’t run out of trails yet, I’ll keep on trekking, and, from time to time, I’ll throw in a paddle, a bike or a ski. Send me your suggestions at asarnacki@bangordailynews.com, and if you happen to see Oreo and me on the trails, stop and say hello.


Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.