Five years ago, I took my camera into the woods of Clifton to shoot footage of the hiking trails on Eagle Bluff. I then pieced together that footage and made a 1-minute-long video. It was not good. But my editors saw potential where I saw cringeworthy footage, and so began the “1-minute hike” series.
The “1-minute hike” project has come a long way since then. Hosted on my BDN blog, “Act Out With Aislinn,” and appearing in print in the Bangor Daily News Outdoors section (now each Friday), the series has led me to explore more than 250 trails throughout Maine, then sharing those outdoor experiences with readers through written descriptions, videos and lots of photographs.
The following video is to say “thank you” to all of the people who have supported the series over the past five years. It would not have lasted this long without your encouraging words and advice. (Beware: This video starts out sort of serious — as serious as I can get — and ends with a little surprise.)
My adventures have led me up mountains all along the Appalachian Trail, to many Maine State Parks, as well as Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park, to wildlife refuges and preserves, and to community trails and multi-use paths. I’ve hiked Katahdin and Cadillac, two of Maine’s most famous mountains, multiple ways.
I’ve also hiked Third and Fourth mountains, Big Moose and Little Moose, Roundtop and Doubletop, Kineo and Little Kineo, Big Spencer and Little Spencer, Tunk and Young Tunk, and South Bubble and North Bubble — just to name a few.
In the past five years, I’ve hiked mountains named Hedgehog, Elephant and The Owl, as well as Beech, Birch and Spruce. I’ve hiked three different Bald mountains, as well as a Bald Rock, Bald Bluff and Moxie Bald.
Then there was that weekend that I solo hiked and camped in the Bigelow Range. But I had my camera with me, and when I talked to it, I had an odd feeling like I wasn’t really alone — in a way, all of you were right there with me.
There were the mountains Will, Phillip, Abraham, Waldo, Sawyer and John B … Pemetic, Dorr, Sargent, Penobscot and Kebo. And for many of those mountains, I was lucky enough to be kept company by devoted “hiking buddies” Derek and Oreo.
Yet only about half of the hikes I’ve done involve mountains. My “1-minute hikes” have also included coastal trails, nature paths, park trail networks and bog boardwalks. I’ve tried to switch it up, exploring everything from wheelchair accessible paths to some of the most difficult alpine trails in Maine.
Along the way, my love and appreciation for nature has grown exponentially, and along with it, so has my curiosity and knowledge. I became an amateur birder and a photographer of mushrooms and insects. And I started sharing some of that enthusiasm for nature with friends and family, including my little niece, Willa.
You’ve watched me hike, but you’ve also watched me grow.
I was filming a “1-minute hike” when my “hiking buddy” Derek proposed to me atop Mount Katahdin. So when we were married a year later, in the shadow of that same iconic mountain, I shared a bit of that happy day with you. It only seemed right.
To date, my blog has almost reached 2 million views, my Facebook page has just exceeded 1,500 likes, and my Twitter is beating out Facebook. And this past October, to my delight, I was awarded First Place Features/Lifestyle Blogger by the Maine Press Association at the 2016 Better Newspaper Contest.
It has been a trip.
Along the way, readers and viewers have suggested hikes, and that’s been most helpful, directing me to outdoor destinations that I may have never found otherwise.
However — what has been crucial to the long life of this series has been all the support I’ve received from readers and viewers. Maybe this is your first time on my blog, or maybe you’ve been following my adventures for years. Either way, I’d like to say THANK YOU.
Thank you for the emails, the advice, the comments and the “likes.” Thank you for simply watching or reading or viewing my photos. Thank you for attending my presentations and sending me mail. Thank you for baking me an apple pie. (Yes, someone did that, and I ate all of it — with Oreo and Derek.)
It is due to your support that I’ve been able to continue doing what I do. And now, as “1-minute hike” turns 5 years old, I’m working with Down East Books to publish my first guidebook on family-friendly hikes, and a second guidebook is in the works!
As for the “1-minute hike” series, it will continue. While nothing lasts forever, there are no plans right now for any sort of grand finale. I certainly haven’t run out of trails to explore in Maine.