Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Thoreau’s “The Maine Woods”

As an outdoor writer based in New England, I’ve spent a good deal of time following in Henry David Thoreau’s footsteps, from climbing Monadnock and Katahdin to walking the shoreline of the upper Cape to swimming in Walden Pond. In 1864, the great naturalist and philosopher published his book “The Maine Woods” that chronicles his exploration of the remote Maine waterways. In October 2009, I had the good fortune to paddle down the West Branch of the Penobscot River following his route. Our guide was Kevin Slater, a legendary Maine paddler who learned these rivers and the skill to carve his own canoes and paddles from his mentor who he simply called, “the Old Timer.” We spent four glorious days on the water, with few other paddlers, spotting moose, bear, loons, and osprey. In the backdrop was mighty Katahdin, the end point of the Appalachian Trail. The story appeared in an issue of Sierra Magazine, the publication of the Sierra Club. If you want to paddle with Slater on the Penobscot, contact him at Mahoosuc Guide Service