By Robert Drinkwater Contributing Writer
Mainely Outdoors offers a large variety of trips and activities throughout the year, as well as rental gear that can start any adventure: “we like to break down barriers, and we try to give them [students] the best experience possible,” said Joe Haggerty, a program supervisor at Mainely Outdoors,
There are many trips that Mainely Outdoors will be hosting throughout this semester. “We have cross country skiing, usually every Saturday,” said Haggerty. In addition, the program also currently offers trips that focus on snowshoeing, ice skating and snow tubing. These events will occur until late March, or early April. “We also have the full moon excursions.” said Haggerty, “[during which] we like to hike a mountain when there is a full moon.” He also mentioned a possible trip to the anti gravity center, or a trampoline place in March.
The program offers different trips and activities during each season. For instance, in the fall Mainely Outdoors offers trips for mountain biking, hiking and water sports such as white water rafting. During the winter, it offers cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. In the spring, it offers paddleboarding, overnight camping events and occasionally horseback riding. “We also play disc golf,” said Haggerty, “and rock climbing can be done at any time of the year, because it’s indoors.” he continued.
Haggerty offered some examples of a few trips that he has been on with Mainely Outdoors, including an excursion to Acadia National Park. Haggerty also mentioned that the program is offers a series of trips the help broaden a participants skill set. The event series include trips that focus on cross country skiing, snowshoeing and mountain biking. “I’ve been co-leading the mountain biking series,” said Haggerty, “that’s probably my favorite series.”
Sylvie Fenderson, a Mainely Outdoors employee, said that her favorite excursion was a service trip to the Maine Huts and Trails at Flagstaff Lake. “We got to spend some time in the hut and helped them stack wood, and on the way back we got a workout trudging through the snow,” said Fenderson, “the views were absolutely breathtaking.” Fenderson added, “I personally don’t think enough people take advantage of this program, we are doing awesome trips, all the time.”
When it comes to students experiences with Mainely Outdoors, Haggerty said, “a lot of people say being out in nature is attractive to them, and it allows them to get away from the stress of homework.” Haggerty mentioned how these excursions a great way to meet new people – especially for freshmen, transfer or international students.
Flor Villarreal, a Spanish TA from Argentina, has been on a number of trips with Mainely Outdoors. Her experience with the program began by learning how to rock climb. “That was the first time I participated in Mainely Outdoors trips.” said Villarreal, “it was amazing!”
When describing her initial experience, Villarreal said, “Honestly, I was afraid, but the leaders of the trips were so nice, and the atmosphere in the group was so good.” This experience encouraged Villarreal to go on more of the trips that Mainely Outdoors offered, “I did something that I could never imagine: cross country skiing. I loved it!”
While the trips themselves invoke joy for participants, Villarreal stated that it was the people who work at Mainely Outdoors that made her experience even better, “they encourage you to take advantage of the beauty of Maine, and they make the trips really fun.”
Mainely Outdoors is located at 144 Quebec Street, Farmington, Maine. You can check out their upcoming trips on Mycampus under the UMF Events Calendar.