Outdoor Opportunities in Farmington

Outdoor Opportunities in Farmington

By Caitlin Raye Contributing Writer

There are many options for outdoor activities in Farmington, such as participating in Mainely Outdoors events, going on hikes and walks, or checking out the local downtown shops.

   Grace McNally, a Mainely Outdoors employee, said in an email interview, “All of our trips are organized, and ran by our hard working student crew members. We usually plan local excursions within an hour from campus, but sometimes they can be as far as two.”  

   Mainely Outdoors, is a program at UMF, which creates and plans events that allow for students, and occasionally the public, to enjoy outdoor activities and adventures. Mainely Outdoors offers a variety of Springtime activities such as tubing, hiking, biking, canoeing, and various clinics. Most of the trips put on by the group run during the weekends, with at least one trip planned each weekend.

   There are few or no prerequisites for going on the trips. “The only requirement is that you seek the opportunity to be in the outdoors and to recreate,” said McNally. “On each trip, at least one of our leading crew members knows the location well and likes to share a little knowledge of the local fauna, natural history, or just some general fun facts.”

   McNally said that most of the trips put on by Mainely Outdoors are free but sometimes, “the

Mainely Outdoors regularly explores the natural wonders of Maine. (Photo Courtesy of Mainely Outdoors)

re will be a small fee if the venue we are going to requires it. Often times we work with student life and get some, if not all of the charges covered.”

  For students or residents of the area looking for springtime activities, there are things to do within walking distance of town. “One activity I enjoy doing in the spring is taking my dogs to go swimming in the Sandy River or just walk around the river,” said Kelsey Brann, a sophomore at UMF. “The water is usually pretty high and cold but the scenery is pretty, especially when the flower buds are just starting to come through.”

   Prescott Field, a common recreational site in Farmington, is a great place to walk to see the landscape in the springtime. “On a nice day, the scenery around Prescott Field is pretty and is a great place to take a walk and let animals run free if the field is not super wet,” said Brann. “It is also a great place to just walk around without any pets because it is a quiet area.” Kim Day, a junior at UMF, agreed by saying, “On days when it’s sunny, it’s a nice place to hang out and get some fresh air.”

   For those seeking an outdoor adventure a little further from the UMF campus, the observatory is a great place to visit. “The observatory is about a ten minute drive from campus and is very pretty on clear night when you can watch the sun set behind the trees,” said Brann. The observatory sits on top of a large hill that looks over the beautiful mountains in the distance.

   Downtown Farmington is also a nice place to walk around with stores lining the streets, waiting for customers to come in and browse. “Once the weather warms up, even taking walks downtown is a great way to get outside and enjoy some fresh air,” said Day.   

   For more information on Mainely Outdoors, you can search for MainelyOutdoorsUMF on Facebook.  

Mainely Outdoors leads UMF students to the Coast

Mainely Outdoors leads UMF students to the Coast

By Emily Thibodeau Contributing Writer

Mainely Outdoors is offering two end of the semester trips to the coast. They recently traveled to Acadia National Park and will be traveling to Camden on May 5. The trip to Acadia is one of the most popular offered by Mainely Outdoors, as it is a scenic 7-mile loop around Acadia National Park with stops at some of the major public attractions.

   The majority of the trip is spent at Sand Beach enjoying the ocean view and exploring some nearby trails and cliffs. Another stop along the way is Thunder Hole.

Mainely Outdoors on their recent trip to Acadia National Park. (Photo by Grace McNally)

Joe Brichetto, the previous leader of the Acadia trip, described the beach as “ a cool tourist spot where they can stop for pictures and enjoy some ferocious natural beauty.”

   At the end of the loop, the group will travel up the access road to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Brichetto said that the summit of Cadillac “is where participants can enjoy the fantastic views of Mount Desert Island and explore the summit and the visitor center.”  

   Brichetto, who is from the Acadia area, said, “We like to take people who have never seen the park, and typically wouldn’t get the chance to during their UMF experience.” Anyone is welcomed on the trip as the level of activity is considered easy.

   Grace McNally, a Senior Community Health major and intern at Mainly Outdoors, said she is excited for the trip as they do not take groups to the ocean very often. “This trip fills up pretty fast as it’s known by the name,” said McNally.

   The upcoming trip to Camden still has plenty of spots open and students can sign up for the event until the day of, depending on availability. The plan is to start with a hike of Mt. Battie, followed by a visit downtown to eat lunch, and possibly shop. The downtown shops consist of local art, handmade products, and other unique creations.

   Alicia Gaiero, Second-year Environmental Policy Planning major, will be leading the Camden event with first-year Student Jenny Hancock. Since Gaiero grew up in the area, she said that she is looking forward to “bringing lots of people to the coast, some who haven’t been before.”

   This is Hancock’s second time attending and co-leading a Mainly Outdoors trip. Hancock said she is excited “to explore somewhere I haven’t been before, as well as seeing where Alicia grew up.”

   The trip is also open to a wide ra

Mainely Outdoors enjoyed the ocean view at Sand Beach. (Photo by Grace McNallyO

nge of abilities as there are multiple trails and levels to choose from depending on the group’s experience. Gaiero said this opportunity “embodies an inclusive atmosphere” and is “a great trip to relax and get out of town before finals as students get to see the harbor which is not an everyday view.”

   To learn more or sign up for Mainely Outdoor sponsored trips, check out the Mainely Outdoors Facebook Page.

An Escape To The Natural World: Mainely Outdoors Excursion to Acadia National Park

An Escape To The Natural World: Mainely Outdoors Excursion to Acadia National Park

By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer

Sofia Vanoli on the Mainely Outdoors adventure to Acadia National Park. (Photo by Patty Smith)

Sofia Vanoli on the Mainely Outdoors adventure to Acadia National Park. (Photo by Patty Smith)

A timid sun shone for the 20 UMF students who participated in the annual trip to Acadia National Park Sunday, April 23. Mainely Outdoors hosted this annual excursion for the fourth time, this year with the largest number of participants to date, including five international students and a foreign professor.

James Toner, Director of the Fitness & Recreation Center and leader of the trip, said that it is surprising that many people have never been to a National Park before. The Acadia trip is a special one as it provides an opportunity to visit our State’s National Park and all of its unique features,” Toner said. “It is particularly popular for international students.”

After a two and a half hour ride, the three school vans were filled with excitement and we were all ready to start the adventure. Some of us, who did not do any prior research on the park, thought we were surrounded by a big lake – or it might have only been me.

The Atlantic Ocean washed the coasts of Mount Desert Island, where most of the park is located. Brown sugar sand, dark green seaweeds and kelps, and courageous waves crashing on the beach were our first breathtaking scenery at Sand Beach. “What a creative name,” Patty Smith, senior and one of the three trip leaders, said ironically. Group pictures and funny poses took place with a still overcast sky.

After a short but fun hike on a rocky hill covered with white birches and green pines, we got a better view of the ocean which made me wonder how far home was.

Thunder Hole was our next stop. You could hear the sound of the waves smashing against the rocky coast and emitting a loud roar when booming into the cave of the Thunder Hole. Toner’s first rule is ‘safety is a priority,’ so he made sure that the group was careful when watching the waves crash forcefully. But nature made sure that our experienced trip leader got soaked by a bold wave that splashed next to him.

Driving to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the sun started to shine for us. Rays of light hitting the islands and an endless view were the protagonists of our photos. This was the best spot to finish our adventure.

Eva Schneider and Hannah Carlson enjoying the view. (Photo by Demi Dai)

Eva Schneider and Hannah Carlson enjoying the view. (Photo by Demi Dai)

Eva Schneider, French Language Teacher Assistant, took this opportunity to visit a National Park and to know more about Maine. “I was amazed by the view from Cadillac Mountain and I loved being at the top of the mountain,” Schneider said.

It’s no wonder why this is such a popular trip and fills up every time. Toner said, “A wide variety of programs were offered with a good response to nearly all of them.”

Some senior students joined the trip to take a break from their capstones and graduation responsibilities. “As a senior I wanted to make multiple trips and embrace the opportunity,” said international and global studies major, Sarah Gould. “I’m glad I came with my friends and enjoyed the fresh air and the sun instead of being locked up in a room.”

The trip was an exceptional one with different landscapes in the same area, something you do not want to miss if you are new to Maine. However, some of us wished we had hiked the wooded areas where trails disappeared between the trees or climbed the rocky mountains the park has to offer.

Mainely Outdoors Hosts 7th Annual Canoe and Kayak Race on the Sandy River

By Caleb Grover, Contributing Writer 

The Sandy River Canoe and Kayak Race and Fun Paddle is being held on April 30 by Mainely Outdoors and is open to community members, high school and college students.

The race allows people to enjoy the outdoors and make good memories with their friends. “This race provides a great outdoor recreation opportunity,” said Jim Toner, director of the FRC and Mainely Outdoors program. “This is something most people probably wouldn’t do on their own, so it allows people to get out and enjoy the great outdoors with their friends.”

The race attracts people of all skill levels. Competitive kayak racers who are in MaCKRO (Maine Canoe and Kayak Racing Organization) participate in the event as a part of their circuit of races across Maine. The Mt. Blue High School outing club and the UMF Outing Club have both participated in the race, as well as many community members, of all ages and professions.

Although all of the water is either class 1 or 2, the river still provides a few challenges for the participants. Last year low water levels led to a rockier, shallower river than normal, which was due to a lack of snow. This made strategy more important than ever. “There is a foot drop off in the last mile of the race, and only a few good places to get down it depending on the water levels said Toner. “It’s all about picking your channels though.”  

The race is run in heats, people of like skill level are put together. Fun paddlers go together and the competitive racers go together. “It allows the racers to go as fast as they want without having to paddle around slower people, and it lets the people who are there to fun paddle not to feel rushed,” said Toner.

Avery Isbell, a sophomore and elementary education major, worked in last year’s race as a sweep kayak. Sweep kayaks follow behind the last person in the given heat, to make sure nobody gets left behind or put in a dangerous position by themselves. “It’s something fun and new for people to try in a very safe environment, with people who are trained and experienced always nearby,” said Isbell.

“Be prepared with warm clothes just in case you get wet,” said Isbell. “The water is typically very cold in April.”

The race starts at 1:00 p.m. on April 30 by the American Legion in Strong. Registration on race day runs from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the pre-race meeting is at 12:30 p.m.. People interested in participating can also register beforehand at the FRC. Registration is $10.00 per person, and $5.00 for UMF students. For any questions, contact Jim Toner.