Maine wilderness escapes

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If Five Lakes Lodge is a bit too plush or pricey for you, or if you’re craving to learn some winter skills, have I got the place(s) for you: the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Maine Wilderness Lodges in the Moosehead Lake region.

The AMC has two remote (yeah, I’ll say) retreats, and Little Lyford Lodge and Cabins (bottom photo), near Katahdin Iron Works and Gulf Hagas (middle photo), and Medawisla Wilderness Lodge and Cabins (top photo), on the frozen shores of Second Roach Pond . Both offer private woodstove-heated cabins and home-cooked meals.

And the setting? Amdist 66,500 acres of AMC conservation and recreation land, in the heart of Maine’s famed 100-Mile Wilderness (if you haven’t read Bill Bryson’s book about hiking the Appalachian Trail, let me put a plug for it in here; great read, and the part about this section is especially entertaining).

The AMC even offers guided lodge-to-lodge cross-country skiing tours (Feb. 15-19, 20-25, and March 5-7). Or do it yourself and snowshoe. Also check each lodge for winter specials.

If you lack the skills, check out this workshop, Jan. 22-24, at Little Lyford:

Learn basic cross-country skiing techniques on varying terrain, plus how to carry and pack a backpack for winter travel. Led by a ski instructor with more than 30 years of experience, the workshop also includes advanced skills such as backcountry navigation, route selection, and cold-weather emergency first aid, in addition to repairing broken ski equipment and building snow shelters and fires to prepare for unexpected incidents. The non-member, private cabin rate per person is $480 ($448 for members).

If you go: Advance reservations required in winter and be sure to wear your woolies (or high-tech equivalent).

Photos: Jerry & Marcy Monkman, Courtesy of AMC.