Shadowing Thoreau

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If you have any plans to visit Baxter State Park or Greenville, to climb Katahdin or to paddle the myriad lakes, rivers and streams lacing Maine’s northern woods wilderness together, do yourself a favor and read The Wildest Country: Exploring Thoreau’s Maine, by J. Parker Huber. The second edition, published by the Appalachian Mountain Club is now available.

Huber first published the book in 1981, and although he acknowledges in the introduction that he hasn’t returned to the region since July 1995, he says: “I still dwell there spiritually: paddling Moosehead Lake, climbing Kineo and Katahdin, watching moose, listening to loons.”

Huber shares that magic, integrating Thoreau’s journeys with his own, recommending itineraries and sharing insights about the area’s flora and fauna, history and heritage. It’s all beautifully illustrated with maps and photos by Bridget Besaw.

I’ve only skimmed the book but already I’m hungry to return to the woods and follow these footsteps and canoe routes (okay, after the black flies calm down). I’m eager to read in detail and expand my knowledge of, as the sign welcoming folks to Kokadjo so aptly puts it: “God’s Country.”