Aroostook County, Maine

Aroostook County, Maine, or just “The County” is a special place. Much of my family hails from the St. John River Valley in Northern Maine and Southern New Brunswick, Canada. The river divides the two countries, but not the people. The Acadian migration of the 18th century left an incredible history in this French speaking area. Several amazing little towns line both sides of the river, and others are just beyond the valley. Aroostook County is the largest county in Maine and has a rich potato farming history. My Pépère was a potato farmer. Aroostook has become a tough place to live. There is very little industry anymore. They heyday of farming, logging, and paper production is long gone. A lot of people have moved out of the County over the past 50 years in search of better jobs and a better life. The winters in Northern Maine are fierce and long. Last winter’s record snowfall was even hard on the tough as nails folks who love The County. Over the years, many Northern Mainers have moved to downstate Maine. Many came to Southern New England, like my mother. Many moved even farther away. Those that have stayed have maintained the unique character of this part of our country. 

We stayed at a cool motor inn on Long Lake in St. Agatha. When you are at the only inn in a small town, you are often greeted with awesome service. This was certainly the case at the Long Lake Motor Inn. Ken and Arlene Lerman are a great example of Mainers who have used their entrepreneurial skills to thrive. They are busy in summer and winter. We visited during a quiet time. This is our usual resting spot when we visit, now that there are fewer family beds to stay in and more family to accommodate. Long Lake is an awesome site. Madawaska, St. Agatha, Frenchville, Grand Isle, and Fort Kent are several of the notable towns on the US side. The main town on the New Brunswick side is Edmunston, where we still have a lot of family. 

One of the interesting things about Northern Maine is that it is a hotbed for off-road vehicle (ORV) recreation. I am strongly against motorized recreation of this sort. Hikers, bikers, and trail runners tend to be at odds with ATVers and snowmobilers, but I can still respect their right to access certain trails. Aroostook County is one of those places where they actually fit in. Many of the trails and old logging roads are ideal for ORV’s. After years of working the land (farming and logging), Maine’s woodlands are tired. This doesn’t make ORV use right, but at least we aren’t talking about pristine trails or national forests. Aroostook County has a large and vocal base of snowmobilers. Fortunately, for the Northern Maine service economy, a lot of people visit to take part in motorized recreation. I can’t begrudge them.

I got  chance to explore some of the trails both on foot and on my mountain bike. It was well worth it for us to schlep our gear. We got a chance to see The County before the first snow. A week later, it is winter up there now.

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@thecubscouts #pinewoodderby never gets old. Pack 157 Bolton, Connecticut #cubscouts So that little injury caused by my @renocxnats crash on Saturday afternoon wasn’t so little after all. It’s a broken leg (fibula). Prognosis is good, but it hurts like heck. My blog post report with blow by blow details is linked in my profile. #cxnats #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #crossisboss - - -

This #lifedeathcyclocross stuff is true!!!! I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏

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