A Trip to Maine Huts and Trails

by Nancy Kauhl

Dave LeRoy and Nancy Kauhl decided to spend two days at Flagstaff Hut, one of four huts in the Maine Huts and Trails (MHT) system, in mid-February. After eating lunch in Kingfield, ME, we drove 22 miles down Long Falls Dam Road, marveling at the height of the snow piled along the side of the road. We arrived at the trailhead parking in mid-afternoon, loaded our gear (sleeping bags and a change of clothes) onto our backs, and skied onto the trail. We skied nearly two miles into Flagstaff Hut.

The Hut crew, consisting of Olivia, Pearl and Morgan, and Olivia’s friend, Emily, were busy in the kitchen preparing dinner for 17 guests. Besides us, guests included Olivia’s mother and Emily’s mother, two families and several couples. The crew seemed to be enjoying the tasks at hand and kept us entertained at the same time, as they were singing along to ABBA. “Mamma Mia!” indeed.

Fresh snow fell overnight and we awoke to about four inches of fresh powder on top of the already good snow conditions. After a delicious breakfast (with fresh cinnamon rolls made by Emily), we prepared a bag lunch and encouraged our fellow guests as they headed out to ski back to the trailhead or on to Grand Falls Hut eleven miles away. We headed out onto the freshly groomed trail towards Grand Falls Hut. The woods were beautiful and the skiing conditions were the best we remember ever experiencing at MHT. We met a group of skiers on an AMC trip, including a gentleman from Philadelphia. After meeting Olivia’s mother on the trail and chatting with her for a while (about favorite ski venues like Craftsbury), we returned to Flagstaff Hut and ate our bag lunches. Later in the afternoon we borrowed snowshoes from the hut, intending to walk out to a point to view Flagstaff Lake, but we soon found ourselves out of our element; where the trail was not well packed, we sunk in up to our knees even with snowshoes!

The second evening we shared the hut with five other guests. One of the guests had graduated from Penn State but now lives in Maine. He and his two daughters try to get to State College for a football game each year (though the daughters didn’t appear to be as excited about that as their father). Another guest had grown up in Philadelphia but currently lives in Boston. As we have experienced in the past, most of the guests to MHT come from New England.

The next morning, after another delicious breakfast and packing our own bag lunch, we loaded up our gear and headed back to the trailhead. It was a gorgeous, sunny day with a temperature in the high-teens, perfect for skiing. We were sorry to say good-bye to such wonderful snow but left with good memories to last until our next visit to MHT.