As an outdoor writer based in New England, I’ve spent a good deal of time following in Henry David Thoreau’s footsteps, from climbing Monadnock and Katahdin to walking the shoreline of the upper Cape to swimming in Walden Pond. In 1864, the great naturalist and philosopher published his book “The Maine Woods” that chronicles his exploration of the remote Maine waterways. In October 2009, I had the good fortune to paddle down the West Branch of the Penobscot River following his route. Our guide was Kevin Slater, a legendary Maine paddler who learned these rivers and the skill to carve his own canoes and paddles from his mentor who he simply called, “the Old Timer.” We spent four glorious days on the water, with few other paddlers, spotting moose, bear, loons, and osprey. In the backdrop was mighty Katahdin, the end point of the Appalachian Trail. The story appeared in an issue of Sierra Magazine, the publication of the Sierra Club. If you want to paddle with Slater on the Penobscot, contact him at Mahoosuc Guide Service.
Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at Active Travels.