Yesterday we began our 51st long-term program, the Wilderness Guide Training Semester, and the first field school program of 2021. After a winter filled with Covid-related challenges, it’s feels fantastic to be back out on the land and working with people. We’ve got a long way to go and a lot of material and miles to cover in the next 9-weeks, but I’m excited for the journey.
It’s an exceptionally early spring here in northern Maine. Usually early April means late winter with deep snow and rain. This year it meant summer-like temperatures and the snow almost gone. To put it into perspective, last year on April 28th I got my truck stuck in a 3-foot deep snow drift on the road into the field school. This year on April 11th the road was snow-free. Ice on the pond went out on April 11th. Coltsfoot is already in flower, and the Aroostook river has already had its peak spring flood and the swollen, snowmelt-laden waters will soon be on their way down. It’s odd, but not unexpected, as modern weather trends have diverged from past norms. Such changes are easy to notice and track when they are snow melt and ice out. Or maybe they’re just harder to ignore.
Yesterday we started with making guide coffee on the fire, followed by an introduction to the axe. Today we’re starting with the first exercise of our weather knowledge and prediction course, then one-match fires.
It’s feels great to be back. Thanks for reading.