Someone once asked me how much I charge to guide people into the woods. “That’s free,” I explained. “Anyone can get themselves into the woods. You pay me to get you out.”
Can anyone really know the northern forest? It is something you feel more in your heart than in your head. You may be able to locate your place on a map, but can you pinpoint the places the forest has hold of your soul? For more than forty years, Maine Guide Earl Brechlin has sought the answers. Through this series of interconnected essays, Brechlin recounts the annual canoe trips to the North Maine Woods he has made with a small group of friends, closing with the death of his twin brother and the group’s last trip to spread his brother’s ashes in the place he loved best.
Often humorous and thrilling at once, the heartfelt narrative is peppered with tidbits of history, woods lore, and sage advice from a seasoned outdoorsman. What shines through is the author’s profound love of the natural world and his place in it.
Earl Brechlin is a Registered Maine Guide and author of adventure guides and casual histories about Maine and New England. A long-time journalist, he is the editor of the Mount Desert Islander newspaper in Bar Harbor, Maine.