JP Internship: Poplar Hut

Crossing the frozen Carrabassett River on the snowshoe in to Poplar Hut

The tranquil murmur of Poplar Stream periodically emerging from its ice-blanket drifted through the still winter air as we snowshoed along Larry’s Path. At Poplar Hut, scents of Moroccan spice and fresh Anadama bread wafted through the main building while the friendly hut staff engaged my numerous questions.

My first overnight at the Maine Huts was marked by moments like these. The serene and rejuvenating natural beauty of the western Maine winter and the rustic feel yet modern facilities of the hut made for an authentic overnight experience. Caleb and Rheanna, the warm and welcoming hut staff, prepared a delicious meal that all ten of us – staff and guests – ate family style around a long wooden table. Lively conversation filled mealtimes, during which I learned about the other guests staying at the hut, all of whom were first time visitors to the Maine Huts & Trails system. After dinner, Caleb and Rheanna gave a comprehensive tour of the hut during which they described all the eco-friendly technologies and practices used there. These included local and sustainable food sourcing, utilization of local businesses and resources during the building process, energy systems powered primarily by solar including a brand-new set of batteries, and a recently repaired hydro-electric station soon to be running.

From left to right: Colby student Catharine Christie, hut staff Rheanna and Caleb, and intern Eli Hanschka

In the morning, the hut staff cooked up a delicious breakfast of apple-chocolate chip pancakes and an egg and veggie scramble. We then packed up a trail lunch provided by the staff and trekked back along the main ski trail. The silhouette of Sugarloaf and the Bigelows hung majestically behind the leafless trees, adding humbling dimension to the already-beautiful landscape.

After this taste of the MH&T experience I’m excited to get back out to the huts. Next week, I’ll be staying at Stratton Brook Hut and Flagstaff Hut and at each visit, I’ll be honing in on my focus area for the main project of the internship this January. Many thanks so far to the staff at Poplar Hut, the team in the office at MH&T, and my faculty advisors at Colby. Cheers!