Two hours north of Acadia, America’s second busiest national park, there’s a place where the animals outnumber the people and logging trails are as common as paved roads. Maine’s Moosehead Lake region is home to the most expansive forest and one of the largest lakes east of the Mississippi, as well as Mount Katahdin, where Appalachian Trail through-hikers finish their 2,200-mile journeys.
“There is some development in the area, but it’s still pretty rustic,” says Roger Currier, the 66-year-old owner of Currier’s Flying Service, which offers scenic flights over the untamed landscape. “It’ll stay a wilderness area for quite some time.”
Currier’s fleet includes vintage planes that fit into the old fashioned feel of nearby towns like Greenville. His 1954 deHavilland Beaver is vaguely reminiscent of the seaplane that rescues Indiana Jones from certain doom at the the beginning of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and his Cessnas have been given painstaking retro-modern paint jobs as pretty as the forested view out their surprisingly large windows. The Beaver holds up to six passengers and, as with other seaplanes, skips thrillingly across the water on its way back to the dock.
Back on the ground, Greenville (population 1,600) doubles as the hub of non-logging activity in the area and as the gateway to Moosehead Lake. After checking into The Lodge at Moosehead Lake, a capacious old inn decorated with turn-of-the-century woodsman memorabilia, travelers can grab a burger at the Black Frog pub then hop aboard the Katahdin, a preserved 1914 steamboat that tours the 400-square-mile lake. From downtown, paddlers can rent canoes or kayaks and head out on the water to explore a number of the lake’s 80 islands with Northwoods Outfitters or troll for trout from a motorboat rented at Wilsons. Just remember to look up. The seaplanes are circling.
More information: Greenville is an hour and a half drive from Bangor around Peaks-Kenny State Park, itself worth a visit.