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Science And Nature

Uncover the natural, the unexpected, and the awe-inspiring in Maine

Traveling across the jagged coast, in to the valley, and out to the Mahoosuc mountains, National Geographic Photographer Pete Muller is not any stranger to Maine. A Portland resident and a devoted explorer, Muller roams further in to the state to document the wonder of the land and the powerful connection Mainers have making use of their home.

Deep respect for the land and sea DownEast

Mullers adventure begins in the DownEast region of Mainean area that gets its name from its maritime history, instead of its geographic location. In the olden days, downwind also to the east was the direction ships sailed to obtain here from NY and Boston. Today, the spot is really a trove of fishing villages, dramatic coastline views, and rich biodiversity.

One hour up the coast from Acadia National Park, the Bold Coast can be an incredible expanse of twenty miles of the best density of coastal peatlands, rocky headlands, and maritime grasses in hawaii. Muller hikes a 10-mile loop through spruce-fir forests, along open meadows, and right around the shoreline, while hearing a chorus of wild birds above. The whole lot is incredibly serene and beautiful.

In the DownEast town of Roque Bluffs, Muller meets up with friend and kelp farmer Jake Patryn to find the procedure and inner workings of kelp farming. They leave, off the coast of Roque Bluffs State Park, in a little boat Patryn used as a youngster to haul lobster traps. But todays catch differs. After moving to Denver and studying medical and environmental great things about seaweed, Patryn and his fiance Morgan Lea-Fogg returned with their roots to start out a sustainable seaweed farm, Nautical Farms.

Its the finish of kelp harvesting season. Patryn pulls in lines of fresh kelp, cuts them off into plastic totes, and brings them to shore to dry beneath the sun. The procedure is incredibly tactile and artisanal, says Muller. Once dried, the kelp is packaged and sold whole-leaf or crafted into body scrubs, soaks, and capsules.

The DownEast region also boasts scenic harbors, biking paths, and an array of architectural sites, museums, and lighthouses.

Dynamic art scene in Kennebec Valley

The inland small town of Skowhegan is next on Mullers list. Set on the lender of the Kennebec River, the region used to play a large role in Maines logging industry. But thats not the one thing the area is well known for. In 1946, the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture opened on a 350-acre farm. Even today, the school provides an intensive nine-week summer residency program for emerging artistsbringing incredible new talent to the city every year and developing a dynamic visual arts scene.

Muller visits the city murals with local artist and skilled woodworker Amanda Slamm. Like Muller, Slamm originates from a fantastic art family. Her grandfather Ben Shahn, was an internationally-recognized painter who often painted in the design of social realism. She shows Muller around her workshop and takes him to River Roadsher coop gallery that represents the task greater than 25 local weavers, potters, authors, along with other talented artists.

Just beyond Skowhegan may be the South Solon Meeting House. From the exterior, the building looks well-maintained and unassuming. But inside, incredibly detailed and intricate frescos cover the complete space, floor-to-ceiling. Its unlike anything Ive ever seen and I definitely didnt be prepared to encounter it here, says Muller.

The meeting house was built-in 1842, and the pews, podium, windows, and steeple are original. The frescos came later, in the 1950s. Following the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture opened, the founders helped organize three national juried competitions to choose the artists to paint them. The building is currently protected by the National Historic Register.

Powerful natural forces in Grafton Notch State Park

Straight west of Skowhegan, nestled in the Mahoosuc mountain range, may be the beautifully rugged Grafton Notch State Park. Known because of its rocky backcountry terrain, the park houses twelve of the very most challenging miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT). But conquering the AT isn’t the only real reason to go to. The gorges, waterfalls, and the Notch itself provide a fascinating consider the states geologic historywith metamorphic bedrock that goes back nearly 420 million years.

Muller creates camp in the welcoming and communal Grafton Notch Campground. You can find fifteen wooded sites on the lands, each with a fire bowl and a picnic table, and theres a wide-open field where people play cornhole and horseshoes.

Near Screw Auger Falls in the park, Muller hikes with Lindsey Spigel, a geologist whos studying the annals of the bedrock and the way the gorges had become. Spigel points to the fractures in the gorge walls. She explains that a lot more than 12,000 years back, glacial meltwater probably followed the road of the breaks, eroding into the bedrock we see today. And the erosion continues. Water filled up with sediment acts as some sort of sandpaper to slowly wear the edges of the boulders and grind potholes in the rockscreating an ever-changing landscape, shaped entirely by water.

Finally, sunlight is setting and Muller heads back again to camp. And, in true Maine form, a surprise results in his path: a moose. I was raised in New England and also have never seen one before. It had been an unbelievable sight.

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