To celebrate the end of a successful school year, families from CP#2’s third grade class met in Kingfield to experience Maine Huts & Trails — a series of backcountry trails and eco-lodges for adventurers of all levels to enjoy. Our brave plan? To hike 3+ miles through the woods to The Poplar Hut, where forty of us would convene for the night.
Due to the size of our group, we only had to carry backpacks full of water bottles, trail mix and bug spray through the woods. The rest of our luggage and supplies for the weekend went in a convenient gear shuttle to the hut.
MP has to admit, she wondered what hiking with kids ranging in age from 5-12 would be like, but they surprised us. Friends walked and chatted together at their own pace. When the kids needed a break, they would throw stones in the stream or take off their shoes and cool off in the water.
The trail to our hut was well marked and easy to traverse. The most challenging part arrived near Poplar Falls, where there is a steep, stone stairway. Before climbing, our group decided to take a break at the falls to enjoy the emerald green beauty all around us. Located only .4 miles from our hut, this cool and secluded spot would become our playground for the weekend.
The last portion of our walk was uphill, but we knew we would be arriving at the hut soon. The Poplar Hut surprised all of us in the best way. It was clean and modern, and featured a full-size kitchen, screened porch, stone fireplace, showers and an upstairs room stocked with books and games for the kids. Surrounding the Poplar Hut were additional cabins, each with bunkbeds that had foam mattresses and pillows (guests need to bring sheets, towels and sleeping bags).
Typically, meals are served at Maine Huts and Trails, but since our group arrived in the off-season, we brought all the fixings to make a spaghetti dinner with salad and garlic bread. Several of the older kids were taken with the industrial-sized kitchen. Much to the adults’ delight, the kids helped prep and serve the meal to our hungry crew of hikers.
The remainder of our evening was spent by the campfire, making s’mores and talking. Some of the kids played baseball or football nearby, and a few dads got together to play horseshoes. Later, a group of parents and kids would return to the Poplar Hut for a game of Bingo.
Without phones or electronics, it’s easy to lose track of time at Maine Huts & Trails. Our crew went to bed after sunset and woke early in the morning. MP helped make a big Father’s Day breakfast, chatting with her co-chefs and helping flip pancakes on the griddle. When it came time to sit and enjoy the fruits of our labor, MP couldn’t help but notice how well our little community of parents and kids came together. All around her, she could hear lively conversation, laughter and the sound of kids at play. MP is certain that this experience is one that all of us will remember for years to come.
For more information on Maine Huts and Trails, visit here.