Climbing in Maine: A legacy lingers on the paths at Good Will-Hinckley

A stroll within the woods on the campus of Good Will-Hinckley is a pleasant expertise wealthy with pure magnificence and attention-grabbing historical past. The 1,000-acre property on the banks of the Kennebec River within the village of Hinckley (a part of Fairfield in Somerset County) options some 6 miles of meandering footpaths and a lot extra price a couple of hours of contemplative exploration.

Hidden among the many combined forest of conifers and hardwoods are not less than 12 historic stone monuments constructed between 1912 and 1940. Every construction is exclusive and serves as a memorial to an essential individual or interval within the colourful early timeline of this place, which was established in 1889 by George Walter Hinckley as a house, college and farm for underprivileged boys.

Right this moment, the grounds of the Good Will-Hinckley House for Boys and Women – a part of which was as soon as farmland owned by the household of Maine’s former U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith – are residence to not solely trails, however the Maine Academy of Pure Sciences, the Glenn Stratton Studying Heart, the School Step-Up program, and the L.C. Bates Museum, an early Twentieth-century pure and cultural historical past museum.

The paths start instantly behind the L.C. Bates Museum, a stone’s throw from the 16-by-24-foot metal work, “Christopher,” a geometrical minimalist sculpture created in 1971 by John Raimondi, who was an artist-in-residence at what was then the Haystack-Hinckley Faculty. A kiosk close by with a big path map will get you began on the correct foot.

Alongside the Dartmouth Path, search for the Roosevelt Monument devoted to Theodore Roosevelt, the previous President, conservationist and naturalist. The sector stone pillars of the Dartmouth Path entrance had been constructed with funds from the Outing Membership of Dartmouth School. The Murray Tablets are devoted to Adirondack Murray, also called William Henry Harrison Murray, whose 1869 guide, Adventures within the Wilderness, launched metropolis dwellers to tenting within the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and earned him the title, “Father of the Out of doors Motion.”

Hinckley’s son, Walter Palmer Hinckley, was a 1909 graduate of Bowdoin School and named the Bowdoin Path. Alongside it you’ll discover the Bowdoin Boulder, its bronze plaque bearing a passage on the which means of school work. On the Bowdoin Circle, 12 plaques are inscribed with snippets from works on the fantastic thing about timber.

The Continental Path winds by way of the again facet of the property. The path’s Sundown Path entrance consists of rocks gathered from locales throughout the nation, together with Mount Mitchell in North Carolina, California’s Dying Valley and Maine’s personal Katahdin. The stone and log Granite Home was designed for exhibiting Maine granites, whereas on the partitions of the Chook Sanctuary there are quotations about birds by famous authors. The Dawn Path entrance to the Continental Path was constructed with stones from Lake George, New York, the Revolutionary Warfare battlefield at Harmony, Massachusetts, and the close by residence of Nineteenth-century essayist and chief of the transcendentalist motion, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Memorials are invaluable as a result of: first, they take us into the previous and present us why we needs to be grateful; second, they encourage us to emulate the examples memorialized; and third, they beckon into the long run,” wrote Hinckley in 1939. Collectively, these memorials within the woods are, maybe, as a lot a tribute to George Hinckley, who by way of his selfless want to assist youth in want forge a greater life, touched hundreds over his 47 years as a minister. It’s doubtless that you just, too, might be moved by this particular place and its extraordinary story.

Time your go to good and also you’ll be capable of take pleasure in one of many nice breakfast specials at Flatlanda Diner on Route 201 a mile north of I-95. Then together with your stomach full, wander across the Good Will-Hinckley trails at will. And post-hike, head north to Skowhegan and Bigelow Brewing for a refreshing craft brew and an superior wood-fired pizza.

Together with your satisfying journey full, on the trip residence you would possibly simply end up buzzing a couple of bars from George Hinckley’s “Path Music,” written in 1914: “… When the day’s work is over, and the intense solar has set, in a sea of purple and gold, I’ll consider the paths and the quiet of their shade, and my spirit shall by no means develop outdated.”

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island is an award successful member of the Out of doors Writers Affiliation of America. His newest guide, Beer Climbing New England, might be out in print in mid-February. Observe extra of Carey’s adventures on Fb and Instagram @careykish

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