As far as Ruby Jean is concerned, ATV roads aren’t just for ATVs, and Maine is unspeakably beautiful. Even outside the coast.
After a challenging day on Stinger, we decided to shift gears (ha!) and try Grafton, a more relaxed, scenic trail. This trail attracted a much larger group (see photo above) and included several stock Jeeps.
While there were some challenging obstacles, recovery winching was not required. Grafton was all about the views and comradery.
And there was plenty of both!
We met some amazing people on this trail — even Fletcher made new friends.
And speaking of special people, our trail guide’s sister invited the entire crew to her house for lunch. She had spent days baking more delectable deserts than you can imagine — just for us Jeepers!
Her house was the model of an off-grid paradise, complete with a private lookout tower. Here’s the view from the tower.
But the fun didn’t stop there. Immediately after lunch, we faced our most challenging obstacle yet… The Hill.
We know from experience that pictures and videos of off road trails never look as severe as they are in real life, but even this hill looks imposing in the photos. And that’s because it was.
One by one, we were all humbled. All but a few magical people with jet-powered Jeeps tried in vain to reach to the top. Here’s one of Alison’s valiant attempts — she was so close.
For those that didn’t make it up the hard way, there was a bypass. And the view from the top was absolutely stunning.
As I mentioned, there were several stock Jeeps on this trail. It was truly awesome to see what these things can do. Here’s a short video of a stock 2012 Sahara crossing a rocky creek.
Followed by Ruby Jean. 🙂
Our two days of Jeep Jamboree were filled with fun, challenges, and most of all — great people! We made new friends and can’t wait to see them at a Jamboree in 2017. Maybe the Cumberlands?
Every year Jeep owners from around the country gather for a weekend of off-road adventure in the backwoods of Maine. This year, Ruby Jean wanted to join them.
The night before we hit the first trails, more than 180 Jeeps took over the town common of Bethel, Maine. Some were stock, others heavily modified. Some were as old as 1947.
The next morning, everyone organized into groups and met their dedicated trail guides.
Instructions were given…
…and then we hit the trail! RJ wanted a challenge, so we let her try out the Stinger trail.
Everyone stays close. The trails can be very narrow, and natural obstacles are always waiting.
Here’s a short video of Ruby Jean navigating Stinger.
It didn’t take long before the winching began.
Of course, there’s no shame in getting strapped out of a sticky situation. Even so, we’re proud that RJ made it through all that Stinger had to offer without body damage or winching.
At noon, activity paused so we could grab some lunch and talk with our new Jeeper comrades.
One of our new friends took his lightly modified Grand Cherokee Trailhawk on the trail. The long wheelbase and computer-controlled quadra trac system made it tough, but throughout the day he learned to make it work for him.
Not many natural obstacles were off the list of possibilities. Including rocky creek beds.
Our trail guides were absolutely fantastic. Because we were a bit green, they stuck nearby and guided us whenever we had a question or doubt. Here’s RJ making a potentially hairy creek crossing…
And the views? Only in a Jeep.
After a long and satisfying day on the trails, we were treated to a Jeepers-only bonfire. And in true Jeep spirit, it was wonderful and slightly extreme!
The highlight of our weekend touring mid-coast Maine was our hike through La Verna Preserve. After a peaceful hike through a piney forest, the ocean suddenly appears through the trees.
Everyone had an absolute blast exploring the rocky coastline!
Of course, the scenery is too beautiful for words…
And the rocks! The rocks are true works of art.
After a long morning in the Jeep, the dogs were thrilled to get a chance to stretch their legs.
We were all rewarded at the top with some interesting history of Beech Nut Hut and a wonderfully peaceful view of the ocean.
And for some reason, Greg thought it would be a good idea to record the sound of the sun setting.
It always seems that great Thai food happens in unlikely places. Never more true than when we rolled into Augusta, ME and found ourselves lunching at Sweet Chilli.
Drove to the coast to pick up a craigslisted ski rack for Ruby Jean and found ourselves exploring a bit of Cape Neddick in Maine.