Articles by Jeff Strout


Pick a spot, take a paddle, enjoy

By Jeff Strout on July 22, 2011, at 4:29 p.m.
As much fun as paddling a kayak can be, there are times I have to twist my own arm to go. Last Sunday was one of those days — hot and humid. But I’d already made plans to go, and the redeeming factor was that it would be cooler at …
FITS Sock Co., knitted in Niota, Tenn., by the Crescent Sock Co. Light gray, $17.99

FITS Performance Trail sock

By Jeff Strout on July 20, 2011, at 5:24 p.m.
It’s hard to get excited about socks, right? Sure, you feign excitement, maybe oooh or ahhh when you open that Christmas present and there’s that three-pack of no-name-brand department store beauties. There’s the obligatory wearing, the inevitable ill fit and eventually the hole in the heel. Well, here’s a pair …
When heading out for a paddle on the ocean in a kayak there are some basic safety items you should have on you or within easy reach. Starting toward the bow (bottom of photo) and working back: a compass, bilge pump, rescue stirrup (coiled and clipped to deck bungee), a water bottle, paddle float, cell phone (in waterproof case tethered to deck bungees) spray skirt, waterproof VHF radio (sitting on spray skirt, but carried in lifejacket), lifejacket (Personal Flotation Device) and a spray jacket. The kayak should have bulkheads between the cockpit and fore and aft compartments (accessible via waterproof hatches). A sponge (clipped to aft deck bungees) comes in handy to mop up residual water in the cockpit.

Before you launch that kayak

By Jeff Strout on July 15, 2011, at 9:47 p.m.
Paddling a kayak on the ocean is a risky activity. It’s fun, to be sure. But lurking in the shadows — ever present — is the fact, simply said, that you can die doing this activity. If that turns you off or makes you think twice about venturing out on …

Sea kayaker’s checklist

By Jeff Strout on July 15, 2011, at 9:40 p.m.
This information is on a brochure put together by the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors. Use it as a quick reference if you’re thinking of heading out on the ocean to paddle. Paddle Smart from the Start! Wear your life jacket at all times; choose an appropriate …

Common yellowthroat

By Jeff Strout on July 13, 2011, at 10:21 p.m.
Old Town photographer Dave Small has been exploring the neighborhoods near his home by bicycle lately and has seen myriad natural wonders. This week’s photographic offering is a common yellowthroat. For more of Small’s pictures check out the Bangor Daily News Outdoors section on the website at

Soto Pocket Torch XT

By Jeff Strout on July 13, 2011, at 9:42 p.m.
A short while back I got my hands on the Soto Pocket Torch by Shinfuji Burner Co. Ltd., a marvelous little tool that turns an ordinary disposable butane lighter into a powerful burner capable of a multitude of tasks for the outdoors person. Backpacker Magazine liked this little wonder so …
Rabbit foot clove

More July flowers

By Jeff Strout on July 11, 2011, at 4:34 p.m.
Bangor Daily News Amateur Naturalist Dana Wilde passed along some more pictures of wildflowers and weeds that decorate our landscapes during the summer months. Don’t forget to take a few moments to enjoy, and when you get a chance, stop and smell the flowers.

Wait For It …

By Jeff Strout on July 06, 2011, at 12:23 p.m.
Photographer Dave Small of Old Town recently went gigging frogs with his camera at a small pond on Gilman Falls Avenue near the airport road. He was rewarded with this image of a bullfrog just getting ready to let out a loud croak.
Ann Pollard, then 9, holds up the next to last set of antlers from His Majesty in the spring of 2003.

Big buck known as The Marsh Island Monarch

By Kathy Pollard on July 06, 2011, at 12:15 p.m.
’Tis the birthing season for white-tailed deer. I was reminded of this when driving up the Witter Farm road at the University of Maine the other day. A doe chased her yearling twins across the road, then turned heel and retreated toward a small copse of trees, bleating to her …

Consignment corner at Epic Sports a bargain hunter’s heaven

By Jeff Strout on June 24, 2011, at 7:03 p.m.
If you’re like most outdoor types, you have one or two of nearly everything — and often three or more. A true gear head can never get along with only one stove, one cook kit, one canoe, one kayak or one tent. No-siree, the more the merrier. He who dies with …
The western side of Harwood Island at Pushaw Lake was a picture of tranquility Wednesday evening while on the northern and eastern sides of the island the 10-knot breezes pushed up a little chop.

Deciding whether to paddle? What’s the weather?

By Jeff Strout on June 17, 2011, at 8:22 p.m.
Through the minor aches and pains and stiffness of growing older the joy of paddling continues to conquer. There’s hardly a day that passes I don’t have at least a passing thought of getting out on the water, although I’ll admit the rain of late has dampened some of my enthusiasm. …
Chestnut-sided Warbler

Singing like crazy

By Jeff Strout on June 15, 2011, at 6:41 p.m.
Photographer Dave Small of Old Town captured this image of a chestnut-sided warbler over Memorial Day weekend. The bird was so intent on singing that Small was able to get within five feet of it.
An impromptu shore lunch while kayaking.

Kayaking rituals and experiments

By Jeff Strout on June 10, 2011, at 6:56 p.m.
As I unloaded my kayak from the roof of the van, pulled safety gear from its bags and life jacket and spray skirt from their hangers, I couldn’t help but think how ritualistic going for a paddle is. Over the years I’ve developed a routine to get ready to go …
After placing blanket over rear edge of vehicle, lift bow onto back of vehicle behind roof racks.

Loading a kayak onto your vehicle

By Jeff Strout on June 03, 2011, at 4:49 p.m.
One of the joys of kayaking or canoeing is being able to get on the water just about anywhere — have boat, will travel. For some, therein lies the rub. Getting a kayak on the roof of a vehicle is a downright daunting exercise. Securing it there is almost as bad. …
Sandpipers seen while canoeing the Penobscot River in the Old Town area.

Feathered visitors

By Jeff Strout on June 02, 2011, at 10:37 p.m.
Photographer Dave Small’s camera earned its salt lately, from a ruby-throated hummingbird that perched on his garden fence, to short-billed dowitchers, sandpipers and kinglet he snapped while canoeing the Penobscot River in the Old Town area.     Story continues below advertisement.

Looking for a trail in Maine?

on May 31, 2011, at 11:22 a.m.
Maine Trail Finder is a free online resource for people-powered trails in the state. Search a growing database of four-season trails to find the right trail for your next adventure. Browse interactive trail maps, trail descriptions, pictures, and trip reports.
A storm front moves in over Pushaw Lake Thursday evening as Karen Francoeur of Orono approaches the beach on Moose Island.

Escaping a hectic home life to an evening concert on the lake

By Jeff Strout on May 27, 2011, at 2:48 p.m.
While concertgoers Thursday evening were being entertained by Ray LaMontagne at the Bangor Waterfront Concert Series, a couple of  friends and I were serenaded by the lilting yodel of a loon pair just off the beach at Gould Landing at Pushaw Lake. Sorry Ray, but I think we got the …
UCO's Stormproof matches

Gear Box: Stormproof Matches

By Jeff Strout on May 25, 2011, at 1:34 p.m.
If you venture into the wilds much, sooner or later you’ll find yourself in need of fire — to cook, dry out, keep warm or all of the above. And often when the need hits, it will be rainy, foggy, damp and dismal, and your odds of getting that welcome flame …
As May begins to warm, buds begin popping and new green graces lake shore trees.

It’s only routine if you let it be

By Jeff Strout on May 20, 2011, at 3:58 p.m.
Even what seems to be a routine outing often turns out to be out of the ordinary — if you pay attention to your surroundings. Every day there’s something subtly different, something new. I’ve resumed a paddling routine of late, and while I’ve been to the same lake three times …
About one in four boats fail a vessel safety check. The good news is a check is not punitive, and it gives boat owners the opportunity to fix any safety deficiencies.

Five spring boating safety tips that work all year long

By Jeff Strout on May 19, 2011, at 12:27 p.m.
ANNAPOLIS, Md.,— With spring’s arrival comes National Safe Boating Week May 21-27, a time for boaters, sailors and anglers time to reflect on and improve their own safety on the water. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety has these five spring boat tips — but they can easily help you stay …