Nine Mile Bridge: Three Years on the Maine Woodsby Helen Hamlin, Dean B. Bennett
In this critically acclaimed Maine classic, first published in 1945, Helen Hamlin writes of her adventures teaching school at a remote Maine lumber camp and then of living deep in the Maine wilderness with her game warden husband. Her experiences are a must-read for anyone who loves the untamed nature and wondrous beauty of Maine's north woods and the unique spirit of those who lived there. In the 1930s, in spite of being warned that remote Churchill Depot was no place for a woman, the remarkable Helen Hamlin set off at age twenty to teach school at the isolated lumber camp at the headwaters of the Allagash River. She eventually married a game warden and moved deeper into the wilderness. In her book, Hamlin captures that time in her life, complete with the trappers, foresters, lumbermen, woods folk, wild animals, and natural splendor that she found at Umsaskis Lake and then at Nine Mile Bridge on the St. John River.
- Islandport Press
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- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)
Read an Excerpt
"It was twilight, lavender and dusky when we strapped on our snowshoes, jumped down off the porch and started along the trail.
As the evening changes to night, the white snow is still visible. The trees had disappeared as though a dark screen, patterned with dull splotches of white snow, were drawn around us. Curly led the way, breaking trail for me, with Boots and the sled behind.
The storm had cleared and the sky twinkled with the millions of pin points of starlight. It was cold, and it grew colder. The temperature dropped to thirty degrees below zero before we had gone five miles. Only short breaths of air could be sucked through slightly parted lips. Heavy white crystals of frost gathered on Curly's parka and changed him into an icicle man. When he turned around to see how I was coming along, I noticed that his eyebrows and the fur on his hood were white and crystalline. I knew mine were the same. The parka felt heavy and stiff, and I couldn't have raised my eyebrows if I had wanted to. Boots' flanks were covered with frost, and her whiskers were like a bunch of white fluff she was carrying in her mouth. The sled, knapsack, ax and tea pail were white and coated.
Frost is a funny thing. It seems to come down like a light snowfall, but a few feet above, there is nothing. Unlike snow it is hard and cold, and adheres to anything that is warmer than itself. A thin sheet of it over the snow crackles and sputters like a dry cedar log on a fire.
The sharp contraction caused by the sudden drop in temperature would split a tree with a crack like a rifle shot at close range, always startling no matter how many times you've heard it.
We hurried on, running and not stoppingto rest. It was torture. I couldn't get a deep breath, but I had to keep my legs swinging, and had to step hard to pound my feet and keep them warm. I beat my mittened hands when we slowed to a fast walk, and Curly urged me into another run."
Meet the Author
Helen Hamlin was born in 1917 and was raised in the Northern Aroostook County town of Fort Kent, Maine. Growing up in a family of game wardens, she had a deep appreciation and love of both the culture of the North Woods and its inspirational beauty. It was a love affair that lasted her entire life. After teaching school in a remote lumber camp and living deep in the Maine wilderness as the wife of a fish and game warden, Hamlin went on to run the Parmachenee Club, worked as a portrait painter, wrote a best-selling book, served as a French translator in Africa, and traveled the world. She died in 2004.
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