Henry David Thoreau made trips to Maine in 1846, 1853 and 1857, each of which followed ancient Wabanaki canoe routes through vast, primitive wilderness. He climbed high on “Ktaadn” in 1846, visited Chesuncook Lake with Penobscot guide Joe Attean in 1853, and reached distant Eagle Lake in the Allagash with Penobcot guide Joe Polis in 1857 before returning to Indian Island via the East Branch of the Penobscot River.
In The Maine Woods he wrote of Katahdin, “I looked with awe at the ground I trod on…This was the Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night. Here was no man’s garden, but the unhandseled globe.” Far more ambitious than his rambles around Massachusetts, Thoreau’s experiences in Maine “left such an impression of stern, yet gentle, wildness on [his] memory as will not soon be effaced.”
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