Elm street students learn about winter camping

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MECHANIC FALLS – Garrett and Alexandra Conover visited with students at Elm Street School recently to share their experiences winter camping and guiding in northern Maine.

Arlene Reynolds’ history class invited the Conovers to share their experiences. Students, in turn, shared the class winter walk project with the Conovers.

Reynolds’ history class tracked the Conovers’ winter trek for the past two years as the couple set out to snowshoe from Greenville to the Allagash and back in celebration of their silver anniversary. They made the same trek on their honeymoon 25 years ago.

The history class used the winter walks Web site at www.winterwalks2006.org. Students used map skills to chart the progress, researched animals the Conovers encountered along the journey and created collages covering the aspects of winter camping and survival skills.

Alexandra and Garrett are registered Maine Guides and have done extensive winter camping in northern Maine and Canada.

Both grew up in camping families. They make make their own toboggans from white birch and coat the bottoms with pine tar and wax to make them glide across frozen water and snow. During the spring and summer, the pair guide canoe groups along Maine’s rivers.

Alexandra Conover showed slides depicting aspects of preparation for camping, types of clothing worn, supplies used on the trips, including a stove and an oven, and steps involved in setting up winter camps. The two told of the need to dress in multiple layers of breathable clothing such as wool, silk and cotton to allow moisture to escape from the skin.

They also showed photos of animal tracks native to Maine. The Conovers brought examples of moccasins, snowshoes and the toboggans they have used on camping trips.

The Conovers encouraged students o identify a dream and pursue it. Following the presentation, students were able to ask questions.

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