For lovers of the outdoors, it doesn’t get much better than Sarah Pine’s job.

As hut operations manager for the nonprofit Maine Huts & Trails, she oversees the collection of huts in the Flagstaff Lake region of northwestern Maine where hikers, skiers and mountain bikers stop to rest and eat. It can be a tough, keeping everything running and everyone happy, but she gets to commute to work on skis in the winter and swap stories with people coming in from the trails.

It’s a world off the grid, deep in nature. And for a woman named Pine, it’s perfect.

Name: Sarah Pine

Age: 31

Married/relationship/single: Married

Town: Carrabassett Valley

Job: Hut operations manager

How long have you been doing this? A year, on June 3.

Where are the huts that you manage? Poplar Stream Hut and Stratton Brook Hut are in Carrabassett Valley. Flagstaff Lake Hut is in Carrying Place Town Township and Grand Falls Hut is in Lower Enchanted Township.

How did you get involved in Maine Huts & Trails? I was commuting from Carrabassett Valley to Farmington for school. A Maine Huts & Trails office popped up in Kingfield, so one day I stopped by to see what it was all about. I filled out an application to be a trail worker and have worked on the trails on and off ever since.

What’s your busy season? Winter. Some people find that hard to believe. Skiing is a great way to commute hut to hut. The trails are beautiful!

What’s the best part about the huts? Enjoying the wilderness, being off the grid, cut off from the outside world without computers and cell phones.

How do you get to work when your office is in the woods? In the winter I ski and the summer I bike. In between season I usually hike.

Have you always enjoyed the outdoors? Of course. I grew up in a heavily populated area on the coast of Virginia. My outdoors were at the beach or boating on the Chesapeake Bay. Now I get to enjoy the mountain life.

I hear you often work in the huts’ kitchens, too. What are some of the meals you make? I like to come in and make meals for guests who have dietary restrictions. I especially like to make vegan meals. I can “veganize” anything, whether it’s blueberry pancakes, pot pie, shepherd’s pie, Alfredo, sloppy joes, etc.

Wait, no gorp or bug juice? Sometimes we will make a batch of gorp for people to pack for the trail. No bug juice, though. We will have some Maine sodas and lemonade available this summer.

How do you advise campers keep ticks, mosquitoes and black flies at bay? Light-weight, light-colored, long-sleeve shirt, long pants and a bug net. I try not to wash the clothes I wear in the woods during bug season and I only use Dr. Bronner’s lavender soap. . . . I try not to wash my clothes during bug season because bugs are attracted to . . . most scented products like laundry detergent. I use the Dr. Bronner’s lavender because it contains lavender extract, a natural bug repellent.

What’s your favorite thing about your job? The people you meet, guests and staff. I love chatting with people on the trails and in the huts, sharing experiences in the outdoors or providing them with information about the area.

What’s the most challenging thing about your job? Keeping the hut staff happy. It is a challenge to live where you work and they work crazy long hours. They have such great attitudes, but come the end of a vacation week, they need to get out!

Best season in Maine: winter or summer? I can’t choose! Although there are no bugs in the winter! (Bugs are starting to come out now.) You make the best of every season. When it rains you go kayaking, when it snows you go skiing.

Your last name is Pine and you work in the Maine woods. Has anyone ever pointed that out? A few people have mentioned that recently. I didn’t take my husband’s last name (Hines) because I think my last name is fitting.


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