Author and Registered Maine Guide Earl Brechlin will be signing copies of his new collection of evocative and heartfelt essays about Maine’s iconic landscapes, the power of family and the search for meaning and renewal in the embrace of wilderness, during appearances at Sherman’s Bookstores in Damariscotta and Boothbay Harbor on Saturday, Sept. 15. He will be in Damariscotta from 10 a.m. until noon and in Boothbay Harbor from 1-3 p.m.
“Return to Moose River, In Search of the Spirit of the Great North Woods,” released this summer by Down East Books, a division of Rowan and Littlefield, includes more than a dozen narrative non-fiction essays chronicling adventures across the breadth of Maine, from the iconic Moose River, to the top of Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Telos, to the Appalachian Trails’ 100-Mile Wilderness, and Moosehead Lake, to the majestic St. Croix River on the border with New Brunswick. White-water canoeing, backpacking and snowmobiling adventures are all included.
The essays in “Return to Moose River,” chronicle the semi-annual expeditions by a ragtag group of friends and family, that became known as the Moose River Camping Club, over more than three decades.
The very first “Moose” trip in 1986 was on the Moose River. It ended with a pledge to return there every ten years.
The first essay takes place ten years after that inaugural trip, after sons joined the group, and beards became tinged with gray. The last essay is ten years after that, when the group returns once again, this time bearing the ashes of the author’s twin brother who had passed away tragically on a river trip the year before.
Each essay focuses on the featured area’s natural and human history. For Brechlin, it is the spirits of those who have traveled Maine’s woods and waters before, as much as anything, that give these areas special significance.
“We’ve done such a great job of conserving land and water in Maine but we haven’t done as well preserving the human history and legends that populate these places,” Brechlin explains. “Whether it’s the native Americans, early settlers, explorers, loggers or others, you can’t separate the people from the land or the land from the people and we need to do more to celebrate that,” he adds.
Brechlin is the author of more than a dozen books including “The Adventure Guide to Maine,” hiking, and paddling guides to Acadia National Park, and numerous volumes using antique postcards to share the history of Maine and New England. A former Maine Journalist of the Year, he worked for nearly 40 years in the state’s newspaper industry and was the founding editor of the Mount Desert Islander. He is a regular columnist for “Islandport Magazine” and his work has appeared in the Boston Globe, “Newsweek,” “Down East Magazine,” The New York Times, “Chevy Outdoors,” and the Maine Sportsman.
A graduate of the University of Maine Forestry School, Brechlin’s family roots include Maine author Ruth Moore and lighthouse heroine Abbie Burgess. For several years, he operated a small independent bookstore in Bar Harbor featuring Maine authors and illustrators and writers who worked here.
“Return to Moose River is being celebrated by noted writers and pillars of Maine’s outdoor community.
“If you are looking for authentic Maine, it lives in the heart and soul of Earl Brechlin and spills forth in this book, "Return to Moose River,” says retired Baxter State Park Superintendent Jensen Bissell. “Using his canoe as a needle and the rivers of Maine as thread, Brechlin weaves a beautiful tapestry of the Pine Tree State. I thought I knew Maine's Northwoods, but I learned a few things from Return to Moose River - what a great read! It makes me want to grab my paddle and get out on the water!”
“Along with celebrating the grandeur and resilience of Maine’s Great North Woods, ‘Return to Moose River,’ explores an unbreakable bond between brothers, the triumph of love over tragedy, and the power of a timeless landscape to inspire and heal the human spirit,” says Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of “Orphan Train” and “A Piece of the World.”
Environmentalist and filmmaker Susan Cohn Rockefeller says, “Return to Moose River” is a must read for anyone who loves Maine. Through it, Brechlin is a new and exciting voice for American landscape literature.
To find out more, visit the “Return to Moose River” Facebook page or go to www.earlbrechlin.com.