I trust that most readers are familiar with a “bucket list” – activities you’ve resolved to do or goals you hope to accomplish at some point in your life. For New England outdoorsmen and women, there are a handful of classic lists.

My father, for example, has hiked all the highest peaks in Maine, and my brother is in the middle of a quest to hike all 4,000-footers in New Hampshire.

Here are outdoor experiences I think every Mainer should have. It’s worthy of being a lifelong bucket list, but if you’re particularly ambitious you could knock them all off this summer.

Kayak the Maine Island Trail: Spanning the length of the Maine coast, the Maine Island Trail is a network of hundreds of sites on the Maine shore and islands, beginning at the New Hampshire border and ending in Machias. By kayak, sailboat or other powered craft, you can travel the trail and visit (or camp at) sites along the Maine coast, thanks to a mix of private owners, nonprofits and the state of Maine. If you’d like a guide to the trail (either as a book or a phone app), you can join the Maine Island Trail Association. You can also support MITA by buying Maine Island Trail Ale, produced by Rising Tide Brewing – a portion of the sale of each beer goes to the organization.

Tackle Acadia’s Precipice Trail: You could keep yourself busy all summer exploring the many trails of Acadia National Park, but if there’s one to put on your must-do list, it’s the Precipice Trail. Going (almost) straight up the eastern face of Champlain Mountain, the Precipice is one of Acadia’s more notorious trails. In the space of about 1,000 vertical feet, climbers have to tackle iron rungs, ladders, handrails and wooden bridges to reach the summit. The trail is only a mile and a half, but the exposure and difficulty make the climb a multi-hour affair. It’s also worth noting that the Precipice often spends years on Maine hikers’ bucket lists before getting tackled – nesting peregrine falcons often result in the trail being closed to hikers, making summer access far from guaranteed.

Explore the Bold Coast of Downeast Maine: The “Bold Coast” is a chunk of Maine coast about 30 miles long stretching from Cutler to Lubec. It’s a little-known treasure of downeast Maine, made up of rugged cliffs, spruce forest and bluffs that drop 100 feet to the pounding surf below. It’s a region with beauty that rivals Maine’s marquee attractions like Katahdin and Acadia. The best trails to explore the region are in the Cutler Coast Preserve Lands in Cutler, where connected 5- and 10-mile loop trails showcase the region. The banner stretch of the hike is the Coastal Trail from Holmes Cove to Black Point Cove, which hugs the shore for an uninterrupted mile and a half.

Dam-release rafting: Maine offers spectacular options for whitewater rafting, especially on the three big rivers served by professional rafting outfitters. The Kennebec, Dead and Penobscot rivers provide intense whitewater experiences, with all three offering Class IV rapids (described as “extremely difficult, has large vertical drops, strong hydraulics, very swift, irregular currents in heavily obstructed channels”). However, if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it’s worth booking during one of the turbine test trips on the Kennebec. A few times a year, Brookfield Power tests its dam turbines by releasing the maximum amount of water possible from their dams – about double the Kennebec’s usual flow. All the major outfitters in The Forks offer some kind of trip for these releases, and details are on their websites.

Hike Katahdin and the Knife Edge: Katahdin has been hiked for recreation since at least the 1700s. If you live and hike in Maine, you have to experience Katahdin at least once. There are many ways to reach the summit, each with their own charm, but if you’re knocking things off the bucket list you’ll want to hike the Knife Edge. The mile-long trail connects the Baxter and Pamola peaks, and drops off steeply on either side, occasionally narrowing to as little as three feet wide. Both peaks and the Edge can be hiked as a 10-mile loop.

Josh Christie is a freelance writer and lifetime outdoors enthusiast. He shares column space with his father, John. Josh can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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