It has been a VERY long time since last I posted (July of 2017).
As a catch-up, I had been more than totally consumed leading a client’s program to launch their medical device company in 11 European countries (simultaneously) on July 1, 2018. I’m pleased to say that we (the client’s outstanding team, their external business partners and I) completed this extremely complex initiative on time! A good thing, as failure was simply NOT an option 🙂
To ensure success I decided it would be necessary for me to live in London (the client’s EU headquarters) from April through July of 2018. Without going into the nauseating details, I can simply say that this was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life (both professionally and personally).
While in London, in the heat of the project, I decided that once this one was complete I would go on sabbatical and do something TOTALLY different.
Quick background: When I was but a young lad I wanted to be a Forest Ranger, so that I could work in the woods of Maine. On getting older I forgot about this ambition and pursued a career in technology. That said, during a high percentage of my nights, weekends and vacations I would find myself on adventures in the woods: mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, fishing and camping with family and friends.
During the summer of 2013 I hired a Registered Maine Guide to take 2 of my boys and I on a trip on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway (an absolutely outstanding northwoods adventure). It was at this time that a seed was planted: wouldn’t it be cool to be a Registered Maine Guide.
Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
~ Joseph Campbell
My decision in London was to become a Registered Maine Guide. This being something I could do “in addition to” continuing to operate my consulting business.
As stated on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s website:
Registered Maine Guides are outdoor professionals who are licensed and permitted to accept any form of remuneration for their services in accompanying or assisting any person in the fields, forests or on the waters or ice within the jurisdiction of the State while hunting, fishing, trapping, boating, snowmobiling, using an all-terrain vehicle or camping at a primitive camping area.
For many years, a Maine Guide was not required to submit to any standardized testing. Interested parties simply had to pass muster with the local game warden. If the game warden considered them qualified and fit to guide in the outdoors, they were licensed as a Registered Maine Guide. In 1975, a standardized test and procedure was established for licensing.
I’m happy to report that as of January 29, 2019 I passed the test and have received my Specialized Recreational guide license. This means I’ve met the qualifications to guide watercraft, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiling and camping activities in the State of Maine.
After receiving my license and guide patch (above) I learned that 60% of applicants fail. Wow!
Fortunately, to prepare for testing I felt it was important to hone my skills and fill in any gaps by attending training with Captain John Rogers of Maine’s Outdoor Learning Center. Based on the outcome of the test I’d suggest this training is highly recommended for anyone considering becoming a Registered Maine Guide.
As stated on Capt. John’s website:
The process of becoming a Licensed Registered Maine Guide is the most difficult in the country, which is why Maine Guides are held in such high regard.
Testing involved a 100 question written test and oral exam including topics such as: first-aid, survival, dealing with clients, wildlife identification, ethics, boating laws, lost person / catastrophic scenario, as well as demonstrating proficiency with map and compass. The latter few items are a pass or fail. That is, if you cannot effectively use a map and compass (with extreme accuracy) or deal with a lost person / catastrophic situation, deep in the woods of Maine, they don’t want you taking people out there for fear you won’t get them back again…
Now that a major goal of my sabbatical is complete I am putting my businessman’s hat back on to prepare to launch a guide business. Building on that, I’m currently planning an Allagash Wilderness Waterway adventure as an inaugural trip for the business, early in June. I’m happy to say that all (canoe) seats are taken for this initial trip 🙂
And, to confirm, if the right opportunity comes up “perhaps” I’ll take on a consulting gig or 2 between now and this year’s prime adventure season…
In closing, I’ve spent many years guiding my business clients to the successful completion of their mission critical projects. Now, I’ll “also” be guiding my adventurous clientele into the woods and waters of Maine. This is especially important, given an article I recently read in the Bangor Daily News, where it was mentioned:
As people spend more time in front of screens and children grow up with what author Richard Louv calls “nature deficit disorder,” the role of the Registered Maine Guide may be more important than ever.
If you’d like to experience a guided adventure into the woods or waters of Maine, please let me know. I’d be happy to discuss this with you and put together a trip to match your ambitions.
Hope to see you out there! And, stay tuned…