Mount Chase Lodge is a great north woods get-a-way

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Patten
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George 

            Mount Chase Lodge on Upper Shin Pond is a wonderful north woods get-a-way. Close to the northern section of Baxter Park and the northern entrance to our new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, the area just west of Patton offers everything from superb biking and hiking to exceptional fishing and kayaking, and all the winter sports.

            Michael and Lindsay Downing took over the historic sporting camp last year from her parents, Rick and Sara Hill, who provided wonderful experiences there for 40 years. I took the entire Board of Directors of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine there once for our annual planning retreat, and we had a great time.

            Michael and Lindsay have been busy upgrading the lodge, which offers 8 guest rooms. They also have several cabins with 2 to 8 beds and kitchens, and a very interesting Yurt, built by a couple who work in Alaska from spring to fall and return to their Yurt to work at the lodge during the winter.

            The lodge and camps are down in the woods on a quiet section of water and both Lindsay and Michael are very friendly hosts, eager to make your stay something special. They’ve been hosting events from breakfasts for boy and girl scouts on their way to north woods outings, to weddings.

            I was especially pleased by a Mark Picard photo in our room, of a bear peeking out of a gorgeous fall bush. I wrote about that photo a few years ago, noting that Mark sat in that spot for three days and had only seconds to capture that bear. Mark’s shop in Millinocket is full of similar stunning photographs.

            We pass right by the lodge on our way to our camp on Sourdnahunk Lake, and after the fantastic dinner that Michael, a professional chef, served us, we’ll be stopping regularly here for dinner.

            My pan-seared salmon with blueberry chutney, along with roasted broccoli and panna cotta, was something you’d expect in an expensive Portland restaurant, but not up in the north woods. Wow! And our breakfast was equally good, as we sat watching two loons diving for their breakfast, just outside the dining room window.

            Michael and Lindsey worked for two years in an upscale Alaskan Lodge and brought those skills and services to Mount Chase. I loved Michael’s story of how he started cooking breakfasts for his Mom when he was 8 years old. And she paid him!

            While the popular loop road in the National Monument is in the southern section, I actually love the northern part of the monument, where a road takes you in a ways to a gate where hikers and bikers can continue all the way through the monument.

            I’ve fished that upper section of the East Branch of the Penobscot River, and Linda and I kayaked there, and I can tell you it is a world class river with stunning rock formations and large brook trout. We also prefer the northern half of Baxter Park, close to the Mount Chase Lodge, because it is far less crowded, offers great mountain hikes, and is loaded with remote brooks, stream, and ponds. And yes, I enjoy fishing many of them.

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