December 7th is a date that seems to live in infamy. The word is etched on the minds of generations because of men like FDR and the struggles of their generations, as well as visions of Pearl Harbor bombings, world wars, heroes and souls lost. A date to remember indeed.
But what does that have to do with snow?
Well on that day, in 2016, I journeyed approximately 40 miles northeast into New Brunswick Canada, to a Sporting Lodge called Moose Valley in a place we call Haut Rivere Verte (Upper Green River). My boyfriend (of 5 years) said it was date night with other great couples, and I was all in. This is a great watering hole!
I live in northern Maine, in an area called the St. John River Valley. The river is the border line between Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. So it just makes sense to have snowmobiling access on both sides of our beautiful valley in both Maine and Canada.
Once at Moose Valley Lodge, we were greeted by owner operator Lee Blanchette, who is always around the place either working in the kitchen or greeting guests, and he got us all registered and squared away, ready for another great snowmobiling season in New Brunswick and Quebec…and always with a smile! Thanks Lee (and our server Josee) for your hospitality!
We ordered the restaurants famous ribs and fries that has become their signature dish every first Wednesday of the month, and a few Canadian beers and sat at the many long tables in the lodge which welcomes comradery amongst snowmobiling enthusiasts when the place is packed during the snowmobiling months; or the hunting season or the ATV rush…well you get the picture…this centralized hub in the middle of Queen’s land is a blessing.
Enjoying our food and drinks along side another table of snowmobilers, we overhead their conversation from time to time, as I’m sure they did ours, and of course having the same interests we soon intermingled and discovered who folks were and where they were from. I find this to be the best part of discovering winter and the adventures we go on…I’ve met so many great people and made many new friends along the way.
This evening was no different. During dinner I post to on my social media status that I’m having dinner with great friends up at the Moose. A local friend from the Valley comments that there’s a group of Mainer’s up there doing some extreme backcountry riding and if I should bump into them to say hello.
So sitting next to these English speaking gents who just stated they were from different parts of Maine and up sledding for the week, I say, “hey, anyone know Eric?” Well, that was the open door I needed to discover that we were intermingling with a great group of guys.
Getting peoples names and a bit of their background sledding history, and the fact that he was wearing his number 22 Team Maine jacket was a dead giveaway.
Well… here I am mingling with some members of Team Maine and the 2016 Cain’s Quest Champion (he has 3 of those under his belt by the way)…Mr. Rob Gardner! No worries, this sledding Diva didn’t waste a minute to make sure the selfies were flying as fast as the fingers could slide across that mobile screen. What a nice guy. He answered all of our questions, shared some victory stories, a bit of his background, about his hometown and his training track there, and where he enjoys riding up in the Quebec region.
The winner of Cain’s Quest 2016, the world’s longest and toughest snowmobile endurance race, Team #22 Maine Racing comprised of racers Andrew Milley of Labrador City, NL, Canada and Robert Gardner of Mercer, ME, USA.
Here’s a bit of information about Cain’s Quest from their website. Cain’s Quest is the world’s toughest and longest snowmobile endurance race. It is an incredible off-trail riding adventure where teams of two battle in an all-out race through 3,500 kilometers of deep snow and thick wooded areas in some of the most remote parts of Labrador. Cain’s Quest is celebrating 10 years of operation in 2016 with eight races under its belt. It is managed by Cain’s Quest Inc., a volunteer-run, non-profit organization.
Rob Gardner is a 3X Champion, having been part of a team that bought home the 1st place finish in 2016, 2011 and 2009. For more information about Robert and Team Maine, visit their website at http://www.teammaineracing.net/. Robert shared with us his sledding adventures for the past week doing some long distance backcountry riding with his buddies, with Moose Valley being their home post. With ventures to Rivere-du-Loup, Squatec, Beincourt, l’Ascension, and many more points of interest…Rob and his backcountry riders Howard, Steve, Andrew, Ed and a few others logged in well over 1,500 miles for the week.
Rob stated his typical riding year consists of well over 15,000 backcountry miles. That’s some serious riding folks…and I’m blessed to know a few hardcore guys and gals that accomplish these feats, and I admire them all. No guts, no glory…just like our country’s heroes!
With a high-five fist punch and a big ‘hell yeah’…blessed with all the adventures that come my way, let’s just say this girl had a great day to remember! December 7, 2016. Let it snow!