Located in northcentral Maine near Rockwood, this may be the only off-road lodge in the Northeast catering exclusively to cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Snowmobilers seldom shatter the stillness of one of Maines oldest sporting camps, surrounded by several hundred thousand acres of spruce, fir, lakes, and rivers in the Katahdin massif. Ski-equipped planes bring in guests from Greenville, 15 miles west. Most winters you can ski in to the lodge by various routes, but its a tough slog of from five to 15 miles.
Eight cabins, built in the 1870s, are equipped with woodstoves, lanterns, wicker rockers, and pine-log beds. Each has its own private outhouse. Breakfast and dinner are served family-style in the lodge; homemade beer and maple syrup are specialties.
A 50-mile network of well-marked but not necessarily groomed trails winds through hardwood and evergreen forests, offering constantly shifting perspectives on surrounding 3,000-foot summits-Elephant, Indian, Baker, and White Cap. Telemarkers favor the steep, open slopes of Indian Mountain. The most popular destination for skiers and snowshoers is Gulf Hagas, a four-mile excursion along the Pleasant River to a ravine lined with slate cliffs. In a rare lapse of New England understatement, the chasm is nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the East.
Rates at Little Lyford (c/o Folsoms Air Service, 207-695-2821 or 207-534-2284) are $85 per person, including meals. Round-trip airfare is $66 per person, two-person minimum. Cabins sleep two to six