Management Success: 5 Ways to Create the Best Customer Experience

As a service provider, your main focus is to provide the best overall experience to your guests. However, the backbone of what goes into a great customer experience is commonly overlooked by many. A quick Google search will return more information than you’ll know what to do with. Thankfully, this is NOT that type of article. The following tips and concepts below will guide you in creating and managing a successful experience plan.

#1 Conduct a SWOT analysis

The first key step in generating a guest experience is understanding yourself and organization. Identifying the strengths and opportunities can help generate ideas for unique offerings and align with your vision. This focuses the attention on the resources and things that you are good at. In addition, this model also identifies threats and weaknesses. External sources can also have a harmful impact. You should always be setting goals in areas that need improvement. In return, this can make you more aware of the surroundings and improve the guest experience.

#2 Segment Visitors

Understanding your guests will help you deliver the highest quality experience. Segmenting visitors based on several characteristics will make their encounter much more enjoyable and personalized. This involves differentiating by service offerings and tiering. You can group buyers by:

  1. Demographics: This typically involves age, race, religion, gender, family size, ethnicity, income, and education.You can pull census data to determine who, where, and how you want to market your product.
  2. Psychographics: Involves personality traits, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. This occurs when you break your market down along these interests and attitudes so you can market the appropriate product to each segment of the market.
  3. Behavior: What are the observable behaviors of the customer (ie-spending, consumption, usage, desired benefits, etc)? Identify how loyal the customers are and tier products and services based upon this.
  4. Need-based: What does the customer truly want in a service? Are they more quality sensitive or price sensitive? How well does a product or service enable the guest to successfully execute any job? Customer needs-based segmentation is valuable because it reveals underserved and over-served market segments that exist in a market and the size of each of those segments.

Segmentation will allow you to better develop and market your products because there will be a more precise match between the product and each segment’s needs and wants.

#3 Plan for Success

Hiring qualified employees for the distribution and delivery of your product is very important. Being in the service industry, guests will encounter the service staff almost immediately, creating personalized relationships with them.

You should create better pay and benefits to attract quality staff. Be on the lookout for outstanding service performers as they bring in natural qualities that cannot be taught. Keep the job scope broadened to encourage the application of new skills. Also, ensure that relevant training and empowerment practices are implemented to allow for frontline staff to feel valued.

All of these cues will make employees happier in their work and provide higher quality service, thus creating a greater customer loyalty base and experience.

#4 Remember to Use and Craft the Service Environment

Crafting the service environment can help exemplify the experience for the guest. This includes the style, appearance of physical surroundings and other elements experienced by customers at “delivery” sites. The service environment can shape the customer’s experience, behavior, feelings, and reactions. The ambiance and spatial design can all increase the desire for certain goods, services, and experiences. It can also help to assess questions related to quality and brand as services are often intangible. Having a strong understanding of your guest’s emotions and characteristics will be key in aligning the proper environment.

#5 Identify Fail Points Through Blueprinting

Using a blueprint to plan out the experience for your guest will identify the on and off stage processes. In addition, this model can also exploit fail points in your service. A fail point is any point within the encounter that has the potential to affect customer satisfaction or quality. Risk is always involved in the service industry, as it is in any activity undertaken in life. However, proper management techniques can help reduce the effects that risk will have on a guest. Using total quality management methods will prevent errors in the delivering process. “Poka-yokes”, or fail-safe methods ensure that certain steps and standards are being followed.

This process allows the provider to understand the service/experience and improves areas that are weak and undefined.


So that’s it! We hope you take these tips into consideration and apply them in your organization to create a great customer experience!

Steps to Get the True Maine Experience

 If you’re a business owner in the tourism sector and want to know the best way you can provide a more personal experience for your customer, you will find this article particularly helpful. Enjoy!

  Step 1: Know Your Customers.

It’s crucial for any business owner to fully understand the customers you’re targeting. There are so many different types of travelers that visit and all of them expect you to be able to provide for there wants and needs without you even meeting them. To start, study your location(s) and the resources that it has to offer. Knowing what resources your business has to offer will allow you to target the right customer segments. Consider things like: is your business family friendly, are people going to want to plan a family vacation here, or do your resources provide activities that are more oriented for a specific customer only? By deciphering between these things, you will have a much better understanding of how to target your customer.
Here is a link that will explain the different types of customers:

Step 2: Determine the Theme or Story That Best Suits Your Capabilities to Your Customers Wants/Needs.

To determine this, look back to your location and the resources that it provides. First, what attributes make this location authentic? A lot of local towns in Maine represent a long history of the area, how it was developed, and how some of the local businesses operate. For example, you can travel almost anywhere along Maine’s coastline and get a taste of the fishermen’s culture that has been a way of life for local families dating back many generations. This is a great example of showing how tourism businesses along the coast have utilized the deep history of fishing to provide a representation of the locations authenticity. Secondly, determine something unique about your location(s) that can differentiate yourself from competitors. By differentiating yourself you put your business in a better position to target customers looking for a unique experience.

Step 3: Plan the Experience.

It’s crucial that the customer has a positive travel experience from the time they leave their house to the time they arrive at your location. This includes any transportation or equipment needed, any accommodations for the customer, and any activities that are offered. The information about your business provided to the customer and how it is provided to them is key. Determine where the customer will go, what they will do, the activities they will encounter, and how is it unique and authentic compared to competitors? How will the customer be engaged and interacted with? Is there one specific activity or are there several? By targeting these attributes, you are ensuring that the customer’s experience is well-planned and that they are the main focus.

Step 4: Map Out the Flow of Itinerary for You, Your Staff, and Your Partners.

Yourself, your staff, and your partners are what makes or breaks your business. These individuals are the frontline personnel that your customers are going to be interacting with. It’s very important that every staff member or partner understands the vision of the company and the goals they are trying to achieve when dealing with customers. To do so effectively, break each component of the experience into detailed segments that are easy for the staff and partners to understand and reciprocate. Promote safety standards and precautions, as well as a plan to execute such protocols. Plan and prepare for guest limitations (dietary restrictions, handicaps, age issues, etc). Being prepared for guests with any issue shows to the customer that you are taking the extra time to ensure that the experience for these customers is very important to your business.
Here is a link that will help you develop an easy to read and understand flowchart:

Step 5: Know Your Market Positioning.

Knowing your market positioning is very important in order for you to properly target your customers. Knowing whether you are targeting a mass market, niche market, major market or customized market is crucial for deciding how to market your business. To understand what your market positioning is, compare your businesses attributes with these questions: who are your competitors, how are they rated, what makes your business different, what about your location represents a sense culture or heritage, is your location nature-based or does is promote seasonal events, is your business targeting nationally, internationally or both? By determining these questions, you will have a good sense of what your market positioning is and how you can utilize your characteristics to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Here is a link that will help you understand how to determine your businesses market positioning:

Step 6: Market Your Experience.

Marketing your business to your customer is a must and to do it effectively will decide whether you attract attention to your location or not. Break the market into 4 sectors: Business to Consumer, Consumer to Business, Customer to Customer, and Business to Business. These 4 sectors are the ways that your organization’s information is passed throughout the company. It’s crucial that you target all of these sectors in order to effectively market the experience. Also, setting an attractive selling price is very important as a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Here is a link that discusses 7 ways to market your tourism business:

Step 7: Make It Unique and Authentic.

By providing a unique and authentic experience, you are able to connect with customers on a more personal level. Making sure that your customers are learning about your business and are getting hands-on in activities shows to them that your business is going above and beyond to meet the wants and needs of your customers. Connecting with your customers on a personal level makes the experience memorable for them, and they are more likely to share their experience with family, friends, or even post about it on social media. Making your service unique and authentic truly sets you apart from the competitors and proves that you’re providing a true Maine experience.

Step 8: Evaluate Your Progress.

It’s important to evaluate how the company is operating. If things are going awesome, see how you can introduce something new to test out. If things are not operating smoothly, see what you can do differently to make things more valuable to the customer. Or, should you save your money and choose a different path to the desired target market?

Understanding the Beauty behind Fall By: C.L. DeLisle

From a walk on Oct. 22nd, 2017

      I hurried out the door at 5:30 pm for a quick walk in the fading moments of twilight. Here in Maine, it’s that time of year where the insidious darkness of the encroaching winter becomes vivid. The sun had already set as I stepped onto the gravel drive. Utter silence dominated the air. There were no more boats cruising the lake, no more “summer people” walking their dogs, nor were there any cars. Not even a single squirrel could be heard prancing about the woods.


A still Great Pond. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson). 

The foliage is at its peak. Or, in many places, maybe even on that dirt camp road, it’s on the decline. It’s starting to become noticeably colder after an unseasonably warm and welcoming fall. My hands were shoved into the pouch of my Bauer sweatshirt, my breath visible as I walked. An increasing number of leaves were falling from the treetops, covering the gravel of the narrow road beneath a colorful carpet. The carpet was stitched with various shades of red, orange, and yellow leaves that had been knocked free by a powerful wind that blew the night before.


Hathaway Lane in Rome covered in a blanket of leaves. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson). 

Towards the end of the road, the woods open up on the left to a field of wilting grass in which horses once grazed. Across this field there’s an ancient white farmhouse in which a cranky old man lives. There’s a large red barn with a sign hung above its wide doorway that reads “Lakeview Farm”. At the very end of the road, the field opens on all sides to reveal a spectacular view of Great Pond. That night the lake was calm, mirroring the image of the burning sky at dusk perfectly.

While approaching the end of the road, I noticed the sky becoming increasingly visible through the thinning canopies of the white birch trees. The sky looked as it did in the springtime, though the remaining leaves that still clung to the branches were now crisp and brown – in spring, they were moist and green.


Adolescent leaves budding in spring. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson)

Arriving at the end of the road, I stopped to look out over the still lake: there weren’t many lights left on along its shore. After a few minutes, I turned and headed back towards home. The crimson, maroon, fire orange, and bright yellow canopies of treetops across the field caught my attention; I thought of how beautiful fall is. But then I began to contemplate why it is that fall is considered so beautiful.


Colorful tree line across the field on Jamaica Point. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson)

Of course, the reason is largely due to its aesthetically pleasing foliage, as people from around the world who travel to New England this time of year will vouch for.


Tree at peak foliage in the Belgrade Lakes. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson)

But more importantly, fall is beautiful because is is the END. It is the end to something long anticipated and lusted about year after year; it is the end to summer. We often make the fondest and most cherished memories during those long days and warm nights.


A campfire along the Dead River this past summer. (Photo courtesy of Chris DeLisle)

But when we are living through them, people will often argue that summer is never as sweet as we imagine it; I couldn’t disagree more with this argument.

On my walk earlier that spring, around the same time of day and looking at the same trees I see tonight, only then full of youth, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the excitement that comes with spring. The days would get longer and warmer, everything would get better. I dreamt about all the times to come laughing and living with friends and family. For me, the reality of summer always seems to outshine the fantasy of the dream.

Sure, the present is often unsatisfactory. But it is also where lasting and cherished memories are made. By focusing on each aspect of the present, knowing that soon it will become a memory, each day becomes more valuable. With every leaf that shakes free and dances towards the ground, I can’t help but see a new memory of mine lying within.


A lone leaf that fell from the trees during early fall. (Photo courtesy of Chris DeLisle)

I see journeying through the Blue Ridge Mountains, looking out over the spectacular expanse laid before my eyes and feeling the warm breeze against my back (read previous blog: “A Walk Along the Ridge”, if you want to know more about that experience).


Horizon line from atop the Blue Ridge Mountains. (Photo courtesy of Chris DeLisle)

I feel the sweat streaming down my spine on a sweltering June day in Portland. The uneven cobblestone streets of the Old Port make me unbalanced as I hobble around in a walking boot. The annual Old Port Fest is underway and I’m with a group of laughing and smiling acquaintances.


Old Port Fest 2017. (Photo courtesy of Michael Leonard) 

I see four friends lugging an absurd amount of camping gear down a secluded dirt road running along the Dead River. A light mist is falling and they are slightly intoxicated due to a successful “play run” (a non-commercial rafting trip) on the Kennebec River earlier. One of the girls is complaining and asking, “How much further?”. To this, I see myself, still wearing a walking boot, replying: “Just around the next corner,” for the entire two-mile trip.

Adventures consist of both highs and lows


A group of three friends and myself wading in the Dead River. (Photo courtesy of Chris DeLisle)

I feel the weight of a hiking bag full of equipment pulling heavily against my shoulders as I ascend a mountain with a pond on top to campout. That night, a violent thunder storm rolled in and I can hear the endless pattering of rain against the tent’s roof throughout the starless night.  I feel the stickiness of waking up the next morning, two friends having slept in a pool of spilled boxed wine (just the bag, no box, too bulky for hiking mountains).


Alexandra McCown and Myself atop Tumbledown Mtn. (Photo courtesy of Alexandra McCown)

I see a group of bearded AT (Appalachian Trail) thru-hikers from around the world walking along Route 201 in The Forks with their dirty thumbs out trying to hitch a ride. I see slowing down to pick them up, hearing their fantastic stories around a campfire that night, and bringing them rafting for free the next day on a play run (“Trail Magic” is what they called it). Man did they stink after almost 2,000 miles of walking through the woods!


Group of raft guides and AT thru-hikers enjoying a sunny day on the Kennebec River. (Photo courtesy of Matt Morelli)

I see myself conquering the tallest mountain in Maine with another group of four friends. I can feel my shirt being whipped about like a flag in the cold wind as I drink a similar bag of wine while standing triumphantly atop the Mount Katahdin sign.


Drinking a bag of wine atop Mt. Katahdin with Alexandra McCown. (Photo courtesy of Chris DeLisle)

Fall is most beautiful because it is the end; it’s the end to one chapter and the beginning of another. Overtime, the leaves become part of the ground they fall upon, reshaping the face of the Earth. Like the leaves, our memories become part of us. The people and places that helped make them may fade, but they (the memories) never leave us. They add to us. They teach us. They help us grow and become stronger. They reshape us.  And best of all, they never stop coming.

More Foliage

Orange and Red foliage on Jamaica Point Road. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson)

Soon, all the leaves will be gone and there will be a seemingly endless darkness. But as we all know, nothing, not even the Earth and sky, lasts forever. A few months from now the atmosphere will once again start to bloom full with life. Each fertile leaf that’s buds from the treetops will hold the promise of new memories to come.


New leaflets blooming in the spring. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Wilson)

Pay attention to the little details of the present and choose your company wisely, for those are what make a memory eternal.

  • What do you all think about this latest blog post?
  • Do you agree with my idea of why fall is beautiful? If not, what is your reason?
  • What are some of your most cherished memories made during the summer of 2017?

Shoot me an email or a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Into the Classroom Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

Into The Classroom

Maine is known as a world-class fishery, anglers travel from all over just to get a chance to catch Maine fish. Some may think that all of this just happens because Maine is a pristine landscape with abundant fish and wildlife. Actually, keeping Maine’s fish and wildlife in balance is a lot of hard work tasked to many people all across the state. Recently UMF’s Rec 106 class got a chance to dive into the world of wildlife and fisheries management.

On the first day of class, we learned that our professor, Sonny Pierce, wouldn’t just be teaching us from a textbook. Instead, he would use his 25 years experience working as a fisheries biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and his own personal passion for fishing. Most nights in class we would learn about habitat management, the life cycles of wildlife and fish, working with the public, and why it’s so important for Maine to care about its fisheries and wildlife. While students can learn a lot in the classroom Sonny knew we could learn just as much with hands-on experience and planned a field trip to the Embden Fish Rearing Station.

It was early on a Saturday morning when I and my fellow classmates arrived on campus half awake and ready to travel to Embden. By some miracle, all of our class was there on time and most were prepared.  After a quick roll call, we all packed into cars and made the 40-minute journey to the station not knowing what was in store for us when we arrived. As we drove I gazed out the window trying not to fall asleep and was happy to see the very habitats we had been taking notes on in class in their entirety.

Embden Maine

Photo courtesy of the Maine Encyclopedia.

As we pulled into the station it was not at all what I expected, which in all fairness might have been along the lines of the fish section at Petco or the tanks at Seaworld but I digress. Instead, I saw a house and a large building with two large doors on each end and the constant sound of bubbling water filled the air. We were greeted by our tour guide Gene Arsenault the stations Fish Culture Supervisor and he gave us a rundown of the stations’ stats and a bit of history. After that, we were off to explore the station piece by piece building by building.

We started at the source of all the water used in the facility. A small shed on the edge of the property with two large pipes that seemed to go on forever and disappear into the forest. These pipes actually ended in Embden pond, one in shallow water and one out deeper, bringing water all the way back to the mixing shed. Once in the shed, the water passed through screens and under lights to keep it debris free and somewhat sterile. The water was then pumped into the largest building which at the point we all assumed had the fish seeing as we hadn’t seen any yet.

On our way to see if our hunch was true we stopped to look at the large trucks fitted with tanks used for transporting fish. Gene told us that the trucks travel all over Maine and as far North as St.Agatha a 5-hour trip one way from the station. The trucks were pretty big and as you can imagine cant reach every body of water that needs to be stocked in Maine. For harder to reach or remote locations a seaplane flown by the Maine Warden service lends a hand or the fish get backpacked in by a team of two. These methods might seem a little extreme or like a lot of work but this is what goes into making Maine a world class fishery. 

IMG_2920We finally made it to the big building which at the point from the smell we knew the fish were there. As we walked in we could hear water bubbling and splashing from what looked like metal kiddy pools that filled the entire building. As I stepped closer to them the tanks looked empty but were actually completely full of small dark-colored fish.




Each tank was full and the fish got bigger as we moved throughout the building. Gene demonstrated how the fish were fed with automatic feeders stationed above the tanks and how their feeding habits changed with size. The bigger they got the more aggressive and the more we got splashed as Gene threw a handful of food into the tank.


IMG_2921We left the building just as we came in, following the flow of the water. The water in each tank is kept fresh constantly pumping old water out. This old water travels out of the building and into the drum building. No this not where Gene keeps his drum kit but instead two huge drums with nylons filters that the water runs through on its way to the evaporation pool. The station only keeps one drum on at a time just in case it breaks down they have a backup. Water then flows out of the drum room and into an outside holding tank that was by far the worst smelling part of this trip! But everything has a purpose and nothing goes to waste no matter how bad it smells. Filtered water leaves the tank and goes back into the water table while the bad smelling scum is left behind. This scum or sediment is actually sold to farmers to fertilize their fields. We had seen everything there was to see, smelt every smell, and no one fell asleep despite it being before noon on a Saturday.

I’d like to think that we all went back into the classroom with a better understanding and appreciation of Maine fisheries. I know I came back with a better understanding of just how much work goes into making sure everyone who casts a line in Maine has a chance of catching something.

For more information about the Embden Fish Station visit their page on

A Walk Along the Ridge: Traveling through the Blue Ridge Parkway (Why we travel)

The brown, grotesquely dull landscape of northern Florida and Georgia transforms as you move North through the Carolinas. The landscape is replaced by rolling green pastures running wild with rivers of lavender; a delightful change of scenery. Far off, beyond the vast rolling sea of green, a giant blue wave grows high in the sky, spread wide across the horizon and seems to run directly towards you. But like an experienced surfer, we shy not away from this intimidating wave, we paddle towards it, climbing higher and higher so that we may revel in the beauty and thrill that sits atop. Yes, this wave, which stretches from South Carolina all the way to Pennsylvania, is in fact the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Traveling North from Florida to Maine, unrestricted by time and free of responsibilities, I seek to escape the tightening grip of society by journeying, alone, along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. Officially established in 1936, the parkway stretches 469 miles through North Carolina and Virginia. Since its creation over eighty years ago, millions of travelers have gravitated towards this elevated oasis. After journeying only a handful of miles along it’s winding spine, it becomes vividly apparent to me why this gravitational pull exists.

On one side of the ridge there is a steep drop-off that opens up to reveal a vast horizon. Dwarfing your very existence, this spectacle has the ability to generate feelings of both significance and insignificance simultaneously. You experience feelings of insignificance because of your minuscule size in comparison to the immense stage set before your very eyes. The giant wave that is the towering mountain range which you are riding along begins to break into smaller hills as it drops off. A gentle wind blows from behind you, over the ridge and down through the smaller hills, making the treetops sway back and forth as it wanders further into the dark green sea. Eventually, your eyes fail you and the green sea begins to fade to blue; the convergence between land and sky becomes blurred, the line between heaven and earth unclear.

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Horizon along Blue Ridge Parkway (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

You experience feelings of significance because you are here, high atop a grand mountain range, traveling along an impossible route seemingly carved into existence specifically for you. The feeling that this was no accident starts to overwhelm you; the stage has been set for you; the play itself scripted on your behalf.

The other side of the parkway is a foreign world, utterly alienated from that which opposes it. Here, the most unbelievable rolling farmland dominates the landscape. The hills represent a cartoon depiction of a giant guitar string being strung.

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Rolling farmland in Blue Ridge Mountains (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

Cattle graze lazily, as they are destined to do, through knee-deep grass that dances constantly in the warm summer breeze. Fences, of course, run through the hills, restricting the freedom of the cattle’s graze. These fences seem to have been constructed long ago. Cracking and covered in moss, rotting, but once sturdy wooden beams are staked into the ground every few yards, connected together by slim strings of rusty barbed wire.

Old fence running through rolling hills in the Blue Ridge Mountains (Photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

The gentle wind that blows through the fields and wanders over the ridge into the vast green sea beyond seems to take any hint of progression with it. Time, however, does not stand still here. Rather, time ticks persistently forward, but the grinding gears of “progress” seem to be broken. Left behind are only bones, fossils of a time long since past. Abandoned farms, churches, and houses are a common sight throughout the parkway.

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Abandoned Church along the Blue Ridge Parkway (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)
Giant holes have seeped into the rusted tin roofs of old, decaying barns. Whole sections of wooden siding are gone. Buckling under the weight of their age, barns seep low towards the ground, tired, begging to be reunited with the animals and people who once worked the land long ago.

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Decaying farm along the Blue Ridge Parkway (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

The country is tragically beautiful. Beautiful in its fervent effort to cling to the past, refusing to let go of the innocence and purity long since been forgotten by the rest of the East Coast. Tragic because of the incredible toll that it has taken to achieve such a feat: to become frozen in time. Protected landmarks, like the Mabry Mill, will continue to exist to serve as a display and hub for the common traveler.

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The Mabry Mill (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

But the true remnants of the past, honest portrayals of what life once used to be like, will soon return to dust and be forgotten. Thus is the nature of all things. There is no stopping it from occurring, and the process of falling into obscurity is in itself immortal and beautiful.

There is no doubt left in my mind why I, or any of the other millions of people have seemed to gravitate towards this alluring oasis. Somehow, we seek to find something by straddling the cusp between the past and the future. By surrounding ourselves with the past, amongst the ghosts of those who came long before us, but always keeping a watchful eye to the horizon, to the future, we hope to find whatever it is that we are looking for.

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Another horizon along the Parkway (Photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

That is why we are here, but what we seek remains unclear, trying its best to allude our capture. Maybe we are here to discover the true essence of life, to understand the temporal nature of ourselves, of others, of all things, and to grasp at something that is just beyond our reach.

But in the end, arms outstretched, the answers seem to slip through the fingers of most. Our arms can’t reach it, our eyes can’t see it, and our ears can’t hear it; only the soul can understand the answer to the question that we don’t yet know how to ask. Most refuse, or simply do not know how, to look inward for the answers. That is why they come to places like this, places where they believe that their senses will be stimulated enough to discern the answers.

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Another old wooden fence along the parkway (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

But neither sight, hearing, taste, smell, nor touch can distinguish what it is that we are looking for. So we take pictures, we laugh, we smile, and we tell others about our adventure. But, in secret, we leave disappointed, still searching for the answers.

The truth to why people come here is in-fact ambiguous, and I can only speculate that people come here for an underlying purpose similar to that of my own. Still, even I am uncertain why this needed to be done: to travel alone for 2,000 miles away from anyone and any place that I had ever known.

But, in solitude, beneath early morning sunrises and late-afternoon sunsets, I believe that the answer was whispered to me.
Each day started and ended the same while traveling through the Blue Ridge Mountains, as it does throughout the entire world, with the rising and setting of the golden sun.

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Sunset in the Blue Ridge Mountains (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

Sunrises and sunsets are almost identical in appearance, but they stand for entirely different meanings and trigger an array of opposite emotions. There is always a certainty to both; each end leads to a new beginning, and each beginning eventually leads to an unavoidable end. The fading rays of light during sunset are more cherished than those at sunrise, for you know that soon they will be replaced by darkness, remaining only as a memory. But the growing rays of light at sunrise are of a different nature. They hold the promise of a bright future, a hope for the coming day, and thus offer a level of infinite optimism.

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Sunrise in the Blue Ridge Mountains (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

Sitting alone, beneath either the growing or fading rays of sun, gazing into the vast and spectacular expanse laid before me, a thought began to take hold of my conscious. Each and every human being is much like the sun that rises in the East and sets in the West. We travel through the sky and across a great stage; we encounter an infinite number of people and an infinite number of experiences throughout our day.

There are two certainties to our day: there will be a sunrise and there will, of course, be a sunset. The rays will shine the brightest and most unappreciated during the dawn, but they will be more cherished and beautiful at dusk, right before they fade to black. We will leave behind our own bones, our own fossils, memories of people and places from a time that has since passed us by as we travel through the sky.

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Leaking old aqueduct running into the Mabry Mill (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

But we must not become prisoners of the past, nor can we only look to the future, for those are already certain and beyond our reach. We must set our gaze upon the present, focusing on each step that we decide to take along the ridge when the sun is high in the sky. For it is in the often insignificant and unappreciated present where we form lasting memories, the soon-to-be fossils that seek to dominate our consciousness as we make our way towards dusk.

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Dusk in the Blue Ridge Mountains (photo taken by Chris DeLisle)

Wecome Back!


Welcome back!!! We hope everyone had a wonderful summer filled with rad adventures and lots of sunshine! All of us at TRAIL are pumped to be here and are excited to get back to exploring Franklin County and all it has to offer! This year we plan to bring you information about the best trails and outdoor activites, student events, business insights, and interviews with people making a difference in the recreation community!

Heres hoping you all had a wonderful first week of classes and spent some time outside enjoying our last bit of summer!





What Have You Done This Summer?


What are you up to this summer-

Hey, everyone! We hope you are having a relaxing summer so far filled with awesome adventures!

We want to know what those adventures are! Are you hiking, kayaking, rafting, biking, camping, or fishing? Send us pictures of you and your friends enjoying your favorite summer activities. Let’s show everyone just how fun and action packed a Maine summer can be!

Send your pictures and adventure stories to us on Facebook or email them to us at for a chance to be featured on the blog!

Enjoy the rest of this summer and get outside and explore!