Class following Farmington native’s low-tech, 740-mile canoe adventure
FARMINGTON - Second graders at the W.G. Mallett School have been following a Mt. Blue High School graduate's 740-mile trek along a famous canoe trail, exchanging postcards and letters through their teacher.
Emma Carlson, who graduated MBHS in 2003 and Colby College in 2008, is traveling along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail with friend Emily Rooney of Vermont. The pair launched their canoe at Old Forge Pond in upstate New York, and will paddle through Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and into Maine, arriving at Fort Kent around June 1.
Carlson's mother is Sarah Carlson, an elementary teacher at Mallett School. Her class has been receiving letters and notes from Emma Carlson, who is undertaking the 40-day trip without the use of cell phones or computers. Reading an excerpt of a New York newspaper article to the students, Sarah Carlson paused to ask them what "unplugged" meant.
"It means you're not using any technology," a second grader answered, solemnly.
Students gasped as Emma Carlson reported snow falling, discussed New England geography, compass directions and vocabulary: portage, terminus and ice axe. Some wrote their own letters, to be dropped off with Emma Carlson when the pair resupply.
While at Colby, Emma Carlson attended the Adirondack Semester through St. Lawrence University, spending the semester working in the woods. Now she works for that program as an assistant director in the summer and fall semesters.
Sarah Carlson intends to meet her daughter on May 19 for a resupply drop. After her trip is complete, the canoeist will finally be able to meet her pen pals at Mallett School.