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Nine Mile Bridge: Three Years in the Maine Woods

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In this critically acclaimed Maine classic, first published in 1945, Helen Hamlin writes of her adventures teaching school at a remote Maine lumber camp and then of living deep in the Maine wilderness with her game warden husband. Her experiences are a must-read for anyone who loves the untamed nature and wondrous beauty of Maine's north woods and the unique spirit of ...more
Paperback, 282 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Islandport Press (first published 1988)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Michael Wing
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was hauled up to the North Maine Woods for an appropriate place and time. Time never made it, so I read it now and love Hamlin's prose of her real life experience as a first-year teacher in Churchill Dam. More later. This is later. Finished it this morning. Though not YAL, I would strongly recommend it to a senior considering the Maine woods as a work place, especially those woods less settled. Hamlin's view of the forests, the people, and the waters around the Allagash region is dramatic ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-reads
Considering my love of wilderness and nature books, I don't know how I could have missed this Maine classic. I enjoyed reading Hamlin's three-year 'adventure' in the Maine woods, beginning in 1938 when she married her game warden husband, Curly. The author's beautiful prose was entertaining and informative and offered interesting insight into the skills and knowledge that enabled this young couple to survive northern Maine winters. I found myself quietly laughing my way through her anecdotes and ...more
Patrice M.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, biography
Found this one by chance on the library's paperback rack. Originally published in 1945, and then republished in 2004 upon the author's passing, this is a great account of living in the wilds of Maine on the Canadian border. I enjoyed the detail Helen provided of her experience. The complete picture of winter at 40 below zero with 5 feet of snow outside and not another human around for 15 miles.... made a snowy NH March in 2018 MUCH easier to survive !
Patience Thomas
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
The book, Nine Mile Bridge, was highly recommended to me by a Michael Wing in my Young Adult Literature class this past summer. It is nonfiction and written in 1945 by a maverick woman schoolteacher, Helen Hamlin. She wanted more than anything to teach in the back woods of Maine. She followed her dream and became the first woman to teach in Churchill a part of North Western part of Maine so remote that her parents drove her there via Canada. Needless to say it was a very sparcely populated area ...more
Sara Regan
Jan 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Another fascinating account of American life from a vastly different era. This one is about the inner workings of mid 1940's lumber camps and game law as seen by one of the few women to know both, in the remote North Maine Woods. The review describes a "unique spirit" of the people who lived in the region back then; this book truly brings to life a hardiness and humor that almost seems fictional. Most Mainers who work the land (or the sea) still have that spirit. The details are the key to this ...more
Beth French
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this book after a camping vacation in the area of northern Maine where this book takes place. Not only is it interesting to get to know how Helen Hamlin lived at Churchill Depot and Nine Mile Bridge, but also to know more of the history of that time and place. The boarding house where she lived when she first arrived is still standing and the lakes and streams are still beautiful and wild.
Theresa Lennon
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my paternal grandmother's book. It was actually first published in 1945. This was about her first husband I believe. I admire my grandmother's writing. She passed away on December 13th, 2004. She is loved and missed. The book gave me an excellent picture of what her life was like before I was born. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of their cribbage games. I love cribbage. I have followed her path and written an autobiography of my own.
Emily Kosnow
Oct 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
I did not learn that existed until my grandmother passed away. My great grandfather is featured in this book. If I recall correctly "the homliest man" she ever met. She does credit him with an encyclopedic memory. I am so happy to have this little family treasure.
Sophie Peabbles
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Being from Maine, this book was tons of fun to read. I loved hearing names of towns and rivers that I have visited, and hearing about the history of an amazing state.
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this book immediately after finishing Louise Dickinson Rich's We Took to the Woods. Both autobiographical, they were written in the early 1940s and focused on living isolated in the north woods of Maine. While Nine Mile Bridge complemented We Took, the writers' styles and content were quite different. We Took to the Woods was poetically almost lyrically written. Helen Hamlin, on the other hand, was very direct, no nonsense and narrative in her approach. Humor was infused into both.

JoAnn Plante
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Life in the Maine woods
Recommended to JoAnn by: LIst of Maine authors
I loved this book. It was a true story of someone, who survived in the Maine woods. The author also gave tips and tricks about outdoor living and gave some insight into what it's like to live in the Maine woods for months at a time. She talked about the food she ate and how she prepared it. She also talked about the neighbors and the entertainment they had. It was so refreshing to read about life through the eyes of a real person. She remarked on the sounds and smells of the woods and all the ...more
Christopher Sprague
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating book, though I suspect it won't appeal to everybody. Starting in 2004, I have made many trips up to this area in the fall to go hunting and fishing. In recent years we've stayed at a camp on Musquacook Lake, which is mentioned several times in this book. It's a wild and remote area, though it was far more so when this book was written. If you've ever spent any time in the North Maine Woods, paddled the Allagash, it just wondered what life used to be like up there, I cannot ...more
Mark Higgins
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book 20 plus years ago and rediscovered it when visiting my parent's cabin in Maine this past summer. I got around to reading it again after Christmas and the story is as compelling today as when I first read it. Maybe even more so as our society has become hyper-connected. If you want to see Maine as it should be, then this is the quintessential Maine story.
Ruth Ann
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was given to me to read by a Maine resident. I enjoyed reading Helen Hamlin's account of her life in a Maine's backwoods settlement and of life in a remote lumber camp in the late 1940's. Helen writes about everyday life activities while living with her game warden husband in the scarcely populated region and how they passed the time in the wilderness.
Aug 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
While not the best writing, this is a great story of Helen's three years in the wilderness in Maine with her husband and her dogs as the her only companions during the long, incredibly hard winters. This is a classic of stories of Maine as life in remote places there used to be lived, and a particulary unique story at that. Well worth finding this book.
Elizabeth Housewright
Seemed scattershot, sort of stream-of-consciousness, which just doesn't appeal to me. A picture of life in a place I've never been (although in my home state) and a time that seems remote and unfamiliar. We have come a long way, and although there is some merit in seeing life the way it used to be, it can be jarring.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. it always takes me back to where I grew up in northern Maine, and specifically to Grampy Camille's stories. He lived in all these areas right after Helen Hamlin, and it is magical to be transported back there.
Oct 19, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read and provides a picture of how remote northern maine was--and still is in some ways. Helen worked as a teacher in a lumber camp and then lived in the woods with her husband, who was a game warden. It's all about life in the Maine woods.
Dec 27, 2012 added it
You almost must be a native Mainer to fully appreciate this wonderful book. A great read on a wildly snowy day, sitting close and cozy by the wood stove. Only a woods savoy Mainer knows what it is to be "woods queer". If u have to ask, u probably won't understand ; )
Mar 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting look at the life of a Maine Forest Ranger around 1940-1944; actually, more accurately, a look at life in extreme northern Maine.
Sep 05, 2009 rated it liked it
It took me only 3 days to read. It was very interesting to me since I had just spent the previous weekend camping in the area she writes about. Not much has changed.
Tarah Hall
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A perfect look at life in the Maine woods - the way they used to be.
Jane Chandler
Great story of a woman in the North woods of Maine, back when women just didn't do that kind of thing.
Linda Holway
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
it was a good read, I really do appreciate living in the times I live in
Janet Lord
Aug 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Very worthwhile tale of a school teacher living in a lumber camp in the North Woods of Maine.
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not the best writing ever but it's a straight forward and charming account of life in 1930s Maine wilderness. Enjoyed it very much.
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful memoir of life in the Maine woods. Great read.
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