In the summer of 2015, at age 53, Laurie Apgar Chandler became the first woman to solo thru-paddle New England’s 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Her memoir Upwards provides one of the most comprehensive looks yet at the NFCT, the country’s longest mapped inland paddling trail. Her story of achieving an improbable dream combines inspiration with a down-to-earth account of the joys and challenges, nature and people of this historic route. Chandler holds degrees in biology and forestry and worked for many years as a research forester. The author of numerous scientific publications, she most vividly remembers the joy of publishing her first article in My Country magazine, at age 13. Chandler’s love for wilderness paddling blossomed later in life, after she and her children fulfilled their dream of moving to Maine. Pulled to write by the beauty of the woods and waters, she began journaling and blogging, drawing inspiration from her outdoor adventures, faith, and family.
An enthusiastic ambassador for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Chandler often speaks and writes about her expedition, including a recent 2-article series in The Paddler. She lives year-round in Maine, sharing her parents’ log cabin in Bremen, and gets outdoors whenever she can, summer and winter, swimming, canoeing, hiking, and snowshoeing.