MEET PETE

National Geographic photographer Pete Muller is no stranger to travel and adventure. As a world-renowned photographer focused on documenting conflict in post-colonial states, he has ventured into unchartered territories and faced the world’s harshest conditions. So when it’s time to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors, as a New England native, there’s only one place Pete wants to go to gear up and get out. And that’s Maine.

For someone who’s been everywhere and seen everything, we had to ask Pete: What's In Your Pack?

LOOK INSIDE PETE'S PACK

LOOK INSIDE PETE'S PACK

GEARING UP AND GETTING OUT IN MAINE

Maine holds a singular place in Pete’s heart — a pristine wilderness where he’s found he can carve his own path, be true to himself, and experience authentic adventure. His first brush with the state came when he was 14, at a month-long camp set deep in Maine’s backcountry. The experience was transformative.

“At 14 I came out of the Maine woods an entirely different person. Being so far removed and getting back to something so elemental changed the course of my life.”

From that moment on, he hasn’t been able to stay away — Maine’s massive wilderness and outdoor adventures keep pulling him back. A growing appreciation for artists like Winslow Homer has further deepened his connection to the state. But it’s the search for that undiscovered waterfall, elusive brook trout, or sunset summit view that’s the real lure.

“Maine is a wonderful place to escape, unwind, and recharge from the fast pace of life.”

Given his love of hiking, canoeing, and fly fishing, Pete’s bond with Maine comes as no surprise. The state is laced with thousands of miles of rivers and streams, hundreds of glacial lakes, and the East Coast’s longest walk — the Appalachian Trail. From state parks like Mt. Blue to Acadia National Park on the rocky Atlantic shore, trails range from gentle paths to challenging peaks to granite walls ripe for climbing. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument alone spans more than 87,000 acres of mountain and forest terrain. No wonder his fishing gear, polarized sunglasses, and reusable water bottle are permanent parts of Pete’s pack.

Pete’s drawn to Maine’s temperate summers and breathtaking autumn colors, but winters offer some of New England’s best skiing.

“The state’s so huge there’s really something for everyone. Kayaking along inlets. Fly fishing and surfcasting. Hiking, biking, camping — the adventures are everywhere.”

From iconic moose in the forests to whales off the coast, wildlife abounds, and Pete’s camera (never missing from his pack) can prove it. But while he loves the solitude of remote back country corners, there’s a civilized side too. He enjoys dipping into the restaurants, bars, and shops of Portland and other towns. Quaint seaside towns, lighthouses, lobster boats, white sand beaches, festivals, galleries, and theaters all reflect the state’s distinct local flavor and culture. And linking it all — four scenic byways winding through 182 miles of dramatic coastline, fishing villages, and wilderness parkland.

His advice to travelers following in his footsteps? Be prepared for the isolated trails, remote conditions, and real wildlife you’ll encounter — particularly in the northern reaches.

Through years as a photojournalist covering war, violence, and upheaval, Pete has returned again and again to the powerful solitude of Maine’s wild places. His journal is filled with reflections on not only what he saw and where he went, but how it made him feel.

“Reconnecting with Maine’s natural landscapes and adventures has been a touchstone, a kind of meditation that helps me deal with all types of things. Especially when there’s a fly rod in my hand.”

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GEAR UP + GO MAINE

Can’t wait to see what’s around the bend? Introduce yourself to an original adventure with Maine and Hyperlite Mountain Gear. Whether you want to take Mt. Katahdin one step at a time or take in the Atlantic along Acadia’s coast, all you have to do is gear up and go.

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