PORTLAND, Maine -- A couple who were celebrating their 25th anniversary by hiking 200 miles over northern Maine's frozen waterways completed the four-week journey on the weekend before Valentine's Day.
Alexandra and Garrett Conover arrived in Allagash village Saturday after a trek on snowshoes that took them along the same route they followed on their honeymoon.
The Conovers, who run a guide service in Willimantic, left Greenville on Jan. 15. They hauled 200 pounds of food and equipment on toboggans.
The Conovers, who used audio journals to record the trip on their website, hoped that their adventure would serve as a vehicle for educating children. They carried letters from schoolchildren that they delivered Saturday to students of the Wallagrass Elementary School near Allagash.
Their route included Moosehead Lake, portions of the Penobscot River, and a 90-mile stretch of the St. John.
Faced with spectacular 50-foot-high ice jams at the confluence of the St. John and Allagash rivers, the Conovers were forced to summon help. They were hauled off the St. John on a snowmobile, about 6 miles from their destination.
''We needed to be here on a weekend so that the schoolchildren could come out," Garrett Conover said. ''It would have taken us until the middle of next week to get here" without the tow.
He said the varying winter weather, with temperatures dipping to 30 below zero, was similar to what he and his wife encountered during their first trip, as were the signs of wildlife everywhere. But fresh clear-cuts both times were a surprise, he said.
There were many new wonders, Alexandra Conover said, such as the ice reefs and canyons at the end, a whole new population of coyotes, lynx and bobcat tracks, and a raven mating dance along the Penobscot River.
Yet the sight of the children from the school meant the most, Alexandra Conover said.
''That's what this whole trip was about, opening doors and windows. They were bright and really sharp kids," she said.