Enock Glidden

Enock's Adventures: Morgan Meadows with Greg & Robbie Dow

February 21, 2024 Enock Glidden
Trail Suggestions, Enock's Adventures, Accessibility

Hey fellow hikers! Have you ever met someone and wished you had met them sooner in life so you could have more time with them? That is how I feel about Greg and Robbie Dow. They are a couple who reached out to me about doing some accessible hiking. Little did I know I was about to meet a truly amazing person. 

Greg and Robbie moved back to Maine to be closer to family after Greg was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia in 2019. In 2020, as his aphasia progressed, it was determined that he was suffering Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Ultimately, CTE looks like a form of dementia, with connections in the brain gradually unlocking and leading to a loss of all bodily function and self care. 

Greg had a rough start as a kid, growing up poor in Portland, always in trouble fighting, and being told he was stupid. But he never believed that, and he forged forward, just as he did later in life as his illness progressed.

Greg became involved in martial arts as a young person, and that set him on a path in life. He was a trailblazer for the disability community before people really even thought about it. He believed that anyone could do martial arts. Early in his career, before he left Maine, he taught at the Mackworth Island School for the Deaf. Later in Fresno, CA, he taught a blind student who had brain damage and had her enter a tournament. In an article I found, Greg said,

I had a student who was blind in Fresno. She did a [karate] tournament and nobody realized she was blind until I walked her [off the mat]. There was silence, and then applause.

He also adapted equipment for Ania Gast, a student of his with spina bifida in Pacific Grove, CA, so that she could do boxing. That same article stated,

Greg knows we have limitations, but he pushes us to give it our all... When we go somewhere, able-bodied people are scared and will turn [disabled people] away because they just don’t know. But [Greg] was very accepting. He never saw people's limitations, only believed that they could do anything!

I believe that if I had met Greg when I was in California, I would have ended up his student. I found a commercial on YouTube from his time in Fresno that demonstrates his kickboxing prowess. Greg also had an illustrious career as a kickboxing competitor traveling all over the world to compete. He fought for two world Kickboxing titles in the early 80s, one in Japan and one in Thailand. Unfortunately, he didn't win either due to a knee injury.

So now that you know the background about the amazing couple I got to meet, let’s talk about our hikes! The first hike I found for us to try was at the Morgan Meadows Wildlife Management Area. Robbie had purchased a Grit Freedom Chair to take Greg on hikes since he was unable to push himself, and description on MTF made me think this trail would be no problem in a Grit chair, plus according to the posting, the trails are rated as easy.

The trail network offers a number of short options for exploring these forests year-round. The Spiegal Trail is a one mile loop, which can be extended to the north by looping around the 0.9-mile Glover's Wig Trail, and/or by traveling out and back on the 0.4-mile (one-way) Meadow Link Trail.

We got there and found a small parking area, and a gate across the trail. 


To the left of the gate there was a space wide enough for us to get through, but just barely.

We decided to stick to the main trail, which looked like a service road, as we thought it would be easier. We were wrong! It was a steep uphill, and we made it about a half-mile before deciding this was not going to work out. Luckily, friends of Greg and Robbie were visiting from California, so I had someone to help push me, too.

This is definitely not an easy place to wheelchair hike if you don’t have help!


Almost a year later, we finally got back together, and this time I chose a trail I had already done. I took Greg and Robbie to the Spring Road Trail on the shore of Lake Auburn. This is also an old road, but with much more gradual grades and a better surface. It still posed some challenges, as Robbie had abandoned the Grit chair due to it being more difficult to seat him comfortably. This was a true test of our everyday wheelchairs, but we only found a few spots that were difficult to navigate, where the water had made the surface a bit soft and sandy.


You may have noticed that I have been speaking of Greg in the past tense. Unfortunately, he lost his final fight on October 13, 2023. Robbie and I still plan to get out and hike together when time, weather, and life allow. For now, I think the moral of the story is to always get to know people and cherish those in your life. Greg was an amazing person who led an astounding life. I will forever be grateful I had the opportunity to enjoy a little of all Maine has to offer with him and Robbie.


If you have a different type of mobility issue or a different disability and you visit this trail or others, please comment on this post and give us your feedback. The more knowledge we gather and share, the more people we can get outside using the trails of Maine!

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