Hut Staff Feature - Caily Wilbanks
HUT STAFF FEATURE - Caily Wilbanks
By: C.L. DeLisle
(Photos by: Caily Wilbanks' Instagram)
For the second summer in a row, Caily Wilbanks packed her bags and left the bustle of New York City for the calmness and serenity of the vast Maine wilderness. Last summer, Caily worked as a member of the hut staff at Poplar Hut; this summer, she’s serving as the Hut Master at Stratton Brook Hut.
Caily described how she first started working for MH&T. “I wanted to get out of the city for the summer to take a break from the grind of city life. I looked up jobs that provided room & board and stumbled across Maine Huts & Trails. I’d never heard of the huts before, but it seemed like a cool company, so I kind of just applied on a whim and got hired.” She continued to explain what made her want to come back for a second season. “I spent last summer working at Poplar Hut and just really loved it! It’s just such a chill job where you get to live somewhere beautiful.”
Originally from Durango, a small mountain town in southwest Colorado, Caily spent her childhood biking, climbing, hiking, and skiing. When she stepped off the Greyhound bus last summer, Caily was experiencing the state of Maine for the first time. She describes her reverance for the state "I love Maine! It feels totally different than the rest of the East Coast." She continues, "It's got it all: mountains and valleys, forests and the ocean, lakes and rivers— just everything."
Caily draws many similarities between the people of her home in the Rocky Mountains and those that call the state of Maine home. "Mainers remind me of the folks back home. They (Mainers) are hardy people, no time to waste, they really appreciate their community and want to be good stewards of their home."
After graduating from high school, Caily attended Montana State University where she majored in Film Production. Upon earning her degree, Caily embarked on what she described as the “biggest and scariest adventure of my life”: moving from small town Colorado to New York City in order to chase her dream of working in the film and television industry.
Caily described her experience of living in New York City. “New York has its own magic. Anything can happen and you can see so much in just a few city blocks.” She continued, “It’s all about the hustle—work, work, work. Rush and try to get ahead. Attempt to make some money. The whole city kind of has high blood pressure,” she said with a grin.
(Photos by: Caily Wilbanks' Instagram)
Working as a Freelance Production Assistant over the past three years, Caily has worked on numerous sets, which include: Law & Order, New Amsterdam, America’s Got Talent, and Mr. Robot, starring Rami Malek, recipient of the 2019 Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the hit movie “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Caily described her favorite aspects about working as a member of the MH&T Hut Staff. “On one side, you get to live in a really cool place and you have time to get out and enjoy exploring the Maine woods.” She continued, “But on the other side, you get to talk with a lot of people at the huts. I’ve never had a boring or awkward conversation. You can find something in common and something to talk about with everyone who comes in.”
When Caily’s not working, she can be found enjoying a wide array of activities in the system. From swimming in the falls near Poplar Hut, to biking the trails around Stratton Brook Hut, to relaxing and reading in her hammock.
This summer, Caily will be determining what her next step in life will be. “I still want to work in film and television, that’s my passion and what I want to pursue.” She continued, “But I’m trying to find a balance between chasing my dream and with living in a place that I love where I can do all the things I enjoy—skiing, looking at the stars, swimming in lakes, and just being in nature.”
As an experienced member of the MH&T Hut Staff, Caily offered some advice to any new, incoming hut staff members. “It’s a short season, just try to enjoy all the little things along the way. Enjoy the uniqueness of being at the huts: it’s unlike anywhere else. You’re so secluded from the rest of your normal life—cherish it—because sooner or later, you’re going to have to go back.”