Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Sunrise at Sunset Rock (Lucerne)

The Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust holds a 17 acre conservation easement on Sunset Rock in Lucerne.  A short and flat 100 yard trail leads to a large rock clearing from which you can view Phillips Lake and mountains to the west.  Arriving here at sunrise allowed those western mountains to be illuminated by the rising sun.  

There is a small parking lot at the end of Sunset Drive.  From there, follow the trail that leads straight from the end of the road.  

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Mt. Waldo

My sons and I hiked Mt. Waldo today.   This is a favorite hike of mine as it is close to home, provides a great workout and has excellent views from the top.

The trail is heavily used, and unfortunately the quarry area has been heavily vandalized with spray paint.   The trails beyond the quarry are beautiful as they wind through forest and open rock up to the summit.  


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Downeast Day Trip (Tidal Falls Preserve, Acadia Schoodic Peninsula and Petit Manan NWR)

My older son and I visited Tidal Falls Preserve, Schoodic Peninsula and the Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge today. 

Tidal Falls Preserve

Tidal Falls is an 8 acre preserve owned and managed by the Frenchman Bay Conservancy.  The rapid tides in the area create a series of rapids in the Taunton River.  The park doesn't have hiking trails, although you can walk along the river and up to the observation platform and picnic tables.  According to the preserve's website (https://frenchmanbay.org/preserves-trails/tidal-falls/), the best time to visit is within 2 hours on either side of low tide.  We made a last minute decision to stop here and hadn't timed our visit to see the falls at their best.  It was still enjoyable to watch the swift current rush past and we also spotted a seal while we were there.   

Schoodic Peninsula, Acadia National Park

Schoodic Peninsula is the only part of Acadia National Park that is located on the mainland.  Around an hour from the Hull Cove Visitor Center on Mount Desert Island, Schoodic gets significantly less visitation than the main part of the park.  Schoodic offers hiking and biking trails as well as a campground area (currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) 

Despite it being the 4th of July, visitation was light today, partly due to temperatures in the high 50's combined with fog and light misting.  We spent our time in the park exploring the rocky shoreline around Schoodic Point and Blueberry Hill.


Hollingsworth Trail, Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge

The 2,195 acre Petit Manan Point Division in Steuben is one of four mainland units of the Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge.  The Hollingsworth Trail is one of two hiking trails maintained by USFWS in this section.  The 1.8 mile trail leads through a blueberry field (handpicking is permitted) and a coastal forest to an open beach area and rocky outcroppings.  We explored the beach in additional to the trail, adding an additional 1.5 miles to our hike.  We ventured down the beach in the hopes of spotting the Petit Manan Island Lighthouse through the fog to no avail.  The trail wound along dirt paths, wooden walkways, and occasional sections of exposed rock.  Although there were a few other visitors, overall the refuge provided a feeling of peace and solitude.



Saturday, June 27, 2020

Deer Isle and Stonington (Pine Hill Preserve, Barred Island Preserve, Settlement Quarry Preserve, Bridge End Park and Reach Knolls Campground)

My younger son and I explored Deer Isle and Stonington this weekend.

We started Friday after work by camping at Reach Knolls Campground in Brooklin. This is a small but exceptionally well run campground located right on the water. It has clean facilities, hot showers, a beach with small swim platform, and caring and friendly management. We were fortunate enough to get a waterfront tent site with electricity and an amazing view. After eating dinner we walked down and explored the beach area, spotting two harbor porpoises feeding off shore. For more information on the campground visit their website at http://reachknolls.com.

Views from our campsite
Our first stop Saturday morning was Pine Hill Preserve on Little Deer Isle.  This Island Heritage Trust preserve provides great views with only minimal effort. A short 1/10 mile walk leads to a massive stone wall, the remains of a larger rock formation from which stone was removed to build the supports for the nearby Deer Isle bridge. A very steep but short trail to the right leads to the top, offering views of the surrounding area. 

Our next stop was Barred Island Preserve, a beautiful preserve managed by The Nature Conservancy.   Our hike took us through a coastal forest, across a sandbar (accessible two hours on either side of low tide) and out to Barred Island itself.  While there are no trails on the island itself, we explored the perimeter along the rocky shoreline enjoying views of the area.


Our next stop was the Settlement Quarry Preserve, an Island Heritage Trust preserve in Stonington.  The preserve is the site of a former quarry and has interpretive signs throughout explaining quarry operations and the geology of the area.  The quarry also provides expansive views of Webb Cove.  In addition to visiting the quarry, we hiked the glacial erratic trail (spoiler alert: we had no idea what a glacial erratic was but it sounded cool and possibly massive.  The hike was pleasant through forested woodlands but the erratic itself was a medium sized boulder.  Nonetheless, we learned about the boulder and glaciers from the adjacent interpretive sign so I will count it as a win for us.)  For more information on the preserve visit Island Heritage Trust's website.


Our final stop on the trip was Bridge End Park, a small but scenic municipal park adjacent to the Deer Isle Bridge.  The park has picnic tables, restrooms, a boat ramp, and at low tide provides the opportunity to explore the area directly under the bridge. 

I am not a civil engineer, but I would think at some point the tree growing under the bridge will become a problem?
View from the small island looking back at the parking lot for the park