Saturday, September 26, 2020

Bald Bluff Trail, Amherst Community Forest

My younger son and I hiked the Bald Bluff Trail in the Amherst Community Forest today.  The well-marked trail, a little over 2 miles in length, travels though a heavily wooded forest until reaching an overlook area.  It then travels along a ridge on the side of the mountain until reaching a second overlook.  From there it travels over the summit and then down.  

It was a beautiful September day, and we had the trail entirely to ourselves (other than a snake and a very large spider).  Here is a map of our hike.  For an official state brochure of the forest, visit http://mainegov.informe.org/dacf/parksearch/PropertyGuides/PDF_GUIDE/amherstguide.pdf







Sunday, September 20, 2020

Baxter State Park - Celia, Jackson, Little Beaver and Rocky Ponds Trails and Abol Trail and Campground

A little over two years ago I hiked Mt. Katahdin up the Abol Trail.  It was one of the most difficult hikes I've done and afterwards I was completely spent.  Towards the end of the hike I had run out of water and food and was overwhelmingly tired.  This weekend I helped a group of co-workers hike Katahdin and also explored more of Baxter State Park.  

My friend Chris and I arrived at the park on Friday and after setting up camp at Abol Campground, we explored the Celia and Jackson Pond Trail, along with a side trail to Little Beaver Pond.  The fairly level trail leaves the Kidney Pond day use parking area and heads through the woods, first reaching the small and grassy shored Celia Pond on the way to Jackson Pond.  On the way back we explored the remote Little Beaver Pond.  Other than two people on a canoe, we did not see a single person on our hike.

Jackson Pond

Celia Pond

We returned to our lean-to for the night and woke the next morning to help a group of 10 co-workers get started on their way up the Hunt Trail to Mt. Katahdin.  More friends soon arrived and while the group of 10 hiked Katahdin, our smaller group explored the Rocky Pond Trail.  

Rocky Pond

We returned to camp for lunch and afterwards prepared for the return of the Katahdin hikers.  Once four of the 10 returned, I set out to provide snacks, water and moral support to the remaining six hikers in the group as they completed the last section of Abol Trail.  Hiking the Abol trail knowing that I wasn't going to be attempting to summit the mountain was refreshing, and allowed me to focus on the beauty of the trail.  Around 1.5 miles in, I encountered the rest of the group and, after a brief snack and water break, accompanied them back to camp.  Our smaller group prepared dinner for the Katahdin hikers and then shuttled them back to their van.

 

Abol Trail
 

Here is a map of our hikes.

 

 




Sunday, September 13, 2020

Mariaville Falls Preserve

My son and I hiked Mariaville Falls Preserve today.  The preserve has well worn trails that lead to a series of small cascading waterfalls through a shaded forest.  The preserve is owned by the Frenchman Bay Conservancy.  

Here is a map of our hike.  




Sunday, September 6, 2020

Kayaking Plymouth Pond

My younger son and I set out for one of our last kayaking trips of the year on Plymouth Pond.  We explored the west side, which required that we paddle under the Moosehead Trail Highway bridge while ducking due to the low clearance. 

We had hoped to reach Round Pond to the south; however soon the river connecting the two became choked with lily pads and we felt it would be harmful to the plants to continue further.  

The section of the lake that we explore was shallow, with the bottom covered by plant life.  We saw a number of fish and turtles, and at one point spotted a great blue heron catching a fish. 

Here is a map of our trip. 


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Beavers at Great Pond Mountain Wildlands

I went hiking last night at Great Pond Mountain Wildlands in Orland and came across a family of beavers working feverishly in a pond off of the Hothole Pond Tote Road.  When I first approached the pond, I heard the sound of a beaver chewing and while I saw a beaver swimming, it was not the one making the sound.  I then noticed a second beaver sitting against a rock.  Over the next half-hour, I slowly made my way closer to the beavers.  At one point, a third beaver came into view and a total of three beavers - two adults and a juvenile, were all swimming together.  The beavers appeared to notice me and would swim over and look at me, but did not appear bothered by my presence.  I could have stood and watched for hours but unfortunately the sun began setting and I needed to hike the two miles back to my car.


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Machias River Corridor Public Reserved Land

The Machias River Corridor Public Reserve Land is part of a collection of lands that protect the 76 mile long Machias River as it flows from Fifth Machias Lake to downtown Machias.  The river is a popular destination for kayakers and canoeists, and the State of Maine operates a number of campsites along the river (see the state's website https://www.maine.gov/dacf/parksearch/PropertyGuides/PDF_GUIDE/machiasriverguide.pdf  for more information.)

My son and I explored the area today as we scouted out potential future camping opportunities.  We visited the Machias RIPS, Log Landing, West Branch and Wonderland Campsites.  We were surprised to find all but the Machias RIPS campsite to be occupied.  Camping here is free but first come, first serve.   CCC Road (the main road leading to the campsites) was a rough washboard road which made travel slow.

First Machias Lake, viewed from Wonderland Campground
Salmon Pond, a short distance from Rt. 9, is a small pond with a boat ramp.

Machias RIPS campground is located directly off Airline Road (Rt 9) and adjacent to the Machias River.


Monday, August 24, 2020

Lagrange to Medford Trail

The Lagrange to Medford Trail is an 11.4 mile gravel and dirt (and rocks) multi-use rail trail that runs past farms, forests and wetlands.  My older son and I cycled the first seven miles from south to north today without seeing a single other person.  The trail was a bit rough in spots and muddy in other spots but generally was a relatively smooth ride.  We wanted to ride further but we concerned by the appearance of storm clouds.  Here is a map of our ride.