Sunday, July 14, 2019

Kayaking Seboeis Public Reserved Lands

Seboeis Public Reserved Lands provides over 21,000 acres of lake, wooded islands and shore front areas offering water recreation and camping. 

My older son and I kayaked here today and checked out some of the campsites for potential future visits.  The road leading to the boat launch was unpaved but manageable in our 2WD minivan.  The boat launch itself is paved and has clean relatively new looking pit toilets.

From the lake we enjoyed incredible views of the surrounding mountains, including Katahdin. We paddled out to Dollar Island, which has a primitive campsite, but the campsite was occupied (camping is first come, first serve).  Considering the small size of the island and the fact it does not have a toilet, we aren't certain this would be a great place to camp despite the great location.

We then paddled over to Sand Cove and enjoyed some time wading in the shallow water near a sandy beach. While paddling over, we noticed a small deer swimming in the lake.

For more information about the area, you can visit the official website here

Here is a map of our kayaking today.

Dollar Island.

View of mountains from lake.

Deer swimming.
Secluded beach in Sand Cove. 

BSA Camp Roosevelt and the Fitts Pond Trail

I spent 6 nights last week camping at Camp Roosevelt while my son attended Boy Scout Camp.

Camp Roosevelt is located in Eddington, Maine on Little Fitts Pond and offers several BSA summer camps as well as off-season rentals to scouting units (see its website for more information).  It has a large and relatively new dining lodge and campsites with cabins.

Our troop stayed at the Gary Robbins campsite, which was close to the dining hall and waterfront area.  Unlike other sites, Gary Robbins has regular restroom facilities with flush toilets and its own showers, and the cabins have electrical outlets.  We shared the site with another troop, so I elected to stay in a tent all week as the male adult leader cabin was a bit crowded.  (This worked well until it rained hard Thursday night and Friday morning.  The upside is that I was able to identify those spots in my tent which I hadn't sealed properly.)

I accompanied my son while he worked on his hiking merit badge, during which we hiked the Fitts Pond Trail (here is the trail map).

Food at the camp is provided by Jeff's Catering.  The food was very good and they were very accommodating of special dietary needs (e.g. gluten free).

Cabins at Gary Robbins campsite.  Each cabin had two rooms and could sleep 6-7 people.
View of Fitts Pond and the swimming area.

The Fitts Pond Trail.

Blackcap Mountain can be accessed from the Fitts Pond Trail and is open to the public in the off-season.
Our six scouts.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Hermon Pond and Souadabscook Stream

This evening my sons and I kayaked four miles on Hermon Pond and Souadabscook Stream from the Jackson Beach boat ramp almost to where Bog Road passes over the stream. 

The last time we visited Hermon Pond the mosquitoes were bad.  Tonight, however, we hardly noticed them.   Despite the holiday weekend, the lake was not crowded and we only saw a few other boats. 

When we looked at a map of Hermon Pond, it looked like we would be able to access Ben Annis Pond from Patten Stream a short distance from the boat ramp.  When we looked at Patten Stream, however, we questioned the degree to which we would be able to get through as it seemed very narrow. 

Souadabscook Stream was considerably wider.  We would have gone further but were running up against sunset so needed to get back. 

Here is a map of our trip.

Loon with baby loon.

Souadabscook Stream

Souadabscook Stream heading back out towards Hermon Pond. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Black Mountain and Schoodic Beach, Donnell Pond Public Reserved Land

Donnell Pond Public Reserved Land consists of 14,000 acres of mountains, lakes and forests offering hiking, camping and water recreation.

Today my son and I hiked the Black Mountain Cliffs Trail from the Schoodic Beach parking lot up to the summit and back down to Schoodic Beach.  The trailhead for Black Mountain Cliffs starts from the Schoodic Beach trail a short distance from the parking lot.  It is a moderately strenuous hike on the way up, with a few steep sections.  The trail passes through a few wet areas, is muddy in parts and passes through some short narrow and grassy sections.

Several online reviews of the trail commented on Black Mountain's forested summit, and while this is true, there are a few opportunities to view the surrounding area.

The trail down was significantly easier than the way up, was less steep and wasn't as muddy as the ascent.

Given that it was a 90 degree day, it was great to be able to stop at Schoodic Beach for a short swim before completing the final 1/2 mile back to the parking lot.

Here is a trail map from our hike. The overall hike was a little over 3 miles. 

The trail was steep at certain points on the ascent.

There were a few short, grassy sections.

There were a few points near the summit that offered views of Acadia.

It was great to swim near the end of the hike.  Black Mountain is in the background. 


Sunday, June 30, 2019

Hiking in the Rain - Porcupine Watching at Bangor City Forest

I like hiking in the rain. With the right equipment, it's enjoyable and tends to be a lot less crowded.  A good raincoat and waterproof boots help significantly.  

Today I went hiking in the rain at the Bangor City Forest and during the four miles didn't see another person. The mosquitoes were pretty bad but since I had a raincoat and bug netting the only exposed part of my body were my hands, which I had sprayed with bug spray. 

I found a porcupine snacking on some plants near the side of a trail and spent around five minutes watching him from about 5 feet away before he realized that I was there.

Here is a trail map for today's hike. 

This porcupine spent several minutes eating before noticing me.

Here the porcupine is rubbing his eyes.

At one point he shook vigorously and then went back to eating.  
East-West Trail. 
Waterproof boots are essential in wet conditions.
This is a FujiFilm XP120 camera.  I love this camera, as its waterproof to 65 feet deep (you can use it while scuba diving) and shockproof to nearly six feet.  It has 5x optical zoom and several different shooting modes.  I take most of my pictures with this camera. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Sanford Trails

Sanford, Maine has an extensive network of scenic trails that run throughout the town.   

For those of you that have been following my blog, you know my son has been training for his first marathon.  Today was the big day, and Mainly Marathons created a 1.88 mile trail using Sanford's trails and some quiet neighborhood streets.

I had the privilege of running with my son for two of his 14 laps towards the end of the race.  One of the great things about the loop system is that the other runners get to know you throughout the race, and it was incredible the amount of support they gave my son as he ran past on his final lap.  Despite being sick with a respiratory virus the final two weeks before the race (including today), he was able to finish strong. 

Mainly Marathons hosts marathons across the country, with the option of multi-day series events.  As this was the last race of a seven day series, there was a strong sense of community among participants.  The marathon was well run and provided runners with excellent support.

For more information on the Sanford trail network, see the town recreation department site.

For more information on Mainly Marathons, see their website.

Trail map of the race from Mainly Marathons' website
The marathon consisted of fourteen laps on a 1.88 loop trail

The route passed Stump Pond

Part of the route used quiet residential streets

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Orono Bog Boardwalk and Bangor City Forest

One advantage of having an outdoor club at work is that it gives people an opportunity to get to know each other outside of work while engaged in a healthy activity.

I went on a 2.7 mile hike at the Orono Bog Boardwalk and Bangor City Forest with my workplace's outdoor club.  We had a good group of people which made for an enjoyable trip, despite the large number of mosquitoes.

We elected to take the East West loop trail to the Bog Boardwalk, and then the Tripp Road to the Deer Trail and back along the Tripp Road.  This provided a nice sampling of the different trail types in the forest.

Here is a trail map of our hike today.  For a full map of the forest, you can visit the official site here.

The bog boardwalk passes through a wooded bog area...

... and continues to an open bog with expansive views of the area.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Goggins Island, Leeds, Maine

Goggins Island is a small public use area and canoe portage spot along the Androscoggin River in Leeds.  We came across it on our drive back from New Hampshire as we were looking for a place to get out and stretch our legs. 

We hadn't expected much having never heard of this spot but were surprised to find a developed trail system and beaches from which people were fishing.   We hiked around a half mile and felt much better afterwards. 

Here is a trail map

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Hiking and Camping in the White Mountain National Forest (New Hampshire)

I love the White Mountains.  At 750,000+ acres, there is so much to see and explore.  The forest offers miles of hiking trails through diverse environments including dense forests, ponds, alpine mountain peaks, and mountain streams.

My son and I spent two days exploring trails and camping off the Kancamagus Highway (Rt 112). 

Lincoln Woods and Franconia Falls

The Lincoln Woods Trail is flat and wide with a slight incline.  As a former railroad bed, it still has several railroad ties in place.  The trail begins at the Lincoln woods visitor center and heads up into the Pemigewasset Wilderness.  We traveled on the Lincoln Woods Trail for 2.6 miles before reaching the Franconia Falls Trail.  After an additional 0.4 miles, we came to Franconia Falls.  This is a relatively easy hike with little gain in elevation, and we saw a few runners and dog walkers using the trail while we were there.  Here is the trail map.

Note the railroad ties still in place.
Franconia Falls

Franconia Falls
Franconia Falls with mountain view

Lower Falls Scenic Area

The Lower Falls Scenic Area is a parking area with a short walk to an overlook of a falls.  During our last visit here, my kids and I swam under the waterfalls.  Due to the water and air temperatures today no one was swimming.  This is a short easy walk with nice views.

Rocky Gorge Scenic Area

The Rocky Gorge Scenic Area is another short, paved handicapped-accessible trail.   It leads to beautiful views of Rocky Gorge, a narrow gorge with a waterfall.  Here is a trail map.

View of the falls from the rocks

There is a bridge spanning the gorge
View of the gorge from the bridge
Covered Bridge Campground

The Covered Bridge Campground is one of several Forest Service campgrounds off of the Kancamagus Highway.  It's a fairly straightforward campground, offering a picnic table, fire ring, and flat piece of ground to put a tent on.  There were relatively clean pit toilets located at various points throughout the campground and a water spigot.  There are no showers located in this campground; however there are showers at the Jigger Johnson campground 6.5 miles away.

Our camping experience was marred by an abundance of mosquitoes, a neighbor that greatly enjoyed 80's rock well into the night, and the proximity of the campground to the highway (this probably isn't usually an issue, but our trip coincided with Laconia Bike Week and therefore several groups of bikers were driving through the area).

Its worth noting that we had no cell phone coverage with Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile throughout most of the Kancamagus Highway, with the exception of a few limited spots of Verizon and AT&T coverage by a few of the overlooks.  We relied heavily on the InReach to communicate with the outside world.  

There was also a picnic table, not shown. 

Sunrise at the Sugar Hill Overlook

Sugar Hill Overlook is a short distance from the Covered Bridge Campground and provides nice views of several of the mountains in the area.  We took advantage of this by getting up at 4:30am to take pictures of the sunrise. 

Sabbaday Falls

Sabbaday Falls is a 40 foot waterfall which can be reached via a 0.7 mile (round trip distance) trail.  There is a nice overlook platform from which to view the falls.  Here is the trail map.


Champney Falls Trail

The final hike of our White Mountain trip was Champney Falls.  This turned out to be an incredible hike, with views of both Champney Falls and its neighbor Pitcher Falls.  The water levels were sufficient to allow the falls to be flowing and yet low enough to cross over the stream into the gorge under Pitcher Falls.

The round trip distance was approximately 3.5 miles.  Here is the trail map.  Note that there were an abundance of mosquitoes, so bug spray and mosquito netting is definitely recommended this time of year. 

There is the option to continue on the trail to the summit of Mount Chocorua, for a total roundtrip distance of 7.8 miles.  We chose not to do so on this trip but will likely return in the future.

Champney Falls
Pitcher Falls
Pitcher Falls and its gorge.  For perspective, my 6'3" son is visible in the middle left of the picture.