Saturday, March 30, 2019

Bald Mountain in Dedham, Maine

Bald Mountain is a short, yet steep, 1.2 mile round-trip hike that features nice views of the surrounding area.  The mountain had been a ski area as recently as the 1970s, and today is home to a few cell towers and a radio antenna. 

I was joined today by a good friend of mine and his son.   Midway up the trail we turned around and had a nice view.  However, by the time we reached the top fog had rolled in and visibility was limited.  Sadly, I didn't think to take any pictures on the way up when we had a view.

The snow and ice on the bottom portion of the climb had mostly melted away due to its southern exposure, although there were spots that still were icy.  The top still had ice and snow remaining.  The trail was slippery in parts due to the ice.

Here is the trail map.

There was still ice and snow at the top.

Cell towers and a radio antenna now dominate the summit.

We did have a slight view on the way back down.
From Google My Tracks app, showing elevation gain.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Kenduskeag Stream and a Falcon in Bangor

With rain in the weekend's forecast, I decided to take a hike after work today along the Kenduskeag Stream Trail starting in downtown Bangor.  I hiked up under the I-95 overpass and then back down to where the stream enters into the Penobscot River. 

The Kenduskeag Stream Trail runs through Bangor and provides an opportunity to interact with nature without having to travel far.  It offers nice views of the stream, which this time of year is swollen from the melting snow.  The trail today was muddy in parts and slushy in other parts but it was still a chance to get outside. 

Returning to where I parked, I happened across a peregrine falcon enjoying its dinner in the parking lot of the district court building in downtown Bangor. 

Here is the trail map.

There are still large chunks of ice in the stream.

Peregrine falcon enjoying its dinner. 

Same as above but cropped. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Peaks Kenney State Park

Peaks Kenney State Park is located on Sebec Lake north of Dover Foxcroft.  During the summer it offers camping, hiking and lakeside recreation.  In the winter, the road leading into the park is closed, adding at least an additional 2 miles of round trip travel to the closest trail (Browns Point Trail).

There are two main trail systems in the park - Browns Point Trail (3.4 miles round trip) and the Birch Mountain Lodge Trail (2.3 mile loop trail).   

It was 45 degrees and sunny today.  I had planned on hiking the Browns Point Trail but had forgotten my snowshoes.  As soon as I ventured off the hard packed snow on the main road, I sunk down to my knees.  I elected instead to hike on the main road and the campground road and just enjoy being outside.  At around 2 miles in, the hard packed snow had started to melt enough so that I was consistently breaking through and getting stuck up to my waist, so at that point I turned around.  With snowshoes, this would have been much more enjoyable.

A few teenagers on snowmobiles drove past during the hike, and I also saw two couples with dogs.  Otherwise it was a peaceful enjoyable hike. 

Here is the trail map.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Great Pond Mountain Wildlands - Oak Hill

After hiking here 5 weeks ago, I decided to return today with my son and hike to the top of Oak Hill.  We took Esker Path to the Hillside Trail to the Oak Hill Path.  Unlike last time I was here, the trails weren't as icy, although there were still spots where Esker Path was iced over.

We were rewarded with great views from the top of Oak Hill of the surrounding mountains.

The hike was 4.5 miles with a total climb of 849 feet.  Here is the trail map.

Ice on Esker Path
These trees appear to share the same root structure
View from inside of the trees looking up

Esker Path

View from Oak Hill
Looking west from Oak Hill towards Bucksport

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Back Cove Trail in Portland

My son and I were in South Portland for the state jazz festival so afterwards we took advantage of the warm 49 degree weather and went to Back Cove in Portland.   It was windy, and the trail was muddy from the melted snow, but it was fun. 

We lived in the Portland area for 19 years and visited Back Cove many times.  It offers great views of the city, Casco Bay and Back Cove, and provides a chance to get some exercise without having to travel far (assuming you are already in Portland).

Here is the trail map.

The trail provides great views of Portland

This crow is also enjoying the view

This is the trail on the west side of Back Cove

A portion of the trail runs right next to I-295

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Acadia National Park - Snowshoeing Parkman/Sargent Mountain Area

With temperatures near 40 degrees, today was an awesome day to snowshoe on the trails around Parkman and Sargent Mountains in Acadia.

I parked at the Parkman Mountain lot and headed up to the Around the Mountain Carriage Road.  The last time we were here, there was significant ice on the carriage roads.  Today, however, it was nicely packed snow.

I took the Around Mountain Carriage Road until I reached the Giant Slide Trail and then headed down.  I connected with another carriage road at the bottom to make a loop back to the parking lot.

Here is a link to the trail map.

Around the Mountain Carriage Road

View from Around the Mountain Carriage Road

View from Around the Mountain Carriage Road

Another View of the Around the Mountain Carriage Road

Giant Slide Trail

Maps, Apps and Websites

There are a handful of useful apps and websites that I use.  These include:

1) Earthmate - From Garmin, this app is used to pair with InReach devices and allows you to use your cell phone to send and receive messages using the InReach.  It also provides topographic maps, weather, a compass, and other functionality with the InReach.

Messaging in Earthmate App
Mapping in Earthmate with Tracking On

2) Google MyTracks - Sadly, Google discontinued this great app which allows you to record your movements and then export them as KML files to use in Google MyMaps and Google Earth.  If you downloaded the app prior to its discontinuation date, it will still show up in the Play Store and can still be used.  I use this app, along with a Garmin eTrex 10, to make the trail maps that I include with my hiking posts.  In addition to mapping your hikes, it can also provide useful stats.

3) Google MyMaps - This app and website allows you to create maps from KML and GPX files and is what I use to make maps of my hikes.

4) AllTrails - This app, website and service allows you to find trails and download maps to your phone for off-line use.  The premium version also allows you to print paper maps from a computer.  Users provide photos and reviews of trails which provides useful information when trip planning.

5)  Maine Trail Finder - This is a great website which provides maps and trail reviews.

6)  GPS Waypoint Navigator -  This is the premium version of another app, Polaris GPS.  This app includes a compass, mapping, waypoints, sunrise and sunset times.  It also allows you to text or email your location to others along with links using Google maps.

7)  Chimani Acadia and Baxter apps - Chimani makes apps for several parks including Acadia and Baxter.  The apps have downloadable maps for off-line use and have useful information about each park.

8)  Go Paddling - This is a great app to find kayaking opportunities.  It includes a searchable map and user reviews of each location.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Reeds Brook Trails in Hampden

Reeds Brook Trails are community trails next to the Reeds Brook Middle School.  The trails are groomed for cross-country skiing in the winter and are a great place to walk year round.

There was a light snow last night which covered the trees and ground.  Despite being surrounded by residential areas and a school, it was quiet and felt remote. 

Here is today's trail map.


Saturday, March 2, 2019

Tunk Mountain and Hidden Ponds

The nice thing about ponds and lakes next to mountains is that they offer views across the water of the mountains without the effort of climbing the mountain.

I set off hoping to hike Tunk Mountain.  The first hurdle I encountered was that the parking lot had not been plowed and there wasn't sufficient space to park on the road.  Fortunately, I found a space to park around 1/4 mile down the road at West Spring River Lake Road. 

The trail to Tunk Mountain was well marked and had hard packed snow so I didn't need to resort to snowshoes (I did wear microspikes as it was icy in parts).  Around a mile in, right after Mud Pond, the ridge trail starts its vertical ascent and is fairly steep.  The trail at that point was extremely icy and although I had spikes and poles, I made the decision to stop at that point and re-assess my options.

I elected instead to take the Hidden Ponds Trail, which offered nice views of Little Long Pond and Tunk Mountain.  The total hike was 3.3 miles (including 1/2 mile of on-road hiking to get to where I parked).

Overall I had a great trip despite the lack of parking and the change in plans.  The weather was nice (32 degrees and partly sunny) and I was happy to be outside.

Tunk Mountain and the Hidden Ponds Trail are part of the Donnell Pond Public Reserved Land. 

Here is the trail map from today's hike.

View of Tunk Mountain from the Ridge Trail across Mud Pond

View of Little Long Pond from the Hidden Ponds Trail