Saturday, September 28, 2019

Mount Waldo (Frankfort)

This morning I hiked up Mount Waldo in Frankfort.  The trail starts at the end of Mount Waldo road (roadside parking is available and encouraged with signage) and starts up a wide and very steep gated service road.  After a short period of time, the trail levels off with a more moderate ascent and slightly more rocky terrain.

The trail leads to a quarry, which while beautiful was marred by graffiti.

I wasn't really clear where to go once I reached the quarry so initially set off to the left.  This wound up being much more challenging than I had anticipated so I doubled back and went to the right of the quarry, where I found a well worn trail leading around the perimeter.  At the far end of the quarry, this trail intercepted an orange blazed trail.  I continued left up this trail to the summit.    

Other than the area around the quarry and a few spots on the orange trail, it was relatively easy to navigate the area. 

On the way to the summit there is a nice ledge affording views of the surrounding area.  The summit itself is bald with two cell towers and would likely have great views (it was fogged in this morning).

Overall this was a great hike and I'm happy to have found it as it's close to home. 

Here is a map of the 4.4 mile hike.

View from a ledge shortly before the summit.
The summit was fogged in, but mountains could be seen occasionally peaking through.

View from the trail on the way down, once the fog burned off.
View of the surrounding area from the quarry area.

View of the quarry.
Unfortunately, the quarry was covered in graffiti.
I did find this one bit of graffiti to contain sage advice.


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Hiking, Canoeing and Relaxing at Hidden Valley Nature Center

My friends and I spent the day at Hidden Valley Nature Center.  We rented the Pond Cabin, hiked the 1.4 miles in from the parking lot and enjoyed a terrific potluck lunch, followed by an afternoon of canoeing and paddle boarding.  

It was a great day to be out on the lake.

As we sat admiring this blue heron, a martin came from the grass and attempted to attack it.

Paddle boarding, mixed with swimming.

Lunch in the Pond Cabin.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Nature Nearby - Kenduskeag Stream (Bangor)

I just finished a book called Microadventures by Alastair Humphreys (highly recommended yet uncompensated link here). The premise of the book is that you don't need to have extensive planning, travel far or spend a lot of money to be able to connect with nature, you just need to go do it (most of Alastair's adventures involve an overnight in a bivvy sack).  In Maine we are fortunate to have beautiful natural surroundings within reach throughout the state. 

This morning, my wife and I visited Kenduskeag Stream Park, starting on Franklin Street and hiking to the platform just past I-95 to view the falls (here is a map**).  The park looked amazing with its leaves starting to change and the bright sunlight.

** On the return trip, we made a slight detour to obtain provisions at Gosselin's bakery.




Sunday, September 15, 2019

McPhetres Farm Forest and Davis Forest (Veazie)

The Town of Veazie and Orono Land Trust work together to manage three contiguous properties in Veazie off of Route 2.  Combined, the McPhetres Forest, Davis Forest and Manterwood properties are approximately 33 acres and contain a variety of tree species, including white oaks and century old white pines.  

I visited the preserve today while my son was volunteering nearby.  I had intended on visiting all three preserves; however, despite having brought a map and having maps located throughout the preserve, I made a wrong turn and wound up only doing McPhetres and Davis Forests.  

I only encountered one other person during my hike, despite it being a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  The preserve is small and wedged between residential areas, but the immense trees give it a remote feeling.  Some of the trails were well maintained while others had vegetation encroaching on them. 

A trail map of the preserve is available on the Orono Land Trust website.  Here is a map of my hike today.  The trail leaves the forest briefly when it reaches Davis Drive and re-enters a short while later. 

The entrance road for the preserve is immediately adjacent to Fairview Cemetery.  There is no sign when you reach the parking for the preserve.  The entrance is to the left of the white fence down a short grass path.  


Some of the trails were overgrown.
 

Signs like these are located throughout the forest, which in theory should make navigation fairly easy. 
 





Saturday, September 14, 2019

Camping and Hiking (Quoddy Jo South Peak) at Aroostook State Park

My son had a cross country meet in Presque Isle so we decided to turn it into a short overnight adventure by camping in Aroostook State Park and hiking early the next morning.

In the off-season, camping is first-come first-served at the park, although on Friday night the campground wasn't crowded (there were approximately six other occupied campsites).  Our campsite was basic (flat ground, fire pit, picnic table) but served its purpose well.  With temperatures in the 40's, bugs were not an issue and the area was very quiet.

The campground has warm showers and flush toilets, as well as a covered kitchen building with a sink, electrical outlets, picnic tables and electric lights.  

In the morning, we woke and hiked up the South Peak trail of Quoddy Jo Mountain.  The trail was short (around 1/2 mile to the summit from the campground) but very steep.  At one point, the hike requires a rock scramble.  There is a view from the trail near the summit, but the summit itself is forested with no view.  We descended using the Ridge and Notch trails, which were not as challenging as the South Peak trail. 

Although short, the hike was challenging, especially for my son since he had run a cross-country race just 14 hours before.  As we admired the view from the South Peak trail, a large hawk came swooping down and landed in a tree.  It was close enough that we could hear it's wings flapping.

Overall, we greatly enjoyed the brief time we spent at the park.

Here is a map of our hike.

View from the South Peak trail above the rock scramble.
This is the rock scramble.  The picture doesn't do it justice.
South Peak trail.
Our campsite, basic but functional. 
   
View from the tent in the morning.
The kitchen building, with picnic tables, sink and electrical outlets.



View of the sky from our campsite.
Echo Lake viewed from the park's beach.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Camping and Fat Tire Biking at Hidden Valley Nature Center

Our boy scout troop went camping at the Hidden Valley Nature Center this weekend.  We stayed in the yurt (see my prior yurt post here) and then went fat tire biking in the morning.  The Center makes the bikes available to groups that are using the Center as well as local schools in the area (see its website for additional information).


Its hard to take pictures while trail riding, but I did get one of the boys taking a well deserved break.
Sitting around the campfire at night.



Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Hidden Valley Nature Center and Little Dyer Pond (Jefferson)

I visited Hidden Valley Nature Center (HVNC) today to meet with a representative of the MidCoast Conservancy in preparation for an upcoming scouting event.  While there I hiked down to the Pond Cabin and canoe launch area.  

HVNC consists of over 1,000 acres of wooded land owned and managed by the Midcoast Conservancy.  The property has miles of hiking trails, rustic overnight cabins and campsites, and canoes for use on Little Dyer Pond.

Here is a map of my hike.  For more information about HVNC, you can visit its website.

The property has a number of small ponds.

View of Little Dyer Pond from the shore near Pond Cabin.

Pond Cabin.

The Center has trails ranging from wide and well-maintained to narrow and overgrown.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Kayaking Hammond Pond (Hampden)

Hammond Pond is a 100 acre lake in Hampden.   I had a busy day on Sunday but wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather, so I took a quick trip out to Hammond Pond.  

The pond can be accessed either from Hermon Pond or from a private boat ramp off of Bog Road.   The Bog Road ramp charges a $1 fee as of the time of this post.  

The river leading to Hammond Pond passes under and then adjacent to I-95, so the trip lacks a remote feeling, but the lake itself is still beautiful.  

Here is a map of my visit.