Sunday, October 18, 2020

Downeast Sunrise Trail Ellsworth Section

I went cycling today with both of my sons on the Downeast Sunrise Trail in Ellsworth.   The trail was in good condition despite heavy rains yesterday.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Four Season Adventure Trail - Corinna to Dexter

 My older son and I biked the Four Season Adventure Trail today from Corinna to Dexter.  There is a small parking area in downtown Corinna from which we headed north.  Although it had a number of puddles, the trail was mostly flat and well packed, although there was a section just north of Lincoln Mills Road where the trail was softer dirt.   

It was a cold but beautifully sunny Sunday.  As such, there were a number of ATV riders out on the trail, although for the most part they were courteous.   

This section of trail travels through forests and wetlands and has a remote feel to it.

Here is a map of our ride.


 

 

 



Saturday, October 10, 2020

Biking Walden Parke, Bangor City Forest, Caribou Bog and the Veazie Railbed

My younger son and I biked a number of contiguous preserves in Bangor, Orono and Old Town today, including the Walden Parke Preserve, Bangor City Forest, Caribou Bog and the Veazie Railbed.  

We started our trip at Walden Parke.  We took the north fork of the blue marked loop trail, which was moderately difficult due to rocks and leaves on the trail hiding rocks.  The trail lead us to the Veazie Railbed, which we took briefly until entering Bangor City Forest.  

After a quick loop around the Forest, we headed back out to the Railbed and rode down to Caribou Bog.  We continued along the Railbed until we saw signs for Kirkland Road.  We followed that trail (which equaled Walden Parke in difficulty) until reaching Kirkland Road, and then turned around and retraced our steps.  

We departed the Railbed and headed back into Walden Parke on the southern portion of the loop trail, which was significantly easier than the north fork.  

Our total ride was a little over 14 miles and proved to be an excellent way to spend a warm Saturday in October.  Here is a map of our ride.








 

 

 


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Great Pond Mountain - Stuart Gross Trail (Orland)

A friend and I hiked the Stuart Gross Trail today at Great Pond Mountain in Orland.  Despite the intermittent rains and clouds, the trail was surprisingly crowded.  

The trail climbs gradually through a series of forested switchbacks until opening to a rocky ledge.  Once near the summit, there are two spur trails - the 0.3 mile summit loop and the 0.1 mile south overlook.  The summit loop is a forested loop across the top of the mountain. 

The views from the top of Great Pond Mountain are exceptional, made even more so by the fall foliage.  

The total hike was a little over 3 miles.  Here is a map of our hike. 

Great Pond Mountain is part of the larger Great Pond Mountain Wildlands land trust.  For more information visit https://www.greatpondtrust.org/



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.

 

Sea Kayaking Class at LL Bean

While I've paddled alot on lakes and flat rivers, I haven't done any ocean kayaking.  It's been a goal of mine to start exploring Maine's coastal islands, so to prepare for that I took an introduction to sea kayaking class at LL Bean this weekend and camped at Bradbury Mountain State Park.

The class was informative and covered kayaking basics such as boat selection and stroke mechanics.   Having been self taught, I picked up many useful techniques to make myself a better kayaker.   The afternoon was spent practicing one and two boat rescues.  The class was small (4 people) and the two instructors were excellent.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Kayaking to the Phillips Lake Islands

The Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust holds conservation easements on six islands in the south end of Phillips Lake (see http://www.greatpondtrust.org/barrett-king-easement).  My younger son and I explored the islands by kayak today.

We put in at the public boat ramp at the end of Poplar Road.  From there it was a quick paddle to the islands.  In addition to seeing a number of other kayakers, we also observed bald eagles and numerous fish in the extremely clear water. 

Here is a map of our trip.

 
 
 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Stillwater to Sylvan/EMCC Bypass Trail (Bangor)

The City of Bangor built a new paved 0.45 mile trail this year that connects Stillwater Avenue to Sylan Area near Eastern Maine Community College.  The trail allows pedestrians and cyclists to avoid the traffic around the mall area. 

I was off work today watching my dog and was looking for short, paved paths that I could walk him on (he's getting old and has vision problems).  Due to its location immediately next to the Stillwater Avenue Exit off of I-95, the trail lacks a remote feel but was still a pleasant walk.  Here is a map of our walk.

 





Monday, August 17, 2020

Camden Hills State Park (Ski Shelter Backcountry Glamping & Cameron Mountain)

My younger son and I spent the weekend at Camden Hills State Park.  We arrived Saturday afternoon and hiked two miles to the park's ski shelter.  On Sunday we hiked from the shelter to Cameron Mountain and back.  We hiked down from the shelter Monday morning.  Here is a map of our trip.

Ski Shelter

The shelter is a large one room cabin that contains a wood stove, two picnic tables and four narrow bunk beds.  There is also ample floor space that would allow larger groups to stay overnight. Outside of the shelter is a fire ring, two picnic tables, two stand-alone grills, additional fire wood and a pit toilet.  

The picnic area and toilet get used by park visitors during the day.  In addition, although the shelter door has a lock on it, you aren't given a key and so expect to have people entering when you aren't there to look around.  You can, however, lock the door at night.

The shelter is located in a cell phone dead spot and we had no reception with either Verizon or AT&T. 

There is no potable water at the cabin, however there is a nearby stream and a hand pump across the trail from the shelter that pumps untreated stream water.  The park supplies fire wood both inside and outside the shelter.

The shelter is a replica of a Civilian Conservation Corps cabin that was built here in 1938, used for a period of time, and which then fell into disrepair.  The old cabin was destroyed in 2003 and the rebuilt using the original blueprints in 2005.  The stone floor, foundation and fireplace are from the original cabin.  The cabin can be rented for $50 per night and is insulated for winter use.

We hung around the shelter when we weren't hiking and it gave me an appreciation for a side of Camden Hills State Park that I hadn't seen before.  We saw several runners and bikers go past, and met several local people from the Camden area that stopped in, either to use the toilet, the picnic area or just to chat when they saw us sitting by the campfire.

The shelter is very quiet at night.

 
 
 


Cameron Mountain

On Sunday we set off to hike to Cameron Mountain.  Located in a rear corner of the park, Cameron Mountain gets significantly less visitors than other mountains in the park but it provides 360 degree views from it's bald summit.  We took a loop trail to get there, hiking around 5 miles total from the ski shelter.