Sunday, May 31, 2020

Ducktail and Partridge Ponds, Amherst Mountains Community Forest

The Amherst Mountains Community Forest is a 4,974 acre public lands parcel with trails, campsites and forestland surrounding six ponds in Amherst, Maine.  It is co-managed by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the Town of Amherst and the Forest Society of Maine.

My son and I hiked to Ducktail and Partridge Ponds today.  The trails were well-maintained, heavily forested and offered a feeling of solitude (we saw only one other group of people during our entire time at the forest.)  Both ponds have small campsites.

Here is a map of our hike.  Overall this was a great hike and highly recommended.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Eagle Bluff (Eddington)

My son and I hiked Eagle Bluff today.  The property is owned by the Clifton Climbers Alliance ( and is a popular local climbing spot. 

At 0.6 miles, the hike to the summit is short but steep. On the way back down, I recommend taking some time to explore the base of the cliffs. 

Here is a map of our hike. 


Friday, May 29, 2020

Mt Pleasant Cemetery (Bangor)

During a recent walk along the Kenduskeag Stream Trail I noticed what appeared to be a river side trail on the opposite shoreline, behind Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.  Today after work I decided to check and see if my assumption was correct.   

What struck my attention upon entering the cemetery was the height of the grass.  In many parts the grass had not been mowed and the back end of the cemetery had a feeling of neglect.   Given the tick season we've had thus far, I was concerned the tall grass would prevent me from reaching the area, but I was able to find a spot where the grass had been mowed and followed it to a wide and clear dirt service road overlooking the river.   

The road itself was heavily shaded and had elevated views of the Kenduskeag Stream.  The stream bank was lined with ferns and there were no clear paths down from the road to the stream, but it was a pleasant walk nonetheless.  Despite being heavily wooded and warm there were few bugs.

Here is a map of my walk.  I doubled back along the road to see if I could locate a trail down to the stream bank.

Walden Parke Preserve (Bangor)

Walden Parke Preserve is managed by the Bangor Land Trust and is part of a large complex of contiguous preserves (including Bangor City Forest, the Penjajawoc preserves, the Veazie railroad bed and Caribou Bog).

I hiked the preserve this morning before work.  The preserve itself is quiet and wooded and the trails well marked.  The kiosk at the parking lot did not have a trail map, so I would recommend downloading one ahead of time from the Bangor Land Trust's website here.

Like many of the parks in the area this time of year, mosquitos were abundant so I would recommend bug spray and a head net.

Here is a map of my hike.  

Monday, May 25, 2020

Indian Trail Park (Brewer)

Indian Trail Park has a 1.4 mile trail that runs along the Penobscot River.  The well defined trail provides a convenient place for a short hike near Bangor. 

The trail starts at Indian Trail Park and crosses into Penobscot Conservation Association land.  On today's hike, I ventured out onto the shoreline as it was low tide and walked along the shoreline for a bit.  Here is a map of my hike.

The geese in this picture seemed very accepting of the duck that was spending time with them.
The Penobscot Conservation Association allows fishing in the pond for children 15 and younger.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Great Pond Mountain Wildlands - Flying Moose Mountain, Hothole Pond Tote Road and Baker Brook Campsite (Orland)

I went camping and hiking this weekend and hiking last weekend at the north end of Great Pond Mountain Wildlands in Orland.

The 4,500 acre area is owned and managed by the Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, a small local non-profit (   The Wildlands includes several mountain peaks, miles of trails, 1,100 acres of conservation land and two remote campsites (permit required).

Here is a map of my hikes on both weekends.

Flying Moose Mountain

My sons and I hiked Flying Moose Mountain yesterday on an incredibly beautiful day, and were rewarded with amazing views to the west and south.

We began our hike after setting up camp at the Baker Brook Campsite (see description below).  The initial part of the hike involved walking on dirt logging roads which led up a relatively steep ascent.  The trail then turned to a single track narrow trail leading to rocky clearing providing excellent views first to the west and then to the south and south-east.  Although only 886 feet in elevation, Flying Moose Mountain provided a great hike for the effort.  Round-trip from our campsite the hike was a total of approximately 5 miles.  From the north gate the distance round-trip would be approximately 6 miles.

Rocky clearings provide views to the west of nearby mountains.

Near the summit at the end of the trail, there are great views to the south and southeast.

The trail near the summit is open and provides great views.

View from Flying Moose Tote Road.
Baker Brook Campsite

Great Pond Mountain has two remote campsites - Baker Brook and Mitchville.  Both require advanced reservations (for more information see  Last night we stayed at Baker Brook and had an amazing time.

Baker Brook involves a 3/4 mile hike from the north gate mostly along Valley Road, a relatively flat dirt road.  The campsite itself offers a truly remote feeling, as it is nestled next to Baker Brook and is a single stand-alone site.  There is a lean-to, fire ring and several areas where tents could be set up.  There are also two conveniently spaced trees between which a hammock can be set up.  The rustic toilet (see photos below) is located 1/10 of a mile from the campsite.

Temperatures were in the 60's during the day but dipped down to 37 at night.  The resident mosquito population quieted down once the temperatures dropped.

There are bears and coyotes in the area so proper food storage is important.  We hung a bear bag from a tree a few hundred feet from our campsite. 

The night sky was clear and stars were clearly visible from the campsite.  It was quiet but for the sounds of whippoorwills and spring peepers with occasional coyotes and owls mixed in.

The campsite cost $10 ($15 for non-members).  Note that we had poor cell phone coverage with Verizon, but adequate coverage on AT&T's network at the campsite.

Baker Brook Campsite
Baker Brook Campsite
The campsite provides excellent open views of the night sky

There is a 3/4 mile hike in to the site along a relatively flat road.
The toilet is open but away from the campsite and off from the trail along a little path.  Bring toilet paper.  And a sense of humor.  It is 1/10 of a mile from the campsite to the toilet. 

Baker Brook is next to the campsite and it's babbling water can be heard throughout the night.  My son called it a natural noisemaker.  My kids enjoyed exploring the brook. 

Hothole Pond Tote Road

Last weekend I visited the Wildlands to inspect the campsite in advance of our trip.  I also hiked the Hothole Pond Tote Road and adjacent Coy Wolf Path while there.

I visited early on an overcast Saturday morning.  The Hothole Pond Tote Road is for the most part a relatively flat logging road which passes several ponds on its way to Hothole Pond.  The last 2/10 mile before the pond is a narrow trail through a wooded forest which leads to the pond and a small cascading waterfall where Hothole Brook empties into the pond.

Along the way, I observed a beaver swimming in a pond, an osprey flying over Hothole Pond, numerous song birds and evidence of coyote, bear, deer and moose activity.

Beaver swimming in one of several beaver ponds along the way.

Another beaver pond
Hothole Pond


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Kayaking Hammond Pond and West Branch Souadabscook Stream

My son and I kayaked tonight after work, putting in at the Bog Road boat ramp and paddling down the Souadabscook Stream to Hammond Pond.  We crossed Hammond Pond and then explored a portion of the West Branch of the Souadabscook Stream.

The highlight of the trip was the West Branch.  The area was rich with birds, and we were fortunate to see an osprey, loon, great blue heron and a large number of song birds.  We also observed three beaver dams and a beaver swimming in the stream.

Here is a map of our trip.

West Branch Souadabscook Stream
Beaver swimming in the West Branch

The trip started by paddling under Interstate 95

Hammond Pond

Hammond Pond

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Kayaking Souadabscook Stream Bog Road to Hermon Pond

I took my first kayaking trip of the year today, exploring Souadabscook Stream between Big Road and Hermon Pond.  The weather was in the mid 60's and mostly sunny.  I put in at the privately owned boat launch off of Bog Road.  There is a $1 fee for launching here which I gladly pay to support keeping the launch open to the public.

In addition to the stream, I decided to explore what appeared to be a canoe trail connecting Hermon Pond to two smaller ponds (see map below). However, the southern pond felt like it was right in someone's backyard, and the north end was blocked off.

During my trip I observed a bald eagle and heard a loon calling out. 

Here is a map of my trip.
Souadabscook Stream as it opens to Hermon Pond
Map showing the canoe trail.
The south end of the canoe trail
In the foreground is a small dam across the canoe trail.  Further down in the picture there is a much more significant blockage.