Monday, April 19, 2021

Middle Ground Campground, Third Machias Lake, Machias River Public Reserved Land

Matty and I explored the Machias River Public Reserved Land yesterday and today, traveling the length of the preserve before settling in to tent camp at the Middle Ground Campground on Third Machias Lake.   

This was a great trip.   We had the campground to ourselves, with no other people and no insects.  On the way through, we stopped at several of the other campgrounds, and with the exception of one RV, didn't see anyone.   The weather may have been a factor (partly cloudy with intermittent rain and nighttime temperatures dipping to 25 overnight).  Other than a few light sprinkles, the weather held and we were treated to a beautiful sunset and clear night.   

We woke at 3:30 am to an amazing dark sky filled with stars.  

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Wayward Yurt, Hidden Valley Nature Center (Jefferson)

Ryan and I stayed in the Wayward Yurt at Hidden Valley Nature Center Saturday night.

The Yurt features 3 bunk beds with mattresses, a wood stove (got up to 58 inside while it was 40 outside), table and chairs, picnic table, fire pit, and pit outhouse.  There is a gas coleman stove and a hibachi for cooking, and fire wood is supplied.   Reservations can be made online at https://www.midcoastconservancy.org/preserve/hidden-valley-nature-center.  

There is a roughly 0.8 mile hike to the Yurt along fairly level dirt roads, except for a brief climb right before reaching the Yurt. 

This is a quiet place, the only sounds coming from birds and coyotes.   

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park

My sons and I went bike riding at Acadia National Park today on Park Loop Road between Hulls Cove Visitor Center and Cadillac Mountain Road. This is the last weekend this year that the road will be closed to motor vehicle traffic.  The ride was approximately 7.1 miles with a 472 foot climb on the ride out (followed by a much more enjoyable 472 foot descent on the way back!)

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Halfmile Pond Trail, Amherst Community Forest

After spending Easter morning with my kids, I went for a solo hike at the Amherst Community Forest.  

I parked at the first pull-off on the road leading to Halfmile Pond and walked 1/2 mile to the trailhead.  The road was muddy so I was glad to have made that decision.  

The trail from the road is short but steep and leads down to the shoreline of Halfmile Pond.  The shoreline provides excellent views of a nearby mountain.  The trail continues along the shore until reaching the outlet on the south end of the pond. 

As I stood admiring the view an otter climbed onto the ice carrying a fish.  I watched for two minutes as the otter worked on eating the fish and then climbed back into the water.  

Here is a map of my hike.   


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Hike for the Homeless, Bangor City Forest

A group of 20 people from my workplace participated in the annual Bangor Hike for the Homeless event today at the Bangor City Forest.  The event is being held virtually this year, so participants can hike anywhere between April 3rd and May 31st.  Proceeds from the hike support the Bangor Homeless Shelter.   

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Hart Farm/Fields Pond

I went to Fields Pond after work Tuesday to go on a quick hike and discovered the adjacent Hart Farm managed by the Holden Land Trust.   

Hart Farm is a relatively new land trust property, having been acquired by the Holden Land Trust around 2017.  Trail work is still being completed, and there are new signs and wooden footbridges throughout.  The trails travel through woods and open fields and past a scenic stream.  

I started my hike at the Fields Pond nature center and headed up the Ravine Trail.   It was then that I came across a sign stating "Connector Trail to Holden Land Trust" and decided to explore where it went.  I soon came to the Shelterwood Trail and followed it first as it gradually climbed to the Hart Farm's parking lot off Copeland Hill Road.  The lot overlooks an open field atop a hill with excellent views.  I headed back along the trail and followed it as it ran parallel to a stream before crossing back over to the Ravine Trail in Fields Pond.  

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Penobscot Experimental Forest (Bradley)

The Penobscot Experimental Forest (PEF) consists of approximately 3,800 acres in Bradley and Eddington owned by the University of Maine and co-managed with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).  The PEF was created in 1950 through a unique agreement between the USFS and several forestry products companies.  The land was subsequently donated by the companies to UMaine, which manages it with USFS primarily for research and education.  

I hiked three miles at the PEF this morning, starting out at a small parking lot on Government Road at a locked gate just past the Maine Forest and Logging Museum.  Although not overly scenic in a traditional sense, this is an interesting place to walk in that it provides an opportunity to view forests in different stages of development.  The forest also provides excellent wildlife habitat. 

Here is a map of today's hike from the parking area to Blackman Stream.   










Saturday, March 27, 2021

Meadow Brook Preserve and Swan Lake State Park (Swanville)

My sons and I went on two hikes in Swanville today. Here is a map of our hikes. 

We started at Meadow Brook Preserve, a 372 acre wooded preserve managed by the Coastal Mountains Land Trust.  We took the Hauk-Fry trail (2 miles total), a well marked trail traversing through woodlands, occasionally over log walkways, leading out to views of Meadow Brook and the Hurd's Pond watershed.  The trail was easy to follow and an easy walk.  At the end of the trail there is a picnic table overlooking Meadow Brook with views of a large beaver lodge.  A small section of the trail crosses the brook to the opposite shoreline; however, due to the recent warm temperatures and snow melt, the trail was underwater and impassable. 

 

We next visited Swan Lake State Park.   Best known for its lakefront beach, the park in the winter provides solitude and a chance to walk along the shore of Swan Lake without crowds.  The front gate of the park was closed, so the roundtrip distance from the road to the shoreline and around the park totaled 1.7 miles.  


Monday, March 22, 2021

Book Review: Hiking Acadia National Park (A Falcon Guide)

This past weekend two hikers from Massachusetts were found dead on Dorr Mountain in Acadia.  This incident made me realize how appreciative I am for the Hiking Acadia National Park book that I picked up this past winter.  Around two and a half weeks ago on March 4th I had been hiking after work on the Kane Path and had considered hiking up Dorr Mountain.   I quickly consulted the guide (which I've downloaded to the Nook app on my phone) and saw it was "strenuous to expert" and had iron rungs and ladders.  Given the extensive ice, time of day, and my lack of ice climbing experience and equipment, I continued my pleasant walk along the flat Kane Path.
The book is a trove of information about almost all of the trails in Acadia National Park from short easy walks to the most challenging hikes and climbs. For each it provides a summary, narrative description, map and photographs. The narratives are entertaining and descriptive and provide a clear picture of what to expect for each hike.  The added benefit of having it in ebook format on my phone enables me to adapt quickly if we arrive at Acadia and find that our plans need to change because of a trail closure.

To be clear, I'm not judging the hikers that passed away on the mountain last weekend.  I know nothing about them or their qualifications and they may have been expert ice climbers.  It just struck home that they died on the same mountain I considered hiking just a short time ago, and that I may have at least started to attempt were it not for this book.  


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Schooner Head Overlook, Sand Beach and Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park

Matty and I did a quick photography trip to Acadia today, visiting a few quick areas off one of the two areas of Park Loop Road that is open in the winter, the area between Schooner Head Overlook and Great Head.  Despite temperatures approaching 60 degrees, there were not that many people visiting this area, allowing us the opportunity to enjoy a part of the park that is usually overrun with visitors in the summertime. 

Our first stop was the Schooner Head Overlook.  A short 1/2 mile paved and gravel path leads to dramatic views of the shoreline, including a sea cave, some interesting rock formations, and a prominent house overlooking the ocean.  



 
Our next stop was Sand Beach. The sand beach is surrounded by dramatic shoreline on both sides, and the absence of visitors made it that much more beautiful.  




Our final destination of our short trip was Thunder Hole and again had the spot to ourselves.  The dramatic sound of the waves crashing was amplified by the lack of human noise.