Saturday, January 30, 2021

Sandy Point Wildlife Management Area (Stockton Springs)

My sons and I explored Stockton Springs this morning, visiting Sandy Point Wildlife Management Area, Fort Point State Park and Sandy River Beach.   With temperatures in the single digits we decided on a few short walks.

Sandy Point Wildlife Management Area is a 564 acre state owned wildlife preserve featuring a wetland surrounded by woods.  There are no formal hiking trails on the property.  There is a short road leading down to a parking area and a path which overlooks the lake.  The wildlife management area has been identified as an Important Bird Area by Audubon.   


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Peaks Kenny State Park

Matty and I visited Peaks Kenny State Park this afternoon, hiking from the park's entrance to the beach area along the park's closed road.  The snow was firmly packed down along the road, making walking in boots a relatively easy task.  It was 15 degrees out, but when we reached the beach area 30 mph winds were whipping in from the lake, making it feel like -6 degrees.  The round-trip distance was 3.2 miles.

Here is a map of our hike.  We had a great time despite the frigid temperatures.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Sklar Park (Orono)

I explored Sklar Park in Orono this morning with a group of friends.  The 40 acre park, owned by the Town of Orono and managed by the Orono Land Trust, features a 3.5 mile trail network that runs through woods and past a brook.   There are trails that lead from the park to nearby Rampe Woods as well as a local retirement community and a Boy Scout office.

We started our hike at the Boy Scout office as it offered a convenient meeting spot right off of I-95.  The trail leading from the parking lot wasn't well marked at first but after a brief detour we found it and were able to easily follow it.  There are a number of trails in the area so I'd recommend bringing a map of the area with you (you can find one here).   

The trail was flat and wooded and there were many animal tracks.  The trail had many icy spots (it was 20 degrees today) and I imagine that the trail would be quite wet during warmer weather.   

Here is a map of our hike.  We hiked approximately 1.6 miles.   

Sunday, January 17, 2021

McPhetres Farm Forest (Veazie)

Matty and I explored the McPhetres Farm Forest in Veazie this afternoon, hiking 8/10 of a mile on slushy, modestly hilly trails.  The 25 acre preserve is owned by the Town of Veazie and sits adjacent to two other preserves - Davis Forest and Manter Wood - giving visitors several trail options for exploring the combined woodlands.  

When I last visited here in September 2019, I found the trail system somewhat confusing.  However, since that time the trails have been freshly blazed and new trail maps have been added at nearly every intersection, making it very easy to navigate. 

Here is a map of our hike.  

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Pleasant Lake Preserve (Stetson)

 My son and I went snowshoeing today at Pleasant Lake Preserve in Stetson.  The preserve, established in 2010 and administered by the Sebasticook Regional Land Trust ( features a relatively flat trail that leads out to and then circumnavigates an island in Pleasant Lake.  

The initial part of the hike was enjoyable as we traveled along the Cape Trail and visited two lakefront picnic sites.  We then took part of the Loop Trail to the Shoreline Trail, at which point things became challenging.  

There were multiple sections of the Shoreline Trail where the trail crossed over ice (and water underneath).  The ice hadn't fully frozen over yet and in several points along the trail we broke through, although the water wasn't very deep.  At one point, however, I broke through ice with my snowshoes into water that was knee deep (despite being on the trail).  Freezing water soaked my boots, socks and pants.  Since temperatures were in the mid-20's, we decided to forgo the remainder of the Shoreline Trail and bushwhack through the center of the island back to where the trail entered the island.  The interior of the island was thickly forested at parts and we discovered a frozen over stream as well, but it was significantly shorter than had we either backtracked or continued along the trail.  

I would recommend the preserve if you just visit the Cape and Loop Trails.  We only saw one other person during our visit, and some of the trails had not been visited since being covered with snow around a week ago.  


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Dead River Road, Great Pond Mountain Wildlands (Orland)

My kids and I went snowshoeing today along the Dead River Road in the Great Pond Mountain Wildlands.   We took the trail to a picnic area a little over a mile from the parking lot.  At approximately 0.7 miles the trail to the picnic area left the wide main trail and wound its way through a forested winter wonderland down to the shores of the Dead River.   

Friday, January 1, 2021

Northeast Penjajwoc Preserve (Bangor)

My children and I celebrated New Year's Day by hiking the Northeast Penjajwoc Preserve in Bangor today.   Other than one person on a mountain bike, we did not see anyone during our hour long, 1.9 mile hike.  The trails were icy in spots and a light snow covered the ground.