Friday, August 27, 2021

Baxter Park North (KP Dam Backcountry Campsite, Burnt Mountain)

I did a quick solo overnight trip to the north end of Baxter State Park, camping at KP Dam and hiking Burnt Mountain at sunrise.  

Although categorized as a backcountry campsite, KP Dam is reached by a short flat 1,000 foot walk.  The site is well maintained and has a picnic table, fire pit, large flat area for tents and a pit toilet.  It's close enough to Trout Brook that you can hear the stream all night and close enough to the road that you could haul firewood in if you wanted.  Unfortunately I arrived after dark and departed before sunrise so don't have pictures of the site.  

I woke early this morning to climb Burnt Mountain in the northwest corner of the park, hoping to see the sunrise.  It was a pleasant hike with gradual elevation gain most of the way and only a short steep climb for the last 1/4 mile. I arrived at the top in time for the sunrise; however the view opens to the south.  Nevertheless it was a fun hike.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Dorr Mountain (Acadia National Park)

I tend to avoid Acadia on summer weekends due to the crowds.  This morning, however, I woke early and began solo hiking Dorr Mountain at 5:45, well before the crowds.  

I took the Canon Brook Trail to the South Ridge Trail, reversing course after reaching the summit.   I didn't see another person until the final 1/2 mile of the 5 mile hike.  

This was a great hike.  There was heavy fog which limited visibility but created a muted, hiking-in-the-clouds type experience.   The hike itself was not overly strenuous.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Lock 32, Erie Canal (Pittsford, NY)

Ryan and I explored the Erie Canal at Lock 32 in Pittsford, New York while Matty settled into his dorm room.   The canal and it's towpath span upstate New York, providing opportunities to run, walk and bike for miles while also interpreting the history of the canal.   

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Basin Pond (Lee, Massachusetts)

Matty and I drove to Rochester, New York today and stopped halfway to stretch our legs at Basin Pond, a preserve managed by the Berkshire Natural Resources Council.   The preserve has 2.5 miles of trails but due to time constraints we only hiked a mile.   It was a great place to stop, stretch and recharge before driving another six hours.  

Monday, August 9, 2021

Blackcap Mountain

Matty met me after work today to hike Blackcap Mountain in Eddington.   The trail starts at Camp Roosevelt and follows the perimeter of Fitts Pond until a trail leads off to the right.   The climb itself was surprisingly steep at parts requiring a little scrambling.   Once we reached the top we elected to walk down the dirt road rather than descend down the same trail.  On the way down we encountered a pair of porcupines.  Our total hike was a little under 4 miles. 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Sherwood Forest Park (Brewer)

Ryan and I had limited time today but wanted to explore a new trail, so we went for a walk at Sherwood Forest Park in Brewer.   The 11 acre park is surrounded by residential neighborhoods and has a nice 1/2 mile wooded loop trail running through it.  

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Dog Walking at Brown Woods (Bangor)

I'm watching Oreo this weekend so took him to Brown Woods in Bangor.  The park is a nice place to walk dogs (especially older nearly blind dogs like Oreo) as it's flat and the trails are mostly wide enough to avoid brushing up against grass (being a black dog makes it hard to spot ticks on Oreo). We walked a little less than a mile.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Northern Maine Trip (Hedgehog Mountain, Aroostook State Park, Salmon Brook Lake Bog Public Reserved Land, Bangor and Aroostook Rail Trail, Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument)

Matty and I spent the weekend in Aroostook and northern Penobscot County.  This was our last trip of the summer before Matty heads off to college. 

Saturday July 31

We took Route 11 north from Bangor to our first stop, Hedgehog Mountain in Winterville.  Hedgehog Mountain is a short but steep 0.7 mile trail that starts at a rest area on Route 11 and ends at a summit offering amazing views of the St. John Valley.  

After the hike, we drove to Aroostook State Park and set up camp.   Aroostook State Park is a beautiful park with miles of trails (including two mountain summits), a lake and a very nice campground.  The campground features hot showers, running water and a kitchen area with sinks, electrical outlets and picnic tables in a covered building.  

After setting up camp, we went fishing in Echo Lake.  Within five minutes Matty hooked a nice sized brook trout.  We also caught around a dozen catfish.  We released all of the fish we caught.

After dinner we did a five mile hike on the Bangor and Aroostook Rail Trail and the Salmon Brook Lake Bog Public Reserved Land.  We parked at the Perham Town Office and walked around 1.25 miles north on the rail trail before coming to a side trail entering the preserve.  The initial section of trail is a wide ATV trail with well built wood bridges leading to a small covered picnic area adjacent to the lake.   From there, a hiking trail continues north through woods between the lake and the rail trail.  The trail was half board bridges and half forest floor, and there was significant evidence of moose (see footprints next to board bridges below).  Around 1/2 mile from the picnic area there is an observation deck with sweeping views of the lake.  The trail then leads back to the rail trail.  For more information on Salmon Brook Lake Bog visit

Sunday August 1st

On Sunday morning we visited the Aroostook Wildlife Refuge and went on short hikes off of the auto road.  
The Beaver Pond Trail is a short trail through woods to a bench overlooking a small pond.  

The Bunker Trail is at the end of the auto road and provides an opportunity to walk and explore the bunkers previously used to store weapons.  This flat paved path passes several bunkers, most of which are opened (and empty).  There is an observation blind looking out over East Loring Lake.  There was abundant bird life and we observed bear scat along the path.  We also heard a very large animal nearby in the woods but were unable to see what it was.  

The Lima Trail is a 1.25 mile loop trail starting and ending at the visitor center.  The trail travels through a variety of habitats including wooded forests and wetlands.  There is an observation blind overlooking one of the wetland areas.  During the hike I observed a hawk land and take off from a nearby branch.  
Here is a map of our three hikes at the refuge. 
The auto road is a three mile wildlife drive starting at the refuge's visitor center and ending at the site of a historic weapons storage area from when the area was Loring Air Force Base.  The storage area can now be driven through and there is an informative display about its history and role as a top secret nuclear weapons storage base in the Cold War. 


In the afternoon we visited the south end of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and hiked on three trails.  This was our first visit to the south end, and we were surprised by how rough the access road to the park was.  The dirt road is a private logging road, and the road's owner makes it clear through multiple signs along the route that he does not support the national park.  

The road improved somewhat once we fully entered the park, although it was still rough in spots.  Our first hike was the Esker Trail, which starts near the gate to the Loop Road and ends near parking for the Deasey Pond Trail.  The trail gradually gains elevation before leveling out atop the esker (Wikipedia has a nice explanation of what an esker is here.)  This was a pleasant trail through woods, with evidence of moose activity along the way.  Rather than retracing our steps we took the park road back to our car.  The round-trip distance was 9/10 of a mile.

We then hiked the Deasey Pond Trail.  This is a newly created trail that travels through woods before descending to a viewing platform overlooking Deasey Pond.  The round-trip hike was 1.33 miles. 

Our final "hike" was a short 2/10 mile walk to Lynx Pond.  This was a nice wide gravel path leading a viewing platform.  We watched a pair of beavers busily chewing branches, undisturbed by our presence.  

Here is a map of our Katahdin Woods and Waters hikes.