Monday, June 27, 2022
Sunday, June 26, 2022
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Ben Annis Pond is an isolated 25 acre pond in Hampden that is accessible via Patten Stream, a very narrow stream that connects Hampden Pond to Ben Annis Pond.
I set out to go kayaking in the mid-afternoon today. Given that it was a beautiful sunny, 85° Saturday, Hampden Pond was very crowded.
The outlet for Patten Stream into Hampden Pond is not readily apparent until you get close to it and see water flowing. It is also very shallow, forcing me to pull the kayak up the stream approximately 6 or 7 feet before getting back in.
There were several spots where my one person kayak bottomed out, forcing me to push against the stream bottom with the paddle to continue moving. Shortly before reaching the pond, I encountered a beaver dam requiring that I again exit and pull the kayak over the dam.
Having finally reached Ben Annis Pond, I quickly realized that it was worth the effort. I had it to myself, spotting a river otter, snapping turtles and an osprey catching and then feeding on a fish.
Saturday, June 18, 2022
Considering the weather forecast initially called for rain all day, I was happy when the sun popped out and it started to warm up. I headed out and explored Fields Pond by kayak. I paddled across the pond to explore an island (the channel on the northwest side of the island is impassable due to marsh grass) and then paddled back for a total distance of 1.6 miles.
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Saturday, June 11, 2022
Two weeks ago I hiked Mount Phillip, a land trust managed by the Seven Lakes Alliance. Today I hiked a different Seven Lakes Alliance property - the 207 acre The Mountain preserve.
Today I hiked the preserve's well maintained 2.7 mile Outer Loop Trail, which gently climbs the mountain and offers views of the area's lakes to the east and west as it circumnavigates the mountain.
Friday, June 10, 2022
Monday, June 6, 2022
Sunday, June 5, 2022
I explored the 6,385 acre Bud Leavitt Wildlife Management Area in Charleston today.
I hiked a little over two miles on an ATV trail,, climbing steadily until the path leveled out and started to descend. The top of the trail was forested (the Mountain View Correctional Center actually sits on the hill's summit).
This was a nice walk through an upland forest with around 330 feet of gradual elevation gain.
Saturday, June 4, 2022
I hiked after work yesterday at the Northeast Penjajawoc Preserve in Bangor. I've hiked (and blogged about hiking) there multiple times so instead I'd like to share information about ticks (I had a tick on my boot and spotted two others on grass during the hike).
I hate ticks and take precautions to avoid them (permitherin, avoiding hikes in tall grass and stylishly tucking my pants legs into my socks). Despite this I recently found a tick embedded in me.
The tick had likely been there less than six hours. Given that medical professionals tend not to treat for Lyme unless the tick was embedded for 24 or more hours, I researched alternative treatments and learned that Johns Hopkins recently found certain homeopathic substances may be effective against Lyme. Interestingly one of the substances - Japanese Knotweed - also happens to be a highly invasive plant in Maine.
I'm not a big believer in homeopathic medicine but trust research from Johns Hopkins and wanted to share this finding for those of you interested in post exposure prophylactic treatment of Lyme.
Friday, June 3, 2022
With both rain and work in the forecast this upcoming weekend, I decided to hike in the Bangor City Forest last night to take advantage of the nice weather.
I did not see another person during my hour long three mile hike. The 680 acre forest is a large urban park in its own right, but combined with several contiguous land trust preserves and state lands creates several thousand acres of readily accessible wildlife habitat that is home to bear, deer, coyotes and other animals.
I was fortunate to have worn a raincoat and headnet as mosquitos were abundant (the mosquitos may have contributed to the lack of visitors).
Sunday, May 29, 2022
My son and I decided to mountain bike the Four Seasons Adventure Trail north of Corinna this afternoon, forgetting that it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon during Memorial Day weekend. The trail was packed with ATV riders and, although they were courteous, the dust kicked up by the constant flow of ATVs made us change plans. We exited the trail at Lincoln Mills Road and took Route 7 back to the car. It was an enjoyable 6 2/3 mile ride nonetheless.
Mount Phillip is a 207 acre land trust administered by the 7 Lake Alliance land trust. The preserve includes a 1.4 mile loop trail leading to the summit.
Friends and I hiked the trail this morning. The trail is very well marked and maintained. It starts off gradual before a short steep climb to the summit. Two vantage points at the summit provide views to the south and west.
This was a great easy to moderate one hour hike.
Saturday, May 28, 2022
Martin Ponds in the southeast part of Baxter State Park can be reached by a 2.3 mile relatively easy undulating hike. I did the hike this week after work one night, arriving at the pond shortly before sunset. I had hoped (as I do every time I visit Baxter) to see a moose but didn't, although I did see a significant amount of moose scat on the trail itself. It was a beautiful night for a hike, with Katahdin clearly visible across the pond.
Sunday, May 22, 2022
My son and I decided to explore Blueberry Hill, a town owned property in Winterport. The park, located at the end of Blueberry Hill Road, has two picnic tables, a small parking lot and a one mile trail around the perimeter of a large blueberry Field. They were also several beehives located on the property. We started hiking but quickly found ourselves covered with ticks so we cut the hike short. This would probably be a fun place to snowshoe in the winter when ticks are not an issue.
Sunday, May 15, 2022
Saturday, May 14, 2022
See Part One for the reason behind this trip. I did more sightseeing and less hiking on the way home.
Day Six - May 9th
Fort Harrison State Park, Indianapolis
I began the long drive back to Maine today, stopping in Indianapolis to explore before heading east.
The 1,700-acre Fort Harrison State Park is a former military training facility that features miles of trails. Despite being in Indianapolis it felt safe, peaceful and secluded.
During my hike, I observed large numbers of songbirds including blue jays, scarlet tanagers, and orioles.
Day Seven - May 10th
Cleveland Metro Parks
I had planned on revisiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park today but instead did three short hikes in Cleveland Metro Parks nearby.
My first stop was the Worden's Ledges Trail in Hinkley Township. This short trail features sandstone cliffs with carvings made by a previous owner in the 1940's (for more information see this article).
The next stop was Bridal Veil Falls, where a short 4/10 mile round trip trail lead to a scenic little fall and gorge.
While at Bridal Veil Falls, another hiker suggested visiting Tinkers Falls in nearby Viaduct Park. This short 7/10 mile round trip trail leads to a beautiful waterfall dropping 15 feet off a sandstone cliff. Part of the hike also involves an optional hunched over trip through a large pipe.
Day Nine - May 12th
Dingman Falls, Delaware Water Gap NRA
On my way through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, i stopped and hiked the Dingman Falls trail, a beautiful wheelchair accessible trail leading to two waterfalls.
I stopped a number of other places along the way (Flight 93 National Memorial, St. Gaudens National Historical Park, National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Hershey Chocolatetown, etc.) knowing that it is unlikely I will find myself traveling this way again.
Sunday, May 8, 2022
My purpose behind this blog is two-fold - highlight outdoor areas in Maine and surrounding states and document my weekly outdoor adventures. I've struggled with what to do when I travel further afield, since I want to continue documenting my outdoor activity even if it's not related to Maine. I think a good compromise is to summarize such trips in one or at most two blog posts.
I traveled to Indiana to help my kid get set up for their summer internship. This post summarizes the first five days of my trip.
Day One May 4th
Appalachian Trail North of Rt 9, Woodford, Vermont
After driving five hours in the rain, I lucked out when the rain stopped just as I was approaching the AT in Vermont. I took advantage of the brief rain break to get a quick mile hike and stretch my legs before continuing on to Rochester. This was a short scenic woodland hike up some switchbacks before returning the way I came. Here is a map of my hike. (The rain started again as soon as I returned to the car.)
Day Two May 5th
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
Today we visited Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The 32,572 acre park is managed by the National Park Service but contains county parks and private and public businesses within it's boundaries. The park was created in 1974 as a National Recreation Area and became a National Park in 2000.
The park lies between densely populated Cleveland and Akron Ohio and gets heavy local use. The park is an example of how concerted environmental efforts can pay off. The Cuyahoga River was heavily polluted in the 1950s and 60s and actually caught fire in 1952 and 1969. Parts of the what is now the park were declared superfund sites by the EPA. But thanks to strong local efforts backed by federal protection, the park has become a symbol of environmental renewal.
Today we rode bikes on the towpath of the Ohio & Erie Canal through the south section of the park. The towpath is relatively flat and easy to ride on, and provides a corridor through the park's center. Old canal locks are still present with interpretive signs. The canal itself is empty and overgrown in parts but the watered sections were teeming with turtles and other wildlife, including a huge snapping turtle. Century Cycles in Peninsula Ohio rents bikes adjacent to the towpath at an affordable price.
Here is a map of our ride.
Day Three May 6th
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Ohio
2,000 years ago a mysterious culture built large earthen work mounds throughout the eastern United States. A small section of these lands are preserved within the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, around an hour south of Columbus Ohio.
We visited the park this morning and learned a great deal about the history of the park, both archaeologically and its more recent history. Unfortunately most of the mounds were destroyed in the 19th and early 20th century as a result of farming and other land uses. Most of the mounds that do exist in the park were restored.
We visited two of the six sections of Park, touring the Mound City Group visitor center (which houses a cool museum and very interesting film about the park) and doing a short one mile walk at the Hopewell Mound Group site.
Here is a map of our visit.
Day 4 May 7th
B-Line Trail, Bloomington, Indiana and Hardin Ridge Recreation Area, Hoosier National Forest
After arriving in Bloomington, we set off exploring. Our first stop was cycling the B-Line Trail through the center of town. This is a beautiful trail running adjacent shops and recreational areas. Here is a map of our ride.
Our next stop was the Hardin Ridge Recreation Area in the Hoosier National Forest east of town. This is a large camping area with a beach and some hiking trails. We hiked a 1.5 mile loop through the woods, down to the beach and back up the park's road. Along the way we observed a killdeer faking a wing injury (presumably to lead us away from its nest but we didn't see a nest), a beautiful scarlet tanager, and a fox. Here is a map of our hike.
Day 5 May 8
Multiple hikes around Bloomington Indiana.
We started our day with a two mile hike at Cataract Falls State Recreation Area. A trail connects the upper and lower falls, although it's also possible to drive to both. The upper falls are the highest falls in Indiana. Here is a map of our hike.
We next went to McCormick's Creek State Park, where we did a short 3/10 mile walk to a waterfall followed by a 1.75 mile hike to Wolf Cave. The first 60 yards into the cave can be accessed, but today I only went in around 20 feet before encountering water. It was an interesting experience nonetheless. Here is a map of our two hikes at the park.
After lunch I did a solo trip to the Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower, a 100 foot tower open to the public. The views from the top were amazing, with 360 degree visibility for miles. From the same parking lot I hiked the Terrell Ridge Trail through a hardwood forest, during which I was treated to two barred owls calling to each other.
The Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve has a 2.5 mile trail system, however approximately 1/4 mile from the start the trail was flooded.