Saturday, August 27, 2022

Turtle Ridge Loop Trail, Nahmakanta Public Lands (North Maine Woods)

Southwest of Baxter State Park within the North Maine Woods lies the 43,000 acre Namakanta Public Lands.   The remote preserve features miles of forested hiking trails, secluded lakes with undeveloped shorelines, and low mountains that provide views of Katahdin, Baxter and the surrounding forests.  

I hiked 6 miles of the Turtle Ridge Loop Trail today.  The trail climbs steadily with several rock outcroppings overlooking Baxter.  It then drops and passes within view of Henderson Pond.   It descends to Hedgehog Pond, where the option exists to extend the hike past Sing Sing Pond and up Turtle Ridge.  Due to time constraints I elected instead to circle back and complete the remaining 1.1 mile as it passed Rabbit Pond.   

This is a beautiful hike through a variety of habitats.  There was extensive evidence of bear and moose on the trail, and I saw a very large moose on Jo Mary Road while driving to the trailhead.

The only downside to hike was having to pay $11 per person to enter the North Maine Woods, but it was definitely worth it.   

Thursday, August 25, 2022

French Mountain (Rome)

I worked in Waterville this afternoon so hiked  French Mountain, a well maintained 7 Lakes Alliance property, after work.  A short 0.8 mile loop trail climbs 230 feet to the top of French Mountain.  The trail runs along the top of the mountain with views of Whittier Pond and the surrounding area, before dropping back down to the parking lot.  This is a great short hike that took less than 30 minutes to complete.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Greenville Trip (Lazy Tom Stream, Lily Bay State Park, Little Moose Mountain Public Reserved Land)

I did a solo camping, hiking and kayaking trip this weekend in the Moosehead Lake region.

I started my trip after work Friday, kayaking 2.6 miles on Lazy Tom Stream north of Spencer Bay Road.  This is a beautiful and secluded stream that meanders through ideal moose habitat.   I did not see any moose but was treated to amazing views of Big and Little Spencer Mountains.   

I camped at Lily Bay State Park.  This is a nice park, with pit toilets in the campground and a central facility with flush toilets and showers.   I spotted four deer in the brief time I was there, including a doe suckling from it's mother on the side of the road (sorry for the blurry picture, I took it over my shoulder from inside the car).

I woke early Saturday morning to see the sunrise and hoping to spot a moose.  I started hiking Little Moose Mountain from the Moose Mountain Inn in Greenville.  The eastern trailhead starts from the hotel's parking lot and steadily climbs the mountain.  At times the trail is steep, requiring a little scrambling, but it is also interspersed with flat sections.  

I noticed numerous moose tracks and droppings on the trail, even at the highest point just north of Papoose Pond.  As I descended towards the pond I heard a large crashing noise in the woods, followed by breathing and then moose vocalizations.  Although I couldn't see the moose due to the thick vegetation it was still an exciting moment.

 I connected with the Big and Little Moose Pond Trail, hiking counterclockwise adjacent to the two ponds.  I then took the Mountain Link Trail to North Road and then took Route 15 back to the Inn.  If I did it over, I'd hike with a friend (driving two cars) or drop a bike at the trailhead and make it a shuttle hike, given that 3.5 of the 9.3 miles I hiked wound up being on the road.  


Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Canada Cliffs and Beech Cliff Loop Trails (Acadia National Park)

I drove to Acadia National Park after work today and hiked the Valley, Canada Cliffs and Beech Cliff Loop Trails for a relatively easy 1.5 mile loop.  The trail circled the top of Beech Cliff, providing great views with relatively little effort. 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Acadia Bike & Camping Trip (Hio Truck Road, Seawall Campground, Little Long Pond Preserve and Carriage Road Biking)

We did a bike-focused camping trip at Acadia this weekend, camping at Seawall Campground and biking the Hio Truck Road (also known as the Hio Road) and Acadia's carriage roads.  We also briefly stopped at Little Long Pond Preserve.  

Hio Truck Road

After arriving at Seawall Campground, we parked at our campsite and rode on the Hio Truck Road.  The Hio Road is roughly 2 miles long (4 miles roundtrip) and runs from the Seawall group campsites to Bass Harbor Road.  Although the trail lacks spectacular views, it provided an opportunity to bike Acadia without crowds (we did not see anyone else on the trail).   

Seawall Campground, D Loop

We camped in D loop, which are considered "hike in" sites.  Our site was around 75 feet from the parking lot and within very close proximity of several surrounding campsites (I could here people talking quietly in their tents).   This was a sharp contrast to the secluded hike in sites at Schoodic, but we were happy to stay in the park nonetheless.

Little Long Pond Preserve

We hadn't planned on stopping at Little Long Pond Preserve, but while driving from Seawall to Jordan Pond we were struck by how beautiful Penobscot Mountain looked in the distance as we drove by.   During our brief hike we spotted a large buck feeding in a field.

Carriage Roads 

The highlight of our trip was a 17.2 mile bike ride on Acadia's carriage roads.   We started at Jordan Pond, rode north on Park Loop Road until joining the carriage roads before Bubble Brook.   We then road past Eagle Lake, park headquarters, Aunt Betty Pond, and Upper Hadlock Pond.   We saw few people except around Eagle Lake, Parkman Mountain and Jordan Pond.   

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Jordan Homestead and Indian Point Preserves (Ellsworth)

The Frenchman Bay Conservancy maintains two preserves less than a mile from each other adjacent to the Union River in Ellsworth.  I had dropped my kids off at the Volta Climbing Gym in Trenton so decided to explore both of them.

The Jordan Homestead Preserve is only 31 acres but feels larger.  A 1.1 mile roundtrip trail leads through a mature forest to 3,000 feet of waterfront shoreline.  I was pleasantly surprised at the beauty and solitude of this preserve, having not expected much due to it's proximity to downtown Ellsworth.

A short distance away is the Indian Point Preserve.  A 0.9 mile trail leads through a forest to the shoreline of the Union River, from which downtown Ellsworth can be seen.  Interpretative signs line the trail highlighting plant life and the native American history of the land.  Nearby traffic can be heard along the trail but otherwise it is a beautiful hike. 

On the above map Jordan Homestead is the green trail and Indian Point is the blue trail.  Despite it being a Saturday afternoon in August I did not see anyone else on either hike. 

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Schoodic Woods Campground, Indian Point Blagden Preserve and Volta Climbing Gym

My son and I camped Saturday night at Schoodic Woods Campground in Acadia National Park.  While he attended an event at Volta I hiked at the Indian Point Blagden Preserve.  On Sunday morning we returned to Volta and were joined by my daughter for a morning of climbing.

Indian Point Blagden Preserve 

Indian Point Blagden Preserve is a 110 acre preserve on Mount Desert Island owned by The Nature Conservancy.   I started my 2.25 mile hike on the Big Wood Trail, which leads through a forest of spruce, cedar and fir trees on its way to the western shore of the island.  I next took the Shore Trail which, as it's name implies, runs along the  preserve's 1,000 foot shoreline, providing great views of Western Bay.   I finished by walking back along Higgins Farm Road to the parking lot.  

This is a beautiful preserve and a great place to escape the crowds that flock to Acadia.  I saw only four other people during my hike.  

Schoodic Woods Campground 

We were amazed to find a campsite available in Acadia when we started planning this trip earlier in the week.   We camped at site H01 at Schoodic Woods.  The site is a hike in site requiring a 650' walk from the parking lot, but it was secluded and quiet.  There were hardly any mosquitoes and the cool ocean breeze made for good sleeping weather. 

Volta Climbing Gym

Volta is a 10,000 square foot climbing gym located off Route 3 in Trenton, just before reaching Mount Desert Island.  The gym opened in April 2022 and is the only commercial climbing gym north of Portland.  The gym is large, air conditioned, well laid out and staffed by friendly, knowledgeable and safety conscious staff.   

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Northern Pond Natural Area (Monroe)

We did a quick hike this morning at Northern Pond Natural Area.  I've blogged about this area before ( and love that it's close yet feels remote.