Hiking in Maine

100_6047I cannot remember ever hiking any trail in Maine when I was growing up. My family were not hikers. In college my roommate talked about climbing Mt. Katadhin, the highest mountain in Maine. This sounded exciting to me and I put it on my to do list. When my children were very young I became interested in taking them on beginners trails. By the time our children were 4 and 6 were had graduated to mountains like Mt. Blue, Tumbledown, Streaked Mt and Mt Battie. Two years later we were carrying packs to Chimney Pond and camping on Mt. Katadhin. It became an annual reunion for my college roommate and me and a hiking opportunity for her friends and my family. Each year since then I have hiked in Maine.

This summer I have been sitting at my desk more than usual with no opportunities to travel on long adventures. I have taken many day hikes which awaken my senses, refresh my soul and activate my body. It is a wonderful activity in my life.

I hike in all seasons. In the spring, rebirth of nature is keen. The Mayflowers and lady slippers are blooming. Leaves are opening and everything is turning green and new and bright. Brooks and streams and waterfalls are at their best. Birds let you know they are busy at work building their nests. The melt off of snow and ice leave plenty of mud on the trail but the loveliness of all that is new in nature is well worth the slipping and sliding that goes with the season. Summer is prime hiking season. The trails are safer for walking and the weather is condusive to hiking and overnight camping. On a warm sunny day is grand to sit on a peak or open ledge and take in the views for miles around. Fall is just beautiful with fall foliage at its peak. Hiking is great when it is a bit cooler and the black flies, mosquitoes and horseflies have disappeared. Winter is majestic after a nice snowfall. I enjoy hiking on snowshoes with cross country ski poles. It is so peaceful and serene with the sounds so muffled.

Recently I have hiked a variety of trails near our home. Ossipee Hill is a short, easy, open trail mostly on a graveled road. Streaked Mountain, my favorite training hill, is a short hike with a climb on ledges and great views in all directions. Evens Notch Region offers great day hikes. This fall I hiked Ames and Speckled Mountains on the Bickford Brook Trail and returned on the Blueberry trail. It is a nice easy trail. Hiking along a roaring brook adds to the pleasure of a daily hike. The Wheeler Brook Trail was a good day hike. The loop was through the woods to the summit of Peabody Mountain and along the Wild River back on a road to Gilead. Bickford Brook Falls is a trail I would like to take again with my granddaughters. It follows Bickford Brook with waterfalls in two locations. It is a scenic, easy and short trail.

In western Maine is Baldpate Mountain. This region has more mountainous but less accessible by road. The Appalachian Trail goes though this area and an area I through hiked a few years ago as I solo hiked the AT from Georgia northbound to Mt. Katahdin. By the time I hit the Maine border as a through hiker I had lost 50 pounds and was on my last state and nearly home. This fall a young friend and I hiked from the Andover hill Road to East Baldpate. It was a cold day with flakes of snow on occasion and ice and snow as we neared the summit. It was a bit slippery on some of the rocks and ledges but a good climbing hike.

I take my dog, Truffles with me when we hike. She is a brown cocker spaniel and loves the out of doors. My husband reluctantly joins us if it is spur of the moment if I haven’t planned for another hiker to join me. There are still trails I have not hiked in Maine.  There are great trails in the Camden Hills, Mt Blue State Park area, Acadia National Park, Baxter State park and The White Mountains on the Maine side it is less crowded with people. Fifty Hikes in Maine by John Gibson gives factual detailed descriptions of each trail. The Maine Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club is helpful to hikers.

I have enjoyed the different trails whether easy or more difficult. It is an opportunity to enjoy nature and I always feel so much more relaxed, happier and more alive after a good hike.

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