10 06 2014.

hiking: mt. megunticook

To end our Camden trip right, Darren and I decided to hike Mt. Megunticook on Sunday. Saturday was a foggy washout, so we figured that waiting would have its rewards.

Well Sunday morning was beautiful! There was still a chill in the air, but the sun was out and the sky was clear. We quickly stopped at a small cafe for bagels and drove to the Maiden Cliff trailhead. At first, we missed it! I was looking for parking on the side of the road and didn’t realize that there was an actual parking lot for it. We thought, for a good 10 minutes, that we were going to have to go to Megunticook via the Camden Hills State Park – but alas, we found the parking.

We went into this hike knowing that it was shorter than our typical hikes, with an elevation of 1385 ft. To save us from packing extra, we wore our sneakers. In hindsight, knowing that it rained the day before, hiking boots would have been preferable.

The trail was beautiful, though. It’s peak foliage season right now in Camden and we had great views just 15 minutes into the hike! It was steep at first, which explains the startlingly soon views. The trail was well maintained and clearly marked.

I loved how quiet it was in the woods. We rarely saw another hiker and when we did, they were friendly enough and stopped to talk for a few minutes. On the way down, I ran into a friend of my dad’s! I didn’t remember them because I was so young when I last saw them, but the wife looked at me and said, “Topsham? Raymond?” Yep! What a coincidence! I always joked that my dad knows someone everywhere he goes! This just proved my point even more.

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There was also quite a bit of wildlife. We saw tons of red squirrels jumping along the trails in front of us and I almost stepped on a toad! He wasn’t all that scared and didn’t even move when my foot came within inches from it! There was another hiker behind us a ways though, and I didn’t want it to get trampled so I moved it off of the trail.

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A few minutes later, I almost stepped on a snake! And this one did move when I got close to it. I had a mini heart attack! It’s so startling to be walking along, your head caught up in your thoughts, and then the ground moves in front of you!

At one point, I landed on my foot wrong and twisted my ankle. Because I was wearing sneakers, I had no ankle support and felt the full impact of my weight. Yikes! I took a few steps on the pain and was worried that we’d have to turn back. I re-laced my shoes, tied them tighter and was actually fine after that! No more ankle pain.

This hike had quite a few bridges to cross. I love bridges and crossing water during hikes. I know I’ve mentioned that before, but there’s something exciting about manmade additions to a completely natural surrounding. I love seeing how humans have manipulated the environment to encourage visitors. I also have a strange fascination with trail signs for this reason, too. (That being said, I’m strongly against any kind of unhealthy human imposition on the trails!)

The summit itself has virtually no view. We knew that based on our book of Maine trails and maps. So we continued onto the Ocean Lookout, a half mile further.

You can see for miles almost 180 degrees across, with a pretty great view of Mt. Battie, Camden Harbor and Rockland. It was so warm on the lookout, too! A cute newlywed couple (I heard them tell another couple that they just got married) was taking photos up there. It was strange, emerging from the solitude under the trees to a beautiful lookout with probably 15 people on it!

I actually loved the lower altitude of this hike. We were still under the clouds which meant that the visibility was great and we could see cars drive up Mt. Battie.

We spent a little while on top taking in the scenery and taking photos. It was nice knowing that we had a relatively short drive back to Portland and that it was only noon!

The hike down was fairly quick as well, which made 6 miles round-trip.

There were certain areas of this hike that were steep and allowed for a great workout, whereas half of it was more of a gradual climb. It took us around 3 hours from parking to departing. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a relatively easy-moderate hike! It’s short and doesn’t consume your whole day while still offering 5-star views!

Go hike!

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