In an effort to stretch my legs after several days of computer work, I got out for a long day-hike in the Camden Hills yesterday with my friend, Hans. The exceptionally wet weather from the early part of the summer has mostly given way to muggy heat, but the day we chose was a little cooler than the recent average. Still humid, though– we started the hike in thick fog, and it lifted only slightly throughout the day.
We started out with the densely forested Carriage Road Trail, Jack Williams Trail, and Ridge Trail in case the fog lifted later in the day. I hadn’t been on many of these trails since last summer, so it was great to see them again. I absolutely love the hiking in the Camden Hills– the park isn’t huge, but the variety of trails makes for endless day-hike opportunities, with gorgeous forests and ledges scattered throughout.
The only views of the day came from the rocky outcrops of Millerite Ledges, which were just about at cloud level. The open rock of the ledges has the feel of much taller mountains (the highest point in the region is 1385 feet above the nearby ocean), with scrubby lichens and blueberry bushes resembling the alpine vegetation of higher elevations. Some of the blueberries were even ripe already, and damn were they sweet!
From Millerite Ledges, we returned via the Maiden Cliff Trail and Ridge Trail across Mount Megunticook. The Ridge Trail is fairly long, and aside from some small openings at the northwest end and the spectacular Ocean Lookout on the southeast end, the trail is entirely contained in deep woods. The forest on the ridge is very pretty on any day, but yesterday, with the dense mist, the moss and ferns practically glowing, it was really gorgeous.
For the rest of the walk, we made our way down over Ocean Lookout, across the Tablelands, to the tower on Mt Battie. Of course, there wasn’t much to see at the Lookout and the tower, but even the inside of a cloud looked pretty neat. The largest crowds in the area are generally at Battie and Ocean Lookout, but there were very few people out today. I guess on a sunny day there might have been a little more crowding, but it certainly didn’t seem like a problem yesterday.
Hans and I are heading to Baxter Park next weekend (I need to finish mapping the 100 Mile Wilderness for my apps, and arranging a car spot seemed like a good excuse for a few days of hiking at Baxter). For a small taste of hiking, this was pretty great.