The yearly ritual of turning back of clocks today came with the a clear turn toward Spring, which officially arrives this year at 6:45 pm March 20. The light is different now. It’s clearer, warmer as the longer days arrive, and still below freezing every single night.
It’s a banner year for cold, school storm days, and especially for snow accumulation. There is thee to four feet of snow on local trails, and even higher depths at elevation.
While struggling up the steepest sections of Ridge Trail in Camden Hills State Park on Saturday, my extended Leki trekking poles went all the way up to the hand grips before the connected with solid ground.
I was able to do it all this week: snowshoe hikes, bike rides on the snow and ice, and even a run on a clear tar road where I didn’t have to fear a slip or fall on the ice, which had finally melted.
Several places are really prime right now. For skiers and snowshoe fans, you can’t beat the conditions in Camden Hills State park. Regular snowmobile grooming on the Multipurpose/ Ski Lodge trail has put a packed surface of deep snow down for foot ( and bike) traffic.
The sheer number of people out and about has also packed down several of the side trails.
On Saturday, Bruce and I were able to walk without snowshoes all the way up the Carriage and then Tableland Trails to the intersection of Jack Williams where we donned snowshoes to break the untraveled 1.7 miles of that route. A slight inconvenience that is not a problem in the summer is the nearly constant pushing aside of small branches from my face. it’s because there is so much snow on the trails that you are actually elevated three to four feet above into a canopy that’s normally overhead.
To orient, the blue line intersecting Route 173 is at the Stevens Corner parking lot. Frohock Mountain is just to the left, Bald Rock Mountain is to the right, with the largest mass of Megunticook touching Penobscot Bay below. The blue line is all trail. Most of the traveling that we did in the foreground is impossible in any season but winter, unless you have a canoe, or an amphibious vehicle, as it is Swamp Thing country.
Maiden’s Cliff is packed down, especially the left turn route up to the Millerite Ledges.
The road walk up to the top of 800′ Mount Battie from the Route 1 parking lot is plowed and the pavement is almost 100% clear right now.
Cameron Mountain is really easy to get to, and serviced by many snowmobiles each day, packing that trail solid.
Drive on up to Tanglewood 4- H camp and ski the Road in from the parking lot/kiosk. it’s groomed and packed solid. The Ducktrap River trail, starting at the suspension bridge, looks great for skiing.
If you decide to head out into the woods this week in Lincolnville, do remember that’s it’s still pretty wild out there. Bring a day pack that can keep you going ( food and water), keep you warm ( dry extra clothes), keep you on track ( map, compass, and GPS), and keep you alive if you run out of daylight (warm clothing, fire starting devices, bivy sack).
Check out what’s in my present winter day pack, if you need some ideas.
If you exhaust the possibilities in and around the Camden Hills, you can also head up to Acadia, which now has it’s own Guthook’s Hiking Guide app for the iPhone/iPad available within his New England Hiker app.