HUNTING Adventures... TERRY FARREN talks off-hand shooting; MIKE MURPHY bags a 210-pound buck with his 445WWK handgun
FISHING Adventures... TERRY FARREN takes us out on West Grand Lake
HIKING Adventures... GREG WESTRICH shows us 6 favorite hikes for the serious hiker... or the family; DAVID FITZPATRICK guides us along Gulf Hagas, 'Maine's Grand Canyon'
OFF-ROAD Adventures... BRIAN SWARTZ gives us the scoop on the Down East Sunrise Trail; GREG WESTRICH canoes the challenging Nollesemic Stream
Adventures GETTING THERE... Whether by motorcycle or ATV, enjoy the ride: Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i EPS Polaris Ranger 400 Yamaha Grizzly 550 FI EPS Yamaha Star Stryker motorcycle
2, Friday | June 17, 2011, Bangor Daily News
Practicing off-hand shooting can give you the edge By Terry Farren
Deer hunting is not usually a sport of second chances, so do your homework well and be one to do a lot of target practicing. A hunter should be prepared to capitalize on a deer’s mistake at a moment’s notice. There’s such an investment of your time hunting, and the animal can be so elusive, so the last thing you want to do is just part his hair with a round from your .30-06. It’s almost a guarantee he’s not waiting for you to load another round in the chamber, especially if he’s carrying a set of antlers. He’ll point his tail toward the sky and make tracks for home, leaving only a memory behind. It’s a memory you really don’t want to carry, especially when know you shouldn’t have missed. So do the preventive maintenance and
target practice. Once you’ve zeroed in the rifle from a rest or bench, it’s time to start shooting off-hand. Off-hand is a standing, unrested position. There are different positions, but off-hand is the most difficult because you’re not resting the rifle on anything. For example, in the kneeling position your elbow is resting on your knee, which helps steady the rifle. Shooting off-hand is a key ingredient for any successful deer hunter. Face it, when you unexpectedly meet a deer in the woods, as a rule there’s not much time for hesitation on your part. Especially if it’s one of those old skiddertrail scenarios, where you turn a corner on the trail, look up, and there he stands, broad side in the trail, ears pointed straight up, and he’s staring right at you. Now there’s no way I could ever truly
PHOTOS COURTESY TERRY FARREN, WWW.FARRENPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
Left: A deer in the woods perks up when sensing the photographer. Above: “Waiting to Go” is the title of this print, with the photographer’s dog displaying characteristic impatience at the thought of heading out to find a duck or two. begin to tell what’s going through the deer’s mind at the encounter; however, I honestly believe he’s not thinking something like “Maybe I’ll nibble on a little grass while this nervous hunter finds a rest for his rifle.” No way, let’s not even go there, because your opportunity isn’t waiting. Identify your target, then drop a shot in his vitals. This is where good off-hand shooting practice can pay hefty dividends. So set
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up a target at 50 to 100 yards with a solid backstop and practice. A method that helps me with off-hand shooting is allowing only three seconds to complete the shot. This helps to eliminate hesitation once you’re on the target. Remember, the longer you hold the rifle to your shoulder, the more difficult it is to keep it true and steady. After all, the rifle is weight. So bring the butt stock against your shoulder, place your cheek against the
stock, get on the target, and squeeze the trigger. If you can’t get off an accurate shot within the allotted time, don’t shoot. Put on the safety and bring the rifle down and rest a moment, then repeat the routine. Stick with the exercise until you get consistence with shooting good groups. Now you’re ready for November, and hopefully the next deer that crosses your path takes you to the tagging station. Maine Adventures was produced and published by the
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Bangor Daily News, Friday | June 17, 2011, 3
West Grand Lake worth the trip for any fisherman By Terry Farren West Grand Lake — is it worth the trip? Well, it’s treated me with royalty in the togue-fishing category over the years, so I was in hopes this spring trip would echo many of the previous ones. As the boat parted ways with the trailer and took up temporary residency in West Grand, I started the old 70-horse Yamaha outboard up for action. I pointed the bow in the direction Whitney Cove, which is about an 8-mile ride from the boat launch at Grand Lake Stream. It’s actually the spot in which my togue fishing experience really began. A good friend and togue fisherman, Wayne Black of Orrington, handed me my togue-fishing lessons on this lake about 10 years ago, and his words of advice still ring clear in my mind. Especially these ones: You have to have your bait within 2 feet of bottom to catch them, said Wayne, and I’ve found this so true. But remember that’s not a guarantee for success, because next you have to find them, and of course the fish really needs to take the bait for this action to occur. So as my wife Maureen and I entered the opening of Whitney Cove on a breezy and cool May morning, all those thoughts rang true in my mind. Once the old Yamaha outboard finally came to a stop and the trolling motor had gotten started, it was time to put it all into action.
“The fish/depth-finder reads 48 feet of water,” I said to Maureen, then gave a set of Dave Davis spinners with a smelt trailing them a quick trip to 46 feet, after attaching them to an eight-pound Down Rigger ball. Well, the action soon arrived. It wasn’t five minutes before the end of the rod started those quick back-and-forth bows to the lake — a scene that spelled togue. I grabbed the rod and lifted up on it to detach the line from the down rigger release, which keeps the line hooked to the ball. I was expecting nothing less than a fight from one of West Grand’s larger togue, but this time it wasn’t to be and a few cranks of the reel showed me nothing but the end of the line. What I mean by this is — just line. No Dave Davis with hook and smelt attached. That scene spelled rotten line. You know, maybe this is lesson number one in fishing: Check your line — although it really should take place at home, not in the boat. However, I’d felt that 2-year-old line should hold up better, which didn’t bring my tackle back, but it was too late to worry about that. After all, the fish were biting and they weren’t concerned about what it cost me to get ‘em in the boat, and neither was I — because my past history of fishing the lake told me West Grand was in a generous mood that morning. A new set of Dave Davis with a fresh smelt trailing was soon to prove it. “Got one,” I said to Maureen, while managing to
See WEST GRAND, Page 10
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PHOTO BY MAUREEN FARREN
The author nets a big one during his fishing trip to West Grand Lake in May.
4, Friday | June 17, 2011, Bangor Daily News
Getting the back-line buck with his custom 445WWK By Michael Murphy
Three years ago, I bought a piece of land for investment and hunting purposes. It looked like a really good hunting area. I didn’t hunt it a lot the first two years, because I was hunting another property I liked, but I saw some good deer signs — one particular spot along the back line of the property. There were some scrapes showing up each year, and it seemed to be a good-sized deer. The older property was hard to pull away from; I had shot some very nice deer there. Last year I shot a very nice 130-class eight-point with my handgun, but with six inches of deductions it was just under minimum for MASTC. The third year I hunted the new place a little. I was seeing a few deer at the old property, mostly does and younger deer, but I was thinking of the deer scrapes on the back line of my new property. That deer was probably 4½ to 5½ years old, meaning he was a prime, mature buck. Somebody else might shoot him if I didn’t. The scrapes looked good and fresh at the back line, and two other spots looked very good
also. One spot was up on higher ground, and the other was in deeper, heavier green growth. It was a Friday afternoon during the third week of firearms season, a cool day with a little wind. I didn’t think the wind was right for the higher spot, so I hunted further in to the green, mixed growth. On the way in I noticed a new scrape near some others by the back line. I stillhunted for a while and saw more deer signs. I wanted to stay in until quitting time but I had not dressed warm enough. I hunted out to my Jeep and warmed up for a few minutes. Quitting time was 4:33 p.m. and by then it was 3:45. I figured my best chance was near the scrapes by the back line, where the scrapes were about 15 to 20 yards apart. I found a nice tree to lean against where I could see the area with visibility from about 10 to 40 yards. I was getting cold again, but time was short. The light was fading fast at 4:25 when I heard twigs snapping not far in front of me. I knew a deer was close, and probably it was a buck. I finally saw a head and part of an antler at about 20
yards coming straight at me. He was in the green growth, trotting. I was afraid he was going to see me raise my handgun. When his head went behind a fir tree I raised my single-shot handgun
while cocking the hammer. It was hard to find him in the 2x Leupold scope. At 14 steps he turned broadside with an opening on his shoulder. I touched the trigger and let a 300-grain bullet do its
job. He went into overdrive, and I knew I had hit him well. I heard him go a little ways and thought he went down. I went in and found plenty of blood, and 25 yards later, there he was. He was a very nice deer, heavy in body and good mass on an eight-point rack. I felt very fortunate for such a deer, and thanked God for all of my success. This deer had come from the back line a short distance away, and I could tell he had been a warrior. He had a broken brow tine, puncture wounds atop his head and in his neck, and a scar on his snout, and his left eye was closed up and swollen. Wow! He was a little heavier than I thought, weighing in at 210 pounds. MASTC later informed me he had gross scored 133-7/8 and netted 127-6/8 — enough to make the MASTC handgun record book. Needless to say, I was very excited. This was my third entry in that section. My handgun is a single-shot Thompson Center Contender in my own wildcat caliber called 445WWK. It has served me well for 18 years.
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Bangor Daily News, Friday | June 17, 2011, 5
Six favorite hikes for serious hikers (or the family) By Greg Westrich You could go on a different hike in Maine every weekend and not run out of interesting hikes for years. There are great hikes for all ages and experience levels that are convenient to Bangor. The six trails described here are ones that even many seasoned hikers may not be familiar with; none is too difficult for children. Together they represent most of the landscapes found in our state.
Little Wilson Falls The highest waterfall on the entire 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail is northeast of Monson. To get there take the Elliottsville Road out of Monson for 7 miles; look for a woods road on the left just before the bridge over Big Wilson Stream. Walk or drive the half-mile back to a campsite on Little Wilson Stream. To start the 2-mile hike, ford the shallow stream and follow the washed-out road up a ridge that runs level for about a mile. Where it drops down to a small pond, turn left onto the southbound Appalachian Trail. Beyond the pond the trail winds up
and down through hardwoods to Little Wilson Stream. Downstream from this spot the stream makes a sharp right and drops over several slate ledges. Upstream, the stream emerges from a narrow, steep-sided canyon of black slate. The falls are at the head of this 100foot-deep canyon. Ford the stream and follow the AT up the steep hill beside the canyon. At the top of the climb, Little Wilson Stream is a pleasant pool behind a slate dam. The water plunges nearly 100 feet into the black-walled canyon.
Turtle Ridge The Turtle Ridge Trail in the Nahmakanta Reserve Lands is a 9.6-mile figure eight off the Jo Mary Road just beyond the Henderson checkpoint, about 17 miles from Route 11. Across a bridge from the trailhead is a large parking area with a sign that includes trail map. The level trail winds through softwoods and large boulders for the first half-mile, then climbs a large, open granite expanse. The trail to the right is the return section of the loop; straight ahead the trail climbs a steep ridge to a
cliff-top view of Katahdin. Along the exposed granite behind and along the cliff are wintergreen and blueberries. The trail from the cliff goes up and down off slabs of granite, then along a level ridge. The trail drops down and passes within 100 feet of Henderson Pond. A mile farther the trail drops sharply off the edge of a ridge-top cliff. At the bottom the trail winds among small boulders that have fallen from the ridge above. A slight rise out of the rocks brings the trail to an intersection where a short link trail connects to the return loop. By taking the connector, you can cut the hike down from 9.6 miles to less than four. From the intersection the trail follows an old woods road for 2 miles along the boggy stream between Sing-Sing and Rabbit Ponds with views Turtle Ridge across Sing-Sing Pond. Beyond Sing-Sing Pond the trail leaves the road and cut straight through a stand of young pines to a bridge over the stream at the west end of Sing-Sing Pond. The trail wanders among large boulders and granite slabs that extend out into the pond, a great place for a swim in the pond or to sit on
the rocks and watch the loons. The trail climbs Turtle Ridge to expansive views south and west of seemingly limitless forest dotted with ponds. Between Turtle Ridge and Rabbit Pond, the trail passes the connector trail then comes out onto a large granite flat at the east end of Rabbit Pond. The outlet stream flows across the rock and out of sight. Beyond the pond the trail climbs over exposed granite, then makes a short climb back up the open granite expanse to the intersection at the beginning of the hike.
Great Wass Island Great Wass Island lies farther out into the Gulf of Maine than any other coastal island Downeast, making it a magnet for wildlife. About half of the island is a Nature Conservancy preserve where two short trails can be hiked individually or as a 5.5-mile loop. To get there cross the high-arched bridge from Jonesport onto Beals Island. Follow the Nature Conservancy signs to the causeway onto Great Wass Island. The trailhead parking is about a mile
down the road on the left. The two trails split just down the bog boards from the parking lot. The Mud Hole Trail on the left is the shorter and easier of the two. It winds through scraggly pines and over granite bedrock to Mud Hole, a long, narrow inlet. The trail follows continues to Eastern Bay. At low tide you can hike on the wide, flat granite beach or stay on the trail as it climbs up a low rocky head. Across the bay are several good-sized islands and numerous smaller ones, which are often covered with sunning seals. Even on warm summer days when the parking area is full, the coast feels deserted. Hikers spread out along miles of rocky shore. The Little Cape Point Trail is longer than Mud Hole Trail, and offers a more varied hike. The trail crosses several sets of bog boards and climbs the granite spine of the island, offering views across a bog toward the southern end of the island. The trail descends to Cape Cove, where at low tide the cove is a mud flat with granite spines that reach out toward the bay.
See SIX HIKES, Page 10
6, Friday | June 17, 2011, Bangor Daily News
Gulf Hagas: ‘Maine’s Grand Canyon’ a must for hikers By David M. Fitzpatrick BDN SPECIAL SECTIONS
If you’re looking for a challenging, full-day hike, don’t miss “Maine’s Grand Canyon.” Gulf Hagas is a 2.5-mile-long natural slate gorge, 400 feet at its deepest — and there’s nothing like it.
Getting There Take Route 11 from Milo or Millinocket and make the long, rough drive down the Katahdin Iron Works road. Sign in at KIW and pay the parking fee, and take a few minutes to absorb some local history: A few KIW buildings still stand, with diagrams showing the original ironworks layout. But don’t dawdle; you’ll want an early start. According tot he Appalachian Trail Club’s Maine Mountain Guide, the official hiking time for the circuit is about eight hours. Sightseeing, photography, and leisurely meal breaks can lengthen that.
Pleasant River After KIW, it’s a few miles to the parking area. The initial leg is a five-minute jaunt to the 150-footwide West Branch of the Pleasant River, which you must ford. Hiking sandals with behind-the-ankle straps are great, but the fast-moving river will easily yank flip-flops off your feet. The water usually ranges from ankle- to knee-
PHOTOS BY DAVID M. FITZPATRICK
Left: The author’s hiking partner, with one of the three levels of Screw Auger Falls in the background. Right: Two women ford the Pleasant River after hiking the complete circuit. The water is cool and refreshing on tired feet, but the river’s current and be deceptively powerful. deep, but can be higher during the spring runoff. The current is formidable, so secure cameras and other equipment in waterproof containers or bags. The level, easygoing trail follows the Pleasant River for a bit. The harder parts come later.
The Hermitage and the Woods Owned by the Nature Conservancy and declared a National Natural Landmark in 1968, the Hermitage is a majestic, 35-acre stand of towering white king pines — some of Maine’s oldest and biggest. All the while, this is a woodland hike, with the sounds of the river rushing nearby. The forest offers some sun protection, but don’t be unprepared on this (or any) hike. On my most recent trip, record temperatures in the high 90’s made this extremely arduous. At the crossroads, a right turn heads to Mt. Katahdin 83.9 miles away; this is the Appalachian Trail, of which Katahdin is the northern terminus. But you’ll go left, following the trail blazes.
Screw Auger Falls After some ups and downs, you’ll eventually reach Screw Auger Falls. Crossing this narrow and shallow, but powerful, stretch just above the falls is an adventure, whether you cross the rocks or use the slightly harrowing single-log bridge.
On the other side begins the circuitous Rim Trail. You have a choice: head left and follow the gorge, returning on the easier woods trail; or viceversa. Many hikers prefer the easier woods side on the way in, but I recommend starting with the more arduous gorge side; you get the hard part out of the way first, and the woods trail then becomes a “cooldown” hike. Heading left toward the gorge, you’ll enjoy the majesty of the three-tiered Screw Auger Falls and its eons of erosion. Water was rushing through this spot long before modern man walked the Earth — but that’s nothing compared to the erosion the Pleasant River has done to the gorge itself, which you’ll see next.
of the magnificent gorge — and it only gets better. Water has cut its way through here for thousands of lifetimes, leaving a spectacular view of what is truly one of nature’s marvels. Trees grow from the mosscovered walls of the canyon, birds nest on its ledges, and the water thunders below.
The Rim Trail
The forest thickens and there’s more difficult travel uphill travel. Just when you think you’ve made progress in a steep climb, the trail plummets abruptly down. You may wonder if it’s all worth it. it will be. But if you find yourself exhausted, hurting, ill, or consuming far more water than you planned, take one of the two cutoffs that offer quick passage to the returning woods trail. There’s still plenty of tough hiking to go. Shortly past the first cutoff is the first viewpoint
The thick foliage obscures Buttermilk Falls below, but the climb down to the viewpoint is worth it; plus, it’s usually cooler down there. The Falls, named for the yellowish color of the churning foam, drops 10 or 15 feet into a sudsy basin and then drops again into a lagoon. Billings Falls comes next, a popular swimming hole with plenty of ledges to climb and jump off. But please note that swimming in Gulf Hagas is
Here, the gorge narrows dramatically, and the water is forced rather spectacularly through the rock walls. The Jaws are most spectacular during the spring runoff, when the water levels are that their highest. In the early 1900s, lumbermen rode logs through here. Later, they dynamited much of the gorge to widen it.
See GULF HAGAS, Page 9
Bangor Daily News, Friday | June 17, 2011, 7
Down East Sunrise Trail ideal for avid, casual outdoorspeople By Brian Swartz SPECIAL SECTIONS EDITOR
From Washington Junction in Hancock, the Down East Sunrise Trail vanishes abruptly: An eastbound ATVer approaches a sharp left curve and disappears behind the trees. Just beyond lie a momentary stop at the 85-mile trail’s only active railroad crossing, a 90-degree right turn, and pure riding enjoyment as far as Pembroke. Opened officially along its full length on Sept. 21, 2010, the DEST connects Washington Junction with Ayers Junction on Route 214 in Pembroke. The trail crosses multiple roads and streams, bisects the Schoodic Bog, parallels Route 1 between Cherryfield and Harrington, abuts the Machias and East Machias rivers, and cuts through dense spruce-fir forests — and ATVers will like the trail’s hardpacked surface. Built along the Maine Central Railroad’s abandoned Calais Branch, the DEST belongs to the Maine Department of Transportation. However, the Maine Department of Conservation’s Off Road Vehicle Division manages the $4 million multipleuse trail. Snowmobilers buzz along the DEST during winter; warm weather sees ATVers sharing the trail with bird-watchers, bicyclists, horse riders, joggers, and walkers. For an ATVer, the DEST represents a perfect sce-
nario: Ride all day and stop for lunch or plan an overnight trip coordinated with such activities as July 4th festivities in Cherryfield or the blueberry festival in Machias. Numerous waterways — Kilkenny, Egypt, Card Mill, Narraguagus, Harrington, Pleasant, Chandler, and Machias, to mention several from west to east — offer excellent fishing and wildlife-viewing opportunities. To enjoy the DEST, ATVers need trail heads, gas, and food. Large trail heads at Washington Junction, East Machias, and Ayers Junction accommodate multiple trucks and trailers; smaller trail heads exist on Route 182 in Franklin, Route 193 in Cherryfield, the Station Road in Jonesboro, and Route 1 in Machias. A few byways — for example, Tibbettstown Road in Columbia Falls — can accommodate two or three trucks and trailers. Along the DEST, ATVers can buy fuel in Franklin, Cherryfield, Machias, East Machias, and Pembroke — and in the last town by using a club trail to reach a Route 1 convenience store. At a well-marked sign post near Harrington, the DEST intersects Trail 514W, a major Washington County ATV trail. Signs direct ATVers to the nearby Harrington Irving (now a Circle K) and the Airline Diner, located 30 miles north on Route 9. Food’s available in Franklin (Franklin Trading Post), Cherryfield (North Street Café), Harrington, Machias (Bluebird Ranch and Helen’s lie just off the DEST near the Machias Dike), East Machias
NEWS PHOTOS BY BRIAN SWARTZ
Headed east-bound on the Down East Sunrise Trail, ATVers approach the Pleasant River trestle in Columbia Falls. (Archibald’s Store), and Pembroke (on Route 1). Many ATVers schedule a day ride from Hancock or Pembroke to include lunch in Cherryfield or Machias. So what will ATVers see along the DEST? • From Washington Junction to Route 200 in Franklin: several fast-flowing streams, beaver dams and lodges, and several road intersections.
• From Route 182 in Franklin to Route 182 in Sullivan: the scenic Card Mill Stream, a 2- or 3-mile ride through a spruce-fir forest, and the incomparably beautiful Schoodic Bog backdropped by Schoodic Mountain. • From the Narraguagus River trestle in Cherry-
See DEST, Page 9
8, Friday | June 17, 2011, Bangor Daily News
The challenge of a Nollesemic canoeing adventure By Greg Westrich My friend Stan, a registered Maine Guide, lives on the north shore of the Piscataquis River in Medford. The stretch flowing past his farm has some great features: slate ledges angling across the river, boulder fields, and great opportunities to see wildlife. A short drive away is Seboeis Stream, which gives access to the lakes between Milo and Millinocket. Even so, each of us spends winter evenings poring over tattered copies of the Maine Atlas & Gazetteer, looking for new streams to paddle. One day Stan suggested that we could paddle from Millinocket to his house. The only question mark was the small stream from Nollesemic Lake to East Branch Lake, which was as likely to be two miles of alder as a paddlable stream. It was probably impossible; naturally, we had to give it a try. We began by paddling down Millinocket Stream through town and past the mill. The outflow from the mill created an extremely strong current that pushed us toward the Penobscot. The confluence, called Shad Pond, was shallow and sandy with grasses growing in much of it. Less than a mile upstream,
PHOTOS BY GREG WESTRICH
Left: Stan pushes the boat up the pebbly shallows in Nollesemic Stream. Above: Nollesemic as far upstream as it can be paddled.
flowing in from the south, was Nollesemic Stream. It didn’t look paddlable, but, above the first beaver dam, it opened up. The stream meandered through aldery meadows bounded by rocky knolls covered with spruce. A few miles above the Penobscot the stream turned west and rose out of the beaver flowages. For the next mile to Nollesemic Lake, it was too shallow and rocky to paddle; during high water, it could be poled, but we had to stride up the narrow stream, pulling the canoe behind us. A hundred yards before the lake the stream emerged from a dark, rockwalled pool with a 20-foot waterfall at the far end. Above the waterfall, hidden by thick trees and underbrush, was Nollesemic Lake. As we paddled closer to
the waterfall, we realized that the water was falling over a dam of stout logs stacked in a cleft in the rock wall. If we had been smart, we would have paddled back to a small bridge across the stream that gave access to a camp and looked for a way to the lakeshore. Instead, we fought our way up the steep, blackberry-bramble-choked slope to the lake. The shallow bay where we emerged was full of floating logs. We made a clear area, put the canoe in, and forced our way out into the lake proper. Just out of the bay a path came down to the shore from a camp set back in the woods — an easy carry around the dam- and log-choked bay. The lake was long and narrow, pinched slightly in the middle. We paddled down the west side past uninter-
rupted forest. Near the bottom of the lake was an island with a stand of tall white pines. We couldn’t find the stream that should have been flowing down from East Branch Lake. Where it should have been was a dark stand of cedars, tangled roots and muddy rocks the only things beneath them. We tied up the canoe and hiked through the cedars. A hundred yards inland we found a long beaver dam several feet high that ran for a couple hundred feet parallel to the lake shore. Behind the dam, across a narrow band of open water, was an impenetrable wall of alders. Walking along the top of the dam, we found a narrow channel that curved into the alders and seemed to peter out. Even if it kept going, it looked too narrow and twisty for our 17-foot Old Town canoe. I’d like to say that we portaged the canoe to this channel and spent the rest
of the day fighting our way toward East Branch Lake, but we decided not to. In our defense, about a week previous Stan and I had decided to paddle the middle branch of Dead Stream from Route 11 in Orneville all the way to Old Town for an afternoon. The paddle began well enough, but beyond Lagrange Road in North Bradford, the stream disappeared into a mile-long alder thicket. After several hours fighting our way through, we emerged on the other side — wet, muddy, scratched, and bloodied. We never made it to Old Town that day. Standing on the beaver dam, looking through the alders toward East Branch Lake, we knew this would be worse. In the end we spent the night on the island beneath the white pines. Atop one of the trees was a raven’s nest with young about to fledge. The adults sat high in trees on
See NOLLESEMIC on next page
Bangor Daily News, Friday | June 17, 2011, 9
Continued from Page 6
very dangerous; there’s a strong undercurrent that has claimed lives. You’ll do best not to swim below any of the falls..
Head of the Gulf
DEST Continued from Page 7 field to Tibbettstown Road in Columbia Falls: intown Cherryfield with several road crossings, a 4-mile stretch parallel with Route 1, a short trestle at Harrington River, a spruce-fir forest east of Harrington, and a longer trestle at Pleasant River. • From Tibbettstown Road to Station Road in Jonesboro: marshes and streams, some spruce-fir woods, and a long, gradual ascent to the Station Road. • From Route 1A in Whitneyville to Jacksonville: the Machias River trestle and the scenic Machias River, a large marsh, the Machias Dike and immediate access to food and fuel, a lovely stretch along the Machias River, a scenic stretch abutting the East Machias River, and the East Machias River trestle in Jacksonville. The Down East Sunrise Trail features a hardpacked surface sufficiently wide to let approaching NEWS PHOTOS BY BRIAN SWARTZ ATVers pass side by side in most places. Riding conTop: Passing beneath Schoodic Mountain in Sullivan, the Down ditions should be excellent. East Sunrise Trail crosses the Schoodic Bog in the east (left). The long, straight stretches preferred by railroad engineers alternate with gradual curves often “filled” Above: ATVers form a convoy while cruising through Jonesboro on the Down East Sunrise Trail. by the encroaching forest; watch these blind spots. A private contractor did an excellent job building the trail, but it abuts private property along most its length, so con- stop signs and look both ways when crossing any road, espestruction crews could not cut back all the trees. cially Route 200 in Franklin. The DEST crosses many gravel and paved roads; observe the
Nollesemic Continued from previous page the shore, calling loudly to the chicks, who whined at their parents about how hungry they were until it got dark. As I lay in my tent, I could hear them quietly conversing 50 feet over my head. The next day we retraced our route to Millinocket, this time carrying around the log-choked bay. The hardest paddling of the whole trip was getting into Millinocket, fighting the huge current coming out of the mill. Lately, I’ve been looking at an old Penobscot route from Pemadumcook Lake on the West Branch to Moosehead Lake. It involves nearly a dozen ponds, several small streams, three or four good-sized waterfalls to get up, and at least two long carries. When the Penobscots used the route, there were many more beaver flowages, making the small streams much easier to ascend. Today, it may just be impossible. I think I’ll give Stan a call.
The much-easier return trip is almost anticlimactic. There are some mild ups and downs, but it’s generally a leisurely walk. Soon, you’ll return to Screw Auger Falls, and finish the trip by going back the way you came. It’s worth noting that, along with swimming at the Head, one of the best physical experiences of this hike is fording back across the Pleasant River: The cool water is absolute heaven on the sore feet!
Leaving Billings, you’ll soon see the whitewater flowing out near the Head of the Gulf. It looks deceptively close, but the trail meanders and roller-coasters about before you’re finally rewarded when you read the Head. This is the “halfway point,” but the return hike through the woods trail is much easier and much faster. The gorge side is a grueling, always-climbing, three-mile hike; this side is a much easier two miles. Depending on when you arrive, the Head could be deserted or bustling with people. During my last hike, on a near-100degree day, I was the only one who did the entire circuit, so I had the Head to myself. But on my previous hike, I met a school group of about 30 people there. A small island divides the Head; a swimming basin is to the right, with whitewater rushing over craggy rocks to the left. Of course, the popular attraction at the Head is PHOTO BY LEWIS MCEACHARN swimming in the still The author posing at Buttermilk Falls, one of water; as long as you stay away from the rocks to many sets of falls along the gorge. Swimming in the river by any falls is very dangerous. the left, it’s safe to do so
10, Friday | June 17, 2011, Bangor Daily News
Six Hikes Continued from Page 5
Little Moose Mountain A family-friendly loop trail of about three miles connects the Big and Little Moose Ponds and goes over Little Moose Mountain. To get there from Route 15 drive into the Little Moose Reserve Land. Past the Big Moose Mountain trailhead, on the left, marked with a sign, is Mountain Road. The trailhead is about a half-mile uphill. The trail drops gently to a set of black, slate stairs. At the bottom, the trail runs along the edge of a marshy area, beyond which is a side trail that leads to two campsites on Big Moose Pond. From the rocky shore, backed by towering pines, there is a nice view of Little Moose Mountain. Past the side trail back to Big Moose Pond, the trail crosses the pond’s outlet stream on an old concrete dam. The trail cuts over to Little Moose Pond, then climbs to the trail that runs the length of Little Moose Mountain. Turn right and climb up to the rocky spine of the mountain. There is a short side trail to ledges with good views of Big Moose Mountain and out across Moosehead Lake. After skirting around the rocky
ledges, the trail enters a more open spruce forest. To complete the loop take the side trail that drops down off the ridge. The trail skirts along the eastern edge of Big Moose Pond; turn left at the intersection at the bottom and retrace you steps back to the parking area.
PHOTO BY GREG WESTRICH
The author’s children hiking on Great Wass Island.
Moxie Bald Moxie Bald rises between Moxie Pond and Bald Mountain Pond east of the Kennebec River town of Caratunk and west of Monson. The mountain’s wide, granite summit offers 360 degree views of much of the state. From Bangor, take Route 15 north to Abbot. Turn left onto Route 16 toward Bingham. Go about 17 miles; turn right onto Townline Road (a gravel logging road) just past the Moscow town line. Townline Road drops down to Austin Stream where you turn right onto the main logging road that runs all the way to the north end of Moxie Pond. Just before the pond, on the right, you’ll see the northbound Appalachian Trail. Moxie Bald is 4 miles from there. You can park up ahead next to the lake. It’s about 4 miles to the summit; the first 2 miles are relatively flat through lowland hardwood forest with two beaver flowages to cross. Beyond a shelter, with a waterfall in front of it worth taking the side trail to see, the AT begins climbing. The trail is one of the quintes-
miles. From the trailhead, where maps are usually available, the trail climbs up a rocky slope to some low cliffs. It skirts the cliffs and then follows the ridge to an open view of Tunk Lake and Mount Desert Island in the distance. The remainder of the hike is over mostly open granite bordered by spruce and lots of blueberries. After 0.6 miles there is an intersection; follow the trail to the right which drops down into a cool forested hollow that contains Wizard Pond. From there it’s a steady climb up to the granite summit dome where you are rewarded with open views in every direction. To return, follow the trail that drops down off the north side of the mountain into the hollow between Black Mountain Bald and Black Mountain. Just as the trail is beginning to climb, a trail on the left cuts over to Big Chief Trail. Along the way there is a marked side trail to the cliff overlooking Wizard Pond.
West Grand sential trails in Maine. Rising through open softwoods with a mossy understory, the trail worn down to bare granite. Less than a mile before the summit, a bypass trail cuts off to the left. Moxie Bald has two widely separated summits. If you wish to climb them both, take the bypass trail around the main summit to get to the north summit. After climbing that peak, return over the main summit. Taking in both summits this way makes the round trip almost 11 miles, but it’s worth it. Both summits are open granite with expansive views, but they look and feel very different. For the shorter day hike to the main summit, ignore the bypass trail and continue to climb. Up a short, steep climb the trail skirts around some cliffs, going
under an overhanging slab at one point. The climb to the top becomes fairly steep and increasingly open with views to the west. The last section follows a granite slab from the trees right up to the summit. The large flat summit is a series of granite waves with marshy areas and stunted spruce in the troughs.
Black Mountain Bald From atop Cadillac Mountain, across Frenchman Bay, you’ll see two granite mountains: Schoodic Nubble and Black Mountain Bald. Both are within the Donnell Pond State Reserve Land off Route 183 in Sullivan. Big Chief Trail to the summit of Black Mountain Bald is a good hike for families. The round trip hike is about 2.5
Continued from Page 3 set a hook into an 18.5-inch-long togue. First fish of the day — he headed for the cooler. There was no time to linger; the fish were hungry, and it was time to bait up and send fresh bait for a ride to the bottom of the lake. We pointed the bow back in to the wind and took a course for the spot we’d just hooked on to the last fish. Now, with only about a 30-minute lapse between the last strike, the rod tip was doing its number again, and at a depth of 57 feet the hook was set and the fish was on. But this one had an attitude; he wasn’t in the mood for giving back any line as quick as the last one did. He charted a course for bottom and took it. After all, he didn’t want to meet us. I’m sure it was nothing personal, just his way of saying “Not right now.” He and I communicated back and forth on the fish line approximately 30 seconds before he got ugly, snapped my leader, and swam off. But hey — that’s fishing, and just because West Grand Lake is holding more than its share of togue, there’s no guarantee of fish in the net. But we knew coming into this trip that we weren’t fishing on promises. We were fishing just on the reputation this lake had lived up to over the past 10 years and, unsurprisingly, it didn’t let us down on this trip. No, it didn’t give us the best it had to offer, but a limit of togue between 18 and 22 inches certainly makes for a pleasant boat ride back to the landing. As for the old bruiser that cut my leader and swam off... well, that’s unfinished business — and a good reason to keep visiting these waters. Bottom line: The encounter was probably only a taste of what West Grand Lake has to offer. And yes, this may be a reminder of how big fish get their size.
Bangor Daily News, Friday | June 17, 2011, 11
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12, Friday | June 17, 2011, Bangor Daily News
Published on Jun 17, 2011