In mid-July 2014, I spent several hiking in the Moosehead Lake Region near Greenville, Maine. It was my first visit to this extraordinarily beautiful area and I enjoyed it immensely.
For any reader who might be unfamiliar with the Moosehead Lake Region of Maine, it's really "out there" in terms of being in a rather remote location (see map below).
|Map showing location of Moosehead Lake Region (click to enlarge)|
By surface area, Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in the State of Maine, and is the largest mountain lake east of the Mississippi contained within one State. It is over 40 miles long, and is 20 miles wide in some places. It's also worth noting that Henry David Thoreau explored the region with Indian guides in the mid-1800's. His famous novel, "The Maine Woods", is a collection of his hand-written accounts of the time that he spent in this area.
In terms of hiking, there are at least twenty fabulous treks that can be done using Greenville, ME as your home base (click HERE for a list). I merely scratched the surface by doing only five hikes during my 3-day visit.
One of my more enjoyable adventures was to Mt. Kineo. The most direct and most practical way to reach the trailhead is via a ferry from Rockwood, Maine. It's a marvelous hike that I've been wanting to do it for years!
Other hikes included a trek to Big Moose Mountain which offers tremendous views of the Moosehead Lake Region. I also hiked to two waterfalls, i.e. Little Wilson Falls, and Moxie Falls. And in addition, a short trek was done to Elephant Mountain to visit the 1963 crash site of a USAF Boeing B-52C Stratofortress bomber.
I hope to return to the Moosehead Lake Region (possibly this year) to do some more hiking. However for some of the adventures that I have in mind, extra time will need to be allocated just for getting to the trailhead. For many of the hikes in certain parts of Maine, getting to the trailhead can be a challenge unto itself! Here in the White Mountain Region of New Hampshire where I live, you can drive to nearly all of the major trailheads on paved roads. It's sort of like pulling into a McDonald's drive thru! Whereas in Maine, the journey to a trailhead can involve many, many miles of travel on unmarked gravel roads using "fly by the seat of your pants" navigation!
This mountain is an impressive sight, with an almost sheer cliff that rises more than 700 feet above the surface of Moosehead Lake. The hike to the 1,789 ft summit is just over 4 miles round-trip if you take the most common route of ascending via the Indian Trail and descending via the Bridle Trail. It's a fabulous hike, and has the unique aspect of a trailhead that is reached via a ferry from Rockwood, Maine. It's about a 10 minute ride, and costs $10 round-trip. (Click HERE for more information about Mt. Kineo.)
Posted on an information kiosk at the ferry dock is an aerial photo of Mt. Kineo, as well as a trail map.
|Aerial photo of Mt. Kineo that is posted at the ferry dock kiosk|
|Snapshot taken of Mt. Kineo during my ferry ride to the trailhead|
|Snapshot taken of Little Spencer and Big Spencer during my ferry ride to the trailhead (hope to hike to one or both of these mountains on some future trip to the Moosehead Lake Region)|
|Photo taken while hiking to the western end of Mt. Kineo to begin ascent via the Indian Trail.|
|The starting point for the Indian Trail at the western end of Mt. Kineo|
|One of many picturesque views available from Indian Trail during ascent to top of Mt. Kineo|
|One of many striking views from the top of Mt. Kineo|
BIG MOOSE MOUNTAIN:
The hike to this 3,196 ft mountain is about 6 miles round-trip. Big Moose offers tremendous views of the Moosehead Lake Region. However, on the day of my hike, the views were somewhat diminished by a persistent haze.
Big Moose was formerly named Big Squaw Mountain, and from 1963 to 2011, it was home to an alpine ski center known as Squaw Mountain. (You can read more about this former ski area by clicking HERE.)
|This composite photo contains an old post card that promoted skiing at Squaw Mountain, plus a photo I took from a location on Big Moose that provided a view similar to the post card image.|
|As previously indicated, conditions were hazy on the day of my visit to Big Moose. This photo was my clearest shot.|
|As the crow flies, Mt. Kineo is about 15 miles north of Big Moose Mountain. Despite the haze, I was able to see Mt. Kineo where I had hiked the day before. This composite photo shows an un-zoomed view of Mt. Kineo (top) and a zoomed image (bottom).|
|Besides the expansive vistas, there are a couple of other items of interest at the top of Big Moose, such as the footings of what is said to be the first fire tower in the U.S. It was built in 1905.|
|Near the old fire tower footings is modern day communication equipment, along with a helipad used for bringing supplies to this facility.|
|About midway between the trailhead and the summit there is an abandoned Ranger's cabin.|
LITTLE WILSON FALLS:
This waterfall is located along the Appalachian Trail in Elliotsville Township, Maine. Reportedly, it has about a 40 ft drop. However, I could SAFELY only photograph the upper portion. The remaining portion was hidden from my vantage point as it dropped into a deep and narrow gorge.
|Little Wilson Falls|
This 90 ft drop waterfall is very impressive! It's a bit touristy, despite being located in a rather remote spot of Maine called The Forks Plantation. I found it interesting that in Maine, a "plantation" is a type of minor civil division falling between township and town. There are 34 locations in Maine that are legally organized as plantations, and nearly all are in sparsely populated areas.
B-52 BOMBER CRASH SITE ON ELEPHANT MOUNTAIN:
On 24-January-1963, a USAF Boeing B-52C Stratofortress lost its vertical stabilizer due to buffeting stresses caused by turbulence during low altitude training maneuvers. It crashed on Elephant Mountain about 6 miles from Greenville, ME. The pilot and the navigator were the only survivors of the nine-member crew. (Click HERE for more information about this crash.)
|Composite photo showing one of several informational placards, as well as a photo I took of one of the many pieces of wreckage scattered over a wide area of the mountain.|
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Before ending this report, here is just one other tidbit of information that I found interesting about this region. Moosehead Lake is the source of the Kennebec River which is the most formidable un-bridged crossing along the entire 2,185-mile Appalachian Trail. Under the best of circumstances, the Kennebec River crossing is approximately 70 yards wide with a powerful current. At no cost to hikers, there is a ferry service at the point where the Appalachian Trail crosses the Kennebec.
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