On a recent morning in June, I decided to see if I could finally manage the Maiden Cliff Trail. We had hiked a back trail to the cross on top of Maiden Cliff several times, but I had not attempted this trail in many years due to the problems with my hip and subsequent replacement surgery. There was a fear that this route, with its loose gravel in some places and steep ascents in others, would present too great a challenge but it was time to give it a try.
Since the trailhead is just across the highway from the beach at Barrett’s Cove, my husband and I walked from our house to the Maiden Cliff Trail. As we reached the parking area, we stopped to admire a large area filled with Crown Vetch. It is possible that these clover like flowers are one of my favorites.
The uphill climb actually begins before the wanderer even enters the parking area. Once in the woods, the ascent continues on a somewhat steeper angle. With some stops, I persevered. As I have mentioned, moving slightly off trail to allow stronger hikers to pass by is a great tactic to catch your breath. Another trick is to take a picture. It helps if you are kneeling down to get a close-up and mutter once in a while that you can’t get the darn thing in focus. I suspect most people are not fooled but they are all too polite. Those travelers in the over 50 crowd have mentioned that they have also used that trick. Oh well! I guess I didn’t full anybody.
There were a few places that were somewhat steep and at one point we climbed some stone steps, similar to the Bald Rock Mountain Trail. Other areas of the trail consisted of smooth rock. These were the sections that made me nervous, for even when the trail was not wet these stones could be slippery due to the forest debris covering the crevices. I walked cautiously over these obstacles and soon made it to a more level section of the trail.
Eventually, we made it to the ledge overlooking Megunticook Lake. Ironically, the hardest part of this trip, was trying to make it down the rocks to the cross. I did not realize that there was another way down, so I paused for a few minutes trying to figure out how I was going to make it to my destination. After studying the situation, I decided the best approach was to sit down and just slide down the rocks to the bottom of the trail. I have found, when all else fails, that the “butt approach” is often the best solution.
It turned out to be the perfect day to be at the top of a mountain, looking out over a lake and taking in what nature had to offer. I looked towards the beach at Barrett’s Cove and was pleased with how far I had come. It had taken us a little over one hour to reach the summit from our home.