On a beautiful Saturday in late September, I convinced my husband to put down his to-do list for a while and spend some time enjoying the outdoors. Somehow, he was getting dangerously close to falling back into a lifestyle that we had vowed to leave behind, a life too filled with chores and no time for enjoying the outdoors. Knowing that his brain was busy processing everything on his list, I suggested a short hike to Mount Percival in Northport, Maine. I would soon discover how accurate my description of “short” would be!
After a 20 minute drive north, we drove a short distance on a dirt road before locating the preserve sign. Unfortunately, there was no parking area or pullout for parking so we pulled over to the side of the
rode road as far as could without ending in the culvert. We were parked close enough to the downhill side of the road that I had to side-step along the side of the truck to avoid sliding down the hill. During this maneuver I was able to observe the clusters of asters still blooming this late in September.
Across the road, we ascended a half dozen stone steps towards the Mount Percival Preserve sign and kiosk. From the brochure, we learned that to reach the summit with an elevation of 510 feet we would walk about ½ mile. Comparing the ½ mile climb to others we had hiked, I figured the ascent would be about 30 minutes. (What I forgot in my calculations was that those mountains were at higher elevations.)
Departing from the kiosk, we began our journey following a recently maintained trail. We travelled through areas covered with Lady Ferns, the plants tinged a burnt reddish color with the cooler temperatures. One unknown plant displayed a lacy appearance down the middle of its yellow leaves.
And then within 20 minutes of beginning our walk we reached a stone structure, the foundation of a tower long gone. We explored the foundation for a short time before looking for the trail that would take us to an open area of views of the Penobscot Bay. It soon became apparent that we were at the summit and that there was no other trail. That was when I realized I had only skimmed the brochure, picking out what I wanted to be true. The brochure had mentioned views of the Bay and of the Camden Hills but the actual sentence stated “in the early 1900s visitors to this spot would have enjoyed” these views. I was over one hundred years too late. What was once open to those views was now shielded by towering trees.
We explored the stone foundation some more before heading back down the hill. In 10 minutes we were back at our truck. What I had convinced my husband would be a short hike, was very short indeed.