There were a few trails that I had yet to conquer within the Camden Hills State Park, one of them being Megunticook Mountain. Since the mountain had an elevation of a little more than 1300 feet and our town was at sea level, I considered that for me it would be a tough climb. I had mentioned to my friend that my goal would be to summit this peak. In the past I had turned around at the Ocean Lookout, located almost ½ mile from my goal. She and my husband decided they were going to push me to that goal.
On November 7th, my friend and I made our first attempt. The first challenge for me, of course, was to walk up the road from the parking lot, past the two tent platforms and a few yards up the Multi-Use Trail to the Megunticook Path trailhead. Who knew that this section was so steep! At the trailhead we paused a few moments and waited for me to stop wheezing. Once I could breathe again, we crossed the bridge to proceed up the leaf covered, rocky trail. Those leaves covered lots of mud, as well as stones and twigs that rolled underfoot. This was followed by several sets of stone steps.
Not only did we stop multiple times so that I could breathe, but I was very nervous about slipping and falling. I tried to step cautiously but the leaves did an excellent job of hiding the slippery things below them. Just before the Adam’s Lookout Trail, a downed tree was blocking the path. I tried to use this as an excuse to turn around, but my friend was having none of that. She assisted me in stepping through and over this obstacle so that we could continue on.
We decided to pass the Adam’s Lookout Trail and continued straight on the Megunticook Path. We hiked a little bit further up the trail before stopping for some lunch. After lunch we explored a nearby stream and waterfalls. After admiring this beautiful scene, I convinced my friend that given the wet conditions I was nervous about trying to get up over the wet ledges just above us. We would not summit Megunticook that day.
On November 13th, my friend tried once again. This time we would try to approach it from the Tablelands Trail since she thought it might be easier. It was certainly easier walking up the Mount Battie Auto Road to the Tablelands trailhead. Along the way, a friend of hers joined us. Turned out he was a volunteer for the local fire department who had assisted in a few recent search and rescue operations. I thought that having my own search and rescue team in case I slipped might be a good thing.
The Tablelands Trail proved to be even rockier than the Megunticook Trail. We did reach a point where we had a nice few of the harbor when we looked out through the trees but once again I got nervous about my footing and made everyone turn around.
On November 20th, my husband and I attempted the Megunticook Trail again. This time I had poles, but they did not give me any more confidence, perhaps because my husband told me that I was using them incorrectly. Once again, I had to climb over that fallen tree that still had not been cleared from blocking the trail and made it to the stream with the waterfalls. Here my husband coaxed me to continue up the rocky trail. Well, it was actually ledge and after the cold weather, I noticed that the water on the stones was running underneath a fine layer of ice. YIKES! I really wanted to turn around at this point, but my husband encouraged me on.
After a two hour hike from the parking lot, we finally reached Ocean Lookout. We stopped and had some lunch, while we looked out over the ocean in one direction and spotted snow-capped Mount Washington in the other.
After resting a bit, we started the ½ mile walk towards the summit. But this was winter, and I considered that I might have to hike two hours down in fading light. Once again, I failed to summit. We came down Adam’s Lookout Trail via the Tablelands where there were a few places where I had to do the sit and slide method of getting down the rocks. It took us a little over an hour to come down this trail, so perhaps this should be the next attempt to summit. If that fails, we have one more option to try in order to reach the Megunticook summit.