Once we were fully vaccinated, my husband and I felt that we would still stay put and hold out on any vacation plans for this year. Then mask requirements dropped and we decided “why not”? My hiking buddy friend was camping in Rangeley for the 4th of July weekend, so we decided to see if there were any rooms to be found and join her for a hike or two. Since I had heard stories that every place from Southern Maine to Campobello Island was booked for the summer, I wasn’t too optimistic about our chances. Two weeks before the holiday weekend I was very surprised to book an online reservation at the Rangeley Inn. Perhaps it was just coastal Maine that was booked solid. In any case, on July 1st we were off to explore someplace new.
Since we could not check in until 4pm, we decided to take the long way to Rangeley, by taking a detour through New Poland. We had packed a lunch, figuring we would be able to find a place by the river to enjoy the views while we ate. As we approached the river, we discovered a wire bridge with a wood planked surface. I watched as a car crossed over the bridge and the planks undulated under its weight. I opted to walk across while my husband drove the car to the opposite side of the bridge.
Safely across, we found a parking area and a playing field nearby. Looking around, I found a picnic table and a short trail down towards the river. Heading down the path towards the water, I noticed that previous visitors had constructed cairns around the water, some of them quite interesting. After amusing myself studying the cairns, I turned my attention to the bridge. Viewing the bridge from this perspective did not allay my fears about crossing the bridge but my husband convinced me that I would not feel the movement as we crossed. After lunch, both of us returned to the car to cross back over the water.
It was still too early to head directly to Rangeley, so we added another side trip to our day. I had heard about a short hike in Phillips that would end with a view of a rather large glacial erratic and thought it might be an interesting diversion. “Diversion” was probably the appropriate word, for in trying to locate this trail, we discovered that Google Maps knows nothing about gated and private roads in rural areas.
As we drove along a dirt road we passed a few places that looked like there had been recent logging activity. One of those must have been the road we wanted but it was clear there was no way through. Eventually we ended back on a surfaced road, pulled over and pulled out our gazetteer to find an alternate route. What was really funny, was less than a mile along our new route there was a sign pointing the way to Daggett Rock. In 10 more minutes we found the parking area and headed up the trail towards the erratic. All this trouble for a hike that was .2 mile one way.
Although the heat wave was over, the air was muggy with a cold and wet forecast for the weekend. This made even that short hike a bit of a problem for me, forcing us to stop frequently. We also had to watch our step along a trail that looked like a dried, rocky streambed.
Eventually, we made it to the glacial erratic and yes it was worth the short hike. This rock was impressive! I had seen pictures of this boulder with people standing on top. That was certainly not for me, but for size perspective I did find a ladder leaning against the erratic. Look closely and notice that the ladder did not look structurally sound.
My husband wanted to return down the trail, but I decided to walk around this boulder. Down the first side, I informed him that he had to see this crevice in the rock. Viewed from the trail, the erratic looked like one piece but it was actually split in half down the middle. As we walked through this split, we found another one half way down. It was an amazing study in the power of nature.
We had accomplished a lot during our first day of travel but it was now time to head towards the inn and rest up for our next adventure.