The last weekend in August we decided to up the ante on our hiking level and attempt the entire Multi-Use trail at the Camden Hills State Park. Not wishing to punish ourselves too much, we parked a car at either end of the trail so that we would not have to complete a death march of 10 miles. Leaving one car at the park entrance on Route 1, we drove to our usual starting point in Lincolnville and set off on our adventure.
The first portion of our hike was the familiar mile or so up to the Bald Rock and Cameron Mountain trailheads. From there, we began to notice some variation in the woodlands and accompanying vegetation as we moved along. There were more aster type flowers on this section of the road, both white and purple with sparse petal arrangements as well as some tiny yellow flowers, possibly in the fleabane family. I did not get clear images of the leaf arrangements on these plants so I just had to go with the general category of asters. (If you look at any field guide most seem to lump the majority of flowers into the aster family, including the daisy and fleabane, so I would not be wrong to assume these were all in the aster family.) We also noticed more Indian Root Cucumbers in this area, with the tell-tale red center that it displays at the end of its season.
As we traveled on, the forest to our left seemed to thin out some distance from the path, allowing more light to shine through the woods. We could only assume that the area most have been wet. When we referenced the trail map later in the day, we saw that the area was indeed designated as bog. It wasn’t long before the vegetation changed again and I noticed the bounty of Wild Sarsaparilla along the roadside. For the most part they had lost the green and summer and now displayed some interesting variegated green and yellow hues.
A little past the half way point we reached the ski shelter. It was an interesting cabin with a wonderful stone fireplace facing the trail. We peeked through the windows and discovered several picnic tables and plenty of floor space for camping. Behind the cabin were additional tables for those who just wanted to enjoy the outdoor scenery. Not far from the picnic area I could see evidence of a brook, dry at this point in the season. Across from the shelter, was a sign for the Slope Trail but I was a bit skeptical about the bridge one must cross to begin that adventure.
Leaving the cabin and continuing on our journey we did stop to investigate the stony brook bed. There were just a few puddles that we could see but what really intrigued me were the stones just at the edge of the trail overlooking the brook. At first I thought someone had played around and piled up a cairn by the side of the road. On closer inspection I saw that it was a stone man protecting the brook beyond.
By the time we reached mile 4, I was beginning to get tired. It didn’t help that my legs never seemed to loosen up for this trip, so every incline was a struggle. It also didn’t help that there had been work done on the Multi-Use trail over the previous 2 weeks and we had to deal with the uneven terrain from the construction.
After 2 hours and change, we finally reached the park entrance and decided to seek out a place for lunch. This was not to be the end of our weekend adventures, though. The next day we did an additional 5 miles with friends when we took them up to Cameron Mountain. That seem evening, other friends invited us for dinner and a walk through the trails at Erickson Fields (another mile and half). Needless to say there was some inability to move by the end of the weekend.