Today was a very adventurous day for us. After a bit of work this morning, I suggested that we get out there to enjoy this wonderful fall weather we’ve been having. Apparently, there’s a gigantic state we’re living in that has yet to be explored. We’ve seen, I don’t know, maybe half of a half of a percent of it. Let’s just say we have a long way to go.
The western part of Maine is chock full of mountains and trails. I’ve been looking at a place called Mount Blue State Park for a few months now. It’s a huge area that covers many miles right in a town called Weld. Really, this is a magical setting and if you ever get a chance to visit Maine, put this park on your places to visit. There’s Webb Lake, which is rather large. Right off its shores is a park campground with tons of sites. As we drove through the mountains this afternoon, I felt like I was visiting Vermont for skiing. Lots of mountains up there.
Here’s a view of Webb Lake from Center Hill in Weld, Maine. It was sunny when we left the house and, of course, it got cloudy just as we arrived at the park. That’s my luck. I’ll take blame for it.
There was a small parking lot off the side of the road where we pulled over. I took so many pictures and I would really love to post them all here. The only problem is, they all look the same. Mountains. Oh yeah, and the lake. I did make sure to take many photos in succession because I wanted to test out my photo editing program’s panoramic capabilities. It did a really great job. Check this picture out. I shrunk it down a lot, but if you want to see it just a bit larger, you can right-click on the photo and then click on “Open Image in New Tab” or whatever menu item like that your computer offers.
That’s fall in Maine for you.
The funny thing about researching areas like this on Google Earth is that I can’t really gauge the topography. For some strange reason, I completely forget to take it into account too – every single time. I thought Mount Blue State Park would be sort of flat with a mountain in the middle of it. No, it’s not. The roads wind around and the entrance to the smaller area we visited today was like climbing the beginning part of a roller coaster. It was really steep. Here’s a photo of me in the parking lot of the Center Hill Nature Trail. Right behind me is the drive into this dirt parking lot. It was like a cliff, as you might guess from looking at this photo.
Those stones in the picture prevent your car from going down the hill if it accidentally rolls. You really don’t want that to happen.
Center Hill is a self-guiding nature trail. There’s a small wooden container with brochures in it that you can pick up as you walk towards its beginning. Inside the brochure are descriptions of 11 trail-stops that you can make while you’re enjoying the hike. At each stop, there’s something to learn, from what mountains can be seen from a lookout point to why a bog exists at the top of a mountain to what types of trees grow among others on a particular side of the hill. It’s pretty cool. I actually stopped hiking to read the description for each area. Luckily, the hike was only half mile, so I didn’t really feel the need to rush. A half mile might sound short, but they really packed a lot into it. There were so many cool features. I’ll try to show you some of them below.
The very beginning of the trail is a small, grassy hill with stone steps ascending it. When we climbed that small hill, we found a shelter like something you’d probably see along the Appalachian Trail.
There were picnic tables too. The view was perfect, so maybe I’ll bring some sandwiches next time. The both of us kept on commenting how much the trail looked like it should be in Ireland or Scotland or a place like that. Lots of grass and moss.
Right after the shelter, the real trail started. I took one look at it and thought it was going to be a doozy. There were some steep steps made from wood and stone. Luckily, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed after this part.
Okay, I have only one more picture of me to show you. I wanted to post just this one, but the first one I posted was the only one of the parking lot with the mountains in back of it. Here goes.
At least in this one, I’m half smiling. It’s not easy being in these photos, but I try to get at least one for every post. You know, to keep things personal.
The entire hilltop consists of a mix of hardwood trees as well as pines. I’d say the majority is pine, so there are some rather dense areas. These are my favorite type of trails and parks.
It wasn’t too long before we saw a sign for an overlook. Things were about to get interesting.
A short distance beyond the sign I just showed you was the very top of the hill. Like many mountains and other hills in the area, the top was completely rock.
This is the trail that leads to the peak.
And this is the peak itself.
You know I had another picture taken of me on top of this mountain. I just can’t bear to show it to you though. Three in one post? I don’t think so.
Another lookout point had a picnic table and a bench available for resting. This was probably the half way point of the trail.
Remember I told you there was a bog here? Strange, right? It really is. It’s such a small hill on top of a mountainous area and to have a wetland situated all the way up there was pretty weird. My guess is that there’s some sort of a spring that feeds it. It’s been dry recently and for it to be marshy at all is a wonder.
This is the final lookout of the trail. It’s of the mighty Mount Blue itself. I thought this was a really great shot because of the framing involved. I didn’t even have to do any work.
By the way, there’s another hike that begins at the base of this mountain. It’s 3.2 miles long and it goes straight from the bottom to the top. They claim it’s a challenge. I believe them. I’m not interested in hikes like that. I enjoy mozying more than hiking, to be honest with you.
We continued walking and finally made it to the end of the trail. This was probably the most challenging part of the whole thing. It’s sort of a cliff. We both made it down just fine and I decided that one last photo of the field with the picnic tables in it would be in order. I kept saying that if I was a kid again, I’d be running around these grass trails like a nut.
So there it is. A nice day at Center Hill in Mount Blue State Park. Overall, I thought the area was very exciting and we plan to visit again soon. I’d like to hit some other trails. There are quite a few of them. Also, I want to visit the campground on the other side of the lake. I haven’t gone camping in years, but hey, you never know.
Until next time. Thanks for reading!
PS – Obviously, Laura and I went hiking in this area together and as you may already know, we both have cameras. What I posted here is my perspective of the nature center. Why not take a quick peek at Laura’s perspective? Her photos are rather good. Also, sign up for her email list while you’re on her site. She’s got some really posts that she shares.