Camden Hills, ME- 12/21/2016
I originally wanted to go to Acadia, and even set my alarm early for it, but due to being beat from work, when I got up at 3:30 AM, I tried to get out of bed and said, "Nope, not happening." Slept for another five hours, then wondered what to do now. I remembered Derek's trip reports on the Camden Hills in Maine, and decided to go there. Out the door and on the road shortly before 9 am.
After a nice, leisurely drive on I-95, I-295, and US 1, I arrived at the trailhead parking area around 12:15 PM. Geared up, locked up, and started shortly after. The plan was to get my feet wet with a loop of sorts over 800 ft. Mount Battie, and the highpoint of the Camden Hills (and Camden Hills State Park), 1,385 ft. Mount Megunticook.
I walked up the auto road up Mt. Battie for about a quarter-mile, then crossed the hikers' parking lot and headed up the Nature Trail, turning left at a fork to head toward Mt. Battie. The Nature Trail paralleled the auto road somewhat, then intersected the Tableland Trail. I would take this toward Megunticook, but turned left first to summit Battie. The trail dipped down a little, crossed the road, and then made a gentle and icy-at-times climb to the 800 ft. summit and its observation tower (complete with lit star). The views from here and the summit area were superb- even more so with the clear sky. I could even see Cadillac Mountain and Mount Desert Island (the original plan) from Mt. Battie. Hung around here for a bit, then backtracked down the Tableland Trail to the junction, then headed for Mt. Megunticook.
After the junction, the Tableland Trail made a gentle, then abrupt climb to the Ridge Trail, passing some neat rock outcroppings and some surprisingly bare ground in the process. Near the Ridge Trail junction, I passed by several excellent outlooks, including one named the Ocean Lookout, with even better views than from Mt. Battie. I snapped some pics, then headed 0.4 mi along the Ridge Trail to the summit of Mt. Megunticook, which to my surprise was wooded and viewless
. Sadly, not much to see here, so I headed back to the Ocean Lookout for a photo-op and some snacks, then went about a mile down the Megunticook Trail back to the Nature Trail, then walked the auto road back to my car.
The hike came to be 5.3 miles roundtrip with about 1,500 ft. of elevation gain. Not quite like Acadia, but it's like a mini-version of it, and it's a good place to go when you don't have time to drive to Acadia, or don't have the motivation or energy to do it. I was pleasantly surprised with how much bigger the mountains felt due to being right next to the ocean. The views were excellent as well (though not from Megunticook's summit
). Someday I'd like to take some family here to drive up Mt. Battie and walk around a bit. Might come back and go deeper into the park on my own accord.
Here's the video recap: https://youtu.be/3gjDigrcuwo