Monday, November 09, 2015

Morse Mountain and Seawall Beach

Morse Mountain Seawall Beach Phippsburg, Maine
Morse Mountain - Seawall Beach Phippsburg, Maine
 The objective of this hike was the view above. Similar to our hike through the Cutler Reserve, we knew we were getting close when we could hear the pounding surf and the trees were thinning out. Unlike the cliffs of Cutler, there was a nice sandy slope to the beach here.
Sprague River marshland
Sprague River marshland in the fog
 Along the way, on both sides of the mountain, we passed through tidal marsh lands. My guess is these are prime water birding spots although we didn't see anything except woodpeckers on the trail today.

Morse Mountain Seawall River hike
Bridge over the tidal river

Rock on the trail.
Morse Mountain trail
Morse Mountain trail

The trail is somewhat 'paved' with macadam almost, but not quite, covering small outcroppings of granite. In some places the tar is completely disintegrated and nature is taking over again. From the parking lot you'll traverse: macadam, gravel, sand and combinations of all three. Everyone we saw had good sneaks or hiking boots, this isn't a flip flop walk. Even though I only took pix on the relatively flat sections, the trail does climb to 180' in a short time. (Anyone who generally climbs in the Rockies can fall over laughing right about now, but this is a big hill here.) Then, just when you think you're headed downhill for keeps, you're going back uphill again.

Haunted tree
Looks like it was hit by lightening a long time ago.

Seawall Beach Phippsburg Maine
Seawall Beach Phippsburg Maine
Ahhhhhh! The beach! Nothing but sand and ocean as far as the eye could see. Low tide so we could walk quite a long way before reaching the rivers on either side.

Happy camper!

Seawall Beach Phippsburg Maine
Seawall Beach Phippsburg Maine

How to get there from White Cedar Inn:

Turn right on Rt 1 in front of the house and head toward Bath. Turn off Rt 1 at Rt 209. Take Rt 209 to Rt 216 (Rt 216 goes straight, Rt 209 turns left). On Rt 216 when you see the 'No Parking' signs you're getting close. Turn left on Morse Mountain Rd, go to the parking lot. There is a fee in the summer, the rest of the time it's the honor system to pay to enter. If the parking lot is full you'll have to go to Popham Beach instead.

As this is a conservation area there are no facilities and certain items are not allowed on the beach (loud music, pets, kites, umbrellas, etc). Everything you carry in you must carry out with you when you leave.

From the parking lot it is 2 miles to the beach. Again, uphill both ways.

FMI on the conservation land check the Morse Mountain - Bates College website. 

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Hedgehog Mountain

Mt Washington from top of Hedgehog Mountain
Mt Washington from the top of Hedgehog Mountain

Another of the excellent, and mostly unknown, trails in the Freeport Conservation Trail System. This little gem, with over five miles of trails, extends the length of Main Street from Exit 20 to Exit 22, totally in the woods. You can hear the 'far off' (less than 1 mile away) interstate as a low hum in the background. However, once you start marveling at the canopy of trees, the vista from the top of the mountain and the stone walls that seem to appear from nowhere, you can pretty much forget the hum in the distance and focus on the hum of nature instead.

I took this hike last week with a group of women I don't know. We came together at the invitation of Katrina, the director of the Freeport Conservation Trust. You can sign up to receive their emails and get a head's up on when the next guided hike is. (Another hike I've gone on with the group was to Florida Lake.)

Canopy of autumn colors

Crossing the stream

Autumn view from top of Hedgehog Mountain
Autumn view from top of Hedgehog Mountain
From the top of the mountain you can see all the way to New Hampshire and the Presidential Range (dark blue 'hills' in the background). Also visible, to the right of the huge (and it IS huge) pine tree you can see Bradbury Mountain, another excellent hiking trail in the Maine State Park system.

Thru the woods at Hedgehog Mountai
Thru the woods at Hedgehog Mountain
How to get there: from White Cedar Inn turn right onto Rt 136/Mallett Dr (at the traffic light). Cross over I-295 and bear left onto Pownal Rd. In approximately one mile you'll see the sign for the transfer station on the left. This is the Landfill Rd/Hedgehog Mountain Rd. Parking is on the left just before the gate for the 'dump'. It's best to print a trail map before heading out. Trees along the way are blazed in different colors for different hikes. Take a picnic lunch to enjoy at the top. There are a couple of benches and a huge expanse of granite rock to sit on. This would be an excellent spot to watch migrating raptors in April and May.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032